Chiang Mai Lately: An Update through Instagram Photos

by Audrey on January 21, 2014 · 18 comments

It’s been a while since I wrote a personal update, so I felt it was time for one of those.

I’ve been back in Thailand for a few weeks now and while in the past I have treated this place like my home, I’m now trying to see it with fresh tourist eyes. I only have a few more weeks left here before I continue with some more travels around SE Asia, so I’m trying to tick off as many items as possible off my Chiang Mai bucket list. It helps that Sam’s family and a large group of their friends are currently visiting us, because it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and play tourist in my adopted city.

Also, this month I finally got a smartphone! It had been 10 months since I last owned a phone in South Korea, and while I still don’t consider a phone a basic necessity, it has been kind of nice having a way to document my daily life through Instagram. I have to admit that whenever I find myself in Chiang Mai, I get kind of lazy about bringing my camera along and taking pictures – I’m home, who takes pictures at home?! – however, this new toy has been the perfect excuse to do so. So here’s an update through Instagram:

This is my charming little neighbourhood. It’s been kind of chilly (by Thai standards) these past couple of weeks, so I’ve been enjoying going out for the occasional morning stroll. The streets are lined with bright orange flowers, so it’s a nice way to start the day.


I have been doing a lot of temple hopping around the city lately. If you’ve been to Chiang Mai you probably know that there is a temple every few meters, so when I went out for a walk with Sam’s family the other day, we ended up stopping at every wat along the way. That included Wat Pan Soi, Wat Ched Lin, Wat Chang Taem, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Pan Tao, Wat Phra Singh, and a separate visit to Wat Sri Suphan, also known as the Silver Temple. They all started to look quite similar after about the third one, so I think we’ve had our fill for the rest of our time here.


The other morning I made it out to the Chiang Mai University campus for a walk around the Ang Kaew Reservoir, and I coincidentally discovered that there was a graduation ceremony taking place. The students were dressed in their very best, sporting bright smiles, and taking photos in their caps and gowns. It was a nice little surprise.


This shot was taken along the Mae Ping River. This river is popular for its river cruises, but I enjoy just walking along the riverfront footpath. This area is so lush and green, and if you go out early in the morning, you can see people fishing from the shore.


The city is filled with ruins and even after living here for several months, I’m still just as fascinated by the history all around me. I like the intricate brick detailing on some of these older stuppas.


One of the things I love about Chiang Mai is that the city is full of surprises. The other day I heard music and drumming from my balcony so I ran down to the street to find that there was a parade taking place right in front of my building. There were singers, dancers, flag bearers, little boys drumming, and monks cloaked in orange. I never found out what exactly they were celebrating, but that’s the life of an expat – you bear witness to all these little things that you can never fully understand as an outsider.


Prior to Sam’s family visiting, we were in a bit of a restaurant rut – always eating at our favourite places, but never venturing out to try something new. These past few weeks have been all about finding new places to eat at. Even though I’m not vegetarian, I eat like a vegetarian most of the time, so I’m trying to find out the best veggie spots around Chiang Mai. So far some of the highlights have been Khun Churn, Brown Rice, Salad Concept, and Juicy 4 U. I still have a rather lengthy list to get through, so I’ll report back once I’ve tried all the others.


This month I’ve been reading The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. It’s a really cool story about a Swedish centenarian, who decides he’s bored with life at the retirement home and climbs out of his window without much of a plan. Upon his escape he finds adventure and a cast of really strange characters, but what I like most are the flashbacks into his younger years. This book is a pleasant reminder that everyone has a unique story to tell and that sometimes the most mild-mannered and soft-spoken individuals are the ones with the best stories.


And that’s a little glimpse at my 2014 so far. Next week I’ll be making a little escape to the quiet hillside town of Pai, so you can expect more pictures from there upon my return. :)

How has your start to 2014 been so far?


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Aggy January 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

What a lovely place Chiang Mai is! It’s always nice to find new things in your adopted city. And a smartphone is always handy when you don’t feel like bringing your camera so kudos for purchasing one 😉


Rachel of Hippie in Heels January 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

I was just thinking I need a new book to read- I think I’ll give that one a go! Thanks. Oh and I feel yeah with the photos, I live in Goa and never take my camera out. I just saw sam’s video of the market and thought I should be taking photos of Goa’s massive Saturday market but never can be bothered…. It’s hard to enjoy the moment myself when I’m taking photos , b/c like you said “I’m home. who takes pictures at home!?”
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Sam January 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I love this kind of Instagram update post! So nice to get little snippets of life in a place that’s so different to where I am right now: Budapest. Lovely!
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Maria January 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Beautiful shots – can hardly wait to see all the phone you have with the new phone.


Micamyx|Senyorita January 21, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I miss Chiang Mai! I don’t have a smartphone now (the first one is lousy and only used it for a few months). I’m back to my Nokia but I really need to get a smartphone soon so I can use instagram :)) Lovely pics! 😀
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Marv.n.Jo January 21, 2014 at 5:02 pm

We’re neighbors! We saw that procession as well, but all the banners were in Thai. :( Anyways, glad to hear you are here in Chiang Mai. Yes, it’s been quite chilly lately. Missed you earlier this year in Hoi An, but maybe we’ll catch you and Sam while you’re here. Perhaps at one of the streetfood markets or the famous smoothie stand of Miss Pa. 😉


Colleen Brynn January 21, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Lovely photos…. and I’m so glad I get to follow you on instagram too now. :) I guess I can now share some turkey dinner photos on there for you, haha!


Angela January 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm

I find it hard to pull out my DSLR sometimes if my phone is handy. I really need to be more aware and use my nicer camera. It is always fun having new toys. Great that you can make use of the camera and take wonderful pictures of your adventures!
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Heather January 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm

We spent one glorious week in Chiang Mai and this makes me miss it so much!!
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Stefania - the Italian Backpacker January 22, 2014 at 2:54 am

Beautiful pictures. Chiang Mai looks like a really laid-back place, and with all that excellent food I’d love to spend some time there. I love to explore new things even in the place where I live, it’s so uplifting!
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Rika | Cubicle Throwdown January 22, 2014 at 6:22 am

Chiang Mai is so cute! I’m so glad you’ve had a good start to 2014. This looks like a great place to start the new year, I love all the photos. Excited to see Pai!
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Agness January 22, 2014 at 8:14 am

Great to see you Audrey on Instagram! :-D. Love the photos of your pastry mmmmm omomomomomo 😀
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Corinne January 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

Wow. I don’t remember all those little places from when I was in Chiang Mai. I do love a Smartphone for the Instagramming…nice photos.
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Sergio Camalich Morales January 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Oh, man! Now you just made me miss Chiang Mai a lot!
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Sarah January 23, 2014 at 7:02 am

A good smartphone cam is indeed the way to take pics at home without having to carry around a bulky camera every time you go out to lunch! I’d love to settle down in Chang Mai for a couple of months, looks cosy!
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Casey @ A Cruising Couple January 24, 2014 at 12:37 am

Lovely update! We just got our first smart phone in January, though we were on instagram on the ipad before that :) We often forget to take it around with us though because we are so used to being phone-less! This is a fantastic idea though- we might have to do a similar version of it for our lives in San Pancho!
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Kerry - The Flying Kiwi January 24, 2014 at 2:35 am

I have so much love for Chiang Mai, after just a whirlwind three day visit in 2012. Do you occasionally pinch yourself when you wake up and realise you get to live here? Love the shot of the temple, they are a part of Asia I miss seeing! The cities of South America are teeming with all sorts of culture and life, but less spirituality (I have found, anyway).

Also, your neighbourhood looks completely adorable!
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Audrey January 25, 2014 at 10:36 am

I do feel pretty lucky to get to call this place home for now. :) It’s such a liveable little city!


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