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Digital Nomads in Chiang Mai – Oliver von Herder

Category : Digital Nomad

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To kick off our newest series of Digital Nomads in Chiang Mai, here are a few words from Oliver von Herder, author of www.nutrientfocus.com.    He’s just about to launch his first online shop started here in Chiang Mai! (We’ll update this post with the website once its up and running)

Infinity poolfrom the mountainFood everywheregreen everywhere


At the beginning of September 2014 me and my girlfriend Gemma arrived in Chiang Mai, and we were going to stay for two weeks max before spending 3 weeks in Laos, Cambodia and the Islands of Thailand before flying out of Bangkok.

 

Oli poolsideIf someone had told me that a month later not only would we still be in Chiang Mai, but that both I and my girlfriend had both started new businesses I wouldn’t have believed them.

 

After a week in Chiang Mai we came to stay at CMStay. We had come to the city because I was working on a blog and wanted to meet like minded people. When I mentioned this to our hosts Stephen and Ketsuda, Stephen directed us to a Facebook page called ‘Chiang Mai Digital Nomads’.

 

Over the course of the next few weeks Stephen revealed himself to be very involved in the digital nomad scene in Chiang Mai. That piece of advice led to us making connections that quickly developed into friendships. Soon we were working alongside entrepreneurs working across a broad range, attending workshops, retreats and learning like crazy – and every time we spoke with Stephen he offered information or advice that made a serious difference over the course of our stay.

 

The community in Chiang Mai is exploding right now, and in my mind it’s one of the very best places in the world to start your own location independent business. The cost of living, and the support network is incredible. from the mountainMe and my girlfriend are both still working on our businesses and plan to return to Chiang Mai for an extended stay next year.

 

Ultimately staying at CMStay made the entire experience very easy – the rooms were clean and spacious, our location had some of the best value for money food we found in Chiang Mai (which is really saying something) and our hosts were happy to help us with anything – no matter what it was. Chiang Mai is an amazing city, and discovering what it has to offer can be this easy and enjoyable for everyone.


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Group Tour – Henry and the Salsa Dancers

Category : Holidays , Tour Groups

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This is more of a thank you post, rather than an informational post .   Recently, we had the honor of making arrangements for a group tour of 38 people from Vietnam on holiday in Chiang Mai during the Loy Krathong/Yee Peng festivals.  

 

Henry was our point of contact .   He is truly amazing organizer.    Making arrangements and agreements among 38 people for a group tour is no small feat!      

 

Throughout the whole set up phase of their holiday, he made it feel like we were dealing with a small family as opposed to a large group of what we later found out to be… Salsa dancers!    (Guess that explains why everyone was in such good shape!) 

 

We arranged vans for airport pickup, rental of scooters/motorbikes, guided motorbike tour to Pai, tour vans to Chiang Rai/Golden Triangle/Long Neck Karen village, tickets and transport to the 2014 International Lantern Release Festival, and vans to return all to the airport on their voyage home.  
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Thank you to Henry and your group of friends.   We are very happy to have met you all and look forward to meeting you all again!  

 

BTW, we’ve included a few pictures taken by Pui the motorbike guide.  Please feel free to add more pictures on our Facebook page. 


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They’re here !!! – Tickets for the November 8, Lantern Release have arrived!

Category : Holidays

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Tickets for the November 08, 2014,  Lantern Release have arrived!!!

The armored truck just pulled away after leaving these beauties.    Ok, maybe not, but the tickets have been printed and delivered for distribution to everyone who purchased them.       

CMStay will begin deliveries next week and plan to have them to all of your hotels/guest houses by Nov 6th at the latest.    We will ask reception to hold them until you arrive.     

– For anyone that has not updated us on where you will be staying, please do so as soon as possible.   

– For those who have had a change of plans or issues getting here, please let us know now, as we may be able to refund them.   Once they are delivered, there is nothing we can do.  

Lastly, if you have not already, its time to book your tours for the rest of you stay in Chiang Mai.    There are thousands and thousands of travelers in town for the holiday’s and the “high season”.   Tours are booking our fast.    Take a look at our Tours page for a list of the most popular tours in town. 


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October 25, 2014 – CONFIRMED!!

Category : Holidays

For all of you biting your nails waiting for confirmation, its here!   Remember to contact us for room, apartment tour and scooter bookings!

Photo : YeePengChiangMai.com

 Anyone interested in joining our trip to Doi Suthep, The Tiger Kingdom and Mae Jo for the lantern festival on Oct 25, see below:

SuthepNagaStairs SuthepGoldChedi BabyTigerMan KrathongRiver

Last years trip to Doi Suthep, the Tiger Kingdom, and the local mass lantern release in Mae Jo was a huge success.   CMStay will co-ordinate it again for 2014!

Here are some of the specifics:

OCTOBER 25, 2014

8:45am – 9:00am – Pick up from either of the two CMStay locations.  (Proper VIP tour van)

 

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9:30am – 10:45am –  visit Doi Suthep Temple.  Chiang Mai’s most famous temple overlooking the city.

  • Get a blessing from the monks
  • Take pictures of the the view overlooking Chiang Mai

 

 

11:15am – 13:30pm – visit The Tiger Kingdom.   Take pictures with with Tigers!   also break for lunch.BabyTigerWoman

  • If you want, get in the cages and take pictures with all different size tigers.
  • Tiger Kingdom has a great buffet lunch it you are interested.

 

 

 

14:00pm – 20:00pm – Mae Jo for the monk’s blessing and mass lantern release. Loi Krathong lantern

  • Watch dancers performing local, Northern style dancing
  • Join in on chanting and meditation with Monks
  • Brief ceremony for Yee Peng
  • Launch the floating lanterns

 

 

 

All transportation, snacks, and bottled water are included in the price.    1,000B/pax  

 


Loy Krathong / Yee Peng 2014

Category : Holidays

 

Loi Krathong

This year the full moon will be on November 6th, but the Loy Krathong celebrations in Chaing Mai will go from the 5th through the 8th.  

The city will be alight with fireworks, floating lanterns and Krathongs floating down the river.

The Yee Peng Mass Lantern Release at Mae Jo University for locals is to be on October 25, 2014.   The International event is to be on Nov 8, 2014.     

SuthepNagaStairs SuthepGoldChedi BabyTigerMan KrathongRiver

Last years trip to Doi Suthep, the Tiger Kingdom, and the local mass lantern release in Mae Jo was a huge success.   CMStay will co-ordinate it again for 2014!

Here are some of the specifics:

OCTOBER 25, 2014

8:45am – 9:00am – Pick up from either of the two CMStay locations.  (Proper VIP tour van)

 

Wat_Phra_That_Doi_Suthep_-_Chiang_Mai

9:30am – 10:45am –  visit Doi Suthep Temple.  Chiang Mai’s most famous temple overlooking the city.

  • Get a blessing from the monks
  • Take pictures of the the view overlooking Chiang Mai

 

 

11:15am – 13:30pm – visit The Tiger Kingdom.   Take pictures with with Tigers!   also break for lunch.BabyTigerWoman

  • Get in the cages and take pictures with all different size tigers.
  • Tiger Kingdom has a great buffet lunch it you are interested.

 

 

 

14:00pm – 20:00pm – Mae Jo for the monk’s blessing and mass lantern release. Loi Krathong lantern

  • Watch dancers performing local, Northern style dancing
  • Join in on chanting and meditation with Monks
  • Brief ceremony for Yee Peng
  • Launch the floating lanterns

 

 

 

All transportation, snacks, and bottled water are included in the price.    1,000B/pax   Click Tour Reservations for more info!

***Contact us if you need help with a scooter rental or help booking any tours locally.***

 

event3The International Event being held on November 8, 2014 is a private event done entirely in English.   Tickets are now on sale, and cost 3,000B/pax for standard tickets and 4.500B/pax for VIP tickets.  

The tickets will need to be purchased before Sept 15, 2014.    

Tickets Include:

Opening Ceremony by The President of Doungtawan Santipap Foundation.

05.20 p.m. 
05.30 p.m. Lanna Folk Performance 
05.50 p.m. Enter to the floating lantern ceremony area. 
06.10 p.m. Announcement of Regulation in the Ceremony.

Meditation

06.30 p.m. Chanting and Meditation

Candle-Lantern Illumination

07.00 p.m. Circumambulation Ceremony

Ceremony of Lights

07.25 p.m. Lighting the ground lantern Ceremony

Flying Lantern Illumination Ceremony

07.40 p.m. Launching of Khom Dhammachai. (Floating Lanterns) 
08.30 p.m. Floating Kratong (small flower vessel) in the pond.

End of ceremony. 
TOUR INCLUDES

Each person per seat will receive the following services: 
Special Lanna Thai meal at the the event and 1 meal box on the way back. 
Two lanterns 
One flower raft or krathong 
Souvenirs

TOUR EXCLUDES

Transportation (Please contact us to arrange your transportation)

Click Tour Reservations for more info!

 For anyone who missed out on a ticket to the Nov 8 event, the Oct 25 event is still available.  Anyone who wants to join our trip to Doi Suthep, the Tiger Kingdom and the Yee Peng Lanna Mass Lantern release, please book quickly!

***Contact us if you need help with a scooter rental or help booking any tours locally.***

 

For any questions, or to register with us for either event please use the Contact Form or send us an email :  king@CMStay.com.

 


Massage School in Chiang Mai: Sunshine Massage – Sean Gray

Category : Massage

Sean Gray @ Sunshine Massage

Sean Gray @ Sunshine Massage

Who am I…

 

My name is Sean Gray and I’ve been living in Chiang Mai for a little over two months now.

My wife, Mee, and I decided about a year ago that it was high time to make some serious changes in our lives and literally in a matter of two months put our house on the market, sold everything we owned, and headed to Hawaii for a couple of months to figure out our next move.

We are lucky in the fact that we have a little bit of money coming in every month and soon realized that are next move wherever that may be needed to cost a hell of a lot less than Hawaii, and honestly probably anywhere in the U.S., so we pulled up the top 10 best (yet cheap) expat locations and low and behold Chiang Mai was at the top of the list.

Subnote:  Visiting Asheville about a year ago a friend of ours recommended a wonderful clairvoyant named Sage.  (Don’t laugh)  During a consult she mentioned that she felt that the next move I made would be in the Wellness Field and recommended I look into Thai Massage as it correlated with the yoga which had become a big part of my life.  Up to that point I’d never heard of Thai Massage, except for maybe a movie or two which I won’t mention.

 

How we did it…

 

We actually spent a few months down south in Koh Phangan prior to coming to Chiang Mai.  We knew we wanted to spend time both studying Yoga at Agama and in Chiang Mai studying Thai Massage.  Luckily we started down south.  The reason is that while down there I started seeking out both great massages and people, both Thai and Western, who had studied in Chiang Mai.  It also gave me time to start researching all of the available schools, of which there are a ton.

My criteria were that I wanted it to have a long term program, (i.e. more than just an introductory course) and I wanted it to be a size which allowed for a continued relationship once I had finished training.  In other words I didn’t want to attend a course which had hundreds of people coming through where I would be just a number, or another farong.

Amazingly I met a young man in Koh Phangan who had studied in Chiang Mai a number of times as well as in Laos and other areas of Thailand and he became my liaison to what has become a fantastic experience.  While he was very unbiased and laid out where all of the schools were and the benefits of each, ultimately I learned the most through receiving massage from him.  He had studied mostly with Sunshine Massage School and the Thai massage Circus.

So I focused my attention on the Sunshine Network and ultimately the School and contacted Max the owner.

I knew I wanted a longer term course so I signed up for a 240hr course, we got on the train and headed for Chiang Mai.

 

SeanSunshine2The Experience so far…

 

We arrived in Chiang Mai 2 weeks before the course started.  DO THIS!

I realize everyone may not have this opportunity, but if you can manage it you must.  Once your course starts you won’t have a lot of time to orientate yourself so do it ahead of time.

We hadn’t made arrangements on a place to stay since we were arriving in the slow season and word on the street is we’d have our pick of the litter.  Well that was and wasn’t the case.  We were coming from down south where you could rent a bungalow with a kitchen and a fair amount of room.  While we knew there weren’t any bungalows we thought apartments would be a lot more prevalent than what we found.  What we found were guesthouses galore but very little in the way of Apartments, especially inside the old city.

Since we had the extra time we got on Airbnb and fortunately came across Baan Ouikum, aka Stephen & King.  They were super quick to respond and we met the next day.  The location was perfect.  Even more so than we understood at the time.  It was on the West side of the old city away from all of the touristy stuff, but at the same time within walking distance of everything inside the wall.  They even had a motorbike for us to rent and soon became more than just landlords.  They became friends that we could call or email and ask questions and advice.

About a week before my class started I drove over and met everyone.  It takes about 12 minutes to get there on the bike and is a fun drive.  You get to line up with the 100 or so other students, all dressed in their uniforms heading to high school and college and race to the next light.

It’s Sunday night and I’m approaching my final week.  It’s been fantastic.  Next week I actually go out into the SeanSunshine5country and massage the fieldworkers.  Thai people with real issues that have had Thai massage through out their lives.  My ability to give a massage and assess the client and what they need is far beyond where I thought it would be after two months, but still I have some jitters.  My class sizes have ranged from as low as just me and the teacher up to seven people.  The training has been top notch.  I’ve had three separate teachers and they’ve all had decades of experience.  I’ve really taken an interest in the therapeutic side of massage and have signed up for a special course which focuses solely on the therapeutic aspect.  It’s in two months so I just told Stephen we’d be extending our lease until January, another five months.

 

All in all it’s been an experience well beyond our expectations.

 

Make sure to sign up for our email reminders at the top right of the page.   If you’re considering taking a massage class in Chiang Mai, please contact us first!.  


Massage Schools in Chiang Mai

Category : Massage

Sean Gray @ Sunshine Massage

Sean Gray @ Sunshine Massage

Are you a massage therapist planning on taking some additional certification?   Possibly considering switching professions to Thai massage?   Maybe you just want to learn something new?    These seem to be the top 3 reason that people flock to Chiang Mai to learn Thai massage.   Do you fall into one of these categories?

Over the years, we’ve had quite a few guests stay with us specifically to take a Thai massage course.   It’s worked out really well for us and our guests as our building are well situated for those attending the top massage schools in Chiang Mai.

Here are the top 5 massage schools in Chiang Mai (alphabetical order)

  1. ITM (International Training Massage School) 
  2. Old Medicine Hospital (Thai Massage School Shivagakomarpaj) 
  3. Sunshine (Sunshine School of Traditional Thai Massage)
  4. SVG (Thai Massage Training Center)
  5. TMC (Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai) 

This is the beginning of a series of posts by previous and current guests of CMStay attending a massage course.    We hope to be able to provide more “hands-on” information from people who have actually taken classes at each respective school.    

Remember to sign up for our update email to keep up with the post as they come out!


CMStay Summer Discount!

Category : Offers

CMStay is now offering a discount of up to 10%  on all booking made for June 1, 2014 through Aug 31, 2014.

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 CMStay Summer Discount!

Any booking made for stay between the dates of June 1 2014 through August 31, 2014 will automatically receive a 5% discount on the total booking amount.

In addition, anyone signing up for periodic emailed updates from CMStay will receive an additional 5% discount for a total of 10% off the full price of booking!

Simply add your name and email address in the boxes at the top right corner of the Desktop version and at the bottom of this page for the mobile version.   Then press the “sign up” button.    

For more information, or to check on availability, and request a booking, send us an email at king@cmstay.com or use the contact form.   


Want to Teach in Chiang Mai? Part 5 (Julia Light)

Category : Teach

Our 5th and FINAL (Seriously, last one!) post on Teaching and living in Chiang Mai.   This one is by current resident, Julia Light.

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 Hi everyone! My name is Julia Light, I am from the U.S. and I currently teach Third Grade English at a large private school here in Chiang Mai. I have been here for 8 months and I just signed on to stay another year at my school- teaching in Chiang Mai is truly that great.

You’re wondering, how easy is it to come here and land a teaching job?

     If you are willing to put in the effort and stick with it, it will happen for you. It’s hard to just jump in head first and come to Thailand without any base or prospect of a job, but I know people who have done it just as I did and we all secured solid teaching jobs within about a month of arriving. Different circumstances and ways of getting there, but it works out.

So how did I do it?

     Well, I decided that teaching English in Thailand was what I wanted to do after graduation from university so I did a lot of research, considered going through a placement program (I spent some time thinking I would go through a program, and trust me, I am so glad I didn’t.   You’ll pay a couple thousand dollars for someone to do what you can do for free with a little more stress with moving to a foreign country without anything lined up, but if you can overcome that then you will save yourself so much).

      So I booked my one-way ticket to Chiang Mai and luckily I met some great people who gave me connections that got me where I am now. I met Jen, one of the other teachers featured in these posts, and she told me to start out living at Sethee Court; and I am so fortunate to have found myself here.

     Right when I arrived, Stephen and King were so helpful and informative on life in Chiang Mai and giving me suggestions on how to go about finding a job. So I hit the hot ground running, literally sweating profusely, with a fresh stack of resumes and handed them out to every school I could find in the city.

     I got a job teaching weekends at a Language School, which is fairly easy to do if you look professional and are confident, and I tutored for a few weeks before I got my job to start making money initially. After a few weeks of doing that and exploring this vibrant city, I happened to meet  another, now great friend, who told me of an opening at a great school in the city. The next day I interviewed and that very day I was offered the job. The school needed to fill the position right away and I was in the right place at the right time, did well in the interview and got the job. It was definitely a whirlwind and I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard similar to this. So stop stressing, book your ticket and get out here, it will all work out.

     I do not have a TEFL, I do have a university degree which is the only legal requirement of a teacher in Thailand. It definitely helps a great deal to have your TEFL when in competition against other candidates and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the course but I was able to get a job without one- not to say this would work in a more-developed country, but I just went straight into it and I survived so you can too.

 

Do your research- decide what kind of a school you want to teach at. Whether that be

  • a) a government school: I would not recommend this route as I have heard many stories of disorganization, little pay and unhappy foreign teachers
  • b) language schools: tutoring-level schools where you are paid hourly but if you work hard enough (see post by Lewis), you can make a lot of money (by Thai standards)
  • c) a private school: this is where I am now and I have had an amazing experience. I have plenty of support form our foreign teacher community and I am well-taken care of as a teacher.

     Once you do that, you are ready to take a deep breath and go! Applying in person and to as many places as possible is the way to get it done. You will meet other ex-pats and teachers along the way and everyone is always aware of what schools are hiring and willing to help each other out because we all know how it is. Schools hire for the new school year around March (year goes from May-Sept with a break in October and then Nov-March) and also in Sept/Oct for replacements needed in between semesters.

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     Teaching English here is absolutely achievable and has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The students make everyday worth it and the sense of community in Chiang Mai is incomparable. Come and see for yourself.


Want to Teach in Chiang Mai? Part 4 (Jenafer Volnek)

Category : Teach

Our 4th post on the real experiences of finding work Teaching in Chiang Mai – by Jenafer Volnek.

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About me: 
 
Hi! My name is Jen and I am 26 years old currently living at CMStay @ Sethee Court in the upbeat and exciting city, Chiang Mai! I am an English teacher here at a well-known private school and I teach 10th grade high school students. 
 
Why I wanted to teach: 
 
Well, after college and working in mental health for 2.5 years, I wanted a change and a challenge to fulfill my curiosities about the world. I wanted to go to a place where I could feel comfortable yet out of my element, WARM and where teaching English was in demand. I left the conventional lifestyle in America and got more than what I ever expected in the best way possible. 
 
How I started: 
 
In all honesty, I worked my butt off to prepare to get over here and spent numerous sleepless nights researching jobs, a decent place to live, expenses, and the culture. I also got TEFL certified through a great, reputable program based out of Chicago. I bit the bullet (YOLO) and booked my one-way ticket to Thailand. I landed here and came to CMStay @ Sethee Court. I was greeted by Stephen and King the first night I got here and they helped ease my nerves about any qualms I had about being in a totally new country. 
 
How I got the job:
 
I had my CV/Resumes all printed and ready to go and I went to a couple of schools that posted online that they were hiring. I got the job with the help of King, the owner of CMStay @ Sethee Court, who knew a fellow teacher in Chiang Mai and that teacher had connections to the current school I teach at. I went into the school for an interview and was notified, a week later, that I landed the job. I was very fortunate. 
 
Advice: 
 

If you are worried about not finding a job like I was, don’t be. Women, do not forget to wear a long skirt that goes past your knees. I remember having pant suits ready and that was a mistake, so I had to buy a whole new wardrobe of long skirts. There is a sufficient amount of English speaking expats in Chiang Mai and you will, with effort, make connections to help you obtain a job. Remember to prepare extra money for exploring, rent, and food for when you are waiting for responses from the schools you applied at. I saved up money for the first couple of months to explore the city and surrounding areas. Basically, if you have a college degree and look professional you will be just fine- yes, a TEFL helps. 

 
Regarding a place:
 
if you are looking for a comfortable place to live that is quiet and safe then stay at CMStay @ Sethee Court. There is a reason why they have excellent reviews and the reasons are completely valid. I would recommend living or staying here (on your arrival into Chiang Mai) for numerous, logical reasons. Here are a few: now, most people do not like their landlords, but here, I love my landlords and it is one of the salient reasons as to why I can’t leave CMStay @ Sethee Court. The price for a room is very reasonable. In addition, there is a convenient and pleasant coffee shop, Lek Lek Cafe, with delicious food downstairs. Lastly, the area is very Thai and you can get the feel of living like a local which personally, I think, should be apart of a wholesome traveling experience! An additional perk, I have met some great friends who also live in the building. If you want a comfortable home base, an adventure, good food, and hospitable people then Chiang Mai is your kind of place. 
 
YOU. WILL. NOT. REGRET. IT 
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Hope this help
 
Happy and safe travels, 
 
Jen
For more on Jen, check out her Tumblr at: http://jvolnek.tumblr.com/

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