Taking The Train To Chiang Mai, Thailand – Beginning Our TEFL Course And Starting Over

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Taking The Train To Chiang Mai, Thailand - Beginning Our TEFL Course And Starting Over

We left Chumphon on our way to Chiang Mai with a change in plans from being Divemasters in Koh Tao, to English Teachers in Chiang Mai.  We took the night bus to Bangkok that left at 9pm. It was somewhat what I had expected, but not quite as bad as it could have been. We were on a bus (double-decker) "sleeper" with 35 others taking a night bus on a bumpy ride in the rain with little sleep.  Shelly was feeling ill from all the swaying back and forth in the second story of the bus, and the aircon was blasting negative temperatures most of the night with the passing lights on the road and in every small town we passed glaring in our eyes.  I finally put my hoodie over my head and got a couple of hours sleep. We arrived in Bangkok around 5am, and took a taxi to our favorite hotel, The Bangkok City Hotel.

 

 

MBK Date Night in Bangkok

train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai

Booking A Train To Chiang Mai

We couldn't check in until 6am, so we waited outside and watched the sun come up over the city.  After taking a nap we went to the Hua Lumphong train station to see about getting tickets for Chiang Mai.  Much to our chagrin, we were told that there were no 1st class tickets until Tuesday of next week. We didn't want to spend that much time in Bangkok, but decided to book the tickets anyway because with 2nd class, we would have 4 beds to a "cubicle" with no possibility of having Buddha and all of our luggage in the compartment.  We are glad we waited in Bangkok and took the 1st class berth!

Catching A Movie And Dinner At MBK

We had a good time in Bangkok and saw Men In Black III in the theaters. Nice theaters in MBK shopping center on the 7th floor. Before the movie starts, we all stood to attention as they showed the King on the screen and all the wonderful things he does for the people of Thailand. At first we thought it strange, but then we realized that we stand to attention before every sporting event and salute the flag and sing a song. So not so different. They do love the King here though!

After the movie we ate at an all you can eat place in the Mall called Sukishi. What a great experience. There are conveyor belts that inter-weave around the tables that come from the kitchen. All the food is raw. There was meats, veggies, mushrooms, noodles and eggs all making their way through the restaurant on little plates. You have a pot of plain soup in front of you that is set into the table that has temperature controls along the bar where you sit. You can cause the pot to boil, simmer, or simply stay warm. As the food comes by, you can grab whatever you want and put it into your pot. There was also some decent sushi and it was all you can eat in 1 hour and 20 minutes. We chuckled at that and figured something like this would never fly in the US due to people suing for getting burned, raw food that might be undercooked (by your own fault) and the 1 hour 20 minute limit would set off riots in some places across the US. We had a ball!!! And if you are wondering, they do keep track of how long you are sitting with a computer that tells when you sat down and when they cleared your table. All in all a well deserved date night.

 

 

Hua Lumphong Train Station

train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai
train to chiang mai

Booking A Train To Chiang Mai

We couldn't check in until 6am, so we waited outside and watched the sun come up over the city.  After taking a nap we went to the Hua Lumphong train station to see about getting tickets for Chiang Mai.  Much to our chagrin, we were told that there were no 1st class tickets until Tuesday of next week. We didn't want to spend that much time in Bangkok, but decided to book the tickets anyway because with 2nd class, we would have 4 beds to a "cubicle" with no possibility of having Buddha and all of our luggage in the compartment.  We are glad we waited in Bangkok and took the 1st class berth!

Catching A Movie And Dinner At MBK

We had a good time in Bangkok and saw Men In Black III in the theaters. Nice theaters in MBK shopping center on the 7th floor. Before the movie starts, we all stood to attention as they showed the King on the screen and all the wonderful things he does for the people of Thailand. At first we thought it strange, but then we realized that we stand to attention before every sporting event and salute the flag and sing a song. So not so different. They do love the King here though!

After the movie we ate at an all you can eat place in the Mall called Sukishi. What a great experience. There are conveyor belts that inter-weave around the tables that come from the kitchen. All the food is raw. There was meats, veggies, mushrooms, noodles and eggs all making their way through the restaurant on little plates. You have a pot of plain soup in front of you that is set into the table that has temperature controls along the bar where you sit. You can cause the pot to boil, simmer, or simply stay warm. As the food comes by, you can grab whatever you want and put it into your pot. There was also some decent sushi and it was all you can eat in 1 hour and 20 minutes. We chuckled at that and figured something like this would never fly in the US due to people suing for getting burned, raw food that might be undercooked (by your own fault) and the 1 hour 20 minute limit would set off riots in some places across the US. We had a ball!!! And if you are wondering, they do keep track of how long you are sitting with a computer that tells when you sat down and when they cleared your table. All in all a well deserved date night.

 

 

Chiang Mai Moat and Wall Ruin

train to chiang mai

Chiang Mai

We made it by train to Chiang Mai.  At the train station we had lunch and booked online at Hotels.com at the Tokyo Vender Hotel near the city center.  The Hotel is cheap and includes a free breakfast and rooftop bar.  Not a bad place for the price at all and a good place to jump out from before settling in.  The town of Chiang Mai was founded in the 13th century and has been used ever since. There is a massive moat that goes around the entire old town city center. There also brick walls that date back 750 years in ruins around the corners. The entire moat makes a perfect square around the city, and provides a great ambiance for the city that has sidewalk cafes everywhere. The city is noticeably cleaner than most cities that we have seen in Thailand, even smaller cities. The town has about 1 million people and is a cultural center for northern Thailand.

 

 

Tiger Kingdom Meal With Buddha

train to chiang mai

Tiger Kingdom Band

train to chiang mai

Dinner and Music

We ate dinner at a great place next to our hotel called the Tiger Kingdom. Every night they have live music. It was so nice to sit and hear some incredible music played by the Thais. We saw two bands which were both acoustic. One had an acoustic bass, lead and rhythm guitars with a drummer. The lead guitarist was amazing!! The second band had a banjo, flute, standup bass, and a guitar player. They both were incredible. The singer was a Thai guy in a cowboy hat that played a lot of oldies like Simon and Garfunkle, the Eagles, and Led Zepplin, but also played some newer songs and a few Thai hits. We really enjoyed sitting on the moat road on the sidewalk with Buddha listening to the bands play while eating.

Plans Coming Together

Today, we finally got a break. We have been running into a lot of obstacles since arriving in Thailand. We have been looking for houses online and at property management companies and it is a lot harder than we thought it would be. Everyone wants a year lease. As a foreigner, we can't even guarantee we can get a year visa let alone jobs to support living in Thailand for a year. School hunting was also proving a little difficult. Some schools were full for the July term, and others were only offering the TESOL(teaching english speakers of other languages) (more desirable in europe). We wanted a TEFL(teaching english as a foreign language)(more desirable in asia)or the CELTA(certificate english language teaching adults) We called UniTEFL today and set up a 1:30pm appt to come and see the school and check out the program.

We couldn't be happier. The staff seemed extremely helpful, and made us feel like we are making the right decision to get our TEFL. They also offer a dual program TEFL and TESOL for the same price. And give us free accommodations. We took a look at the apartment (which is in the same building as the school) and it is everything we needed! They even said it was ok to have Buddha. So we officially start the TEFL/TESOL Cert class on the 2nd of July and they have an excellent placement record with the school as well.  We placed a deposit on the program and will go back to place our deposit on the apartment tomorrow. The rent is 350 dollars a month, and is a one bedroom, we are going to stay for two months, and the school will pay one month for us and take it off our bill at the end.

 

 

Things Are Coming Together

train to chiang mai

Change In Perspective

It was amazing how fast things came together. We also loved the ride on the train to Chiang Mai.  We felt an enormous weight being lifted and no longer have to go to property management companies and schools to find our direction. We took two of the last 3 spots in the class and can't wait to get started. We love Chiang Mai and are also looking forward to living here for a couple of months (maybe longer). We firmly believe that when you are on the right path, the path is laid out for you. We didn't feel like we were on the right path until today, and now feel that we are exactly where we need to be.   

We came to Thailand to be divemasters and now we are in a place with no ocean learning how to teach English.   Flexibility is the key to travel.  When traveling around, you need to be flexible with your plans and how you make money.  When something isn't working you need to change it up and do something else.  We are now on a different path that has no guarantee of turning out for us. What is important in life is that you aren't afraid to do something new and different.  You need to change it up sometimes and try something new. 

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3 thoughts on “Taking The Train To Chiang Mai, Thailand – Beginning Our TEFL Course And Starting Over

    1. Old Wall of Chiang Mai
      Chiang Mai was established in 1296 and what was then Myanmar was a threat to the area. They needed to construct walls and a defensive moat around it. Remnants of the Old Town still remain. Although most of Thailand have remnants of its ancient kingdoms, Chiang Mai is the only city in the country where most of the walls are still visible and intact.

      Temples Temples and More Temples
      Buddhist Temples, or “Wats”, are all over the city. There are about 300 Buddhist Temples in the city alone, We suggest Doi Sutep, Sri Suphan, and Chedi Luang if you had to narrow them down to just 3. Doi Sutep is outside of town perched above Chiang Mai that has amazing views of the city below. Sri Suphan is just south of the old wall and moat of the old city and is a temple that is all silver! Once you have seen an opulent temple with Sri Suphan, go to one that is very old and almost in ruins with Chedi Luang within the walls of the old city.

      Thai Cooking Lessons at Thai Farm Cooking School
      This 6-hour cooking class in Chiang Mai you will discover the culture and cuisine of the Akha, an indigenous hill tribe of Southeast Asia right in the heart of the old city NE corner. It includes visiting the local market to shop for ingredients and learning to prepare 11 different dishes!! You even get a cookbook when you are done! A great thing to do with your new mate together!

      Bo Sang Umbrella Village
      This village makes Thai umbrellas and other handicrafts and has some cultural significance for the area and Thailand. It’s about 15-20km outside of town and you would need to take a tuktuk, taxi or songthaew.

      Markets
      Warorot Market. The Warorot Market, known locally as “Kad Luang”, is one of the most famous local markets in town. Almost overwhelming the stalls of things to buy and look at and some of the best food in the city and cheap! A really great experience.
      The Night Bazzar is fun! One of the most massive street markets in the city opens at 6PM and goes to 12. The stretch of the market is located two blocks to and from the intersection of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road. Lots of shopping restaurants nearby, people watching and street food available here!

      The Chiang Mai Night Safari and Zoo
      See animals such as a Bear, smooth-coated otter, porcupine, wild boar, hyenas, tigers, lions closely up during the show. At 6:30 pm, and 8:50 pm. Also check out the Safari Dancing show at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm – all at the night Safari, or see hundreds of animals at the Chiang Mai zoo.

      Mae Sa Elephant Camp
      This is one of those experiences that may or may not be of interest. To Westerners, taking care of elephants is special. To people who live in Asia, not as much. But something to do, and an interesting and educational experience non-the-less.

      Just walk around! This town is great! You will find something to do when you get there for sure. We love to travel without a plan. If you spend alot of time planning, get there, and things don’t work out, or it rains, or whatever, you then have to change plans and move them around, wasting more time. Just explore! This is where we have found our most interesting experiences. Rent a motorbike (they are cheap and don’t forget to wear your helmet) and explore the city and surrounding area! Have a great honeymoon, and Congrats!

Tell us what you think!