A year ago I quit my job. How am I doing now in Chiang Mai?

My last day in a corporate job was on 14.12.2015 – exactly a year ago. I learned a lot of things that I can use in my own business now. I NEVER regret having worked in a corporate company for 2 years and 6 months. It made my perspective wider! These are pictures of us in a working dress and me driving a Mercedes (a rental car though).

Thinking about that, at that time I traveled much more than now. Basically, I was away from home every week, stayed in a hotel for 3 nights, hanged out with colleagues all three nights for dinner and drinks. Although working 60+ hours a week on average, I was happy and I found good friends as well 🙂

NOW

We moved to Chiang Mai in January this year. We work basically 6 and a half days a week (8 hours a day and my husband 9 hours :D). I work with my husband, hang out with him, and see him almost 24 hours a day. Because of the workload we do not hang out a lot. It is embarrassing that we were only in a club or house party 5 times so far (2 times as a friend visited us)!

Are we happier?

We are REALLY happy. We work hard for our future and we love our job. We love our products. It is amazing when people tell us that they love our apps and find our apps helpful. I almost break into tears sometimes. Also, as Chiang Mai is a paradise, you do not feel really like working here. It feels like you are in vacation all the time.

The sunshine, the landscape, the people, the food. I LOVE CHIANG MAI!

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Are we healthier?

Yes. First of all we do almost everyday sport. My husband swims at the 700 years stadium, I do Yoga. Also, we are less stressed. It is not like everything is easy because we are dealing with different problems every day.

But somehow at the end of the day, we smile before we go to sleep.

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Are we richer?

NO. We do not make a lot of money. We earn not a fourth of my salary in Germany. But we can live with our profit full time in Chiang Mai. If you know us, we are stingy 😛 Both of us together spend 30.000 baht every month for anything from rent, insurance, utilities, food etc.

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On Songtaew towards the border of Tachilek.

Do we miss our jobs?

No. I cannot imagine to go back to the corporate world anymore.

I found out one thing. I am not a digital nomad but we are apps entrepreneurs. I kind of like the word “Appreneur“.  I love my life right now 🙂

3. Visa Run – Chiang Mai – Mae Sai with motorcycle

Another three months passed and the process of doing Visa Run came. Normally we took the bus of the Green bus company from Chiang Mai to Mae Sai. Then, the Songtaew from Mae Sai Bus Station to the Border – then vice versa. This time it was a bit different. We drove to Mae Sai by ourselves.

We did a big cycle as we had German friends visiting us and we went first to Doi Angkhang, then to Mae Sai, then back to Chiang Mai with our 125 cc motorcycle. I definitely recommend to do so as well. The view and landscape is amazing!

This is my blog about Doi Ang Khang. After having spent time about two nights there we got going. The road has a lot of curves and it is downhill (see the picture and video below).

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We passed many villages, filled our fuel contained in an alcohol bottle. 🙂

We did two stops. First we stopped at a temple called: วัดท่าตอน พระอารามหลวง (Wat Thaton Phra Aram Luang). The temple is several hundreds years old. It has several buildings that are divided into nine steps. At step 8 you can take pictures and have a high view to the river and to the villages.

Then we stopped at an orange plantation. Of cause we drank fresh pressed orange juice!

It took us about four hours to arrive at Mae Sai. To enter Myanmar for a Thai person, I needed to pickup a border crossing card from ที่ว่าการอำเภอ, pay 30 bahts. As easy it was, I left Thailand, entered Myanmar, stayed there for 2 hours.

We had a Burmese lunch. It was not my favorite but it tasted quite good!

About at 4 pm we left Mae Sai. 250 kilometers was waiting for us. We did one stop as my butt hurt like hell. About 100 kilometers we were again going out of fuel. It was about 7 pm, it was raining, the road was slippery, I was scared so much that we could not make it. The landscape around were only trees and mountains. There was no one at the check points so that we could ask for help. There was only us and cars passing by.

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Then, it came a village located near Chiang Mai about 70 km. There was an old fuel station. We filled up our fuel for 50 baht so that we could arrive in Chiang Mai.

At last we made it. Then 5 minutes after we arrived it started storming… I was glad we arrived home safely. I would recommend if you want to do the same, please leave Mae Sai earlier. You can then enjoy the view and the road.

 

Waste Separation in Thailand

Since I lived in Germany about 10 years, I learned a lot of things regarding German culture. I remembered the first day I arrived in Germany I saw different litter bins: Green, Yellow, Brown, Black.

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You have to throw your trash into the right bin. If you throw your trash into the wrong bins, it can bother your neighbors! There are bins for bottles as well. You have to separate Green and Brown bottles. I don’t know why. Also, there is a time range (normally daytime and weekday). I think, it is because when you throw the bottles it will make a loud noise. This can annoy people who have houses near these bins.

When I relocated to Chiang Mai, Thailand I found out that we do not separate waste. We just have a shared bin with other 3 houses. Once a week, the garbage truck will come and empty the bin. Nevertheless, I separate paper and plastic bottles.

The time passed by and I went to the “Lanna Expo” and saw that there are different communities who encourage to separate trash. There is a campaign called “ขยะแลกไข่” (exchange trash for eggs). You can go to the “Trash Bank” and give e.g. old battery or light bulbs. Then you will get eggs. Unfortunately, not all communities have this campaign 😦

Most of the time we work at the university. And one day, there was a brochure saying that you can separate trash in the university. So, when I want to throw my trash, I have to go to the university. Hmm. That is a long way.

So I googled and found out that in every “PTT” gas station, there are separation bins for the campaign “แยกแลกยิ้ม“(Garbage separation for a smile) . That sounded great for me. The station is not that far and I can bring my trash 24 hours and 7 days a week.

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Three months in Chiang Mai – How is my life changing?

Three months ago we have arrived in Chiang Mai. The city that I have visited two year ago for 4 days. In the beginning, I was not so sure weather I will like the city. After a month (Chinag Mai 1 month), I was falling in love with Chiang Mai. Now, I can confirm that again that the city has changed my life. New things have come into my life!

One aspect I want to write today is I have a structure life. I mean that it is different than when I worked in a company.

In Germany

I have worked 5 days a week, each around 10-12 hours. Deadlines cannot be avoided. Monday morning I got up at 4 am to be ready to take a train to Munich or Berlin. Thursday or Friday I arrived home around 8 or 9 pm. Weekend are for relaxing such as pick nick, visit friends, travelling cooking, watching movies, sports, board gaming. I got 30 days a year to go to other countries.

In Chiang Mai

I worked 6 days a week, each 8 – 10 hours. I have 1 day weekend which is Monday. On this day, I only read a book and just be away from my laptop. I cannot talk much about my weekend as it has happened only 1 time so far.

Every day after I woke up, I did 10 minutes yoga. Then, I cook rice and go to my small garden to clean all tree leaves and to take care of our small pool with many fishes. This takes me around 10 minutes. After that, I will go to bathroom.

Around 8.15 am, my husband comes back from swimming. He always brings breakfast from a small shop run by an old lady. We finish breakfast at around 9 and then we will go to work.

Our office(s) is changing every day. We try new coffee shops every day and we have wrote down all positive and negative about these coffee shops. This is the list containing almost 50 shops. We order mostly green tea latte with less or without sugar. I would say, that people drink very sweet stuffs here unfortunately.

We have lunch around 2 pm and we decide where we are going where we want to. After lunch, we have 15 minutes to talk about

  1. What we have done yesterday and today morning?
  2. Are there any issues or problems and do we need help from the others?
  3. What we will do after lunch or what do we want to accomplish today?

Through this way, we know what the others are working on and what we can help each other.  And we will visit other coffee shop for the afternoon and order again a drink. Around 7 pm we will finish our work, go back home, pass by a night market to buy soy milk and eat dinner from the food that Simon has bought from the old lady.

Twice a week, I go to gym for 2 hours. It is only one thing that I have done better in Germany. There I went to gym 5 days a week. Anyway, I will increase my sport activities in sometimes.

Before sleep, I read a book. I have heard that when you do things every day for 30 days, it will become your habits. My target is finish at least 12 books this year. I have finished 5 books so far.

What make my life so different? I think, it is ‘Freedom’. Any step I take everyday is out of my choice. No one tells me to do what and when. I am with a person I love every day. We talk every day how happy we are and we laugh and we love ❤ ❤ ❤

Board Game in Chiang Mai – Part 1

Today is our free day. Every week we have 1 day free and we can choose when 🙂  This week we chose Saturday and we did Board Gaming!

In Germany we had more than 20 board games. These were

  • Deck building: Dominion (4 extensions), Race for the Galaxy (all extensions), Net Runner
  • Strategy – hard core: Axis & Allies, Through the Ages, Civilization, Tzolkin, Mage Knight, Agricola, Twilight Imperium, Mage Wars, The Hobbits – War of five armies
  • Strategy – lightweight: Kingdom Builder, Istanbul, The Settlers
  • Strategy – cooperative: Pandemic, Robinson crusoe
  • Fun game – Galaxy Trucker
  • etc.
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Some of our board games in our living room in Frankfurt

I learnt to know Board Games through my husband. Germans like playing board games and they usually play during family events such as during Easter or Christmas.

And I love board games!

When I was a kid (actually until 18 years old) I loved to play Monopoly, Nintendo, Computer games (Empire Earth, Age of Empires).

It was luck for my husband to know that he can have me as life partner as well as board game partner. 😀

In Chiang Mai, we took Race for the Galaxy with us as it is small and it takes around 30 minutes to finish a game. However, it gets boring when you only play 1 game so we searched for other games in Chiang Mai. Luckily, there are several Board Game cafes in Chiang Mai. We have been to two places so far.

Chubby Cat 

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Simon and the Settler

The shop is located near Suthep road. It is near our house. We have been here twice. We give the shop the following ratings:

Games: 5 stars: They have a lot of games and games that we like! Almost all games I listed above are on their shelves!

Atmosphere: 4.5 stars: The atmosphere is very relaxed and they have cats. It is not super clean and not super organized. It is cozy. That is why you will feel comfortable with the place! And I like it. There are several tables and chairs. You can take your own food! But I do not like the toilet so much.

Price: 30 baht/hour for non-members, 25 bath/hour for members

Other comments: Opening hour is variant. Usually from 9.30 – midnight (weekends), 10.30 – midnight (weekdays). Better check or call before you go :). A staff is nice. He even played a game with us!

Meerketto

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At Meerketto and the “Ticket to Ride” game.

This cafe is located near Ruamchoke market. It is a beautiful coffee shop as well. You can order coffee, tea, food etc.

Games: 3.5 stars: They do not have many games that we like. Still for families it is a good place to go. They also have books and wooden games.

Atmosphere: 4.5 stars: it is very organized, clean, lovely. However, you cannot bring your own food and we did not feel as relaxed as in Chubby Cat.

Price: 30 baht/hour. If you purchase 100 baht you can play the game for free.

Other comments:  staff is nice.

There are still other board game shops in Chiang Mai. We will go there and will report about them! Have a nice weekend 🙂

 

Vesak day in Chiang Mai – วันวิสาขบูชา ที่เชียงใหม่

In Thailand, Visakha Bucha day is the day that commemorates 3 big events in Buddhism: birth, enlightenment, and death of Budha. In Thailand, we call this day also ‘Wan Phra Yai’ which can be translated as ฺBig Buddhist Holy Day and it is an official holiday. You will get 1 day off. Also, if this day falls on Thursday, the holiday will be placed on Friday, so that you can have a long weekend. I like this website as it explains this day in more details.

What we normally do is in the morning, we will give food to monks (ตักบาตร). In the evening, we will go to temples and walk with lighted candles in hand around a temple for 3 rounds. We will think about the meaning of this day. How Buddha was born, has gotten enlightenment, Buddha’s life until his death.

My family is religious. Since my father’s retirement, he goes every day to temple and leads people on different Buddhism ceremonies. That means, I also went to a temple on Visakha Bucha Day. It was not that interesting for me as every year we do always the same.

However, as I live in Chiang Mai this year, things become different. The evening before Visakah Bucha Day, Chiang Mai people will go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep located on the top of the Doi Suthep montain. There are different parades. One of the parade is to bring a light candle to Doi Suthep, one is to bring water given from our king and queen. So you will find many people still climbing to the mountain late at night.

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To Doi Suthep Mountain in front of CMU

On the way to the mountain, there were many stops providing drinks and food. The providers are from institutions e.g. universities, police departments, temples, and also private persons. The distance up to the mountain is around 10-11 kilometers starting from Chiang Mai university.

My husband and I started walking at 6 pm sharp and we went down with the red songtaew at midnight. There were so many people from different ages. Also foreigners joined the walk. We stopped at different places to get food such as Pad Thai, rice with omelets, snacks, Thai sweeties, fruits. We passed many temples to get holy water and holy threads. We donated some money also.

When we arrived at the top, there was so crowded with people who wanted to go to the temple and flower sellers. I have brought my candle and joss sticks. We did the three rounds walking around the golden mount.

 

There were also some people who will stay overnight to wait for the candle parade and for the morning ceremonies and other ceremonies until night of the Visakha Bucha day. If you want you can join but we did not. There will be monks coming down the stairs that are decorated with dragons.

We went back with the red songtaew. It was not complicated and we got seats immediately. It costed 40 baht per person. The car brought us to the place of ครูบาศรีวิชัย. He was the initiator to build the road to Doi Suthep temple. This place is a must visit place in Chiang Mai as well.

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The distance was more as I forgot to turn on Runtastics after we had a dinner break

Next year, if I will be in Chiang Mai, I will participate in this walk again!

 

 

Pai in love

About 150 km northern from Chiang Mai is a city called Pai ปาย. A small city with a lot of tourists, coffee shops, hostels, yoga classes, cooking classes, boxing classes. Almost everything you can do there!

A friend of us has visited us and we traveled to Pai together. There are several ways to go to Pai: motorcycle (AYA service), van (http://premprachatransports.com/en-overview/), bus etc. We took a van as it only takes 3 hours to get there.

When we arrived at Pai, the first thing we did was to find an accommodation. It was an off season so we did not book a room before wards. Although, it was an off season, there were a lot of tourists (Chinese and Western)! We stayed at a bungalow with fan near the river and paid for 100 baht/person/night. The first night we visited places in Pai such as the famous walking street, a bar, a fresh market.

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Our bungalow and rented car

Tham Lod Cave

A next day we went to ‘Tham Lod Cave‘ by a car that  my friend rented. The cave is about 1 km long and a river goes through the cave. You can go through by using a bamboo raft. We need to take a guide and bamboo raft driver. There was no electricity so the guide uses oil lantern. There were 3 stops to have a look at 3 areas. There were paintings, graves, animals in the caves. And there are a lot of bats and fishes.

Tan Jed Ton 

It was so hot that Thais go to the river and swim there. This place has a lot of small huts, that people can sit and order food and drinks. It was very relaxing.

Pai Canyon

We stayed 2 nights in Pai and on the way back to Chiang Mai we stopped at some places. I was not encouraged to visit the Pai Canyon. I thought, what can it be? But… the place is pretty cool. It has different long paths that you have to climb up/down. I has a beautiful view. Unfortunately it was so hot so I could not really enjoy it. But the paths and the views are really impressive.

World War II Memorial Bridge

This is a bridge over Pai river. We stopped there for a moment to take some pictures and then we left.

Hot spring spa resort. 

We went to a hot spring as it was so hot 😀 This resort also has a swimming pool so we swam and went to the hot spring. Again we relaxed here for several hours.

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The way back to Chiang Mai from Pai has a lot of curves but the roads are in a good condition. We arrived safely!