Solo Travel Blog
Living in Chiang Mai can change the way you feel
Few cities or experiences around the world have taken hold of me in the same way as living in Chiang Mai. In fact, this is certainly the longest I have ever stayed in any one destination and not wanted to leave. Furthermore, if there were no visa restrictions, I would stay on here even longer than two months, for everything seems to be falling into place to the point where it just feels right.
But what exactly is it about living in Chiang Mai that is so different? And what exactly does it have that Cape Town, Cuzco, Ho Chi Minh and all the other really cool places are missing?
Good question my friend.
Living in Chiang Mai feels like home
The short answer to this question is that you can feel at home living in Chiang Mai. And I don’t mean this city is like home but rather that is feels like home. In my own experience, this is mostly down to the Thai people themselves and this is not to say anything bad against South Africans, Peruvians or the Vietnamese. I just find that the locals in Chiang Mai have such a beautiful way of making every visitor feel at home.
I also find this remarkable for several reasons but mostly for the number of times when I see a tourist being rude or speaking down to a local. After all, the Thai people are generally so calm and un-hostile so it must be quite humiliating for them to be treated this way in return. That said, this seems like very typical or general tourist behavior anywhere else in a sense that many an intrepid adventurer will travel to the other side of the world in search of new experiences yet the moment they find one, they complain about it being different to back home.
Anyway back to the point. I really admire the Thai people so much in this regard as they take all of the BS in their stride and with the exception of some tuk-tuk drivers (who seem to be an entirely different breed), they don’t seem to allow these negative experiences to alter their perception of tourists or how they should receive them in future.
Solo Travel & Acceptance
To be even more specific, I believe that the reason living in Chiang Mai is so appealing and why foreigners arrive in their thousands is because of how accepting the locals are here. In fact, there is such a broad sense of acceptance in every way and I can’t help but think this in some way stems from the proud transgender community here and a general sense in Thailand that it’s perfectly normal to be different (and rightly so). In a similar way, it also seems that this very accepting nature is then passed on to everyone else who finds themselves living in Chiang Mai. Whether they be a middle aged man in a midlife crisis, a social reject with nobody to partner on their travels or a lonesome travel blogger who admires them in return, for how they continue to change the way he feels about the world.
I guess not many cities have ever made me feel a certain way, but then again it wasn’t the city that made me feel this way, it was the people.