Chiang Mai City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 19, 2008

thailandFLAG200Chiang Mai or Chiengmai is the biggest city in Thailand and is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. It is situated near the highest peaks in the country along Ping River about 700 km north of the nation’s capital Bangkok. The city has become more modernized in recent years with a very strategic trade route that exists since ancient times. Total population count is around 700,000 with the urban area containing 150,000 people. There are 4 subdivisions in the city namely Nakhon Ping, Mengrai, Srivijaya and Kavila.UK expatriates will find solace and economic stability in any one of these prime spots.

This is explained in a post at the Thailand Expat Forum last September 3, 2009:

Welcome to the site. This site is a veritable cornucopia of useful [and some useless] info about living in LOS. Most of the expats are living in Chiang Mai but there is still a wealth of information you can glean by going through the various subjects or initial posts – everything from cost of living to medical care to schools for children etc. That and a feet-on-the-ground visit before you decide would be most beneficial. Your children will adapt far quicker than either of you so it’s more about what the two of you can live with as children everywhere will find things to amuse them – and give their parents nightmares. All in all a great place to live but there is a notable isolation from most all you’ve known in terms of the language barrier. For the most part, easily handled as you develop a patois of pidgin English/Thai. Many Thai do speak some English but only barely but again not a huge hurdle so long as you’re patient.

When you’re on this site and see a response or responder you want to correspond with click on reply and that person should be alerted to an incoming e-mail. You will find some on this site that live in Bangkok and Pattaya and Phuket and Isaan but most in Chiang Mai. We could always use a new expat up north!

Residential Places in Chiang Mai

Cost of living in Chiang Mai is a lot cheaper compared to Bangkok. At the city center, there are several studio-type apartments, complexes, condominiums and hostels complete with leisure facilities. Complex houses in the downtown areas include 2 to 3 bedrooms, which only cost around $500 a month. The studio apartments can go as low as $50 a month. Several shops and business establishments are located conveniently near these residential areas.

Residential places near Nimminhemin Avenue and Huay Kaew Road are favorites among UK expatriates. These usually are complete with facilities and additional services with a great tropical backdrop. The Central Mall is also conveniently located very near. Hillside 4 is a popular condominium with a great mountain view, gym, pool and cable TV.

Buying a house in surrounding suburbs is also possible at a fraction of the cost people would usually pay in Bangkok. Moo baans or housing villages are found all around the city especially at the northeastern region of Chiang Mai. More houses and apartments for rent are also found at Chiang Dao, Mae Rim and Samoeing. These areas are very near the Ping River with budding commercial areas nearby.

Hospitals and Universities in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai University is the first provincial university in the country. It is located between Suthep and Huey Kaew Road at the foot of Suthep Mountain. The main campus is just 4 km away from the metropolitan region. It was founded in June 1964 and currently offers various degrees plus PhD programs. Chiang Mai University was ranked as “Excellent” by the Commission on Higher Education along with two others that are also found in the city – Mahidol University and Chulalongkorn University. Other notable universities in Chiang Mai include Rajabhat Chiang Mai University, Rajamangala University of Technology, Maejo University and Payap University. There are many colleges and technical educational institutions all around as well.

The medical facilities in the city are top notch as shared in a post at the Thailand Expat Forum last June 23, 2007:

Medical care is excellent in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. People come from all over the world for bypass and other surgery.

For someone in your situation, Thailand would be especially good because on-going care and home help would be extremely cheap. I’ve heard costs of as little as $3US per day for a health care worker to stay with you full time after surgery.

The Chiangmai Ram Hospital is found at 8 Boonruangit Road, Sripoom District offering state-of-the-art diagnostics, equipment and treatment. Private hospitals include Suan Dok Hospital and Lanna Hospital, which have quality patient care and facilities. Baan Sabaii Hospital is found at 22 Chiang Saidai Road, which primarily focuses on AIDS. Baan Sabaii is supported by Japanese and Christian groups. Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital is a university-based hospital providing tertiary care mostly to patients coming from the northern part of the city. Chiang Mai also has the Malaria Centre focusing on the regional endemic. Dental services are well provided by the Chiang Mai Dental Hospital and Grace Dental Clinic. These institutions have an expert team of specialists catering to various dental needs.

Commercial Places in Chiang Mai

Two major shopping malls in the city are found at Airport Plaza and Central Kad Suan Keaw. Other shopping centers and department stores are located in several areas in the metropolitan district but Chiang Mai is more popular for its bazaars and markets. The Night Bazaar is found on Chang Khlan Road very near Si DonChai Road and Tha Phae Road. The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Building is a must-visit featuring three whole stories of shops with a unique Thai temple roof design. Food, indigenous crafts and arts as well as traditional trinkets and clothes can be found anywhere in this place. This night bazaar sprawls along several city blocks along sidewalks, inside buildings and temple grounds, and in open squares.

Sunday Market opens from 2:00 pm up to 10:00 pm featuring local crafts. Several stalls sprawl along Rajdumnern Road near Tapae Gate. Handmade items and authentic Thai food and drinks are sold here. On Wualai Road UK expatriates will enjoy the Saturday Market just outside the Chiang Mai gate. It is open from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm presenting traditional items and food.

Warorot Market is another great place to shop near Tapae and Chang Moi Road. The outdoor market features clothes, fabrics, food and other rare decorations. There are also flowers, fruits and fireworks sold in the area. Just ten minutes away from Warorot Market is the Muang Noi Market offering the freshest fruits and vegetables in the city.

Try the traditional Khantoke dinner at Khum Khantoke in Chiang Mai Business Park. The dinner includes an entertaining show plus delectable North Thailand cuisine. Le Grand Lanna Restaurant is another great place with a fascinating architectural design on Sankampaeng Road. Brick Road Café is a fusion between English and Thai cuisine serving excellent snacks and drinks. Grilled specialties are served at Galae Garden Restaurant on Suthep Road with a wonderful backdrop of Suthep Mountain.

The nighlife is less raucous compared to Pattaya or Bangkok, but it has its share of delights for people of all ages and sex choices.

Service Establishments in Chiang Mai

Chaing Mai Waterworks mainly provides clean water and sanitation to all residents of the city. The Provincial Electricity Authority and Electric Administration Area take care of power supply, which covers the metropolitan region as well as surrounding suburbs and communities. Telecommunication services in Chiang Mai are quickly improving with budding private companies offering DSL, IT networks, telephone and mobile services and internet. Thailand included the city as one of its four future IT hubs. Transportation services are also being developed to entice more visitors and UK expatriates in the area.

Embassies in Chiang Mai

The British Honorary Consulate in Chiang Mai is located at 198 Bumrungraj Road, Muang Chiang Mai 50000.Mr. Jon Gendinning is the assigned British Honorary Consul together with his assistant Mrs. Panita Inthasan. Office hours are from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm during weekdays. Contact numbers are +66 (0) 53263015 (Telephone) and +66 (0) 53263016 (Fax).

The British Honorary Consulate aims to provide consular assistance to UK expatriates eyeing to migrate or invest in Chiang Mai. All activities are supported by the British Embassy in Bangkok so other concerns regarding passports and the like will be transferred to the main office. Information, assistance and referrals will be provided to willing investors. Commercial enquiries will be responded to as soon as possible to help promote commercial relations between the United Kingdom and Thailand.

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