As I mentioned in my weekly round up, I'm in Chiang Mai at the moment. I'm finding it not so great. I don't hate it but I don't love it either.
That's not to say it's a bad place. It's just not a good fit for me. Maybe if you are a young backpacker wanting to spread your money as far as possible or starting up a business and are much richer in the time side of time vs money, you'd find it perfect.
Sure there are ways around it but they seem awfully complicated.
And I'm way to risk adverse to set up a place to live with my stuff only to have the possibility of not getting a visa to come back into the country.
To be honest, it's all a pain in the butt especially when I can go somewhere like Malaysia, Japan or South Korea and get a 90 day visa without a hassle.
Sure it's cheap but it's not as cheap as everyone makes out. This is where the time vs money things really comes into it. To get a good deal, you need to hit the road and turn up to places in person. Then haggle the buggery out of the price.
I'm not going to do that. For a 30 day stay, its so not worth it. That's taking a huge chunk of my time and putting it into something none productive.
On top of that, I got a list of cheaper places around town -- like around $300 a month -- but, when I checked it out, most of them had a whole heap of add ons. Electricity and water for all of them, for some even towel and sheets were extras. That's too much to think about and can add up pretty quickly. For that price too, you are obviously getting something very basic. More like a room with a bathroom than an apartment.
Also, buying any foreign/imported stuff is crazy. I grabbed a bag of coffee beans at the supermarket then, when I checked the docket because the grocery price was huge, realised I'd paid about $20 for them. And shops like Uniqlo are more expensive here than in Australia. I've learnt a valuable lesson about checking prices before buying things.
This one is probably the deal breaker for me. It's so fucking noisy. When I stayed in Naples, I thought that was the noisiest place imaginable but it's so much worse here. At least in Naples, it was a constant noise.
It might just be where I'm staying but it's like 10 minutes of quiet then someone coming home on their scooter and talking at the top of their voice until they go to their room. Then silence for another 10 minutes.
If you put me in a torture camp and tried to device the best way to drive me insane, that's probably it.
That goes on until about 4am and then, around 8am, the neighbours get out on the street talking at maximum volume. And that's not even to mention the dogs! I love dogs but FFS, don't have a bunch of dogs and leave them outside fighting with each other all night. That's pretty much combining my two most hated things in this world - noise and bad dog owners.
Since I can't wear ear plugs (they make my ears itch like bastards), I just get tired and grumpy.
Even going to a cafe to work, the noise is hard to deal with and I wear noise cancelling earphones. I'm not sure if people talk exceptionally loud because of all the outside noise from bikes etc or if it's just that all the noisy people in the world (tourists and locals) are here.
I am not going to ride a scooter or bike because I believe that if you don't have confidence, you'll end up dead. For me, the moment I lose confidence is before the engine is even started up.
There are tuk tuks and taxis and things like that but again it's the time thing. I don't want to go into the whole haggling thing. Also, having to deal with them working out the address. So I just walk everywhere.
5. Hippies and Hipsters
Sure that sounds like a whingy list and I'm sure there are things I can to make life easier. So of the issues might be alleviated if was staying somewhere else in town but I've paid up here and these not much else available as far as I can tell. My sister has spent a bit of time here and she said unless I want to stay at some ritzy hotel, the noise is going to be a problem.
Of course, there are good points:
- It's a lovely town and the sunsets are amazing, especially after being in Tokyo where you rarely see a sunset.
- Most things are really cheap. Even if you want to splurge by going to an upmarket spa instead of a massage place on the street, it's so cheap (compared to Australia).
- The food is fantastic.
Since I have had problems being productive, especially with the noise issues, I went to a coworking space today (Punspace). It was so lovely and quiet. OMG I enjoyed the quiet. I felt like my inner battery had been recharged after a few hours of no noise.
I think I just need to focus on the things I need to do for the rest of my time here. Like getting a ton of words written and getting all my medical stuff taken care of (doing that tomorrow). Then toss in a few adventures and indulgences. And maybe get a big baseball bat for the next person who wakes me up.
I don't want to sound overly negative but I do think if you are thinking of coming here, these are some of the things you need to take into consideration. Maybe they are things you don't give a damn about and the advantages far outweigh them but, for me, sleep is one of my most precious things.