Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Location, Location, Location

Yes, you have heard it before...the universal principle that applies directly to success, whether it be business or personal satisfaction, is primo location. And I've picked a good one. THAILAND!!

Most specifically, northern Thailand. The city of Chiang Mai!

Often referred to as the "Rose of the North," Thailand's second city, Chiang Mai dates back to the days of King Mengrai in the 13th century.

Nestled in a valley 310 meters above sea level, Chiang Mai is 700 km. north of Bangkok and has a cooler, drier climate than many other parts of Thailand. Situated on the Pin river with the old city contained within a water filled moat, one can still see large portions of the reconstructed wall of the old Lanna culture in place.

Home to 300 temples, the picturesque Lanna tiered roof architecture that is so widely associated with Thailand, dominates the landscape. Known throughout southeast Asia for the wide variety of Hill tribes living in the region, it is popular for the trekking excursions to visit the various tribes.

Twenty years had passed since I last visited Chiang Mai in 1981 en route to India. In the interim some good friends of mine from my years in Africa had retired and settled there. I decided I would go visit them, then travel through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia--three countries that were not open for solo travel when I was last in the region.

I spent ten months traveling in the region that trip; a large segment of it in Chiang Mai. Some things I discovered during that time.

1) All the hype about dental and medical care in Thailand is true. Rock bottom cost for first rate quality.

2) Cost of living vs. quality of life are astoundingly attractive. It's your basic "More Bang 4 the $$, or should I say baht?"

3) Travel options in and out of Thailand worldwide are both cheaper and more plentiful than anywhere else on the planet. This is a biggie for a travel addicted soul like me.

Add to those three solid positives a delightful warm climate and in short, we have a comfortable place to be where I can save money, have a good life and still travel. What's there not to like? Compelling reasons to strongly consider spending extended periods in the "Land of Smiles."

So here I am, nearly a decade later, calling Chiang Mai home. The juggling cycle has been reduced to a simple 1-2. I spend 4-6 months "On The Move" and 6-8 months in Chiang Mai Mode.

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