Chiang Mai, Why?

(Warning: This is kind of a hater post. Sorry.)

Thailand is beloved among travellers and I wanted so much to like it, that despite it failing to thoroughly impress the first go round, I booked us a trip there again just to give it a second chance.

This time to Chiang Mai, top digital nomad destination and raved about as being great for traveling families.

I went in with expectations that perhaps we just hadn’t seen the REAL side of Thailand yet. It’s in the north, away from the beaches.

But no. I just can’t. Vietnam and Cambodia are vastly preferable to me. The world is such a huge place that I don’t see why I’d pick a destination that has as its main attractions extremely over-touristed and even borderline unethical practices like tiger temples and elephant riding and happy ending massages. There’s a certain down-to-earthiness that I require to really love a place and those tacky sorts of things detract too much for me..

Then there’s the pollution and the traffic, hallmarks of Southeast Asia but untempered here by convenience, ease, modernity, or English speakers. Nor are the red songthaews –open taxi trucks- particularly dependable, at times it is 20 minutes before one comes by.

The food is cheap and delicious, and no complaints here except that oddly it was easier to find Japanese food than Thai food for some reason.

The school I put Ryder in was friendly and nice, but smaller than the others I’ve put him in, with no large outdoor play space, and the price was still similar. They did cake for him on his birthday which was very sweet. And he still talks about his friend he made there so it was a happy experience.


The locals were very kind to Ryder. Definitely the highlight of the visit.  But as far as kid-friendly things to do, there are not that many parks or green spaces. We went to the same one the whole three weeks we were there. And there was a general dearth of traveling families-perhaps we were there in the wrong season-we did connect with one family from the States with three kids who happened to be staying in the same apartment building. But it was no Bali in terms of digital nomad families.


This man asked for a picture. He is desperate for grandchildren…his only child does not want kids.

The Buddhist temples are breathtaking and absolutely worth visiting, but again they are found all over Southeast Asia and are not unique to Thailand. Same goes for the night markets.




In general things are not so convenient and easy here to me as Thailand is claimed to be. For example, here is the post office: Disarray.


Oh my gosh. I went here, like, every day. Definitely what I will remember from Chiang Mai. Korean dessert restaurant called Cheevit Cheeva. It’s shaved ice with toppings like honeydew melon and ricotta cheese, strawberry cheesecake, and cream to pour on top…


Chiang Mai, Why?

Why can’t I love you? The spark just isn’t there.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 372 awesome articles for us.

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