Chiang Mai: The perfect long-stay in Thailand?
Why Chiang Mai is the ideal setting for your long-term stay in Thailand…
Have you ever spent time hypothetically discussing ditching your day jobs, selling your furniture and living somewhere else for a change? We have done this literally 34,821 times and we’re sure there is at least one person out there like us who is the exact same.
Recently we stumbled upon this article written by Melissa Ginsburg of Worldfirst. It’s an interesting look at five cities around Europe to spend time living in post-Brexit. They all have their own individual qualities, yet all act is excellent travel bases.
Obviously, Thailand is our ‘bae-destination,’ so we started discussing, “If we were going to recommend somewhere to live in Thailand, where would it be and why?”
After some discussion, here is our four reasons why Chiang Mai should be your Thailand travel base.
Chiang Mai: A cosmopolitan city
Chiang Mai is by a clear distance Thailand’s most cosmopolitan city. There is a beautiful mix between the Thai culture, a booming tourism industry and a growing expat community influencing the city’s local amenities.
As there is such an eclectic mix of cultures meeting, every day can bring new experiences.
With an abundance of beautiful temples littered around the city, there is no escaping the peacefulness of the Buddhist culture. Each temple has its own personality, artwork and style, meaning no day out needs to be the same. Our top recommendation has to be Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Set atop Doi Suthep, you are offered insane design work, unbelievable views & left in amazement at the feats achieved to create the masterpieces given the logistics.
There are also no-end to night markets around the city. As this article by Chiang Mai Best details, there is a night market in Chiang Mai suited to everyone’s needs! Our favourite is 100% the Sunday night walking street on Rachadamnoen Road as it is the perfect way to end a week in Chiang Mai.
In addition to these cornerstones of Thai culture, there is an abundance of coffee shops, varied cuisines, a mix of nightlife ranging from love music to quirky rooftop bars. There is literally, something for everyone!
More than the temples & buildings
As detailed above, temples and night markets are available in abundance around Chiang Mai. If you can find the time to fully exhaust all the sight-seeing activities, Chiang Mai offers a host of other options.
Due to Chiang Mai’s location, landscapes and demographic, the activities and excursions available have grown and developed. Theres an eclectic mix of jungle safaris, animal sanctuaries and zippiness available.
Our recommended Chiang Mai excursions are:
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary: Set up to support elephants that were forced to work for logging & trekking companies. Looks to holistically support elephants and local Karen tribes.
Smile Organic Farm Cooking School: Amazing centre on a Thai farm that teaches participants all about growing of herbs and spices, and how to make authentic Thai dishes.
Chiang Mai Football Club: If you’re a football (soccer) fan, attend a Chiang Mai FC match. There are four or five fan groups within the ground creating a party atmosphere!
Flight of the Gibbon Zipline: For adrenaline junkies, this will get your juices flowing! Enjoy amazing views as you zipline across the Thai jungle.
Chiang Mai X-Centre: Continuing the theme of adrenaline, hire off-road buggies and ATVs to explore jungle trails and meet people from Chiang Mai’s hill-tribe.
[These are not affiliate links, just our top recommendations across a range of activities]
An ideal travel hub for South-East Asia
Situated in Northern Thailand, living in Chiang Mai acts as a perfect travelers base to explore the rest of SE Asia & Thailand itself.
With flights to Bankok from £19, flights to Kuala Lumpur from £39 and flights to Sydney from £150, the opportunities for exploration are endless.
As mentioned briefly in our Thailand recommendations article, the town of Pai is a three-hour journey from Chiang Mai. When the city life is getting too much, it is amazing to have the relaxing atmosphere of Pai within your grasp!
Tourists seeking work in Thailand are at a major disadvantage: they’re not Thai. Thai laws require companies to apply for work permits for foreign employees. Laws state that companies can only employ a limited number of migrant workers. A larger percentage of Thai people can now speak English due to tourism. There is also a general thinking that Thai people have a higher work ethic than tourists. Combined with lower salary expectations, companies are more likely to employ Thais rather than tourists.
‘Laura the explorer’ has a great article discussing this, and wrote an alternative article on why teaching English is the best-bet for employment in Thailand. We are inclined to agree, although as SeeTEFL discussed, finding work in Thailand is all about networking.
GoAbroad.com is a great site for finding teaching work in Chiang Mai, however, not every person is skilled at, passion about, or confident enough about teaching. SeeTEFL’s point about networking is relevant for all roles within Thailand. It just requires handwork, persistence and putting yourself in new environments.
Our proposal: volunteer in the role you wish to find work in. What is great about Chiang Mai, there are an abundance of roles within the province across a range of topics.
Volunteerworkthailand.com is an amazing resource for finding opportunities all across Thailand. We’ve done some research and found a host of opportunities across Chiang Mai. Opportunities that meet the needs of people with a wide range of experiences and passions. Once you start networking and you can begin to develop the foundations of your long-term stay in Chiang Mai.
The following highlights how varied the opportunities around the region are:
Earth Rights: For people looking to network within law – specifically, environmental law.
Film Makers Without Borders: Networking within film and production in Thailand. Educating locals in principles of film production.
Baan Dek Foundation: Networking with a group of people who seek to integrate with migrant families. Specifically seeking to support migrant children, some of whom are orphans or have no family support system.
Care For Dogs: Volunteer with a veterinary clinic in Chiang Mai that supports the country’s struggle with street animals.
Santisook Dogs and Cats: Volunteer with a group that rehouse cats and dogs.
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary: As a a result of Thailand’s ever-growing animal tourism problem, many sanctuaries similar have been set-up. Sanctuaries have been set-up across the country to care for former ‘working’ elephants.
Phrao Organic: Volunteer to get involved with agricultural work in Thailand.
Further independent research will unearth a wealth of other opportunities available in the region.
Drop a comment below with your experience of Chiang Mai!