About Us

We are a married couple who retired and moved to Thailand in 2014. You are welcome to join us and our travel monkeys Sun Wukong and Malcolm Jr. on our adventures! We hope you enjoy the trip as much as we do.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mr. Hat Says Farewell To Chiang Mai

We moved to Chiang Mai 8 months ago and what an exciting 8 months it has been. Our original plan was to live 9 months per year in Chiang Mai and then the other 3 months at the beaches to avoid the dreaded Smoky Season in Chiang Mai. Well, it's time to move to the beach. Next stop....Hua Hin.

We have experienced things in the past 8 months that we could never have expected, many things that we expected and looked forward to, and a few things that we would have preferred to miss. We have made some great friends and have seen things we now consider normal that before seemed very exotic.

Two days after we moved here Martial Law was declared in Thailand. Good timing, huh? What would that mean to us? Well, 8 months later and Thailand is still under Martial Law but it really hasn't affected us in any major way. People still go about their daily business and we are treated very well. At first there was a curfew that affected some expats but not us, as we don't normally stay out after 10 pm at night anyway.

Two days after Martial Law was declared there was the Coup d'etat. The government was overthrown peacefully by the military. There wasn't a huge uproar as you might expect. I guess the Thai people are so used to them that it was just another day in Thailand.

So, after less than one week in the country we experienced the imposition of Martial Law and a Coup d'etat. Those are two things that we never expected to experience.

Most of the rest has been wonderful and mostly expected. Chiang Mai has so much to offer in the way of spectacular scenery, deep rooted culture, traditional celebrations, crazy drivers, wild west atmosphere, fantastic food, and friendly people. It is no wonder that Chiang Mai is a huge tourist and expat destination. One minute you can be in a 600 year old Thai wet market and then 10 minutes later be in a brand new, state of the art shopping mall that makes the ones back in the US look like old, run down shopping centers.

The “semi-official” smoky season usually begins in February and gets progressively worse until the rainy season sometime around the Songkran Holiday in April. Chiang Mai sits in a bowl surrounded by mountains and when the Thai farmers begin burning their fields, forest fires begin (purposely or by nature) in the jungles surrounding the city, and farmers in Myanmar, Laos, China, and other SE Asian nations begin their field burning the smoke migrates into the bowl around Chiang Mai and concentrates so heavily that it is unhealthy to breathe the air. Luckily we are able to move away then. To The Beach!

People who have breathing difficulties of any type should definitely have an exit strategy for the Smoky Season in Chiang Mai. This year the farmers started burning in October and there have been too many days since then when it affected our health. We went through a time where the air was stagnate and there was an inversion and you could smell, taste and breathe the smoke. Not our idea of fun. That along with the incessant pollution from all the diesel fumes from the vehicles made us stay indoors.

Chiang Mai is like that black sheep uncle that every family has. Deep down you wish you could be like him. He's full of adventure, lives life to the fullest and doesn't worry about what others think. He does what he wants, when he wants. He's loud, he's obnoxious, and he's most likely the town drunk. Rules were made to be ignored and the only thing that matters in his world is himself. He's raw and unfiltered. Everyone else can go screw themselves if they don't like it. You want to spend time with this character as there are so many stories and experiences that he can show you, but he also hasn't taken a shower or bathed in years. Yeah, he's THAT uncle.

So, it's off to the beach in the Gulf of Thailand for the next 3 months. While there we are going to check out the coastline from Cha Am down to Prachuap Khiri Khan (approximately 100 km distance) looking for a place we might want to put down our roots for the next year. After the 3 months there we will be taking a short vacation and spending some time in Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. We will visit our son and daughter-in-law in Japan for several weeks before returning to Thailand.

Our next post will be from the beach in Hua Hin. Look forward to seeing what it has to offer. Stay Tuned.


-In no particular order-
-Click on Photos to Enlarge-

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