Short hop to Chiang Mai ~ Empty Nester check in…

While nearing the end of our time in Bagan, Myanmar we have some travel decisions to make…

Our flight to Bali, Indonesia will be leaving from Yangon, which is where we landed, but is also at the other end of the country from Mandalay. We can continue North for a few days more in Myanmar and fly from Mandalay to Yangon to catch our next flights, or we can start to slowly make our way back by bus for a few days.

As it turns out, we do neither of these things! Instead, we spontaneously book a flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand!!

Now why on earth would we do that? We had absolutely no plans whatsoever to be in Thailand during this time period. The original plan was Myanmar to Indonesia. However, as empty nesters, we always look for ways to connect and spend quality time with each of our four (fabulous) sons. In this case, Ezra, had just booked a one way ticket from Portland, Oregon, to Thailand and after a short stay in Bangkok, had taken a  train to Chiang Mai.

In 2014, Chiang Mai was our home for 2 months. it is a city that is easy to live in, with lots of positive offerings….

The opportunity for time with Ezra in his newly adopted home, has high appeal. After all, we are right next door (so to speak) in Myanmar. The flight from Mandalay is just over an hour and is inexpensive ~ it’s a no brainer.

We change our plans! New visa rules in Thailand allow us a short stop over, without a visa.

After sending Ezra an email to find out if he wants to meet us for lunch, and a short and very easy flight, instead of making our way to Yangon, we are on the ground in Chiang Mai, feeling instantly “at home”.

IMG_1429Ezra has been exploring Chiang Mai by foot…. before we arrive! Ben’s Empty Nester mission is to introduce him to the joys of motor scooter mobility and discovery!


A favorite Chiang Mai dish ~ hot off the griddle, kanom krup at the market. A yummy coconut puff ~ crispy on the outside, melty and soft on the inside. (One bite Thai pancake.) Welcome back!


A close up of these babies… but you gotta eat em hot off the griddle!


One of the best reasons to be in Thailand, other than the food, is for the incredible and inexpensive Thai massages. After 2 weeks of being “on the road” it’s great to have Thai massage “on tap” in Chiang Mai. Ezra introduces us to a Thai massage therapist who is known to be one of the best. And she is really, really good!



Chiang Mai is also home to one of my favorite yoga studios anywhere ~ Wild Rose Yoga. We introduce this gem of a place to Ezra and go to yoga classes there together. Aside from the excellent teachers at Wild Rose Yoga, the studio space is made totally out of wood ~ such a beautiful environment to practice yoga and be in.


Chaing Mai has a vibrant street food and street vendor scene. So many choices, only a few days….!


One of Chiang Mai’s specialties is Khao Soi, and we are determined to eat it at least once while we are there, together with Ezra. A soupy gravy made with wide noodles, tomatoes, soy beans, shallot and garlic and usually topped with pork. In this case, we all opt for the modernized and veggie version with pineapple. YUM!!


After yoga together, we head to South Gate market to find some good eats for dinner. Here one of the dishes we ate: Soup, noodles, beef and a huge pile of toppings such as cabbage, bean sprouts and basil.


Ben and Ezra talking about Ezra’s new life in Chiang Mai where he has found a small apartment to sub lease for 5 weeks!

Our visit in Chiang Mai is short and sweet. Happy to connect with Ezra in his new home base, at the critical beginning of his Asia adventure.


From Chiang Mai, it’s a 3 hour flight to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia where we have a 3 hour layover before our 3 hour flight to Dempasar, Indonesia. Look at all these destinations….! A reminder of how much more discovery lies ahead!


Airports in Asia often have surprising culinary finds such as this DIM SUM spot. Not only was this really good dim sum, but it also raises the bar on “airport food.” 3 hours pass by very quickly.


This is one of the security officers on the ground for Malindo airline. Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, where a colorful hijab is as common as a colorful baseball cap in other parts of the world.

Good bye Chiang Mai, Hello Indonesia!


10 thoughts on “Short hop to Chiang Mai ~ Empty Nester check in…

  1. carolinehelbig

    Nice post, makes me want to go back to Chiang Mai where I spent several weeks as a backpacker a long time ago! I loved it! Yoga and a massage sound good right about now. Great that you could spend time with your son.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      One of our favorites too. Yes, the food in Chiang Mai is incredible. We were lucky it was passion fruit season…I was eating them by the bag full. The last time we were there it was lychee and mangosteen season! Yum! Missed those this time.

  2. brook skillman

    The beginning of this blog sums up your lives, that you could never have plans because, well, how could you! Just incredible that you got to meet up with Ezra (looking forward to hear the sequel with him) and so glad you got him on a bike. Looking up Khao Soi right now to get a recipe (not that I could replicate!). Loved this blog and want those pancakes!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Yup it’s very true that even the best of plans get changed.
      Yeah, very fun to meet up with Ezra in his new hometown!
      Those little coconut mini pancakes are just heavenly!
      Thanks for reading and commenting Brook! xoxo

  3. thirdeyemom

    Somehow I found your blog and recently subscribed. Probably from another WP blogger who mentioned you. So I’m new to following. Are you on a long travel journey or are you expat nomads? I probably have to go back to the beginning and read your posts to catch up. Your travels sound very exciting! 🙂 Nice to read your blog! Nicole

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hi Nicole,

      Welcome aboard! Thanks for joining and sharing our journey with us. We have been on a global trek that started 8 years ago when we left Chicago as recent empty nesters to start a new chapter in our lives focused on Latin America. We anchored our Latin American travel in a social and environmental impact project, then business, around bamboo housing construction that allowed us to explore fully Latin America as well as experience 7 years of living in Nicaragua.

      Then, 2 years ago, we decided it was time to launch a new tier of our global trek, focused this time in Asia. we started by living in Viet Nam for 5 months and doing exploratory travels in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. Living nomadically/sequentially while at the same time keeping an eye open for our next impact focused work. Wherever we go, we live. That is, we consider it home for as long as we are there, be it a month or longer.

      Recently we rented a loft in Chicago to be near family for a while. At the end of 2015 we left the worst of winter behind us and are on the road for another few weeks laying the groundwork for our next impact work and “vetting” possible bases of where to anchor ourselves for the next chapter of our Green Global Trek. Hint, you can get a preview of where we might be headed by looking at the archive posts under Sri Lanka, and in particular, read about “Namal”.

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