Chiang Mai Travel Diary – Part 1

I have to admit I resisted travelling to Thailand for the longest time because I was annoyed at constantly being mistaken for a Thai cook back here in Sydney. (Yes, I know. Petty.)

Over the last 12 months however, I had started to hear good things about Thailand from serious Malaysian foodies.  I began to play with the idea of travelling to Malaysia’s northern neighbour to learn more about the cuisine and culture.

When the opportunity came for me to visit Shangri-La Chiang Mai to highlight their Rooted in Nature campaign of using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients in their menu, I jumped on it.

Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai entrance.

Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai entrance

I knew nothing about Chiang Mai but was intrigued that so many people I spoke to said it was their favourite part of Thailand. It was the land of elephants, long-necked mountain tribes and ancient temples.

It would also be the first time I would be in a country where I knew not one word of the language.

I didn’t even know how to say “Hello” in Thai.

This despite the many occasions over the years when Aussie customers had tried to impress me with their knowledge of what they assumed was my native language (right before they ordered their Pad Thai).

So, after many, many trips to Malaysia over the last couple of years, I would finally be adding Thailand to the mix.

I spent weeks trying to recruit travel companions and project collaborators, and received plenty of enthusiastic responses. Who wouldn’t want a free vacation at a 5-star resort, right?

Then every last person decided to drop out at the last minute, leaving just me, baby Noah and 50kg of luggage full of camera and video equipment for the YouTube content I planned to capture.

Flashback: At Penang airport, waiting for our flight to Chiang Mai.#babyNoah #DownSyndrome #hydrops #AVSD #duodenalatresia #hydropsfetalis #NICU #PICU

Posted by Jackie M. on Thursday, August 13, 2015

 

At Penang airport, waiting for our flight to Chiang Mai.

How I was going to film all these videos unassisted and with baby in tow?

How hard would it be to get around without a guide and without local knowledge?

Would I struggle to find non-pork food options? (I’m a lifelong pork-averse Chinese. Yes, we do exist. I know at least two others.).

Do they have mango lassi in Chiang Mai? (It’s the only thing Noah will drink.)

These were the questions floating around in my head as we boarded our Air Asia flight from Penang.

(to be continued)

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