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”.
Ezra 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!