Retired in Thailand & Living in Chiang Mai
Home Chiang Mai has a significant expat community. Some figures put the
number of "farangs", or westerners at 5,000.
Cost of Living Chiang Mai is much of what Bangkok is not. Instead of the flatness of
Thai Visa the Maenam Valley one is treated to ranges of forested mountains that
General sweep northward to Burma.
Hilltribes in colorful costumes are common sights hawking their
Living handicrafts around the night market.
Catch 22-2 And as Bangkok has no definite city center, Chiang Mai's is clearly
Bangkok defined by a moat.
Chiang Rai But similarities between Bangkok and Chiang Mai can be drawn. While Chiang Mai does not have the mind numbing
Hua Hin traffic of Bangkok, it does have heavy traffic during the rush periods.
Phuket And while Chiang Mai's air quality is not as bad as Bangkok's, it is unpleasant at times. Chiang Mai stands in a basin and
is surrounded by mountains. As a result, the smog, partly from diesel exhausts, cannot be easily swept away.
But Chiang Mai is certainly easier to negotiate than Bangkok. Walking, bicycling and motorcycling are realistic
alternatives to driving. Or if you prefer, tuk-tuks are prolific.
A relatively well organized system of songtaews, pickup trucks with benches and canopies, run a sort of shared service
around greater Chiang Mai. Some can be hired much as a taxi service. You negotiating skills will need to be honed.
Management Chiang Mai stands on the banks of the Maenam Ping (river) and quite a number of good restaurants are perched along
A Survey the banks
Traffic incidents or possibly tumbling into the moat rank as the prime safety hazards in Chiang Mai. Although crime does
exist, you are more likely to be set upon by a drunken tourist than a Thai.
Health Chiang Mai has several quality hospitals.
Chiang Mai Ram
Chiang Mai University
Consulates - Japan, the US and UK all have consulates in Chiang Mai.
ATMs are everywhere. Currency exchanges are common
Interest earned on fixed deposit accounts is taxable at 15% and collected by the bank.
Some Meeting Places - Getting acquainted in Chiang Mai is relatively straightforward. Cliques do form just as anywhere
else, and expats seem to be more individualized.
There also seems to be a tendency that ... the more remote a location ... the lower the living costs, the quality of the
westerner diminishes. Chiang Mai has its share of con men and schemers as well as its "characters".
Gymkhana Club - social, golf, tennis
Rowing Club - sculling the Ping River
AUA Language School
Hash House Harriers
Chiang Mai Flying Club
Bars and Restaurants
River Deli - restaurant, certain afternoons
The Escape - restaurant, most evenings
Fillmore East - restaurant, mixed opportunities
Prince Hotel (bar and swimming pool)
Dining Chiang Mai has hundreds of eateries, from noodle stands to Kantoke dinners and all in between. Western food
venues are improving. Fillmore East has excellent steaks. The Escape has one of the best breakfasts in town. El Toro
has acceptable TexMex. Mango Tree has excellent Brit fare. The Pub is another expat favorite.
For a different ambiance, a handful of restaurants along the river have excellent food and popular music. Though they
tend to be touristy they are attractive dining spots.
Hotels can be an expensive option while you are scouting for a house, condo or apartment. It takes time to decide where
you want to live, and then to find a spot. Monthly rentals can be a better option. Many are furnished serviced apartments.
Some notables are (availability varies).
Rimping Condo - along the river, great view, 2 br units, a bit pricey (starting around Bt 20,000) and may require
a longer lease
Royal Lanna - near the night bazaar, rooms and 1 br units, a good quality building. last check was Bt 10,000 for
a 1 br.
Lanna 3 - Huay Kaew Road past Klong Cholprathan (University area), rooms and 1 br
Hillside Condotel - Huay Kaew Road, single rooms and 2 br. Overpriced, in our opinion
Chomdoi Condotel - Klong Cholprathan Road, a 12 year old condo, more Thais than farangs, quality varies with
individual owner. Single room and 1 br, Bt 5,000 to Bt 7,000
Real estate agents can be helpful, but caution should be exercised. Ask around.
Shopping - Chiang Mai has numerous markets. There are several large westernized stores. Lotus, Big C, Carrefour and
Kasem Store may easily become your favorite place. Never before has such a diversity of foodstuffs been offered in so
confined a space. It's near Taepae Road and worth finding ... despite the miserable parking situation.
Thailand is a land of transition. Restaurants come and go. We try to keep our information current, but cannot guarantee
Retirees - what do you need to know that you don't see here? Tell us.
Organizations - would retired expats find what you offer helpful? Tell us.