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An Expat Talks about Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Chiang Mai

How long have you lived there?

3 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

There are over 5000 expat families living in this city. Because of this, there are literally hundreds of programs and clubs to join. From "Little League" to ballet classes to chess clubs to golf schools, this city is a great place for families. Our family was lucky enough to be transferred here for work.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

There are several large groups of people and many other smaller ones. If I had to summarize the expat population, it would be as follows: 1. Japanese families who are located here and involved in the factories in Lamphun (a nearby province). 2. American and Korean missionaries who tend to congregate with themselves in the southern region of the city. 3. NGO workers who are often involved in refugee or orphanage work. 4. Families who move here because their work is flexible. 5. Retired expat men who get remarried and have started a "mixed" family.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Tourism is very large in this city. As a foreigner, many end up buying a business or teaching. A lot of families come here with large NGO or missionary agencies. Others are self-employed and work from home (via the net).

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Chiang Mai is a pretty social city. There are a lot of family events and outdoor places to go. A lot of families spend their weekends at resorts just outside the city.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Rent for one year before buying or renting long term. The city is very diverse and there are hundreds of housing communities to choose from. Make sure to visit all of the 7 international schools because each is very unique. If you have a family, also pick up the Sanook Book (www.sanookbook.com).

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Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
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