2022-11-19 – Kantary Hills, Chiang Mai
Today we flew from Phuket off to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Way back in February, when we originally booked this flight,  it was a nonstop from Phuket to Chiang Mai. Due to the Covid situation, flight schedules have been in total flux as all airlines fine tune. First, the nonstop went away – leaving us with the pain of transiting Bangkok. Then the two legs changed three or four times, the last one giving us a very short 45 minute transfer time at Bangkok. So we headed to the airport for a very early checkin-in at Phuket, and luckily we were able to snag an earlier flight which gave us oodles of time to hangout out in the Bangkok executive lounge. 😎

Yes, Chiang Mai has seen a lot of business closures over the last 3 years, but the demographic here, having a huge (36,000+ 2015) student body, and a continuing favourite weekend getaway for middle class Bangkokians, has meant that many of the businesses have been able to weather the storm.

Checking in to Kantary Hills was like déjà vu all over again… sublime. We haven’t been here since 2016, but it really felt like coming home. There are still very many of the same staff still here. The kitchen manager, walked up to me at breakfast and said… Mr Bob? I said… Noom?

Ross and Joyce have been in chilin’ here in Chiang Mai since Nov 3rd or 4th… John, Larry and Glenn flew in from Cambodia 3 days after us. Gettin’ the gang back together.

The weather is always a big plus for Chiang Mai this time of year in Thailand, with daytime around 28-31°C, and nighttime around 20-24°C, so we are able to sleep with the AC off and the screen door open.

Enjoying the Nimman area again, some Covid casualty closures, but quite a few new ventures rising from the ashes. SEAsia is so amazingly resilient.

As we wandered around our old haunts… Joann headed out for a 1k walk down to the Thon Phayom Fresh Market to pickup a few household items for our month at Kantary. Limes, more hangers, some great local green tea.

Walking along Nimman, the same deep fried chicken and pork vendor was still doing a great business. Literally right on the sidewalk, the pungent greasy aroma made me think, that could be the same cooking oil all these years later, and the motor cycles still did the quick stop to grab some of this culinary delight topped with the signature garnish mixture of deep fried onion, garlic and kafir lime leaves on their way to or from work.

The same 7-11 was as busy as all ways, with one addition. Now 7-11 deliver via uniformed scooter drivers. The scooter delivery model has become ubiquitous as a fallout from Covid keeping everyone isolating. Almost anything is available, delivered by scooter. Instant gratification abounds right from your cell phone app.

One of our favourite restaurants has survived, “Organic Vegetables”. This small hole in the wall greasy spoon is continues cookin’, where it’s still easy to get 2 Thai dishes, rice and 2 soda waters with ice and lemon/lime slices. Albeit the cost is now CA$8.50 as apposed to the previous CA$6.00. Even the little more upscale Anchan Vegetarian fed us 5 with gourmet drinks and too much food for CA$38… and Soooo good.

…Now it’s 10 days later and we’re Love’n just livin’ in Chiang Mai, relaxing, discovering old and new friends, having Tequila parties and eating at fabulous boutique eateries. Gloat!!

Oh ya, did I mention, cannabis is now available on every street corner. There are even cannabis kiosks at the mall.