Ten Tiny Tales from Chiang Mai, Thailand

1. Elephants are awesome. Go to Elephant Nature Park, a heaven on earth for abused and rescued elephants.


2. Small children are highly portable, but very loud. You can check quite a few sight-seeing boxes while holding a six-year-old’s hand and carrying a 2-year-old on your back. Do take them to noisy places to help drown out the whining and screeching.

Through a market in Chiang Mai

3. Both satisfying and head scratching wisdom can be found in sprinkled in the trees around Wat Phra Singh.

Quote at Wat Phra Singh


4. American tourists are more annoying than Chinese tourists. Or maybe it’s just that I understand every single trivial, annoying word that they say about the Green Bay Packers and the slivers stuck in their feet. (See these old posts for more background on the annoying tourist wars: Ugly American, Ugly Chinese: the tourist trap and Do expats judge their “own” more harshly?)

5. Tex-Mex should not be ordered outside of select destinations in North America. I’ve previously laughed at blue-cheese-filled enchiladas in Groningen, Netherlands. This trip I fooled myself into risking a Tex-Mex meal only to be presented with a plate of tacos covered in sweet vanilla yogurt. Because it’s the same thing as sour cream, right? Wrong. I have only myself to blame.

6. Tuk-tuk rides are thrilling. In our six-year-old’s estimation, tuk-tuk rides fall below swimming, but above elephants in the hierarchy of holiday highlights.

From the tuk-tuk

7. For the sub-three set, chasing pigeons trumps viewing ancient temples.

Chasing pigeons at Wat Chedi Luang

8. Thai massage in a mosquito-filled room is an agonizing tug-of-war between heaven and hell.

9. The groovy backpacker trek around South-East Asia is alive and well. As a former follower of the “banana-pancake-circuit” through the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, this trite sentiment seems to ring a bell.

Are you lost?

10. There might be more Mandarin spoken in Chiang Mai than Hong Kong. We’ve seen a large number of Mandarin-speaking independent tourists in Chiang Mai. Is it all to do with the recent Chinese blockbuster comedy, “Lost in Thailand” (人再囧途之泰囧)? Regardless, it’s nice to see a shift in tourist faces.

Chinese tourists hop out of a jitney

Next up: Phuket.
Will the Germans hog all the sun-loungers? Will Mainland Chinese — gasp — hang their laundry from the balcony and talk too loudly? Will Americans be overly familiar and talk too loudly?

16 responses to “Ten Tiny Tales from Chiang Mai, Thailand

  1. Thanks for making me laugh! 🙂 Love the “highly portable children” and the “recollection of death”! And I am looking forward to reading about Germans and sun-loungers – just what I was talking about yesterday (while hanging out in a deckchair…).

  2. I’ve a girlfriend who’s taking her pre-teen kids to Beijing’s Great Wall, Summer Palace, etc., in AUGUST this year. When I saw the picture of your toddler running after pigeons instead of marveling at temples, I know exactly how my girlfriend’s trip will be. She was upset when I told her she should stop at Disneyworld in Hong Kong.

    • August? So they’ll be jet lagged and too hot! Maybe she can take them to “Windows on the World” in Shenzhen for a more authentically Chinese amusement experience? Or just remind her that HK Disney is brimming w authentic Mainland Chinese 😉

  3. Sounds fun, though in my book Chinese tourists take the cake for being loud and obnoxious. Americans at least stand in line properly (pet peeve of mine).

    • Agree that line jumping is really, really annoying! The Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai (at least that we saw) were all youngish independent travellers that were pretty world wise.

  4. I had to laugh when I read your Green Bay Packer comment because I am sitting here in Brazil wearing my Packer sweatshirt even though I hate sports in general and could care less about football or the Packers . . . yet somehow I still own a Packer sweatshirt. But don’t worry – you will NEVER catch me talking about the Packers in public (or in private for that matter) no matter what country I am in!

    • Ha! If I’m completely honest, the American gentleman wearing the Green Bay Packers shirt (two different ones in one day) actually talked about March Madness in an overly loud voice for overly long ;-).

    • A few bad apples spoil the barrel! And with so many Americans around, there are bound to be a healthy number of really annoying ones. (And to be honest, I’ve sure I’ve been annoying a time or two myself….)

  5. Hope your Chiang Mai adventure has been amazing and that you had your fill of delicious Khao soi!! Oh dear, #8 is a real conundrum. Can’t wait to read about Phuket!

  6. Pingback: Harmony in Phuket: we are all equal in our aggressive occupation of the sunbeds | Expat Lingo·

  7. I was just there for Spring Festival (well just there back in February) and I took the same photo of “Ignorance Is The Real Evil!” Also, everywhere we went in Thailand during Spring Festival was packed with Chinese! Every single restaurant, train trip, white water rafting, etc, had many Chinese in there with us. My (Chinese) girlfriend said it didn’t quite feel like she had left China, haha.

    • You’re making me very glad I was there for Easter. There were still plenty of Chinese tourists, but in more equal numbers to everyone else! But there certainly was a lot of Mandarin floating around in the air.

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