As my time in Chiang Mai draws to a close, I am making a conscious effort to be grateful for the things that I will no longer be able to do, come January 31st when I leave this hippy, nomad, colourful hub. As you may have seen from my other posts, Chiang Mai isn’t always amazing, however there are certain things that can be done here, and here only. Those are the things that I will miss about Chiang Mai.
Since January 1st I have been drinking a fresh coconut everyday, and eating its delicious flesh. Coconut water supposedly has an abundance of benefits for your body. When you are feeling thirsty, there is nothing more refreshing than kicking back with an ice cold coconut and a straw. This is the top thing that I will miss about Chiang Mai.
2. Spending 80 pence on a full meal
I have had a love-hate relationship with Thai food, but there are certain delicacies that I could eat all day. For example pineapple khao soy and mango sticky rice. If you find a good quality street vendor, then you save so much money whilst enjoying such good food. Thai food is so much more fresh and lightweight than our heavy Western food, and I am unsure of how I will readjust to the bread-based meals of the UK.
I’m heading home in the coldest month of the year. Right now, it is snowing in parts of England. On the other hand, today was about 27 degrees in Chiang Mai, and that’s winter. I do love the cold, however I have spent the last 15 months wearing shorts and a t-shirt – now I’m going to have to dig out my jeans and wooly jumpers.
4. The social acceptability of not having to wear shoes
The soles of my feet are thick and hard, which is kind of gross if you think about it, but it does mean that I can walk around barefoot and not worry about offending anybody, or getting frostbite. Even when I decide to wear shoes, I wear flip flops. In addition to my jeans and wooly jumpers, I am going to have to get back into wearing boots, and even socks, that is going to blow my mind.
5. Rent prices
The amount I pay for my luxury studio apartment complete with sliding walls, television, washing machine, kitchen, balcony, and pool and gym access is approximately 1/3 of what I paid for my dark and damp bedroom in a 3 bedroom ex-council flat in London. Split that cost in half as I share my flat with my boyfriend, and I am paying buttons. Fortunately, my parents had the good grace to take me back into my childhood bedroom, which means I will be rent-free (otherwise, I would be screwed).
6. Living with James, my boyfriend
Living with a significant other is not easy. James always knew that I was moving to Thailand, and he followed me here without ever questioning it. He drives me up the wall: he’s messy, terrible with money, and really lazy when it comes to certain things, but he’s also funny, supportive, and we frequently mess around like children in our little happy home. We’re now going to spend two months apart, and I don’t quite know how I will function without my travel buddy by my side.
7. Not wearing make-up
This is such a big one for me. I haven’t worn a full face of make up since I came to Thailand (even if I wanted to, it would melt straight off my face). Here, nobody bats an eyelid at my bare face, as they’ve only ever known me without make up. However, when I am out and about at home without make up I find myself feeling very self-conscious, even around my friends who wear make up. The western standard of beauty is so different to that in the Chiang Mai community, and I think that I will have real difficulty readjusting, mainly because I don’t really want to.
8. Having something in common with everybody I meet
The people that you meet when you are living abroad tend to be of the same ilk: you all love travel, you love experiencing new cultures, and you love Chiang Mai. In the UK, I find it harder to meet new people – most of the people that you meet are friends of friends, that means you force friendship in a way, so the relationship isn’t as natural.
9. Having a mountain backdrop
I look out of my window every morning at Doi Suthep, the mountain that borders the west side of the city. It’s covered in forest, and I find staring at it highly therapeutic. Luckily, my UK home is just as beautiful, so I am very glad that I am not moving back to a city.
10. Being able to walk everywhere
This is the major downfall of my UK home: I live in the middle of nowhere, which means a car is required for all journeys. It’s not usually too bad, but due to a number of traffic accidents and other experiences, I am now fairly terrified of roads, so I will really miss the option to walk to where I need to go.
So that’s it, the top 10 things that I will miss about Chiang Mai. What do you miss about locations that you have visited in the past? Do you miss your home more than you miss these places?