Chiang Mai, Thailand--Any tips, thoughts?

Wits' End

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My son will be in Chang Mai from April to possibly December. He has lived in the US most of his 23 years. He will be at a mission school there. Is there anything he should or shouldn't bring with him. He will have a flashlight or two :)

He will be bringing books and we are wondering about cost and availability of some things like shoes and other bulky items that may not be worthwhile to transport. Toiletries? My understanding is that Chang Mai is not a metropolis but is a modern city. Any thoughts are welcome.
 

B@rt

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You will be able to find anything you want in Chiang Mai, and much cheaper as well. :D
As for things to do, make sure he gets a Lonely Planet guide for Northern Thailand, it will have loads of useful information and tips on things to do and don't.

Here is a thread with some more info. ;)

He will have a great time! : :grin2:
 

Flymo

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Don't forget to carry active charcoal (Norit??) ALL THE TIME WITH YOU !!!!!!:barf:
 

B@rt

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There is bottled drinking water available everywhere, and as far as the "other use" :toilet: goes, as long as you only eat where the Thai eat from street vendors there will most likely be no problem at all. ;)
 

Martin

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Buy him good health insurance so if something bad happens, he can be sent down to Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok.

Good company is very important. When I was there, I found it at the Hash House Harriers and at the Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club.

There are two sides to the Lonely Planet guidebook: On one side it contains a wealth of information about the country, on the other side it is the book that guides hordes of (not-always-well-respected) budget travelers. The publisher was responsible enough not to include many sensitive places. The book is good to have but think beyond it. Being a budget traveler I can tell that the cheapest way to get one is to buy it from a traveler who is about to fly out.
 

Flymo

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B@rt said:
There is bottled drinking water available everywhere, and as far as the "other use" :toilet: goes, as long as you only eat where the Thai eat from street vendors there will most likely be no problem at all. ;)

Hmmm, buy ONLY bottled drinking water !!
But remember, the Thai's stomach and intestinals are immune for suspected food and drinks than yours ! (and for your one save, believe me).
 

Glen C

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Wits End, I met a few American people who were from a mission there just after the tsunami, they were some of the nicest people you could hope to meet. If the people your son is staying with are similar he will be in great hands. As said above, just about everything he will need is available there, I would heed the advice of only drinking bottled water and charcoal is small to carry though I have never needed it in 30-40 trips there.
 

Somy Nex

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definitely it always pays to be safe rather than sorry :) some charcoal & imodium is not bulky or hard to carry.

most amenities should be available there, although maybe some might not be in the same way you might be used to at home.

i'd advise your son to 'ease' into the local regime, taking greater care at first while he adjusts to the local food & situation. this means being careful with what he eats, where he goes, etc. hot/cooked food/drinks should be the rule of the day until he gets used to the local stuff. as i mentioned in another thread, it's not that the food/drink is dirty there, but that the stomach isn't used to the 'local bacteria' yet.

edit: ah just thought of one thing. some 'comfort food' might be good to bring along, if not to eat, then to give away at least. stuff that can be easily packed like candy or jerky or something like that. :) wear a good/comfortable/durable pair of trainers there, and probably pack along a pair of sandals of some sort.
 
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DaFABRICATA

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Watch out for the LADY BOYS!!! They look like girls but are not!
Ummm.........They have man parts!
 

chesterqw

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don't go roam around at night, or those "darlings"...you know.

if you really wanna roam around, get a dozens of friends to go with you.
 

Martin

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To solve the bottled water mystery:
Many Thai homes receive drinking water in large plastic bottles like they are popular in America. The sort of thing you put upside down into a water dispenser.
I assume that the place where Wit's End's son stays has this.
When Thai go traveling, they usually buy bottled water on the road, often from convenience stores at gas stations.

The good-friends-thing: For a western guy speaking no Thai, chances are good he will meet English-speaking folks. Thai who master a foreign language are typically better educated and wealthier than the average. They are not so much the ones who drink and die in motorcycle accidents or who attract certain diseases.

The most dangerous time in Chiang Mai is Songkran (luckily he will not be there during that time). Google for Songkran "death toll" if you are curious.

Bringing stuff from home:
There's not too much selection on quality shoes above size 9 so I'd bring them from home.
What sort ? A pair of the best Teva flip flops will receive a lot of use in this climate, unless the dress code doesn't permit them. If closed shoes are to be worn for an extended period of time, cinnamon insoles minimize the problem associated with them.
Indoors, people are often barefoot and this is why a pair of tweezers and nail scissors are useful. Especially if it's a wooden house.

Check out my Thai page.
 

labrat

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Remember in winter (November, December), the climate there can be cold at night!
Last year a Swede frose to death, beeing a bit too drunk and fell asleep outside!
So clothing for all seasons, and also as previously said; bring good shoes!
And shots for some of the diseases present there, have him see a doctor and tell the doctor where he is going, they should know what shots he will need.
And bottled water is mostly used by all foreigners.
The water in Thailand should not be used for anything than washing yourself in.
 

Wits' End

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Re: Chiang Mai, Thailand--Prayer request

As said earlier-My son is going to Chiang Mai. Here is his 'update' with some explanation. Please keep him (and Lisl) in prayer. Thanks!

Dear Friends,

It is far too late in 2007 to consider this an annual update, but since I've written so little to so many of you, I'd like to share some highlights from the past year. Many of you have blessed me via face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and emails—thank you so much!

Almost exactly a year ago, I came back home to Minnesota, after attending Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute for three months. I had a wonderful time: Studying, singing, and sharing with young people passionate about serving Jesus. I learned all sorts of fascinating things: from the mundane (the history of oral liquids, how to serve a volleyball, conducting a choir with the right hand rather than the left) to the life-changing (the importance of "closet time", how to develop a Christ-centered hermeneutic, and how to sing not-quite-so-loud). God has blessed what I learned there in countless ways.



After spending a couple months in Minnesota with my family, I moved down to Hayward, Wisconsin, where our Church is. Living with the Elv Graber family and working for a log-home builder, I was able to help start a children's outreach on the Indian Reservation where I lived.

I wish I could share the incredible ways God has worked through my time in Wisconsin, and especially through the Northwoods Beach Children's Club, but please take my word for it: God is a gracious God, eager to show Himself strong on behalf of those who hearts are "perfect toward Him". (Actually, don't take my word for it; take His Word!) So often, there is a discipline problem to which we have no solution, but He comes through. I have found myself countless times clueless as to a lesson for the evening, and He gives me one. From finding a place to meet with the children and people to help with the activities, to giving us a Flannelgraph and children eager to come, God has taught me much of His faithfulness.

Even beyond the children's ministry, I've been blessed. It has been good to be in construction again, especially with such a great boss and coworkers. The Graber family is (as always) incredibly gracious to adopt me into their family as they have this year. Also, after living two and a half hours from Church, I've enjoyed living ten minutes away—it makes it much easier to get to prayer meetings and get-togethers! J



I also was able to spend more time with my family this year, even though it feels as if I never got up North enough. It is always fun to make bread with my sisters in the morning, split wood with Noah in the evening, and tackle a building project with Daddy and Ben. Of course, often I'd end up just hanging out with everyone and being horribly unproductive!

This winter, I had the thrill of taking Mama (and Dad) to Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis to hear one of the most incredible baritones ever. Going to hear Jubilant Sykes with my parents was amazing, but his being accompanied by the classical guitar virtuoso, Christopher Parkening, compounded the joy. This had been a dream for me, and I shall have fond memories for years to come.



This season of my life has been precious, and I am deeply grateful for the blessings my Father has heaped on me. But I haven't even told you about the biggest blessing yet! On March 6th, 2007, Lisl Graber and I began a courtship. We are both very happy, and amazed at the way God led us together. We have been good friends for several years, and look forward to deepening our friendship in the months to come.J If you want more details and pictures, you can go to my website: www.xanga.com/druseth



So, now that I have a good job, a wonderful family, a special outreach, and Lisl, now would be a perfect time to go overseas for up to nine months, right? Maybe it sounds strange, but that's what I'm doing! As many of you know, I've been seeking the Lord about going on the foreign mission field for several years, and He has opened a door to study and serve in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with an organization called Institute for Global Opportunities. (IGo) This is a hybrid missions training/short-term missions program, in which we will spend time both in a classroom and in various work throughout Asia.

The IGo training program consists of two four-month semesters; I may stay for one or both. We will alternate between three weeks in Chiang Mai—studying on campus and reaching out in the "neighborhood"; followed by two weeks "on the field"—traveling in Asia and witnessing, and possibly sharing Bibles, holding Bible camps, working with a children's ministry in Cambodia, prayer walks in Vietnam, as well as other activities. I'm especially looking forward to the training and experience I'll get in language studies, and teaching English in a foreign country.



I have been planning on going to Thailand for almost a year, and again, God has guided and provided every step of the way. I desperately need God to continue to go before me, and desperately need prayer. Jesus commanded us to pray to "the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2) If He calls us to pray before we go, how much more critical is prayer when we are actually in the field!

So, could you pray for me? I know many of you have been praying as we've reached out on the Rez, as well as for me specifically as I've sought His will. And it has made a huge difference. I am looking forward to seeing God continue to work—now as I'm in Thailand—but need your prayers just as much there as we've needed them here in Wisconsin. Thanks so much!

As I make the last-minute preparations before I fly over, here are a few specific ways you can pray:

· Pray for health and safety in traveling

· Pray as I move in to Chiang Mai—it will be exciting learning to know the people and culture, but also challenging.

· Pray for me, as I pack. If you know me at all, you know that I can be horribly absent-minded and forgetful. There will be many details that I know will slip through the cracks, apart from the grace of God. J



As I shine for Jesus in Asia, and as each of us reflects His glory where we are, I want to do this with both my words and my life. This is how Christ did the will of His Father: by teaching, living in holiness to all men, and ultimately giving His life for us. Let me share this little story to illustrate…



Once, there was a great violinist. He was very particular about his instrument, but most particular about the strings on his violin. He would spend hours tuning and retuning the glorious instrument. He spent thousands of dollars to find the best strings.

Sadly, he became so obsessed with having the correct strings and the perfect tuning, that he decided to throw away the body of the violin. Now he had the perfect strings, but there was no wood chamber in which the perfect sounds of the strings could vibrate. The best strings were useless without a humble wooden body.

Once there was a great luthier. He gave his life to creating the perfect violins for the greatest violinists. He had one quirk though: He had no concern for the strings of the violins. He threw whatever wires were laying around his shop on the beautiful instruments, tightened up the tuning pegs, and sold the otherwise perfect instrument to his customers. The perfect wooden body was useless without the right strings, tuned to the right pitch.

Now, this is how we sometimes view Truth. Like the silly violinist, we like to make sure we have all the Truth. We may spend hours studying how to most effectively express the truth. However, if an expression of truth has no life in which to resonate, the beauty will never be heard. Without real, solid holiness, the Truth will move no one. No matter how eloquent the words are, they will just be another twanging philosophy in the cacophony of ideas.

Maybe we are more like the careless luthier. We make sure we have good, clean lives, but neglect Truth. We can make a lot of noise since we have such high morals, but we lack the beauty of Truth. We focus so much on getting the externals just right, we have no divine message.

Once there was a Man who desired to create beautiful music. He fashioned for Himself a violin like no other, because he was the Master Luthier. He carefully wound strings that could produce sweet, perfect pitch. He spent hours tuning the instrument to match the perfect vibrations of Heaven itself. Then He took the violin and played. The beautiful music changed the world.





Thanks again so much for your encouraging words and prayer support—you may never know how much difference it made—both in my life and others.



Resting in Jesus,

Dru
 

Wits' End

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See my post here

All went fairly well and my son got together with my brother and his wife, for a few minutes. After my son gave up the cell phone and got into secured area he was going to call the girl he is courting, basically fiancée. However she is living in Idaho right now, teaching school. So though her number is programed in his cell phone it isn't in his head or on paper. He, as well as she, were very unhappy. Any tips on calling cheaply from Chiang Mai to Idaho?
Thanks
He is hoping to use Google talk. Maybe Skype. Any other suggestions?
 
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