As part of our MYrago profiles, we sit down with some of our locals to find out the most unique things about their country, what they think every traveler should be aware of and what is that one thing that makes them call their city home! This is our way of giving our readers and fellow travelers an insight into the daily lives of locals and also prepare them as they get ready to explore the unknown!
To kick off the series, we sat down with Samart from Thailand. He is a local MYrago Ambassador from Thailand and hosts the Cook in the Thai Jungle with a Monk experience. He is a former monk from Mae Chaem in northern Thailand but currently lives in Chiang Mai. He is enthusiastic about authentic local food and enjoys sharing his knowledge with everyone. He is also a keen hiker and loves to walk in the jungle.
MYrago: How would you describe yourself?
Samart: I need to be on the move and have something to do at all times. I enjoy company and meeting new people so I spend most of my free time with friends.
M: What is the most unique thing about your city that no one (including most locals) don’t know about?
S: Local transportation between Chiang Mai and neighboring provinces is color coded. Yellow cars go to south; Doi Inthanon, Mae Wang, and Lampang. White cars go to Bo Sang umbrella village and Sankampaeng hot springs to the east of Chiang Mai. Red cars only drive in the city and the suburbs.
M: What is the most-touristy thing you have ever done in your city? Don’t be embarrassed, some of the touristy things are actually fun!
S:I went zip-lining which is very popular in Chiang Mai. It took a while for my friends to convince me to go as I'm scared of heights.
M: What makes you call your current city home?
S: I came from Mae Chaem, a small village behind Doi Inthanon national park, but I have been living in Chiang Mai since high school. Chiang Mai is my home because I've spend all my adult life here and have plenty of friends and relatives who also live in the city.
M: What inspired you to come up with the idea for your experience of Cooking in the Jungle?
S: I really love northern Thai food and I love to cook. Whenever I travel abroad, I miss local food and try to cook some Thai dishes if I can get the right ingredients. When I lived in my village as a child, we often cooked in bamboo in the jungle. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.
M: What is that one thing that people should be aware of before visiting your city?
S: When in Chiang Mai, you should respect Thai culture. Don't be rude to the locals and follow local rules and conventions. When you visit a temple, dress appropriately. Also don't walk around the city as if you are on the beach, local men don't go around topless and women don't wear swimming suits.