Top 10 Reasons I Love Chiang Mai
It’s true, I love Chiang Mai
Now that I have lived in Chiang Mai for over two years, it’s nice to look back and realize that I still love it here. Although the chaos, smells, heat and traffic may not appeal to everyone, here are just a few of the reasons I love it here. This list is in no particular order.
1. Beauty is everywhere – both in nature and human made
Just a bunch of elegant orchids hanging in a parking lot.
An organic farm – part of The Royal Project – right in the middle of the city.
A view of Panyaden School, where I work, through rice fields.
View from Panyaden School
The lake at Huay Tung Tao
Waterfalls at Doi Inthanon
Infinity pools in the mountains – here at Verandah
Lovely boutique hotels in the Old City
My local wat, a one minute walk from my house.
A lotus flower in my backyard.
Also, it has a warm tropical climate year-round.
2. Massage and other types of wellness at an affordable price. Thai massage is available just about everywhere you look. It can cost as little as $5 per hour. You can upgrade a little, or a lot.
Pre-massage foot wash. This was the beginning of a 180 baht ($6.00) an hour massage.
There are so many places to do yoga in Chiang Mai and loads of fantastic teachers. The three places I tend to go to regularly are Namo, Yoga Tree, and my favorite Wild Rose.
Yoga at Wild Rose
Acro yoga at the park
4. Delicious food
In Chiang Mai I regularly get my dinner from street vendors for around 30 baht (this is about $1 USD). There is Thai food everywhere, of course, but there is also cuisine from around the globe… it will cost a bit more than 30 baht. It’s super easy to be a vegetarian here.
Getting late night gway tiao (noodle soup) with Alana at Chiang Mai Gate…
…after our afternoon tea at the Chedi
There is always an abundance of delicious fruit
The best Thai iced tea I ever had
And thankfully there is outstanding sushi that is less expensive here than any other country I’ve been.
5. Easy to be a farang here
It’s pretty easy to be a foreigner in Chiang Mai – there are oodles of foreigners here and plenty of things to do.
Perhaps wade in an inner tube at Huay Tung Tao
climb up the ‘sticky waterfalls’
Maybe get a massage at a spa
Or go to Doi Inthanon National Park for a hike in the mountains
6. People are friendly
The way to react is with a smile.
Kru Neung and me planting rice
7. There is always something new and happening in this ancient city
Galley openings – Lili Tan’s work shown here at Sangdee Gallery
Music festivals and environmental consciousness
Cute and functional art
Go find something new for your house in Baan Tawai
You can see elephants in many places…hopefully they are being treated well
Go shopping for handicrafts in Bo Sang on the way to Sam Kampaeng Hot Springs
8. Big city culture and small town safety and community
It’s nice to have something to do, but it’s also nice to go out and see people you know.
Especially if those people make you laugh
9. Buddhism and meditation
Buddhism is alive, well, and omnipresent in Chiang Mai.
Monk at Chiang Mai Gate market
A monk on his alms round right outside my house – excuse the window screen
Even children know how to meditate
The Silver Wat off Wualai St.
Detail from Wat Nantaram
Making an offering at a Wat Jed Yot
Thailand has some amazing festivals that are both fun and beautiful.
Yee Peng at Mae Jo University
Loy Krathong dancers
Floating away krathongs on Loy Krathong at Panyaden
splashing water at Songkran
Sure there are more cosmopolitan cities with more to do, but for me Chiang Mai is just right.