One of Thailand’s cultural capitals, Chiang Mai is a picturesque tourist destination with its pristine hillside, historic temples and delicious food. Discover why it may not be the ideal long-term stay for everyone.
Cool, delicious and affordable
Located in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai enjoys cool temperatures compared to Bangkok. It features an eclectic array of eateries and cafes offering mouth-watering northern Thai food. Street markets abound while accommodation and living expenses are budget-friendly.
Cultural escapes and green adventures
There are 300 temples within Chiang Mai, including the famed Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Chiang Mai’s location renders day trips to Elephant Nature Park and Doi Inthanon National Park convenient. Likewise, many river cruise agencies, including Mekong Kingdoms, offer cruises to Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle, usually beginning with a Mekong River cruise in Luang Prabang.
Far from the beach
Despite the upsides, Chiang Mai’s biggest downside is its location. Isolated, it is a 13-hour train ride from Bangkok, while the nearest beaches are 18 hours away. If the beach is your heart’s desire, you may get bored here quickly.
Chiang Mai has insane traffic coupled with antsy drivers and the absence of sidewalks. Hence air pollution and accidents are likely. Likewise, from March-April, the city is enveloped in clouds of smoke due to farmers burning their farmlands for the new season. Perhaps consider visiting Chiang Mai before deciding to reside on a long-term basis.