Beawander

Beawander

[bee-won-der]
noun
  1. The documented wanderings of Bea. Mostly to let her family and friends back home know she’s still alive, but partly so she can remember herself. 
From Macau To Chiang Mai

From Macau To Chiang Mai

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5 min read

December 4, Tuesday @ 11:15am

Famjam was short and sweet, just how I like it. Then, off I went to true freedom…Chiang Mai, Thailand (CNX) – it’s one hour BEHIND HK/Macau.

About the airport in Macau (MFM): 

It’s SMALL!

Now that I know there aren’t many food options after you go through security – it’s just a tiny food court – next time I’ll definitely be getting a snack at the 7-11 or McDonald’s before security.

I flew with budget airline (AirAsia) from MFM to CNX. It’s a 2.5H international flight with no meals or snacks, no entertainment and you’re surrounded by mainlanders, but it’s cheap ($40 USD one-way) so I won’t complain that much.

I did find the airline inefficient. Back home, we check-in online and can proceed to security with our boarding pass on our phones. With AirAsia, I checked-in online but still have to get a paper-based boarding pass. That just doesn’t make sense to me…Good thing there were 2 kiosks around that can print passes.

First Order of Business - SIM Card

I went through immigration with no problem or questions with my 60-day visa. 

They didn’t even ask to see a plane ticket leaving the country, so I wasted $10 on a reserved ticket from bestonwardtickets.com. Good service though – prompt and straightforward! I’d use them again in the future.

***I read online that the immigration officers can stamp the wrong date, so double check yourself before you leave the airport! In my case, it was correct. Entered on Dec 4 + 60 days = Feb 1! 

After getting through immigration, I bought a Tourist SIM for 7 days with voice and unlimited data for $299 (=$12). The rep switched out my SIM and set everything up for me on the spot.

When I did my research, there are 3 main cell phone providers: TrueMove, AIS & DTAC. I read online that DTAC isn’t the best so people usually go with True or AIS – I went with AIS. 

Once my SIM expires 7 days later, I’ll have to get a cheap, data-only plan. In Thailand, they have 3 different plans: just voice, just data, and voice + data. Chiang Mai Buddy explains it in detail better than me. I’ll be opting for the data only.

First Day Shenanigans

If I was SMART, I would have gone to the immigration office right beside the airport and get my visa extended for another 30 days right then and there…but I wasn’t, so I’ll go do that later. It costs 1900 Baht (=$76 – wow, that’s more than another 60-day visa ($50)…hm…), more on this later! 

From the airport, I took a taxi from the airport to my pre-booked accommodations, Daizy House, in the trendy Nimman area – I paid a straight rate of 150 baht (=$6 CAD) for the ride, which I thought was pretty cheap.

Until I found out that using Grab (their version of Uber) would have been half of that. =.=” For the hostel (4 ladies to a room), I paid 270 baht (= $10). In hindsight, here’s a list of FREE apps that I should have downloaded and set up before my trip.  

I met one of my roommates right away, another single female traveller from Korea, and we grabbed a late lunch together at Crazy Noodle House. A bowl of noodle was 50 baht (= $2), but the portions here at a bit smaller, which is fine with me because I think North American portions way too big. Then I went to explore my new area.

I wandered to Central Kad Suan Kaew mall – this old, old mall – which surprisingly was where the hotel – Baan Din Ki – that I’ll be staying for the 4 days. I paid $42.63 USD online.

You may think I’m weird for booking a hostel just for one night, then a hotel…that’s because the airline cancelled my original flight (Dec 5) so I rebooked my flight one day earlier, and couldn’t change my hotel booking.     

For dinner, I met up with a friend inside Maya Mall – the fancy mall in Nimman – and had ‘fancy’ Japanese food at Yayoi Japanese Restaurant. I think most people here equate Maya Mall as the epicentre of the trendy Nimman area, so I will use these locations interchangeably. 

We were supposed to get a massage but ended up staying for a LIP SYNC BATTLE at his coworking space where I met his friends.

I find that most foreigners here are so open to talking to other travellers.

Maybe because we all feel so lost and out of our element. haha! I helped a Liverpool, UK bloke find his way back to his apartment when he got lost. I met another Canadian (from Toronto) just crossing the street together. I had no idea where to eat and asked two random Aussies where they’d recommend – it turned out great!

The world really is a melting pot – who cares which country or what accent you have. When you’re away from home, it’s less ‘us vs them’ and more ‘me + you’!

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