A Weekend Getaway From Chiang Mai, Thailand

As my partner and I locked up our Chiang Mai condo and hopped on a plane to Kuala Lumpur, I was excited. It was my first trip to another country since we arrived in Thailand early last year.

We stayed at The Majestic, a five-star, colonial-style hotel, which includes the original Hotel Majestic —documented as a national heritage site under the Malaysia Antiquities Act.

It was pretty special. Our hotel room was huge and beautifully appointed and the staff were wonderful and very attentive.

©Michelle Hammond

And then there was the food. Malaysia is renowned for lots of delectable foods, but none more delicious than roti canai, an Indian-influenced flatbread dish. It is usually served with dal or other types of curry, but there are hundreds of variations, both sweet and savoury. I loved it so much that I ate it bare—no toppings or fillings necessary.

We took in the usual sights—the Petronas Twin Towers, Aquaria (KL’s world-class aquarium), multiple shopping complexes and even Heli Lounge Bar, a helicopter pad that morphs into a sprawling rooftop bar in the evenings.

©Michelle Hammond

And we had a great time.

But was I sad to leave Kuala Lumpur and return to Chiang Mai?

Not at all.

Back in Australia, post-holiday blues are real. You work all year, take a two-week holiday somewhere exotic and then return to work, feeling flat and a tad shocked that it’s all over and you’re already back at your desk.

Not so in Chiang Mai.

As soon as Jason and I touched down in our adopted home, we both relaxed. The sight of the lush, green mountains and the clear blue sky felt like a welcome-home party.

We caught a cab home, dumped our bags and headed out for dinner. We each ordered a plate of stir-fried chicken, fresh vegies and cashews (one of our favourite combos). Simple, but a welcome alternative to all the rich, heavy food we’d eaten in Kuala Lumpur.

Of course, there’s more to Chiang Mai than stunning scenery and amazing food. There’s something about this place, it inspires and relaxes me at the same time. The city is always buzzing, yet laidback and serene.

Every day when I wake up, I throw back the curtains and am greeted with a view of Mount Suthep— the enchanting mountain that keeps watch over Chiang Mai and all those who inhabit it.

©Michelle Hammond

I take my time getting ready, sling my laptop bag over my shoulder and wander down to my favourite coffee shop, when I spend the day working. I work for myself as a writer and editor, so I have the luxury of working as much or as little as I like.

When it’s time for lunch, I pop over to another café (Smoothie Blues ) and choose from their extensive menu. My favourite dishes are muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit or a Mexican salad. If I feel like treating myself, I order choc-chip pancakes or a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Lunch normally costs about $7.

©Michelle Hammond

And then there’s the people. I can honestly say that I missed the happy, gentle nature of Thai people while we were away. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like; Thai people are always gracious and smiling.

So while I enjoy our little visits to other countries, Chiang Mai will always beckon us back.

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