Thailand
Chiang Mai Province

Here you’ll find travel reports about Chiang Mai Province. Discover travel destinations in Thailand of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

388 travelers at this place:

  • Day32

    What Language Learning Looks Like

    October 14 in Thailand

    I am in heaven. Language learning heaven. I find that learning Thai here in Chiang Mai is like being in a pleasure ground, solving an enormous puzzle, playing with words, memorizing words, hearing blurs of words, accumulating pages and pages of words—and enjoying words with friendly and accommodating speakers who buoy me up with kindness.

    I spend the morning hours in my comfortable apartment learning vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, listening to native speaker recordings and sappy Thai love songs, and rehearsing talking with imaginary Thai friends so they can possibly understand me. It is easy to study with discipline—anyone who has practiced a musical instrument can appreciate the transfer of practice from one area to the other. It's not the musical background which makes a successful language learner; it's the D I S C I P L I N E. The repetition, the slow practice, the never-missing-a-day, the endless listening, the reviewing, the preparation for the performance, and finally the performance itself, which is SPEAKING WITH THE NATIVES.

    So after lunch and a quick nap, I dress, do hair and make-up, and hit the streets of Chiang Mai. Rather, I do my "route,” my speaking path, with a few sentences here, and a few sentences there. Greetings to my vegetable seller, a handsome man in his seventies; then past the local food stalls where I never eat but am always greeted hopefully by the owners; hello to the seamstress and her cat Mimi, and to the line-up of thuk-thuk and songthaew drivers outside the temples, who don't seem to mind a chat instead of a fare. It's on to laughter with Wanpen, whose younger brother takes me on tours; and finally to a choice of air-conditioned oases for an icy watermelon frappé and more studying. At 6 PM I meet my friend Wisamun for thirty minutes of English and thirty of Thai. I learn the words in Thai that he wants to know in English, and vice versa: we are learning each others’ words. We are like kids with comic books. It's so much fun! Then I walk home, musing, and wishing people on my way a very formal "raatrii sawaat"—"good night to you.”

    I also was accepted in something called the “Add1Challenge,” a program that is part of the website “Fluent in Three Months.” ( https://www.fluentin3months.com/) The challenge is to go from zero knowledge to having a fifteen-minute talk in one’s target language, with a native speaker, in ninety days. To be accepted, I had to post a short public video on YouTube explaining why I wanted to participate, and what my personal goal was. ( Link: https://youtu.be/8OxP8WpAtWw) The Challenge began on October 8th, and the first task was to make another public video for “Day Zero,” showing what my competency was. Here is mine: https://youtu.be/-AM7-kvm1YU

    There are over one hundred participants, studying many languages. We are connected on the work meeting app called Slack, which is a great pleasure. Many people contribute hints, resources, and support to the group as a whole, and to two study groups to which we are assigned. We can also be in touch with individual members. I have even met with another Thai learner, who happens to be staying near me in Chiang Mai! As I push to my individual goal, attaining a B1or B2 level of proficiency, I can do so in the company of others. Here is an explanation of “B1 B2” in the CEFR System: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages

    Please note, everyone: I am not self-flagellating. I am not a masochist. This is FUN! Paradise! All of it! I am truly in heaven.

    Here are a few pictures.
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  • Day31

    Chiang Mai

    September 27 in Thailand

    Gestern sind wir mit dem Nachtzug von Bangkok nach Chiang Mai gefahren, dies war ein richtiges Erlebnis. 🚃 Die Stadt mit ihren vielen kleinen Märkten, besonders der Nachtmarkt, haben uns richtig gut gefallen. Tagsüber haben wir uns den Dschungel und die Elefanten in ihrer natürlichen Umgebung angeschaut, wir haben sie gefüttert, geputzt, mit ihnen gebadet und mit ihnen gespielt. 🐘🎋💦

  • Day6

    Thai Farm Cooking

    May 24, 2017 in Thailand

    Today was a full on day of cooking and learning. It was an early rise at 7.30am and needless to say it was a struggle getting up as I haven't seen that time on my clock in a while.

    Picked up at 8.30am by our cooking instructor for the day, her name Garnet, we set on our way collecting others from the group along the way. Our first stop was at a local food market which Garnet toured us around explaining about various foods such as rice (the difference between sticky rice and normal rice) as well as the variety of coconut products such as the cream, milk and shavings and their different purposes. Garnet was so enthusiastic this whole time, so excited by the food and from then on I knew it would be a good day. Before leaving the market we were allowed 10 minutes to wonder around for ourselves and pick up any food or drink we wanted then headed on our way to the Thai Farm Cooking School.

    The cooking school was a good half hour drive from the main centre of Chiang Mai but was in a beautiful rural location, their farm surrounding the buildings.

    First up was preparing our curry paste from scratch. I had chosen yellow curry and using a pestle and mortar crushed all the ingredients to make an amazing smelling paste which would later go in my curry. Our first dish was coconut soup, being slightly apprehensive about how good mine would taste I was pleasantly surprised and it was absolutely delicious.

    Next up was the spring rolls, and I have to admit I thought I did a pretty great job of them. As well as looking good they tasted amazing. It was accompanied as well by home made chilli sauce which too was incredible.

    Already feeling stuffed, we still had two other dishes to make, the curry and stir fry. For the stir fry I used to learn the wok and felt pretty proud of myself when I managed not to spill everything everywhere or burn any of my ingredients. Both the curry and stir fry took no time at all and soon it was time to eat them. Being so tasty, it was still a struggle to eat them both having already been so full. Nevertheless I powered on through and managed to eat most of what I made.

    Then, last up was the mango sticky rice and my oh my was it delicious. Having never tried this dish it was so yummy. We even got to turn our rice blue, which I thought was pretty funky.

    With bellies bursting at the seams, it was time to head back to the hostel after a great day. With happy food baby's we settled in for an early night.
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  • Day3

    Conserve Natural Forests

    May 21, 2017 in Thailand

    In the morning we had a slow start and enjoyed a lovely breakfast of eggs and avocado on toast before heading off to the elephant sanctuary we had booked for the day.

    The organisation that runs this sanctuary is called Conserve Natural Forests, its environmental conservational site is just north of Pai and is the location of their tree nursery, organic farm, additional to being the home of critically endangered tortoises, birds, and Asian elephants. Conserve Natural Forests is dedicated to reproducing endemic plant and animal species in Thailand, and aim to restore the damages caused by centuries of deforestation and harm by humans.

    When we first arrived we met the team and got told a bit of background about the organisation and what they do. I could tell the team were extremely passionate about the beliefs of the organisation which made it an even more special occasion.

    First up, we searched out the elephants to go over to feed them and just be in the company of these amazing creatures. Shortly after they had demolished all the food, it was time for a bath. This has got to be one of my most memorable experiences. Elephants are such majestic creatures and the way the organisation cares for them is only by voice, no harmful whips or apparatus and how they respond is amazing. The rest of the afternoon was just spent in the company of these elephants, continually feeding them and splashing water over them. The elephants are mother and daughter and were both rescued from horrible treatment in captivity. They are both pregnant, the daughter 27 months pregnant and was HUGE which isn't a surprise really.

    The day was such a treat and really special. It made it all the better that the small group we were with were great people and had great humour just to top off the day. The main reason I loved this organisation was because it wasn't commercialised at all and it felt so natural and untouristy. The people there being there because their love for the environment and the animals there.

    At the end of the day, to put something back into the environment, everyone plants a tree and I thought that was such a lovely touch to finish such a spectacular day with fascinating creatures and great people.

    When it was time to go I almost felt saddened leaving the elephants as despite only spending an afternoon with them you do grow attached.

    Getting back to the hostel after another visit to the nightmarket and a yummy meal it was time to get ready and celebrate Corrie's birthday turning 23. We dressed up in matching outfits we had all bought together and went straight out to explore the nightlife that Pai had to offer. Safe to say it did not disappoint.
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  • Day4

    Chiang Mai

    May 22, 2017 in Thailand

    Having arrived exhausted from Pai after our long bus ride and late night of birthday celebrations we took it easy and decided to head out for food asap in order to get a decent nights sleep.

    Being a Sunday however, it was the weekly massive market. Now I've seen markets before but this one was overwhelmingly big I didn't know where to look, I felt as though it never ended. Grabbing food and enjoying my first Thai green curry we browsed the market for a while longer but due to being so tired it was hard to appreciate what was there. We decided it would probably be best to head back and rest up for the next day.

    Waking up in reasonable time we headed to the hostels pool to catch some rays and have some relaxation time after our busy few days. Next up, having to pay a deposit for our cooking course on Wednesday we headed to their office and chose our menu for the day which is very exciting (hopefully I don't poison myself). Watch out Mum and Dad there will be a new chef in the house.

    Taking a detour back to the hostel we stopped off at a spa / message place recommended to me by Simona. Its not just a regular one it was one that's run by ex convicts and is to help support the lives of newly released inmates in society. The business is an effort in to bridging the gap between a non accepting public, and the problems released inmates encounter adapting to a new community. Prior to their release, the inmates go through an extensive training program which allows them to make a living and contribute to society. I believe this is a very good cause and felt happy my money was contributing to this business, and the massage was great too!

    After feeling extremely relaxed and oiled up we ate at a yummy place called the Salad Concept which did the best make your own wraps and smoothies.

    Back to the hostel we got ready and joined others in the bar for a drink, heading out later to a bar called Zoe in Yellow and wow did it exceed expectations. Definitely was great name for a great place, just a shame I wasn't wearing yellow.
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  • Day5

    Grand Canyon Waterpark

    May 23, 2017 in Thailand

    Got up and had a yummy breakfast to fuel myself for the day ahead. At midday we headed out to the water park for the day. It's called the Grand Canyon and wow is it grand.

    The water park assault course is situated in the base of a canyon and is no short of anyone's water dream. Expecting it to be heaving when we got there we arrived and the whole park was practically empty. Excited we payed our £6 for the day and got started.

    We spent the whole afternoon here and with so much to do I still left feeling like I hadn't completed it all. The assault course was hilarious and I felt as though I was on total wipeout slip and sliding everywhere. There was everything from rock climbing inflatable objects, slides into the water, jumping off trampolines into the water and even cliff jumping. Being surrounded by the canyon made the whole experience even better and it's definitely the coolest water park I've ever been to. I certainly know who would of loved it, my two brothers would have been in absolute heaven.

    As the sun started to set we decided to call it a day and head back to the hostel. After an exhausting day we collapsed on our beds for an early night.
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  • Day8

    Chiang Mai to Bangkok

    May 26, 2017 in Thailand

    For the last two days in Chiang Mai we took it very easy and enjoyed some needed RnR.

    After enjoying a yummy breakfast we headed to a shopping centre we had been recommended and decided to treat ourselves. However, compared to the markets the shopping was far more expensive to what I was used to experiencing so therefore there weren't as many purchases as usual. On the way back to the hostel we stopped off at a lovely cafe called the Free Bird which was actually vegan and vegetarian friendly (been inspired by Simona). I had the best banana smoothie there as well as some yummy potato fry up.

    For the evening and our last night in Chiang Mai we decided to make a return to Zoe in Yellow having been so good the first time, ending the night with a quesadilla from a Mexican stool outside of the bar.
    For our last full day in Chiang Mai we enjoyed a nice sleep in and then headed out for breakfast and on to getting our nails done. After only deciding I wanted a pedicure, when the price of a manicure was only another £4 I couldn't resist, totalling my spend of £8 (bargain? I think so).

    With not much time to spare and feeling very relaxed it was back to the hostel to collect our things and endure our first experience on the night train! My seat was opposite the sweetest Thai lady who couldn't stop smiling and even shared her bag of crisps with me. Despite being a small king gesture I felt very touched by it. The beds on the train were surprisingly comfy, however the noise of the train meant my sleep wasn't as good as usual, but oh well it's all part of the experience.

    Arriving at 6am to the hustle and bustle in Bangkok we headed to our hostel for some much needed rest.
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  • Day41

    Chiang Mai, Thailand

    February 2, 2017 in Thailand

    We took a short flight from Bangkok to northern Thailand and really enjoyed the few days we spent there. It was somewhat touristy like many reviews warned, however there were plenty of chances to avoid the tourist scene and enjoy roaming the laid back streets throughout the town.

    Our first adventure was through a company called Something Different Tours, and it did not disappoint. This was a full day off-road motorbike tour. We were a bit skeptical of the tour at first, but once we picked up our lunch at a local market and got off the paved roads, we really had fun! It was just the two of us on a moped, with a guide in front and a guide in back. There were a few dicey spots where I thought the moped was going to break from the giant holes in the dirt path, a few times the moped couldn't make it up the steep hills in the lowest gear, and a few times Rupal hung on for her life, but it was a successful trip and a memorable one including stops at waterfalls and a hill tribe that live without electricity and cannot come to the main town because they aren't citizens of the country instead migrants from China who live their lives hunting and gathering to survive; yet some how they were very welcoming and seemed happy.

    The next day was just as memorable spent at an elephant orphanage. We learned a lot about Asian vs. African elephants and had a blast feeding them and washing them. We highly recommend this experience, especially at a place that treats the animals well. I would love to rescue an abused elephant, but unfortunately they cost $60k and eat/poop nonstop. There were a total of 3 elephants including a 2 year old baby elephant that was adorable and full of mischievous energy constantly venturing all over the complex, eating planted flowers and giving everyone a good laugh.

    We went back into town and enjoyed an hour massage, costing about $5.50 each that included some traditional Thai massage moves like walking on our backs and stretching us in some crazy wrestling-like moves. Every night there we had some amazing food as well including a few new favorite dishes we hadn't tried before in the US.

    This rounded up a few memorable days in Thailand and look forward to getting back to the islands near the end of our trip.
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  • Day6

    Viel Schlaf gab es in der Nacht nicht, aber dafür war es ein einzigartiges Erlebnis mit dem ruckeligen Zug 13 Stunden lang quer durch Thailand zu fahren. Erst recht, wenn man die Ehre hat über Mönchen zu nächtigen 🙏🏻 Bis jetzt haben wir ja nur die Mega-Metropole Bangkok gesehen und freuen uns daher riesig als wir am frühen Morgen aus dem Fenster gucken und richtig sattes Dschungel-Grün sehen 😍 Wir kommen erst einmal an und entspannen den Tag im Hostel und springen in den Pool.Read more

  • Day8

    A Big Decision in Chiang Mai

    September 20 in Thailand

    From Brazil I came back to Thailand. In April 2017 I spent three charming weeks here, so I decided to dig in and explore seriously. Now that I have been living internationally for over a year, “exploring” no longer means traveling around with a set itinerary. Instead, I am improvising my stays according to what makes me happy, excited, and intrigued.

    I have made the decision to stay here in Chiang Mai, which is the third-largest city in Thailand. FindPenguins comes with the satellite map, so you can see where I am exactly. I will be here until October 31st, and most likely will extend that until December, when I fly back to the US. I love my spacious and comfortable apartment.
    Here is a link to the Airbnb site so you can see what it looks like: https://abnb.me/PjtZrIiUrQ I love my little neighborhood (I have become a “neighborhood person”) and I find the location to be perfect: just within the ancient city walls, yet separated from the tourist bustle further south. Despite the big city congestion, I like being here for all the possibilities a big city offers.

    I have also made a much more momentous decision: I am devoting myself to learning Thai. I just can’t have the kind of experiences I have enjoyed in countries where I was fluent unless I make the same effort here. So all day long, until late afternoon, I am Pomidoro-ing my studies—twenty-five minutes study, five minutes total break, repeat. There are longer breaks to eat and do my exercises, but I still listen to Thai podcasts, and read about Thai culture and history. Also, I have two teachers (via Skype), one for teaching me all I ask to know, and the other for one hour of “this is how we talk” conversation. I am trying to memorize vocabulary as rapidly as possible with spaced repetition practice. Memorize memorize memorize—it’s my new name!

    I am at such an elementary level that I can’t really bother people on the street with much more than a short short conversation. However, in a stroke of luck I met a photographer/artist who is desperately keen to learn English, so we are teaming up for a daily language exchange. His English is slightly ahead of my Thai. We are roaring into the improvement of both our language abilities with fervor. And lo! There is a long-lived Language Exchange every Wednesday and Saturday evenings at a pub close to my apartment. The first time I went there I met Thais, Americans, Chinese, Brits, Koreans and Canadians present! I also signed up to be a member of a “foreign language challenge,” called the Add1Challenge. Here is a link for more information: https://add1challenge.com/ Why? I thought it would be fun, and a sociable way to be fanatically intent on attaining fluency in ninety days.

    My visit to Brazil the last three months taught me the value of really being able to communicate in a foreign language: to talk and listen on an emotional level, which breaks down cultural barriers. My goal is never to “become” Brazilian, or Thai, or anything else. It is to become closer.

    And to have fun as I never have before!

    ฉันเรียนเพื่อสนุกกับชีวิต. “I study for life’s enjoyment.”
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Chiang Mai Province, เชียงใหม่

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