JANUARY 2017

📍 Pittsburgh, USA → Chiang Mai, Thailand

I've been getting a ton of questions from family and friends about how the journey is going so I decided to start a blog where I'll share our pictures and videos.

1-24-2017 - Left Newark Airport (NJ), arrived in Hong Kong for a layover, and then took a regional flight to our final destination. 

1-26-2017 - Settled into our new studio apartment in the hip and urban neighborhood of Nimmanhemin or Nimman for short. 

1-30-2017 - Visited a NO RIDE Elephant Jungle Sanctuary about a 1.5hrs North of the city. Check out the video recap, here

1-31-2017 - Took a traditional Akha and Thai cooking class where we shopped for fresh groceries at a local market, learned about the history of Thailand & Niti--our instructor's Akha culture, and attempted to cook delicious meals. Thanks to our amazing instructor, all of the dishes turned out delicious. 

Review: 

In one short week, we were able to feed, bathe, and play with elephants, cook traditional meals, and explore open-air markets that indulge all of your senses. Every few steps warrants a nudge by Aaron or myself saying to the other, "Omg, look at that!" or "Wow, that smells amazing." There's so much color, vibrancy, and bustle in Chiang Mai that it's hard to soak everything in at once. 

Nimman is full of middle-class Thai families, expats, digital nomads, and Westerners alike. What we love about the city is that the local culture is still intact with modern touches inbetween. We're about a 30-minute walk from the city's famous Night Bazaar, Saturday Night Market (Wui Lai), and Sunday Walking Street Market. These 3 markets are totally geared for tourist attraction but that doesn't mean their street carts full of food are any less tasty. There are tables upon tables of trinkets, toys, crafts, and health products to take home as souvenirs, too. 

For everyday purchases like fresh produce, we have a 10-minute walk to Kad Suan Kaew or the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center. From Wednesday-Saturday, there are smaller scale markets in front of the large plazas where locals set up shop to sell street meat, fancy desserts, fried insects (grasshoppers, ants, and many others I have not yet identified), savory noodle soups, farm to table produce, and handmade clothing. We indulged and had a bug or two. Aaron's not too keen on them but I find the crunchy snacks to soak up their seasonings of garlic and chili peppers.

Feeding our coffee addiction is too easy. The streets are littered with carts or cafes selling Thai coffee, matcha green tea concoctions, and a variety of "Italian soda" options. We frequent a local Thai street cart a block away from our studio because sells his coffee for 20 baht ($0.57) whereas, one of our favorite brick and mortar cafe's charges around ~70 baht ($2). 

January proved to be blissful and full of tasty foods. 

Local market outside of Kad Suan Kaew Plaza

Local market outside of Kad Suan Kaew Plaza

Made to order Pad Thai from the Sunday Walking Street Market

Made to order Pad Thai from the Sunday Walking Street Market

Meet Peter, the cutest and most rambunctious 4-yo elephant. 

Meet Peter, the cutest and most rambunctious 4-yo elephant.