Our brief time in Chiang Mai ended on Thursday when we packed up ready for our move to long term accommodation in Chiang Rai about 180 km North.

We were up earlier than normal that morning because I had a 9 am dentist appointment. Being on the street at around 8.00 brought into focus the life of the modern tourist. All the cafes were full because people were getting breakfast before the tour bus or cooking class deadline. For example a couple at the table next to ours ran out of eating time and had their mango shake put into a plastic container so they could take it with them. No sabai sabai time for them (sabai means peaceful/relaxed in Thai).

The cooking class local market run with basket

The cooking class local market run with basket

As someone not on that particular treadmill I did feel for our fellow farangs. They have limited time and are all trying to fit in everything on their Lonely Planet agenda before leaving for the next destination. We’ve all done it. I’m just glad that I’m not doing it at this stage of my trip.

I will cover the dentist separately. Needless to say heaps of money but a lot less than at home. Am not looking forward to any of it but have to get it out of the way so I can eat steak rather than sup soup when I retire.

We only managed one other temple before leaving Chiang Mai. A pretty poor effort with over two hundred and ninety to go. However in Chiang Rai we are just down the road literally from the famous White temple – a separate blog entry to follow very soon as we visited it yesterday. An amazing place.

The trip to Chiang Rai went uneventfully. Our Nissan Almera was delivered to the guesthouse at around 11.00. It’s only a year old and does 2,000 km to the litre due to the fact it doesn’t have an engine. Actually despite it’s incredible gutlessness in going up hills and overtaking it is a nice car. Built for economy the engine turns off when you stop and starts up when you hit the accelerator. Very quiet and by far the best at taking rough roads of any of the cars I’ve had over here. Once it gets going it is deceptively quick. I cruised at 120 when I could with no problems at all and with no speed cameras in Thailand you drive to the conditions not to the speedometer.

Northern Thailand

Northern Thailand

It took about 2 1/2 hours on an enjoyable mixed driving road. Great curves through wonderful lush mountain country and then more flat roads through strip development closer to Chiang Rai. Lots of rice fields with low hills in the background too. Good roads, lots of overtaking lanes and not a lot of traffic.
Route 118 to Chiang Rai. Good quality roads and interesting country

Route 118 to Chiang Rai. Good quality roads and interesting country

To get to the house you have to drive through a small village down a single lane road past local houses and rice fields.
Driving past rice fields on the way to our house

Driving past rice fields on the way to our house

Not all the houses are shacks although there are plenty of those too.

Not all the houses are shacks although there are plenty of those too.

The house is awesome.
The upper level of the house

The upper level of the house

The road leading to the front gateway

The road leading to the front gateway

The view from the front gate

The view from the front gate. Corn being grown at the front.

The house is surrounded on two sides by a large estate owned by the Singa beer company and the other is given over to rice fields. The Singa land is currently being used to growing  corn and tea, the latter being something I’ve never seen before other than in a packet.
Once again doing my bit for the Thai economy

Once again doing my bit for the Thai economy

Gaun getting into the swing of tea picking

Gaun getting into the swing of tea picking. The workers are from Myanmar (Burma) as are many of the unskilled workers in Thailand doing the stuff the Thais don’t want to do.

Upstairs is a open plan kitchen and dining area with a low Japanese type dining table and cushions, which I really like.

Kitchen and dining area

Kitchen and dining area

The living areas opening onto a wrap round deck

The living areas opening onto a wrap round deck

Off that is the master bedroom and a lounge area with en-suite.

View from the bed

View from the bed

A good sized deck wraps around two sides of the house flowing out of the living area and has wonderful views over the property, lake and out to the mountains at the back.

My blog typing spot today

My blog typing spot today

The view to the dam

The view to the dam

Underneath is a separate bedroom with en-suite and a small sitting area – it’s free if anyone wants to pop over for a visit.
The guest bedroom

The guest bedroom

Guest desk and sitting area overlooking the garden

Guest desk and sitting area overlooking the garden

Incredibly quiet, rural and Thai. We even have our own flock of chickens who drop in from the neighbours early morning for a feed.
A morning visitor

A morning visitor

All the mown area belongs to the house as does the lake.
Evening light

Evening light

We headed off to the local markets to buy for dinner and to stock the fridge with Chang (Thai beer). Gaun cooked up a storm; two small fried whole fish and pork and chicken dishes finished with beautiful sweet mangos. A couple of Chang’s and life is looking pretty damn good.

The rain rolled in shortly after we got home, early evening, and the thunder has been rolling around since. I think we’ll get a lot more days like this up this way but warm rain is no hardship. UPDATE: Am finishing this blog entry on Saturday so have more weather experience now. It is a lot more cloudy up here and the temperatures are probably a little cooler – maybe high twenties and definitely colder at night. It was funny this morning to see Gaun put on a jacket as she was feeling the cold.

Gaun in winter gear as the temperature had plummeted to the mid 20's this morning

Gaun in winter gear as the temperature had plummeted to the mid 20’s this morning

We still have a fan most of the time but no need for an air conditioner so far. There have been showers but they don’t last long. The evenings tend to build up to look like rain but we haven’t had a major downpour like the first night yet.
We’ll see how a life of doing not a lot suits both Gaun and myself. I will be working on some sort of routine so that we don’t become too sedentary. I have started to keep a record of costs and will publish that on the blog once I get some history. It will be very interesting to see how living “normally” in rural Thailand adds up.
The track we were on leads up into these hills. Worth an explore

The track we were on leads up into these hills. Worth an explore

The next blog will cover our first full day in Chiang Rai including the White temple (Wat Rong Khun) visit.
Thanks for reading