Chiang Mai


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Chiang Mai, Thailand


 Chiang Mai is the hub of Northern Thailand. With a population of over 170,000 in the city proper (but more than 1 million in the metropolitan area), it is Thailand's fifth-largest city. Located on a plain at an elevation of 316 m, surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, it is much greener and quieter than the capital, and has a cosmopolitan air and a significant expat population, factors which have led many from Bangkok to settle permanently in this "Rose of the North".

Because of Chiang Mai's northern location and moderate elevation, the city has a more temperate climate than that of the south.
There are three distinct seasons: A cool season from November to February, a hot season from March to June, and a wet season from July to October.


Chiang Mai International Airport handles both domestic and regional international flights. The airport is some 3 km south-west of the city centre, only 10-15 minutes away by car.

A variety of daily buses leave frequently from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit), offering varying choices of price, comfort and speed.

Services from Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station leave on a regular daily schedule and take 12-15 hours to reach Chiang Mai.

Once inside the city, you can get around on songthaew. These covered pick-up trucks have two long bench seats in the back (songthaew means "two rows" in Thai), ply fixed routes or to any destination, picking up passengers enroute who are going the same way.

Tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaws) are a quick, though noisy way to get around. A few samlor (three-wheeled bicycles) still cruise the streets and will take you to your destination for the same price as a tuk-tuk, and are far less noisy.Traditional taxicabs are also available.
Or, you may want to rent a scooter (moped) or a motorcycle) as a cheap convenient way to get around.

The many temples (over 300) and the historic Old City are the sights most tourists wish to visit in Chiang Mai. There are also many art galleries and exhibitions in Chiang Mai, featuring contemporary artwork of both local Thai and Myanmar artists.

In recent years, Chiang Mai has become an increasingly modern city and has been attracting over 5 million visitors each year, of which between 1.4 million and 2 million are foreign tourists.

The inhabitants speak Kham Muang (also known as Northern Thai or Lanna) among themselves, though Central Thai is used in education and is understood by everyone. English is used in hotels and travel-related businesses and many educated people speak English.

 An increasing number of foreigners are now living in Chiang Mai, and for good reason. Chiang Mai has been rated among the top 10 most liveable cities in Asia. It has a laid back atmosphere, enjoys a mild climate most of the year, and, above all, is very affordable. The Northern Thais are agreeable people and don't mind sharing their wonderful city, and particularly if it helps the local economy. 

Whether you intend to visit Thailand for a holiday, or stay permanently in Chiang Mai, a visa of some sorts will be needed. For many nationals a visa waiver is issued upon arrival, though those wishing to reside here for more than a couple of months need to go through the visa process.

There are several options open to expats. Tourist visas can give you up to six months; beyond that, a non-immigrant visa is required, certainly if you wish to work. Taking a course, such as Thai language or TEFL, also opens the opportunity to obtain a long-stay visa.

Chiang Mai has become one of Thailand’s fastest growing property markets, attracting both local and international buyers. Real estate in Chiang Mai offers excellent value in both condos and houses. The growing Chiang Mai property industry is supported by professional estate agents who are glad to assist in the process of buying property.

Chiang Mai is such an agreeable place that many want to stay, and teaching English in Chiang Mai is one realistic way to do so.In order to secure a work permit, the Thai manpower department will want to see proof of a degree or equivalent. Some teachers volunteer or accept low paying, jobs teaching underprivileged or refugee children, while others occasionally find positions in regular Thai schools.
If you are serious about teaching English in Thailand, you are also strongly advised to take a decent TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course.


More than 20,000 foreigners from dozens of countries have settled in Chiang Mai, enjoying a well-established network of services, schools, shops and social circles.


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Chiang Mai

Exploring Chiang Mai
Living in Chiang Mai
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