Most expats in Vietnam have to leave the country every three months for a visa run. Even if you purchase a six month to 12 month visa, you are still required to leave and re-enter the country every 90 days with a new stamp. I have not quite been here for three months yet,
but my good friend here was due for a visa run and needed a girl's trip. She has three boys. Enough said. So we decided to turn a visa run into a fun trip, and I would just get a new visa a bit earlier than I needed. One upside of this is we are now on the same visa schedule and can plan little trips every three months!
So we opted on Chiang Mai, Thailand. Most people just hop over the border at Cambodia and re-enter Vietnam, but why not take advantage and grab a cheap flight to some place different! Chiang Mai is in northern Thailand, so it's much cooler than Saigon, with cleaner air! Our poor lungs were dying for some fresh, crisp, rejuvenating sweet breeze to breath in.
in the center of chiang mai is the old city. it's surrounded by crumbling walls and a moat. considering how long ago it was built (in 1296), it's in shockingly good condition. we stayed at an airbnb inside old city, which was such a good location. we spent days wandering markets, temples, bookstores, around the moat, and eating at wonderful little food vendors.
people say there is not a lot to do in chiang mai, but that is because it has a sleepy town feel to it. there is a ton to do, if you're ok with spending a lot of leisurely time doing things like massages, walks, and browsing shops. which we were!
it was a welcome reprieve from the hectic bustle of saigon, and i would absolutely recommend everyone take part in all this little city has to offer.
Danielle Desnoyers is a traveling freelance photographer with a focus on humanitarian, travel, and family photography. She currently splits her time between the United States and Vietnam with travels to other countries as well.