So I’ve just moved out to Chiang Mai Thailand from the UK and have spent just over a week getting to know the place, and honestly it’s been a real roller coaster, but a very enjoyable one…
I thought at this point it would be good to have a look back at the week I’ve had, talk about some of the lessons I’ve learnt so far and talk about my journey getting here.
Beginning of a journey…
Moving from the UK to Thailand was something that I’ve wanted to do ever since having to leave work a couple of years ago, and was massively influenced by books like The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and listening to awesome podcasts like Travel Like Boss hosted by Johnny FD.
They truly were a beacon in one of the hardest times of my life.
I first came across them when I was in the process of getting diagnosed with a chronic long term pain condition called fibromyalgia, which in turn meant I had to stop working and look for an alternative way of not just bringing in an income, but living.
My condition really has thrown my world upside down over the past few years and at my worst I could barely get out of bed let alone walk, wash or pretty much anything else.
But you know what, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Going through these difficult few years have truly made my stronger as a person and has enabled me to get to know myself on a much deeper level than ever before.
It’s funny but being limited on what I’ve been able to do physically has given me an overwhelming thirst for life, a desire to find and experience new things and simply enjoy life to a much greater level.
It was therefore during a recent break up from my long term girlfriend that I finally decided that this was my time to push past the pain and really take the jump into the unknown.
My unknown being Chiang Mai Thailand…
Moving to Chiang Mai from the UK
After leaving work and looking into alternative ways of making a living I came across a movement of people creating and growing businesses centered around their lifestyles and travelling while doing so.
At the time this sounded like exactly what I needed, a business / income that could fit around my lifestyle while providing me with an adventure at the same time.
I would like to say it was at this point I packed my bags and moved straight away, but sadly that’s not quite how things panned out…
As explained above it took a serious break up and to be honest another two years of getting to know and understand my condition before I finally took the plunge. But once I decided I had to do it, I was in Thailand in less than two months.
Now moving to a new place that you’ve never been before and is located half way across the world isn’t exactly easy and preparing to move definitely takes a bit of planning, hence why it took my nearly two months to move rather than two weeks, which during my break up is exactly what I wanted to do…
The major things I had to plan for were:
- Accommodation when I arrived
- Visa – I got a single entry visa by applying to Thai embassy in London which can be done via post by filling out the form on this page here
- Medication – for my condition but also things cold and flu stuff, bite cream and so on
- Get phone unlocked so I could get a Thai number
- Clothes for a different climate
- Business stuff – such as applying for a new loan, equipment and so on
- New bags
- Selling / sorting items at home – I was also moving out of my home potentially for good so I had to sort out what would happen to rest of my stuff
- Cancel memberships and bills like internet
But once I had all that planned and booked I was ready to go!
Tip: remember to weigh your bags before you leave your house, mine was a bit over and had I not fluttered my eyes at the nice checking in lady I would have had to pay a fair bit for the extra weight!
My first week in Chiang Mai!
I finally arrived after weeks of planning and a fairly pleasant 20+ hour round journey.
Apart from the jet lag and general exhaustion and pain from the extremely long journey, it felt absolutely amazing to have arrived. I was also really happy with the place that I had booked for my first month via Airbnb and spent a short time on my balcony…
before then heading straight out to sample some of the local Thai food.
I have to say the Phad Thai was absolutely delicious but not as cheap as I had initially thought it would be (it was about £3.50 so still bloody cheap compared to UK)…
This I later learnt was because I had stopped at a restaurant on one of the more expensive roads in Chiang Mai – Nimmanhaemin Road.
I have to say the following couple of days that weren’t great, I was jet lagged, extremely fatigued, in pain and to be honest questioning whether I had made the right decision coming to Chiang Mai…
But as I always do whenever I feel down, I picked myself up and started planning how to move forward.
This was a evening event where about 25 – 30 of us met up in a local coffee shop / bar conveniently located 5 minutes walk from mine.
We then spent the next few hours chatting about what we did, travels and general Chiang Mai related stuff.
It was at the event that I met a few really cool people, one that I am now within the space of week, building a new business with… Pretty cool right!?
This completely changed things for me because it set me up with someone that could take me under their wing and really show me the ropes in relation to living in Thailand.
The following couple of days are a touch hazy as after talking business and travel we ended up going out for a few drinks and then a few more… which then ended up with us hitting a number of bars that were located around a Muay Thai ring – there were some fights, none of which I can particularly remember…
(apologies for the very blurry picture above, I was more than a bit wavy by that point of the night)
Following a couple very fun days and nights spent enjoying ourselves we decided it was time to crack on with some work.
We spent two days conducting some great good niche research, coming up with a marketing plan and finding a good domain name for the business. It was at this point we decided to take the next afternoon off and go for a bit of a adventure up the mountain on my friends motorbike…
We spent around 5 – 6 hours driving through the forest, stopping at a couple of villages on our way and of course to take in some of the views.
We even looked at some accommodation up the mountain which had the amazing view below…
But decided it would be great for a short term break from the city but due to the remoteness would be difficult living there any longer that a few days or a week.
Once we finished with driving round the mountains we headed back down to our new favourite place to eat near Chiang Mai University. It has half a mile or so of awesome stalls with really cheap but very delicious food.
One stall we particularly like and decided to get dinner from was this delicious sushi stall pictured below. Dinner for the two of us ended up costed less than £5 in total and that includes us going back for a number of helpings…
Lessons learnt from a week in Chiang Mai
- Get a SIM card at the airport! This was such a good shout on my part and has probably saved me a bomb. I paid about £18 and got a SIM card with unlimited internet for a whole month. You can get a cheaper deal if you don’t need as much, but I thought I was likely to be on Google maps a lot as well as using Whatsapp to talk to family and friends at home.
- Book a place to stay for a at least a week, if not a month before you get here. For me it honestly took away so much anxiety about finding somewhere to live in a week when I had many other things to get my head around. Airbnb also do considerable discounts if you stay a month, the monthly rate of mine was a whopping 68% reduction…
- Start eating at local Thai places (you’ll know what I mean when you’re here) as soon as you can. You can easily find meals that cost around 30 baht (less than £0.70!), are good sized portions and taste delicious. I definitely spent way too much my first few days eating at the bigger restaurants and getting deliveries, but from here out I’ll be able to save an absolute fortune!
- 7/11’s are everywhere and will have a huge amount of the basics you’ll need such as washing up liquid, toilet paper, bottled water and so on.
- Use a laundry service, it’s not much more than doing it yourself and it’ll save you all the hassle of trying to dry your own clothes, which due to the humidity is surprisingly hard considering how hot it can get. I’ve started using a service called WashDrop that comes and collects your clothes, washes them and then brings them back to you at a time of your choice the very next day. If you sign up to WashDrop with this link here you’ll be able to get 80 baht of your first wash, which is over 1k of washing free!
The entire journey from getting diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, leaving work, starting a business, splitting up with my girlfriend and then moving to Chiang Mai really has meant the past couple of years have been an absolute whirlwind.
As hard and tough as it’s been I’m really happy to say things definitely feel 100% on the up and after spending a week and a bit here in Chiang Mai I can honestly say hand on heart it was the right move for me.
At this present time, I’m truly excited to see where this journey will take me…
If you’d like to follow along on my journey as well as learn how to build the ultimate lifestyle business, make sure to subscribe to my email list below.
Last thing, if you’ve enjoyed reading this feel free to share it with a friend!