So … it’s been a while since I’ve updated the Pursuit of Excitement. You probably thought I’d given up on the digital nomad life? Wrong. I spent much of this year working harder than I ever have before, driving my freelance earnings to new heights. While I had to focus hard on that to make that happen, it made me realize how much I miss blogging.
And here we are.
What happened between January and now? I spent more than half a year in my old college town of Fredericton, re-connecting with friends, settling my tax situation (the CRA actually owed ME money … funny that), and restructuring my online banking to make offshore bill payments easy and simple.
With those issues settled and my wanderlust returning, I flew out to Western Canada in October, saw more friends, and then left for Thailand in November. After spending some time in Bangkok and Koh Chang (my favourite Thai island), I’m back in Chiang Mai (whoo hoo!).
Over the next 5 weeks, I look forward to networking and meeting fellow digital nomads, and getting back into the habit of blogging again, along with putting the toe in the pool with regards to other projects (e-books, learning to code, exploring the idea of starting new websites, etc).
Let’s see what happens.
New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai is a holiday that is treated by the locals in the manner that we regard Christmas. It’s a joyous occasion where people get to get with their families, celebrate, and make wishes for a prosperous and happy year ahead. One of these traditions involves lighting a lantern and releasing it into the sky. On the day of/in the days leading up to the big day, vendors will be selling these collapsed paper bags with a wick that is shaped like a doughnut. This is what you and thousands of people will be sending into the sky en masse on New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai …
To send your lantern into the ether, unfurl it, then light the wick, which has been pre-primed with an accelerant that will keep it lit for a good long while. Next, it won’t fly away until the air within the lantern is hot enough to provide the upward thrust to keep it rising. Many people get impatient and let theirs go way too early, leading to it hovering near the ground, and sadly, due to the moat present in the main area of Chiang Mai, splashing down in the water, possibly leading to a year of bad luck 😛
Eventually though, the heat will have built up to a point where you can let it blast off (3-5 minutes is usually enough time). Off into the sky it will go, along with thousands of others … before the law of gravity takes over and begins raining fire and extinguished lanterns on the surrounding neighbourhoods! 😛
Have you ever launched paper lanterns into the sky, be it in Thailand or elsewhere in the world? Tell us about it below!
Sweeping views of Thailand’s second city are hard to come by, as much of the place is kept low-rise by the fact that most business headquarters are located in Bangkok, and due to the presence of an international airport well within city limits.
Fortunately for those that love these lofty vantage points, there is a mountain that abuts the western part of the metropolis. Doi Suthep towers above this part of Chiang Mai, with views from Wat Phra That being suspended thousands of feet above the streets and buildings below.
When you head up to get that marvelous shot, be sure to dress conservatively (long pants/no exposed shoulders), as you will be on sacred ground.
How to get here: Take a red songthaew to the Chiang Mai Zoo. A short way up the street from here are the gates of Doi Suthep National Park, where there will be more songthaews that will take you up and down the mountain for 50-80 baht, depending how many attractions (Phuping Palace and a a hilltribe village also can be visited up here) you want to see (Wat Phra That is the closest one, so it should be no more than 50 baht).
Head up the stairs past countless trinket vendors to the Wat, then head towards the ridge once on the grounds of the temple. Enjoy!