As I sip on a Thai Rice Oolong at my lovely hostel in Bangkok, I think back to this time two months ago. I had stayed in Hong Kong since the onset of the pandemic, hesitant to travel due to strict quarantine rules and flight bans.
Then in April I made the spontaneous decision to come to Thailand. And I couldn't be happier.
Don't worry, I will eventually make my way back home to HK; I haven't left for good :P
Let's rewind to February. I was feeling a little lost and anxious. Tea farms are my source of inspiration, and the reason I love what I do - It had been almost 3 years since I'd last been to one.
Hong Kong then reduced the quarantine for returning residents from 21 days to 14 days, and eventually 7. That's when I said - Be right back, HK!
But, Why Thailand?
Happy me at the temple atop Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai - May 2022
The simplest reason - It was one of the few countries in Asia that was fully open to tourists. Plus I had family there. Fun fact, I am 1/4 Thai - My grandmother on my dad's side aka my Khunya is a Bangkok native Thai!
I had been to Thailand many times in my childhood with family, but never on my own. And never for tea.
I'll be honest - Prior to looking into things, I had little to no idea there were tea farms in Northern Thailand. And chances are, neither did you (I will go into depth about why in another blog post shortly).
When I thought about Thailand in the context of tea, the vibrant and indulgent Thai Iced Tea (aka Cha Yen) came to mind. But nothing beyond this popular street beverage - which, by the way, is delicious and I drink all the time.
Thankfully, I was wrong. With just a little research, I quickly learned that Thailand is home to vast forests of ancient tea trees, and produces a wonderful array of pu'er & oolong teas in the north close to Chiang Rai. There's also a growing tea culture with many modern teahouses springing up in recent years. So, I followed my intuition, hopped on a flight and hoped for the best.
Present Day Thoughts
Fast forward to today - Two incredible adventures in the Northern Thai tea mountains, way too many spicy meals, cups of shared tea, and unforgettable new friendships later.
It's been 7 weeks since I touched soil in this beautiful country, and I am so deeply thankful. To everyone who has warmly welcomed me into their home like family, and shared their passion for tea. I cannot express my gratitude enough.
This trip has exceeded my expectation in every way, and it has brought my soul back to life. Closer to my purpose. I feel calm, focused and energized once again, and I am so excited to share my journey and findings with you.
Look out for a series of blog posts about my Thailand tea adventures!
With love from Bangkok,
If you're interested in tasting my six favorite teas from the farms I visited in northern Thailand, feel free to browse Thailand Tea Mail.
How have you been recently? What teas have you been drinking, and what images come to mind when you think of Thailand? Feel free to comment and ask questions below. ♥