Chiang Mai Thailand

Inside Nomadtopia: Getting Settled in Chiang Mai, Thailand

March 7, 2014 |

Greetings from Thailand!

When we left Mumbai, India, last week, we passed through Bangkok and flew straight to Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand. This was partly to avoid the protests in Bangkok (in all fairness, we didn’t bother to research the current situation too much since we kinda had other ideas anyway) and partly because Chiang Mai has been on my list of must-visits for a long time.

I loved it when I was here in 2005 during my round-the-world trip, and after lots of positive reviews from other nomads about it being a great place to stay/live, I was getting super-antsy to get here already and try it out for myself.

So here we are! And we’ve enjoyed the first week so much, we’ve pretty much already decided to extend our stay from one month to two. 🙂

As usual, the first week was mostly focused on logistics, like finding a longer-term place to stay and getting a local SIM card. The photo above shows a temple we happened upon in the old city.

The SIM card was pretty easy (NO paperwork, compared to quite the bureaucracy in India!), and gave us a chance to check out one of the local malls that I’m sure we’ll be returning to at some point (especially because there was a big grocery store there that we didn’t get to visit).

There are a lot of serviced apartments and places that offer monthly rentals here, so we had a fair number of options to choose from. The first day looking at places, we got somewhat lost in the back streets of Chiang Mai University, and quickly (re)discovered it is not nearly as easy to ask for directions, etc. here as it was in India!

When we finally got where we were going, we happened upon a property manager who had an apartment to show us the next day, and that’s the one we ended up taking!

Our place is in a really new building on a quiet back street. It’s a lot like a residence hotel, I suppose, in the U.S., with a kitchenette and small living area, closet, bedroom area, and bathroom. At about US$360/month, it’s the most expensive place we looked at! But we liked the amount of space it offered and the area is much less touristy, so we wanted to give that a try.

We’re in a super-local area right near the university, so there are lots of little cafés and cheap places to eat (and almost no English to be found anywhere!).

If we want anything besides local food or sweets, though, we’re a little far from the action, so we’ve been talking about renting bikes or a scooter to make it easier to get around.

Now that we’re thinking of staying in town for another month, we’re trying to decide if we’ll stay here or move to a place in another part of town, just to mix things up and be closer to more options. Already, I can see the appeal of spending more time here, and of starting to learn the language! (I know about ten words in Thai.)

Supposedly there’s quite the scene of expats and nomads here, but we haven’t really met anyone yet. We’re planning on rectifying that shortly by attending a Couchsurfing meetup. (Couchsurfing is a great resource even if you’re not looking for a place to stay. I met some of my best friends in Buenos Aires at CS meetups!)

So that’s the latest from Thailand! I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into our life as we get settled in a new location.

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