It’s the new year – 2018!  Our “Living tranquil in Thailand” lifestyle blog is ready for another year and we are ready for enjoyment in our relaxed paradise.  Saw this saying that I absolutely enjoyed so thought I would share it – as it kind of sums up this retired guy – at times:

Normally I try to share a post every couple of months on living tranquil in Chiang Mai, Thailand – it’s not a tourist blog but about our life style and activities for family, friends and perhaps those interested in Thailand living.  Over the past 4 months there seems to have been a lot of work & personal commitment so it’s been a challenge to spend time developing a story to share.

So here a some of the things Ace and I have been engaged in lately. There has been a little bit of travel, showing guests around, getting out, enjoying life and some time staying home vegging out. Remember we are retired, sort of! – when not undertaking consulate duties.  For more on what our consulate work life has been, if you haven’t checked it – see this post.

Journey’s and Road Trips

In early September we were in Bangkok for some personal chores. This involved mixing business & personal with some pleasure?  Aside from a few business meetings at the Embassy & elsewhere the time was mostly spent dealing with doctors for medical check ups for an ongoing issue.  More on that another time – it’s currently a frustrating journey involving ongoing monitoring, at this stage. The pleasure time was finding and trying new food offerings & soaking up the atmosphere of the frantic city.

Bangkok is always a crazy vibrant place – busy with traffic, people, smells and activity.  It has a buzz. Getting around this place takes time and hard to judge travel requirements on the train or with taxi’s as traffic congestion can be unexpected. We often stay in different places around Bangkok, and this time we stayed in the Koh San Road area but nearer the River.  It has lot’s of small Soi’s with shops and food.  A bit touristy, but handy and convenient for the hospital and inner Bangkok travel.  It’s fun to explore different parts of Bangkok – here are photo’s:

We managed to find some time, finally, for a couple of road trips around the northern provinces over the past few months.  These were described in other posts. Sometimes you just feel like getting out for a change of pace and on the road going to see new places for different experiences – you probably have had the same feelings

– check the stories out if you haven’t already:

Chiang Rai, Nan & Phrae  Provinces

Mae Hong Son Province

Around the House

Lucky rainbow over our castle

Snake in the garden

Garden chores during our winter slow down as the weather is cooler and plants aren’t inclined to grow or at least very slowly. While you see others post and comment from others on snakes in their gardens and homes from time to time we have not experienced  these problems.  We have seen a couple of snakes on our garden wall and in a tree; but rarely.  One morning we did find a common snake in our driveway.  A call to the security team at the village entrance ensured a swift response to deal with our garden visitor.  It wasn’t a harmful type, fairly small and probably ended up as someones dinner – but not ours!

snake hunter

Great winter weather

This year there was lots of moisture during the rainy season.  The most in the 4 years we have been here.  It filled the dams up, made everything lush and green – so great for scenery.  Following the rain came the cooler winter weather that this year has seen some very cool nights and mornings.  The sun always warms the days but we have been down in the low teens a few times – sweater and jacket weather.  Never mind; the warm weather will return towards the later part of February and it will be hot, hot and bloody hot soon.

The Pets

The animals have been a great source of fun and enjoyment over the last 4 years.  Lex is maturing although still full of energy.  The cats, Lukas and Lindsay are getting older and sleep a lot. Unfortunately Lindsay has not been well and has visited the vet a number of times. She is on medication and appears to be on a downward slide.  She has a kidney problem and something else going on – doctor suspects cancer but we are still in the diagnostic phase.  If it is; not much can be done given her kidney problems.  Loving care seems to be all she wants and is still in charge over Lex.

Loy Krathong Festival

This is a festival celebrated annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and in nearby countries with significant southwestern Tai cultures. The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar; hence, the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November.

This was our basket – we floated it in our water fountain at home as we didn’t have the desire to venture out with the thousands of others at nearby rivers and floating points. The idea is to launch your krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as you do. The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits.

Our 2017 modest Kratong


Colour in the garden

We had some lovely colour around the garden in the late rainy season before the cold weather.  It always nice when the flowers are in bloom and enjoyable to see.

Aches and Pains

Ace has been well aside from some aches and pains from ageing – ha,ha. Or too much work around the castle? He goes locally to a massage shop to help out with sore muscles – for around 250 THB ($10) for 2 hours.

Me, that has been a slightly different story. If you have ever had an attack of kidney stones – you know the pain it can deliver.  Ouch; this was my second attack of this dreaded menace. A trip to emergency at the Suan Dok hospital, injection to stop the pain and a diagnosis of 7mm kidney stone.  That was back in late November and after and initial stay in hospital for treatment I have had three sessions of lithotripsy (blasting the stone with sound waves to break it up) with no success. It is now learning to live with it and pain management from time to time.  I will be back in February for another round and if this doesn’t work soon then an operation may be needed. Enough of the medical stuff already. Luckily health insurance covered this affair.

Outings & Food

One of the little pleasures of not having a dedicated work schedule and office routine is the ability to get out and enjoy our surroundings, activities and multiple food offerings, at our leisure.

Here are a few of the things we have done and places visited or eateries we enjoyed – should you want to try if you’re in Chiang Mai. Most of the places listed can be found on either Facebook or through an internet/google searches.

Unseen Lanna -OTOP Fair

There always seems to be something to celebrate or an event being held to attend.  We went along to this One Tambon One Product (OTOP) Fair at the Chiang Mai Exhibition and Convention Centre.  It’s nice to wander around to check out the many craft and product booths to see if you can find something new, unique or interesting.  This event had some 150 coffee producers and specialist exhibiting – nice brews. In Thailand no event or fair is complete without a large selection of food – this was no exception so attending around lunch time was our solution to the midday meal.

Citylife Garden Fair

This is an annual event held to raise funds for various charities sponsored by Citylife – the english online and magazine news and information source in Chiang Mai. This year we went along again to the new location at the CMU Culture Centre to have a look around, enjoy food but also to work for a while at the fund-raising table for “Rohingya Refugee’s from Myanmar”.  It is a very colourful and lively event with much to see, stalls of crafts, food and live entertainment.  You can check out all the pictures here at Citylife website.

Taste Australia – at Rimping Supermarkets

While Ace’s mother was visiting us we took her to the taste Australia event at Rimping Kad Farang Village.  Ace took the time to explain some of the Aussie food items, we bought some fresh fruit and other products to sample at home.  Ace also explained some of the Australian decorations to her.

At Khualek Cafe

A nice relaxed cafe & restaurant on the Ping River next to the Iron Bridge in Chiang Mai. It has indoor and outdoor terrace seating with views over the river and towards the city.  They have a great menu and some delicious cakes for treats.  It is inexpensive and good – we stop by here often.

Flora Creek

Nestled above the evergreen mountaintop of Chiang Mai, Flora Creek offers hotel experiences amidst the nature with five-star services and a touch of Northern-Thai charm. Only 30 minutes away from the city, it is located on Hangdong – Samoeng Road and covers over 10 acres of expansive landscape against the backdrop of lush forest, colourful flower gardens and perennial stream from the national park.  We enjoyed stopping by a couple of time for just an afternoon refreshments or having bbq chicken & somtum for lunch on the terrace of the old barn house with views of the grounds. This spot is not far from our house and really lovely escape.

Brownie Brown Coffee & Kao pad Poo (crab fried rice)

A small out-of-the-way Thai eatery with a famous chef from Bangkok who specialises in a crab fried rice dish.  It shares a space with a great coffee shop in a tranquil garden setting – very reasonably priced food and great for lunch.  It is adjacent to the Chiang Mai Exhibition and Convention Centre and shares with Brownie Brown Coffee lab – (see there Facebook page for directions) if you want to find them.

Tamarind Village Chiang Mai

Tamarind Village is a unique and charming boutique property that nestles in the heart of historic Chiang Mai old city. Surrounded by ancient temples and quaint shopping streets, it takes its name from the magnificent 200-year-old tamarind tree that shelters the hotel in a shady embrace. Set around a series of garden courtyards, the guest rooms reflect the rich ethnic diversity of northern Thailand by using fabrics and patterns drawn from various tribes of the region. Intimate, serene and relaxing. Tamarind Village is an oasis of calm and tranquility in the city and wonderful place for an evening dinner by the pool. We went with a group from the Embassy and met the General Manager who recommended the dinner specials. Great food and evening.

Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant

This restaurant is situated in Chiang Mai’s Hangdong area and is best-known for their exquisite scenery of a rainforest creating an unparalleled atmosphere of an “imaginary jungle”. Beautifully decorated with various kinds of flowers and shrubs along with an enormous roaring waterfall, the restaurants perfectly combine green trees with blooming flowers and welcome customers with shady and refreshing surroundings in the daytime as well as harmonious music at nighttime.  We have enjoy this unique place for a meal from the extensive menu and the food has always been very good.  A great place to take quests.

Mae Ngat Dam

The Mae Ngat Somboon Chon Dam, is a multi-purpose hydroelectric earthen dam in the Mae Taeng District of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. It impounds the Mae Ngat River, a tributary of the Ping River and with two generators produces electricity.  Another feature of the area and Provincial park is the houseboats that are available stay on in the lake that is created by the dam.  It has a Thai restaurant that overlooks the lake and surrounding wooded hills.  It is about 45 minutes from the city.

Galae Restaurant

It’s lunch amongst the flowers in a very picturesque location. If you meander up to the top of Suthep Road in Chiang Mai at the base of Doi Suthep you will find the unique restaurant. It is known for is floral displays and offers an extensive food menu.  It can get busy but we have always enjoyed our visits.

Chiang Mai Zoo

Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium is a 200-acre zoo on Huay Kaew Road, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand, just west of Chiang Mai University. It is the first commercial zoo in northern Thailand, established on 16 June 1977. We took Ace’s mom and friend here for a quick look around, checking out some of the Australian residence – koala’s, kangaroo’s, emu.  We checked out the panda bears too and a few other inhabitants.

U-Nimman Hotel

We were invited by the General Manager of this new hotel and events centre to visit and explore their facilities. After some afternoon refreshments and a briefing on the development and plans for the new hotel on the corner of Nimman and Huay Kaew Road, across from the Maya Shopping Centre we took a tour of the facility.  We discovered that at their Rincome Restaurant on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night they offer a fabulous all you can eat Thai food buffet for only 290 THB – at eat@rincome – a bargain for all that is offered.  It has a modern shopping precinct attached that was a new discovery.

Christmas and New Years

It was a  fairly quiet time on the social and entertainment front – we decided we were going to take it easy at home.  We stayed close to avoid the 7 dangerous days of holiday driving period.  Only 360’ish people were killed this year on the road – a decrease apparently over previous year.  Aside from nearby local eating places we enjoyed being home.

We were invited to one new years party that saw me being asked to speak and get up and sing along with the Thai host (who turned out to have been a Los Vegas entertainer for a number of years).  Clearly my vocals were no match for his.

We managed to watch “Carols in the Domain” from Melbourne on television here, thanks to modern technology. The shopping centres were brightly decorated to give you the holiday spirit.  We even found a few christmas decoration shops that were a big surprise.  For new years we watched the Sydney fireworks on TV, enjoyed a feast at home and then viewed some Chiang Mai fireworks in the Royal Park near us, from our balcony.

So there you have it – a glimpse of the past 4 months of living tranquil in Chiangmai.

Lets see what 2018 brings in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  The first big function will be an Australian Day celebration on the 26th January.  A local Aussie restaurant is putting on a celebration event and we will be going.