Navigating the North

Authored by:
Christian V.

Christian V.

So, a good month has passed since my last blog post and I apologize for taking so long to write again! Life here in Thailand has started to gather pace and finding free time is becoming a rarity. That being said, I’m still having an awesome experience thus far and I have a lot of information, photos, and anecdotes I’d like to share with everyone!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am living and teaching in the north of Thailand. The city I am closest to is called Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai is a relatively small city compared to cities like Bangkok and New York City. Boasting a population of about 70,000 people, (google) there are plenty of interesting places to explore, lots of delicious food to eat, and heaps of friendly people to interact with. Personally, I am delighted to be living in a smaller city scene because I found Bangkok a bit overwhelming due to its size. Outside of Chiang Rai there are many natural areas to be seen such as waterfalls, hot springs, and mountains. I have really enjoyed taking the time to explore some of these outdoor locations because they are simply breathtaking.

In one of my first weekends of living in Chiang Rai, I was invited to join a group of other English teachers to camp on a mountain and watch the sunrise at a place called Phu Langka. I don’t mean to sound grandiose but watching the sunrise was one of the most magical experiences of my life! We arrived at the campground late in the evening and spent time socializing and playing games before going to bed late. After maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep, we woke up around 4:30 in the morning to watch the sunrise over the valley. The valley was covered by a thick blanket of fog and you could only see the top of a mountain protruding from the valley as well as a few street lights glowing softly in the mist. We were all feeling a little tired and groggy but after a few cups of coffee, we found ourselves suddenly mesmerized by the beauty of the scenery surrounding us. I think the pictures we took look great but as the saying goes, “they don’t do the real viewing justice.”

After that morning we had some breakfast and proceeded to venture to a national park located nearby. At this park we witnessed a wonderful waterfall and a captivating cave. I will mention here that this cave is not the infamous one that trapped the thai soccer team for several days… Although, that cave is not terribly far from Chiang Rai and apparently it has become something of a tourist attraction in light of recent events. Maybe I will check it out some other time. This was my first waterfall journey and I have since done a few more. Before I came to Thailand, I was unaware of the amount of waterfalls that are here! I could probably spend most of my year chasing waterfalls and still not have time to see them all. (Sorry for the weak pun)

One thing I did expect to find in Thailand was delicious food. Wow, I have eaten so much amazing food! Perhaps it is starting to show too (haha) I think my favorite dish or atleast one that I have eaten pretty consistently is called Pad-se-eww. I’m not sure how to spell it but it sounds something like that. The dish is a fried noodle meal with vegetables and meat mixed within and I have started to identify some places around the city that servee the best pad-se-eww. Another dish that I love is one that is a bit exclusive to the north called Khao-soi. This is also a noodle dish (I love noodles so much) with a type of curry sauce and normally served with chicken. It is also common to serve toppings like red onion, pickled vegetables, and chilis with this meal. This meal is a solid favorite of mine as well and Chiang Rai has definitely served the best Khao-soi compared to my experiences of eating in Chiang Mai where it wasn’t as delicious. Food is such a wonderful feature of Thailand because you don’t have to wander far to find different vendors nearby. I love finding new places to eat and new foods to try. Some meals may look a tad intimidating or less appealing but you never really know what it will be like until you try it! Keeping that in mind, proceed with caution. I have also had an upset stomach and some frequent trips to the bathroom after eating some not-so-well-prepared food in the past!

While I have only lived here in Chiang Rai for a little shy of three months now, it now feels like a city I can call home. I have seen a lot but I am excited by the prospect of getting more opportunities to explore this city and its surroundings. Thank you for reading and I hope to share more with everyone again soon!



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