It's all too easy on social media for everything to look perfect. Search the hashtag Thailand on Instagram and you'll see post after post of gorgeous beaches, stunning hotels, and so on. Perfection.
The first 48 hours of our trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand haven't been the postcard you might be thinking. After a long and chaotic 24 hour layover in Beijing, we arrived tired, sick, and (i'll speak for myself here) cranky.
Faced with head colds, jet lag, and a long list of errands, I wanted to share with you the non-glamorous, imperfect, and still amazing first 48 hours of our trip to Thailand.
We all know adulting is hard. It's not any easier when you're abroad. If anything, these simple chores can take longer.
Yes, you're in Thailand, yes you should be in an infinity pool drinking out of a coconut, but sh*t has still got to get done.
On our list of errands were a few major things for our first 2 days. First up, somewhere to live.
It is quite common in Chiang Mai for travellers staying for a longer period to find their condo or place of residence when arrive. Trust me when I say the thought of this was near panic-inducing for me.
Booking your accommodation upon arrival means you can get a better price on the unit and also have a chance to see the space before committing to it for 1 month or more. We decided to try this out. We booked an Airbnb for two nights and spent our first day in the city apartment hunting.
Research Ahead of Time
Friends of ours arrived in the city a few days before us and did a lot of searching themselves. We were lucky enough to work from their shortened list of faves which saved us a lot of time and energy (so appreciated as we were really sick and groggy).
There is a rental office at the front or near the gate of each of these condos. If you stop in and ask about rooms for rent they will show you a rate sheet of what is available. The sheet gives a price breakdown as well as amenities.
Your rent and a security deposit (in our case one month's rent) are often required in cash. We didn't know about the security deposit, so we had to find an ATM and get more money out.
We looked at the short list of condos and ended up getting one in about 2 hours of walking around, which wasn't too bad.
It's a 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai with AC and a washing machine. The building is secure and has a pool and a gym.
Once housing was sorted it was on to the next errand. Data.
As digital nomads, getting our internet sorted out is a top priority when we arrive in a new place.
We learned very quickly in Thailand that data is really inexpensive compared to Canada. Like REALLY inexpensive. This was great news!
We went to ASI in the nearby Maya Mall and were able to get a monthly 4MBPS SIM card with unlimited data for 150 baht each. That is about $6 CAD. This was a promotional price and it is regularly 300 baht, still incredibly affordable.
Cheap Data Happy Dance
Needless to say, my husband was giddy. Data in Canada is some of the most expensive in the world, so this was a really welcome treat for us and means we can work, Instagram, Google Map, and Slack wherever we are.
Next on the list, groceries and some essentials.
We knew there were things we were going to need to get when we arrived. Some things we expected to purchase, others were more of a shock.
Towels, for example, were something that was not included in our condo lease. There were no bath towels, hand towels, rags, or tea towels. Apparently, this is quite common in Chiang Mai.
Grocery Delivery for the Win
We were told that more affordable groceries and things like towels and other household items were more easily accessible outside of the city. Being sick, and not in the mood to spend time hunting for items and staggering around stores, we found an online grocery delivery service from Big C and were able to order everything we needed and have it delivered to the condo. The photo below shows about half of what we ordered.
Best decision we have made since we got here! It saved us so much time and energy and allowed us to work and do other things instead of venturing to a far away store.
Here is the link to the site we ordered from.
In addition to getting our lives sorted personally, we were also using these last couple of days to get works tasks completed.
24 hours in China meant we had no access to a lot of accounts and sites we use to conduct business. Now that we are in Thailand, we are able to access everything again and get back to work in a more productive sense.
We are going to be checking out co-working spaces and I will be posting some content on the BentoSMB blog about those.
Nomad Life Realities
The first couple days of these long haul trips and can really be non-chic and pretty boring actually. I wanted to share and give a little glimpse into the reality of nomad life.
Don't get me wrong. Travelling the world is amazing, and we are pinching ourselves on a daily basis, but there is a good amount of time spent just doing normal, everyday things.
More to come month-long long stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand! Have questions about staying here and how to get started? Comment or send me a message!