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Chiang Mai

Pros and Cons of Living in Chiang Mai

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Mar 02, 2023

Summary: The pros of living in Chiang Mai, Thailand include the low cost of living, the abundance of cultural attractions, and the friendly locals. The city is also known for its excellent food and vibrant nightlife. On the other hand, the city can be quite crowded and polluted, and the language barrier can be a challenge for some. Additionally, the hot and humid climate can be difficult to adjust to for those coming from cooler climates.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Chiang Mai?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Chiang Mai responded:

"Expats and digital nomads generally like living in Chiang Mai, for several reasons. They appreciate the low cost of living, which allows them to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. The city offers a wide variety of affordable housing options, from modern condos to traditional Thai-style homes. The local cuisine is another major draw, with an abundance of delicious and inexpensive street food, as well as a growing number of international restaurants catering to diverse tastes. Chiang Mai's thriving digital nomad community is another attractive feature, providing ample opportunities for networking, collaboration, and socializing. The city is home to numerous coworking spaces, cafes with reliable Wi-Fi, and regular meetups and events for remote workers. The friendly and welcoming locals also make it easy for expats to feel at home and integrate into the community. The city's rich cultural heritage, with its many temples, festivals, and traditional arts, offers a unique and immersive experience for those looking to explore Thai culture. Chiang Mai's location in the mountainous region of northern Thailand also provides easy access to beautiful natural landscapes, outdoor activities, and weekend getaways. However, there are some aspects of living in Chiang Mai that expats and digital nomads may dislike. The air quality can be poor, particularly during the annual burning season when farmers burn their fields, leading to heavy smog and respiratory issues for some residents. The city's infrastructure, including roads and public transportation, can be lacking compared to more developed cities, making it challenging to navigate and commute. Additionally, while the cost of living is low, salaries for local jobs may also be lower than in Western countries, which can be a concern for those seeking employment in Chiang Mai. The language barrier can also be a challenge for some expats, as not all locals speak English, and learning Thai can be difficult. Finally, while Chiang Mai offers a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, it may not provide the same level of excitement and entertainment options as larger cities like Bangkok. Some expats may find the city's nightlife and social scene to be limited, particularly if they are looking for a more cosmopolitan experience," remarked one expat in Chiang Mai.

"Like Location great, std of living ok, shopping, food ok, safe place to be, weather great. Deslike Pollution, pollution, pollution, the burning of the fields and the inaction by the authorities to deal with the pollution," explained one expat living in Chiang Mai.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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