Chiang Mai Locator, Chiang Mai Thailand
CHIANG MAI LOCATOR - Leading you inside Chiang Mai

Why Chiang Mai is the best place to live in Thailand

Last edited: May 27, 2014 at 03:58:59

Taste and personal preferences can't be disputed, but Chiang Mai is definitely one of the nicest places in Thailand to live in. Unless you can't live without the sight of the sea and beaches, or you crave the cosmopolitan feeling of a big city like Bangkok, you can find almost anything in Chiang Mai that can give you a great quality of life.

What makes Chiang Mai such an attractive and even magical city?

Here are the top 10 reasons for making it your homebase.

1. Ideal size

Officially the country's second largest city with more than 1 million inhabitants (official figures are not consistent), Chiang Mai is the type of city that is not too small not too big (although some people who have known Chiang Mai for a long time regret that it is currently expanding so rapidly). You can reach all interesting areas in town on a scooter within 20min and they are all cyclable on a pushbike. Compare that with Bangkok, where you'll be stuck in traffic for 45 min to get one block further.

Construction is ongoing for the new Bangkok Hospital, a premier hospital group providing excellent private care. There are already many hospitals in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is rapidly expanding in size and facilities these few years.

2. Great facility level and great food

Chiang Mai offers a very high level of facilities, even more so considering its moderate size. There is an ample supply of all kinds of accomodation at very reasonable price levels, and all kinds of facilities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, golf courses, shopping malls, hospitals, western supermarkets and so on.
As for food, Chiang Mai is probably the city in Thailand with the highest density of good restaurants. You can find almost any cuisine, it's easy to reach and it's affordable. The only food which is harder to get in Chiang Mai is fresh seafood.
Read more about food reviews.

3. Low cost of living

Chiang Mai is one of the cheapest places to live in Thailand, and in the world. Many foreigners live fairly comfortably on a budget of THB 20,000 (USD 600) per month, and if you have more you can live like a king. Read more about cost of living in Chiang Mai.

4. Genuine and kind local people

Tucked away in the North of Thailand, away from hard and commercial life in Bangkok and from mass commercial tourism in the South (Phuket and Pattaya), local people in Chiang Mai are amongst the most genuine in Thailand. Although being a major tourism destination in Thailand, local people generally have kept their original identity and treasure their local culture. On the negative side, one can experience it as having a provincial character, but seen positively you can meet many simple and modest local people.

5. Richness of local cultures

Chiang Mai used to be the center of a regional Kingdom called Lanna, with a distinct culture and separate from the great Siamese powers in the south. As a consequence, the density of local culture is much higher than in Bangkok: there are about as many temples in Chiang Mai as in entire Bangkok.
Conquered and influenced by Myanmar in the past, and nowadays a magnet for all kinds of minorities, Chiang Mai hosts a multitude of different cultures, sometimes living in their own neighbourhood but harmoniously with each other: hilltribes, Chinese, moslims, Indians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs and many more.

Ethnic diversity other than the majority of Thai Buddhists.
There are no tensions between ethnic groups in Chiang Mai, like in the South of Thailand.

6. Suitable for any lifestyle and activities

You can live almost any lifestyle you want in Chiang Mai: from relaxing, chilling out and doing virtually nothing, to an active lifestyle with yoga and focussed on well-being, or playing golf or any other sports. Possibilities to work and do business are more limited, as Chiang Mai is not a business city, but a lot of foreigners find their own work or ways to earn money. Read more about activities and communities in Chiang Mai and how to make money in Chiang Mai.

7. Beautiful natural surroundings and immersion with nature

Chiang Mai is located in the middle of a few mountain ranges, which you can see in great detail when the sky is clear. It only takes less than an hour drive to be completely out of the urban heat, and experience total nature.
However, within the boundaries of the city, there is nature everywhere, Chiang Mai is probably one of the greenest cities in Southeast Asia (if not, in the world).
Local culture respects older trees, so you often see that entire buildings are constructed in a way as to leave a big tree untouched.
Hence, Chiang Mai offers a unique balance between city life and rural life. Wherever you are, you will always be able to enjoy nature, whether it is a lush restaurant garden during lunch or simply the view on the mountain Doi Suthep from your balcony. Mountain view is a common good in Chiang Mai.
Similar sized cities in Asia often do not display this feature, as they are not as green, think about Phnom Penh where most trees are cut.

Mountain views in Chiang Mai are a "common good" and there is always a unique balance between nature and city.

8. Mild climate

Even amongst Thai people Chiang Mai is much preferred for its milder climate. Thailand being a tropical country, it can be melting hot everywhere, but Chiang Mai does have some real seasons and even a chilly period in winter. Read more about climate.

9. Safety and atmosphere

Chiang Mai is one of the safest places in Thailand and you can walk around everywhere without being hassled. There is a very low crime rate. Most crimes related to foreigners happen in Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok. Local and Russian maffia seem to feel more attracted to a 'Miami Vice' lifestyle with beaches and sea in Phuket and Pattaya, than to a mountain retreat in Chiang Mai. Also, for some reasons many foreigners 'jump' from the balcony in these places too.

10. Flight connections

Chiang Mai is, after Bangkok, the best connected city in Thailand when it comes to flights, making it a convenient homebase or travel hub in Southeast Asia. Most major cities in Asia can be reached in maximum 2 stops. Check flight connections from Chiang Mai (coming soon).

Summarized and in all fairness, the only thing that Chiang Mai really lacks are sea and beaches, and that's why a lot of visitors and residents of Chiang Mai make trips to the South now and then to get a bit of a sea breeze. However, located in the middle of several mountain ranges, you can enjoy so much nature and different landscapes within a 1 hour drive that for most people this more than compensates to make Chiang Mai their homebase.


Leave a comment

Your Name or Pseudo
Your Email (not displayed)

Nomad Guides Chiang Mai
Get a 1-year Thai visa from overseas
Tulou Chinese Restaurant
Save up to 89% on banking fees wiring money internationally
Rent an apartment in Chiang Mai
Latest members (All our Members)
Chiang Mai Communities
arafat tutu
100% lost loves spells - marriage broken relationship+27710570936‎
Maama Tutu and Dr Arafat Love and Marriage spell call +27710…
arafat tutu
Traditional Herbalist Healer - love Spell Marriage Spells+27710570936‎
Maama Tutu and Dr Arafat Love and Marriage spell call +27710…
arafat tutu
Success Magic Business Spell Caste Call +27710570936
FINANCIAL PROBLEMS +27710570936 Looking for jobs increase …
arafat tutu
Lost Love Spells - Get Your Ex Back‎ +27710570936
Love spells and broken relationships contact Maama Tutu +277…
arafat tutu
Best Female Spell Caster - Lost Love Spells Expert@+27710570936
Maama tutu and Dr Arafat love spells @+27710570936 This lov…
arafat tutu
Sandawana oil for money/business/lucky +27710570936
Maama Tutu +27710570936 Sandawan Oil and skin: A high conse…
arafat tutu
Expert Woman Healer - Sangoma And Native Healer +27710570936
Maama tutu and Dr Arafat love spells @+27710570936 This lov…
arafat tutu
Noorani Magic Ring Sangoma And Traditional Healer +27710570936
The magic ring or wallet can help in the following: do you n…
arafat tutu
Wealthy Magic Wallet To Bring U Money Everywhere +27710570936
The Magic Money Wallet Doctor +27710570936 has got strong cu…
Russell Strand
שלום אני ראסל Strand לעבוד כבלוגר בא…
Mama Shamie
Lost love spells caster / psychic healer +27737053600
World’s no.1 female lost love spells caster Mama Shamie +2…
Mama Shamie
African traditional healer with black magic +27737053600 lost love spells caster
Lost Love Spells Caster /Spells Caster In Johannesburg,Canad…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai Toastmasters Club
Speak English, Build confidence, Conquer your fear, Master t…
James Graneria
Chiang Mai Social Group Of Friends
Do you want to meet up with fellow peers in Chiang Mai? Are …
Peter Cook
Mahasiddha Yoga ( - Just north of the…
Simon Laroche
Language Exchange
Free of costs language exchange between farang and Thai…
Admin Locator
Couchsurfing Chiang Mai
Weekly meet up with local Thai and Couchsurfers, long stayer…
Steve Kramer
Chiang Mai Fencing Club
Dedicated to the sport of Fencing, playing Foil, Epee, and S…
Admin Locator
Latin Tunes @Meridien
Salsa lovers gather at the Meridien, salsa in style, every l…
Admin Locator
Salsa @Sahara
Salsa dance lovers swing it out on Thursday at Sahara, Nimma…
Admin Locator
Bird Watchers
Regular outings for bird lovers…
Admin Locator
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transsexual group (LGBT)
Our LGBT group aims to allow friendships between both Thai a…
Admin Locator
Monday Jam night @ Boy Blues Bar
Every Monday night is Jam night at Boy Blues Bar Bar. Many f…
Admin Locator
First Northern Thailand Toastmasters Club The Confidence Builders
Meets the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month at 6pm. 053-21…
Admin Locator
MahJong group
Saturday mornings 10 am. Contact Ruth at 085-615-1413…
Admin Locator
Hash House Harriers: CSH3 (Saturday mixed Hash)
Mixed family hash runs every Saturday. Pick up point is The …
Admin Locator
Support group open to those affected by alcoholism in a rela…
Admin Locator
OA (Overeaters Anonymous)
Every Saturday from 4-5 p.m. Please ask the guards or nurses…
Admin Locator
Film Space
Every Saturday night screening at 07.00 pm (Free Admission!)…
Admin Locator
Expat Club
General Meetings on the 4th Saturday of the month, except De…
Admin Locator
Open night @ Sangdee
All are welcome to perform. Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5 from 8 PM…
Admin Locator
Meditate with the Green Papaya Sangha
In the tradition of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. T…
Admin Locator
Pool League
Every Friday at 9pm at participating bars in a home and away…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai Expats Club Coffee Morning
Coffee meetings are on 1st and 3rd Friday of each month Frid…
Admin Locator
Alliance Francaise Films
Alliance Francaise Films: Every Friday at 8 PM…
Admin Locator
Trinity Baptist Church
Meeting for old-time worship and fellowship with Dr. Jack L.…
Admin Locator
Traditional 2nd hand market
A Traditional 2nd hand market - Every Saturday morning from …
Admin Locator
Big Day Out
1st Sunday of every month. Live music and BBQ, 080 1222561…
Admin Locator
New Beginnings group of Alcoholics Anonymous
Open meetings at 10:00am on Sundays.…
Admin Locator
International Group of Alcoholics Anonymous
Chiang Mai International Group of AA meets every morning at …
Admin Locator
Classic Cars of Lanna
Meets the last Sunday of every month…
Admin Locator
Every Sunday 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm We have bats and gloves… ju…
Admin Locator
Alcoholics Anonymous
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. Info: 084-485-0100, chi…
Admin Locator
Salsa dancers
Salsa dance lovers swing it out on Tuesday at Coffee Monster…
Admin Locator
“Informal” Expats Ladies Lunch
“Informal” Expats Ladies Lunch: The lunch buffet at the …
Admin Locator
“Formal” Expats Ladies Lunch
“Formal” Expats Ladies Lunch: First Thursday of every mo…
Admin Locator
Nicotine Anonymous
Nicotine Anonymous: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 p.m., 086-19…
Admin Locator
Quiz Night @ Garden Bar Lotus Hotel
Quiz Night at the Garden Bar Lotus Hotel Chang Puak. Teams o…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai Photographic Group
Chiang Mai Photographic Group: meets every other Wednesday a…
Admin Locator
Open Microphone Night
Open Mike Night at the UN Irish Pub every Wednesday, from 8.…
Admin Locator
Co-dependants Anonymous
Co-dependants Anonymous: Support group for those having prob…
Admin Locator
Friends of Bill
Friends of Bill meeting (General 12 Step meeting, all addict…
Admin Locator
Swiss Lanna Society
Swiss Lanna Society weekly informal gatherings, 6:30 p.m. ev…
Admin Locator
Royal British Legion
Royal British Legion meeting has moved to Basic Line Hotel S…
Admin Locator
Badminton group meets every Tuesday from 2-4 PM at the Munic…
Admin Locator
Judo group meets at the MMA club near the Railways station o…
Admin Locator
Money Club
CM Money Club meets last Thursday of every month. Info: Don …
Admin Locator
CM Geeks
The Chiang Mai Computer Club meets every Tuesday. It is open…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club
The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club meets on Tuesdays a…
Admin Locator
On-location Sketching Group
On-location sketching group: Monday mornings from 8:00-10:30…
Admin Locator
Karate Practise
Karatedo Federation Wado-kaj organises free Karate practise …
Admin Locator
Tai Chi - Chi Kung
Every Monday and Wednesday 8am at Suan Buak Hat Public Park …
Admin Locator
Women's Book Club
CM's International Women's Book Club meets every last Monday…
Admin Locator
Gentleman's Club
The Gentleman's Club for real gentlemen and males approachin…
Admin Locator
Back to Basics Group of AA
Back to Basics Group of Alcoholics Anonymous meets Monday to…
Admin Locator
Hash House Harriers CH3 (male only)
Male runs every alternate week on Mon/Tue. Pick up from The …
Admin Locator
Jam night @ Boy Blues Bar
Swinging music with live jam, every Monday from 9pm…
Admin Locator
Ball hockey by CM Highlanders
CM Highlanders plays ball hockey every Monday.…
Admin Locator
CM Travel Club
Chiang Mai Travel Club gathers at Sangdee every 2nd Monday o…
Admin Locator
Upstairs at Sangdee
Performing artists every Monday at Sangdee. For those intere…
Admin Locator
Hash House Harriers CSH3
Mixed family hash runs every Saturday. Pick up point is the …
Admin Locator
Sri Sathya Sai Baba Group
Study and discussion group for CM devotees of spiritual mast…
Admin Locator
Gay and Lesbian Club
Regular meetings…
Admin Locator
Readers & Book discussion group
Monthly over lunch to discuss a previously agreed book, cmre…
Admin Locator
Dining Out Group
Once a fortnight, alternating between Asian and Western food…
Warren Lee
Racquet Ball
Though there isn't a proper racquet ball court in Chiang Mai…
Alan and Melanie Kornfield
Circle of Light
The Circle of Light Group is a reading & discussion group fo…
Roland Mogg
Chiang Mai Beach Volleyball Club
Welcome to CMBVC! We are one of Chiang Mai's most active spo…
Amy Dapice
Urban Sketchers Chiang Mai
Urban Sketchers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rai…
Jenny Jung
Maum meditation
Maum meditation is throwing away the false mind,and is Chan…
Skylar Santian
New Life Foundation Thailand
New Life Thai Foundation is a unique international, mindfuln…
Cinlada Srisuparat
WED ZOUK BAREFOOT at Birds Nest Cafe
We would like to invite you all for our regular zouk meet up…
Ken Lang
Tons of Time!
Weight being a problem for us all these days, but truly bein…
Rod Savvides
Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chuan step by step.. Daily weekday classes every …
Claudio Caselli
Yin Yoga with Claudio
Price: 200B - Contact Claudio: 0847 744705…
The Yoga Tree Chiang Mai
This movement meditation practice is for anyone that is insp…
Natha Yoga
Esoteric Integral Yoga
The Esoteric Integral Yoga course is an in-depth course prov…
Soragarn Sangsai
Football Club
Football Chiang Mai - Football fan in Chiang Mai…
Ratthawisutth Klomchitt
Chiangmai AutoCAD Training
AutoCAD for Engineering and Architecture drawing training…
Documentary Arts Asia
Documentary Arts Asia Monday & Thursday Showings
The Documentary Arts Asia Theater has regular screenings of …
Income Tax discussion
How to legally claim tax rebate as a foreigner working in Th…
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Backgammon
Anyone interested in forming a group?…
Elf B
Tantra Yoga Community
A unique course about the extraordinary spiritual adventure …
Chiang Mai Improv Theatre
We are all about PLAY! Come and regress to being 5 years old…
Laughter Yoga
A laughter yoga class and circle at the Yoga Tree Chiang Mai…
TEFL 360
TEFL Courses…
Bambi Rabid
Comedy Workshop
Think you're funny? We're looking for people who'd like to…
Jessie Q
Chiang Mai Jugglers and Prop Enthusiasts
Wanna meet and play with other Prop Manipulation geeks? Lear…
John Bales
Chiang Mai Chess Club
Welcome to Chiang Mai Chess Club…
Warren Lee
Squash Players Chiang Mai
There are 2 main groups of squash players in Chiang Mai. …
Warren Lee
There are a few groups in Chiang Mai that gather for salsa, …
Writers without Borders
If you're an expat in Chiang Mai, Thailand, or, more specifi…
The Yoga Tree Chiang Mai
An exploration of dance and movment, the BIODANZA way, of ho…
Steve XiengMieng
Green Papaya Sangha
Meditation in the tradition of Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nha…
Simon Laroche
Bridge Chiang Mai
Welcome to Bridge Club of Chiang Mai…