What to Know Before You Go to Chiang Mai, Thailand

Going to a new continent and country, like Thailand, is exhilarating! Everything is new and exciting and different and…. oh my goodness what is that smell?! 

Don’t get us wrong, Thailand is AMAZING. A country rich in culture, beautiful landscape, friendly people (they don’t call it the land of smiles for no reason!), great weather and tasty cuisine. It’s uniqueness makes it charming, wondrous and like a whole new world for many people from Western cultures.

Our team has spent the  last 5 years circling the globe hunting for the best cities, apartments, workspaces, fitness studios, restaurants and coffee shops so they know a thing or two about traveling and dealing with new environments and customs.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of things to know before you go to Thailand, specifically Chiang Mai, to make your experience even more amazing and better prepare you! Read on for some tidbits and goodies about all you’re going to experience in CM…

Culture & Traditions

  • It’s very important to note – you’re a guest in Thailand. Please respect the local culture and traditions like the below…
  • Feet are considered dirty, keep them on the ground, not on chairs, when in public or vehicles.
  • Thailand has a King, respect him and the Royal Family (there will be pictures of them around).
  • Anytime you go to temples or religious buildings cover your shoulders and knees.

Food & Drink

  • The food is different (you’re probably super excited about the delicious Thai food and eateries, like those in this post). That said, there is street food that will smell funky, and look weird. It’s part of the experience (although, you definitely don’t need to eat it).

  • There is international food though! Plus a great international grocery store (in the basement of Maya Mall that has most things you’ll want if you’re craving home).
  • Maya Mall is a modern mall with western shopping, a movie theatre that plays English speaking movies, and 2 food courts (the basement one has amaaazing burritos).
  • Iced coffee’s are a yes, tap water is a no (the ice comes from ice companies). Also, these are some of our fav coffee shops.
  • Buckets (yes literally sand castle buckets) are a popular drink in Thailand. Be careful if you have one by always pouring your own drinks into it, and watching it carefully.

Wildlife & Critters

  • Yes, you will see some roaches and creepy crawly’s. They come with the territory (yes they’re gross but not nearly as bad as subway rats, right?!).
  • Don’t ride the elephants (it’s cruel). Instead opt to visit a elephant sanctuaries, like this one. There you can feed and wash the elephants in a natural swimming hole.


  • Don’t take pictures with or go pet the tigers (it’s cruel).
  • Don’t feed the monkeys! You’re unlikely to see monkeys in Chiang Mai but they hang out around some of the temples. Do not feed or try to touch them – we’ve warned you!

Getting Around

  • You can rent a scooter (this is how many locals get around) but be mindful there can be a lot of traffic. Western driving rules don’t apply here so exercise caution.
  • If you don’t feel confident scooting – walk, take a Songthaew (a red pickup truck with a cover over the back that you sit in) or take a Grab (like Uber).


  • It will be smoggy. Chiang Mai is a city so there are lots of people, cars, scooters, and pollution.
  • (Side note: Towards the end of February until early April is Burning Season. We advise our community to skip Chiang Mai in March and early April because of the smoke/smog).
  • It will be hot! Don’t forget sunscreen (or bug spray!) and keep hydrated (7-11 has plenty of cheap, cold water and is open 24/7). Also note that Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand so not near any beaches but there are plenty of pools to visit.
  • Most importantly… have fun!

Ready to experience Chiang Mai, Thailand?! Get started planning your trip below!

How To Handle Judgement About Your Need to Travel

Guest Post by Allison Colin-Thome

I first began travelling, by spending a year in the U.K. for adventure and freedom.

That year became two and as I began my preparations to return home, I knew my family was expecting me to begin a life I would no longer be able to.

I was a different person. The world and all of its possibilities had started to reveal itself to me in those two years. I wouldn’t be satisfied with a stable 9-5 paycheque, climbing the corporate ladder, saving up for retirement. I just didn’t know it at the time.

So I tried. I got that Corporate job, began climbing that ladder. But every once in a while that familiar unsettling returned and I would have to set off somewhere, doing the best I could with the meager vacation time North America allows.

Every time I returned though, the rumbling was louder. I knew I was going down a path that wasn’t right for me, I just didn’t know how to get off.

It was 2013 when I first started thinking, really wanting, to live abroad again. I didn’t know where or for what purpose – other than escaping the path I was currently on. I was frozen by the judgement from others I knew I would have to confront – society, family, even friends that were making choices I ‘should have’ aspired to. It took five more years for me to eventually take the leap and book a one way ticket to Colombia.

What changed in those five years? I’d like to say that the opinions of other people stopped affecting me. Or maybe that the judgement in itself all but disappeared. Sadly, that’s not the case.

I believe it was three key things that shifted for me during that time that made the difference and gave me the courage to eventually book that ticket.

1. I Found My People

The ugly truth is that the people who don’t support your decision to travel may never. That has to be their problem though. Don’t put energy into moving a mountain when that effort is better spent elsewhere.

When I was thinking about moving abroad again I was very selective about the people I told. For the most part, I didn’t tell my friends or family. Instead, I found a whole online community of travellers who were living the nomadic life I was aspiring to. I shared with them my dreams of moving abroad and they gave me the support I desperately needed. When you surround yourself with people that are doing what you want to do, it makes it easier to ignore the people that aren’t.

travel judgement2. I Became Clear on My Why

When I moved to the U.K. it was about growing up and gaining independence. The second time I felt the urge to move abroad though, I couldn’t clearly articulate why. I had been working so hard to build this life for myself. Why would I want to put it on hold? Not being able to confidently answer that question makes it far easier for judgemental comments to seep in.

During those five years though I began exploring alternative career paths. That eventually brought me to Coaching and building my own online business. Suddenly I had my answer. Moving abroad would allow me the opportunity to focus on starting my business and kickstart my new path. It wasn’t about putting my life on ‘hold’. My future had now become more important than my past, and my travels were a key factor in making it all happen.

3. I Reflected On My Achievements

I have a theory, that the opinions and criticisms of other people more easily affect us when we believe there is truth to it. When it comes to travelling, there are people that view it merely as an ‘escape from the real world’, as if it adds no value to one’s life. But it does add value! A ton actually. Having a clear understanding of that helps those comments bounce right off.

I may still have a fear of creepy crawlers, but drop me in the middle of nowhere and I will happily find my way back home. I’m proud to say I have beloved friends scattered around the world, people with experiences and backgrounds that I continue to learn from. And for all the beauty and magic I’ve seen in this world, I’m proud (and incredibly fortunate) to say my travels have greatly contributed to my personal sense of gratitude. This is what travel has done for me. It has opened up my world.

The thing is, whenever someone chooses a path that is ‘different’, there are going to be naysayers. Those that will judge, roll their eyes at your choices, and ultimately try and make you feel as if you’re not living up to the ‘standard’. But we’re not here to live up to their standards. We’re here to make our own rules, carve our own path. And ultimately, live the life that makes us the most fulfilled. It’s never easy to be the renegades, but it’s always worth it.

Ready to push past the naysayers and follow your need to travel? Get started by choosing a city here!

Guest Post by Allison Colin-Thome. Allison heads up Career Off Script, where she helps young professionals find their ideal work, so they can stop waking up for just a paycheck, and instead have a career that means something to them. She cuts through their confusion by helping them figure their strengths, their motivators and their true needs so they can find careers they love and finally take their next steps with confidence. After a bumpy journey of her own, Allison left her career in Corporate Recruitment to pursue the work she loved. She started her business while spending time in Colombia learning Spanish and can either be found sipping Earl Grey in a midtown Toronto cafe or online at careeroffscript.com.

Packing for a Month or More Abroad: All The Things I Didn't Need

Packing is challenging, and packing for a month or more abroad is down right daunting. There is no one way or perfect way to pack but there are a lot of things that you won’t need. At Behere, we often get asked about the do’s and dont’s of packing for long-term trips. So, this seasoned traveller shared with us all the things she didn’t need while living abroad – and how you can pack more efficiently for long stints abroad.
Guest Post by Alexis Snell
“I have counted 34 things in my suitcase that I didn’t need while traveling.
Now, some of these things are tiny (like necklaces), but let’s be honest – no matter how many times you pack, you always end up with at least a handful of unnecessary things. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with another ‘here-is-what-I-packed’ list because there are thousands out there if you’re looking for a checklist.
Instead, here are some of the things I definitely did not need:
1) Clothes I don’t even like
I keep wondering how I convinced myself to waste the incredibly limited space in my luggage on a bunch of pieces I never even wear at home? If I haven’t already gotten loads of use out of them, then why would I wear them on my ‘big adventure’?
What was going through my head? “Oh, this will be a great casual thing to throw on!” If I haven’t ‘thrown it on’ in the last three months, it doesn’t need to come around the world with me. Same goes for dresses, shoes and workout gear.
No one is going to notice (or care) if you wear the same outfit twice in one week. Stick to the basics that can mix and match.
2) An extra pairs of jeans
I planned to work while abroad and thought I would be working a much more casual job than I did, so I certainly had more than I needed. But still, stick to 2 pairs and that’s it. You can always buy more. Pack a black pair and a blue. They are heavy, they are bulky, and no one is going to be paying that much attention anyway.
packing for a monthAlso, kick the jewelry to the curb. I realize these items usually take up very little space, but it is just another thing you have to keep track of.  Snag your favorite necklace or two and be done with it.
As a general rule of thumb, I am trying to move towards a Capsule Wardrobe. This is a really useful way to minimize your wardrobe when packing, even if it isn’t your everyday life. For a trip – cut this list down to 15.
3) Extra notebooks 
I have a fondness for cute notebooks – and pens. I am fully aware that I have too many, most of which have yet to be used. But don’t bring 3 with you. Well technically I brought 2 and then a cute little 3 pack (wait, 2 and then a 3 pack…oops), but who’s counting. When you add that to the weight of your laptop (and whatever other books you pack), it adds up fast.
Did I really think I was going to fill all of those up?
Bring one. You can buy another during your travels if you need too. Plus, it will make for a great “I got this while I was in….’”story.
4) Travel gear that isn’t practical
I meant to buy myself a new travel pillow, but it ended up being one of those things that never came to fruition. So, my wonderful mother suggested I take one of hers. Well, it was rather gigantic and inconvenient for toting around. And it’s not even that comfortable. Sorry, mom.
I really like inflatable ones with a cozy fleece cover. You can adjust how firm they are depending on your sleeping situation, and they fold up nice and tiny to save space.
The other silly thing I packed was this oversized, super fancy (and overpriced) power adapter. It takes up a ton of space and ended up sounding like I was running a generator all the time. Get a basic one and call it a day. Realistically, you might end up buying new chargers anyway.
I realize that I was actually moving from Seattle to Auckland, not just traveling around, so that warranted a bit of extra luggage. But that also means that I was going to have plenty of time to stock up on anything extra I might need. I will give myself a little credit and say that I did significantly better on this trip than I did on my backpacking trip through Europe a few years ago. But there is still plenty of work to do.
If Colin Wright can live with only 51 things, then I can definitely ditch more than a few items from my bag.
New Packing Rule: Lay everything out you think you’ll need for your trip – only pack half of it.”
Now that you’re prepared to pack for a longer trip, get started planning your trip below!

Repurposed for Behere by Alexis Snell.
Alexis Snell is a Seattle native, travel and adventure enthusiast, and blogger at directionsoptional.com.

This New Research Will Encourage You to Finally Take That Trip

We’ve all been there – spent hours endlessly scrolling through Instagram. Trying to think of how we can travel more. How we can be that relaxed woman having coffee on a balcony in Europe, or wandering rice fields in Bali.

But when we actually think about doing it; talking to our employers or taking the leap to freelance, finding an apartment (and which neighborhood?!) a place to work from, a new gym, a new coffee spot, that healthy place we love for lunch, etc. we get overwhelmed. It all sounds too challenging. So we settle back into our ‘somewhat satisfying’ daily lives, still dreaming about it.

We get it, we’ve been there too. It’s why we started Behere, to make traveling and living abroad actually possible. But we also know everyone needs a little push to follow their dreams so…

This research, might be that extra encouragement you need to finally do it.

A new study found living abroad is a rare kind of transitional experience that helps clarify your ‘self-concept clarity’. Self-concept clarity is your understanding of who you are and where you are going in life. So essentially, living abroad helps you find yourself, something we’re all trying to figure out.

Living abroad helps with this because your new environment helps you discover what you do and do not value. Plus, the influences of your culture, society and network are not present. When you interact with new cultures, you realize which values are yours and which are simply a product of your upbringing. 

The study found there are numerous benefits to living abroad, including; greater life satisfaction, decreased stress, improved job performance and increased clarity on the types of careers that best match your strengths and values. This has become so important today, with the vast range of career options available.

move abroadIn order to gain the most clarity, the study showed that you have to actually live abroad (ie spend a month or more there). So going travelling or backpacking through 5 countries in 14 days won’t yield the same results .

The researchers wrote, “Our studies demonstrate that living abroad affects the fundamental structure of the self-concept by enhancing its clarity. The German philosopher Hermann von Keyserling wrote in his 1919 book, 

‘The shortest path to oneself leads around the world.’ 

Almost 100 years later, our research provides empirical evidence in support of this idea.”

This study proves what we’re doing at Behere and the lifestyle we’re helping you attain, is really helpful in better understanding who you are, and what you want. And we think that’s pretty darn cool.

So to learn more about Behere click here.

The study was conducted by researchers from Rice University, Columbia University and the University of North Carolina and can be found here.