December has been a month of mixed emotions. All good things will eventually come to an end and so did my time in Chiang Mai. After having lived in Thailand for almost a year, it was time for me to move on and start a new chapter. My life in Chiang Mai has been nothing but wonderful and I’m grateful for all the experiences I had and all the lovely souls I met.
Nevertheless, I felt that comfort was kicking in and comfort is the enemy of growth. I embarked on this journey to learn as much as I can and so my heart was telling me to move on. Knowing that I would not come back any time soon, forced me to make the most of my time and experience as many good things as I could. So here is my monthly travel & income report for december 2019.
The month started with a weekend trip to Chiang Rai. Andrea and I have been talking about visiting Chiang Rai for a long time but we always put it off for some reason. Partly because I went to Chiang Rai 3 years ago and didn’t feel the urge to visit again. However, bus tickets were cheap (200 Baht) and Andrea got a few days off from work, we took a 4h bus ride to the north. We stayed in the same guesthouse I stayed 3 years ago and it felt a bit nostalgic. It is certainly not the most fancy guesthouse but the location in unbeatable. It is right in the center and in perfect walking distance from any cool location.
Chiang Rai is a small town and apart from the main attractions like the white and blue temple, there is not really much to do. There are some nice bars, coffee places (checkout the lovely cat cafe) and the night bazar area at night. Other than that, it is a pretty chilled and slow paced life. I wouldn’t recommend staying there for longer than 3 days though. It is just a nice weekend trip. Here are some impressions from our 3 day trip.
The White Temple in Chiang Rai
The temple itself is impressive, however, you will discover a lot of strange things. The temple was created by the artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, and contains a lot of thoughtful and hidden messages.
After all the temples, we had to make a stop to get…
… the best Khao Soi I ever had
The Night Bazar
Chiang Rai in December was a bit different from what I experienced in April 2016. It was so much more cold in December and the number of tourist was significantly less from what I remember.
In 2019 tourism in north Thailand took a little hit in general because of the strong Thai Baht and the global trade wars in general. Consequently, Chiang Rai felt slightly empty. But on the other side, it was great not having to wait in line somewhere and Chiang Rai was also the only destination that we wanted to tick off the box before leaving Thailand.
The last month in Chiang Mai
After coming back to Chiang Mai, our focus was to spend as much time as possible with friends, go through our list of favorite restaurants and embrace every day as fat kid day (eat without worrying about calories)
Spending Christmas in Chiang Mai
This wasn’t my first time spending Christmas in Asia but it was the first time spending Christmas with someone else in Asia.
For asians, Christmas has no particular meaning and we usually don’t celebrate it to the extend that westerners do. But because it was Andreas first time spending Christmas away from family, it was a big deal to her.
For that reason, we decided to treat ourselves and spend the Christmas eve at a nice resort a little bit outside the city. Spending so much money just for one night is usually not the smartest financial decision but we had a good time and therefore it was worthwhile.
After Christmas, we only had a week left in Chiang Mai and spend the rest of the time packing up.
Back at home, it would be already a big deal moving apartments or even moving to a different city for a new job. It is so crazy to think about this now, as we are moving between COUNTRIES every few months and embrace ourselves in a completely different culture. It requires such a high level of adjustment and a flexible mindset. I can’t really say that it has become normal for me just yet, but it definitely made me so much for flexible and tackling things as they come.
Because you can never really predict what is gonna happen, you just have to go with the flow 🙂
Not surprisingly, December was another good month and I reached my highest number in sales.
While I had around 19 sales in November, I surpassed this number and made 24 sales in December. Most sales actually came in during the first half of the month and I could see a drastic decrease in traffic after the 20th Dec. It’s not surprising though, because it was the last weekend before Christmas and most people already got their presents.
After that, it was awfully quiet though. But understandably, because people weren’t in shopping mood anymore. My takeaway for this year is that most sales happen between the period of the 15th Nov and the 15th Dec.
Here are my stats for Dec.
December 2019 Traffic
December 2018 and 2019 in comparison
November and December 2019
Moving on, I will adjust my pricing and my advertising budget for the new year. Even though I made more sales in December, my margin of 10% is still very slim. I surpassed my goal of 100 sales and feel that I’m in a good place to be a bit more confident with pricing. I’m just tired of doing all the work to pay Etsy and Printful without any return. I rather make less sales with more profit than stressing myself out with many sales and no profit.
My expenses in December were higher than usual with spending a lot on Christmas things, going out with friends and travel costs for Vietnam.
In general, I can’t really complain, since it is almost the same amount that I used to spend for an average month living in Germany. It was still an expensive month though, but I have no regrets as I had a really good time. I’m certain that business is picking up next year and so I’m not really worried about spending more to have all the lovely experiences.
My biggest expenses in December were certainly the stay in the resort during Christmas(~100€), all the Christmas gifts combined (~550€), my health check up (~80€).
Here is the overview of my expense categories:
December has been a wonderful closure of the year and my chapter in Thailand. When I started traveling last year, I didn’t expect I would stay in a country for that long.
Yes, my plans have changed completely.
I didn’t live in Malaysia, Vietnam or Australia. I didn’t explore as many places as I thought I would. But everything happens for a reason and looking back, I’m not regretting any of my decisions. Otherwise I wouldn’t have met Andrea and I wouldn’t have made so many deep and hopefully long lasting friendships in Chiang Mai.
I can’t wait for 2020 to unfold and I’m so excited for all the new experiences this year is going to bring. While 2019 was all about surviving and getting comfortable with this lifestyle, 2020 will be more about spiritual growth and life purpose for me.
Let’s bring it on!