Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand

We’ve spent few winters in Chiang Mai working remotely and living ‘normal life’. As I got another DM this morning on Instagram again about hints n’ tips about CNX, I thought I’d write these things in to a blog post. These are my experiences and opinions about places I’ve been to, in no way this is definite guide to whole city of Chiang Mai.

So, you have flights to CNX and are planning to stay there for a while? As you might have already discovered, Chiang Mai is rather large city. We’ve been mostly around Nimmanhaemin area there, so I’m gonna focus on that in this post.

In general, I feel like old city is more touristy place with plenty of backpackers and such. Nimmanhaemin area has tourists as well of course, but it has lacked all the souvenir shops and street vendors.

I split this post into 2 pieces, living and working in Chiang Mai. Read about working possibilities here!

 

Accommodation

So first order of business, is getting a place to stay. Like anywhere in Thailand, hotels are quite well listed in booking.com and similar sites, but serviced apartments are harder to find online. For me the best tactic in new place has been to book a hotel for 2-3 nights and use that time to look around for longer term apartment.

In Chiang Mai, we were lucky on the first try. We went thru few apartment buildings and almost by accident found PT Residence. The building itself is rather old, but newly renovated apartments have proper kitchens (for Thai standards) and nice spacious bathrooms.. and good air conditioning! They have another building on the same lot, that goes by the name The Mirror.

We also tried out a room at Baan Thai. It seems to be quite popular building within digital nomad community because of its price (studios go for about 120€ a month), but it wasn’t really for us. Our room there was a small studio, which wasn’t cozy at all. There wasn’t really anything but a bed and fridge.. For many travellers thats all they need, but as we like to spend time home as well, it wasn’t enough.

 

Getting around

songthaews

I was surprised to realise that there’s public transportation system in CNX, that actually works. Well, it works in Thai way. Theres plenty of red pickup trucks, songthaews, that act as shared taxi/bus. You can stop one simply by waving at them. You’ll have to tell the driver where you are going and they decide if its on their current route or not. If they choose to take you where you’re going, it costs usually 20THB. For longer rides it might be 40. If you look like a tourist, they might try to snag you 100, so it might be good to ask about the price before entering the vehicle.

renting a scooter

If you want more freedom, rent a scooter motorbike. Everybody in Thailand drives 125cc scooters, because its so convenient way to move around.

You can rent bikes from almost every street corner, but I’d suggest you get one from a proper store. Prices vary from 150THB a day to 2500THB a month. It is common practice that they require a safety deposit (usually around 1000THB) to cover possible damages on bikes.

For both parties protection, go thru the bike your renting and take pictures of possible dents and scratches before signing anything. Many shops do this by themselves, and those who don’t might realise that you are aware of damages and won’t be so easily fooled to pay for somebody elses scratches.

walking

Quite obvious one, but if you’re just around Nimmanhaemin area for the most of the time, everything is within walking distance. Weather in CNX is also pretty easy, not too hot, so it doesn’t hurt to get those steps in thru out the day!

 

Eating

OMG THE FOOD! No but really, one of the best parts about Chiang Mai is its endless food stalls and trucks. You need to eat, so why not make most out of it.

Breakfast

To start the day off right, get a proper breakfast. I have 3 favourite places where we ended up going almost every day when we weren’t making breakfast at home.

Larder Cafe – Sandwiches to die for. My all time favourite is definitely sour cream and salmon sandwhich.

Smoothie Blues – As the name suggests, their smoothie game is strong. Also my favourite, scrambled eggs and avocado on toast, with banana & espresso milkshake.

Healthy B Cafe – The only place where I’ve got perfect poached eggs in CNX. They have various breakfast dishes from traditional english one to more fresher aussie breakfast. Proper coffee as well!

 

Food trucks and carts

Apart from normal restaurants, which you can find on every side street of Nimman area, I have to mention all the food trucks and carts. When sun sets and temperature lowers a bit, Nimmanhaemin road (the main road) starts to fill with trucks and stalls. They serve mostly thai food, but you can see that western culture has been taking over on food as well, theres awesome burgers at Beast Burger and burritos etc on another truck which name I can’t remember right now.

Special mention goes to Padthai Mustache style. This guy makes the most delicious pad thai, and has his truck usually parked at the beginning of Soi 9. Check out his facebook for more!

 

I split this post into 2 pieces, living and working in Chiang Mai. Read about working possibilities here!