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Alk

Upcoming trip to find the best place to live in Chiang Mai...

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I will spend two weeks in Chiang Mai in January. I have not been to the city in 27 years, and will be looking to see what part of the city I will be most comfortable in. I'm am recently retired, and will be traveling with my Filipina fiance. I will want to divide my time between being close to the old city for one week, and then outside the walls for the second week seeing if I would be more comfortable living in a location like that.

I would love suggestions for a hotel in each location (1500-2000B per night), and if anyone has any advice as to what they would consider an ideal place to live for someone such as myself, I would be appreciative.

I've not decided whether I want a house or condo. I will rent for at least the first year.

I'm still trying to decide whether to get a car, motorcycle or just use public transportation. I've rented cars several times in Southern parts of Thailand over the years, but I'm a little bit concerned about potential driving mishaps since Thai's drive on the "wrong side of the road" to us Americans.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Edited by Alk

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Definitely a good idea to come and inspect first. Be prepared for some major changes! Thae Pae gate to Maya - allow 30 or 40 minutes after 4pm.

I think you'll find that almost all of SE Asia drives on the correct side of the road - i.e. the left! (apart from the former French colonies).

Motor bike??? Good luck!

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Definitely a good idea to come and inspect first. Be prepared for some major changes! Thae Pae gate to Maya - allow 30 or 40 minutes after 4pm.

I think you'll find that almost all of SE Asia drives on the correct side of the road - i.e. the left! (apart from the former French colonies).

Motor bike??? Good luck!

I'm in the Philippines now, which means I'm currently driving on the wrong side of the road.

Last time I drove extensively on the left side of the road was a 10 day car tour of England. At the end of my trip, and two significant accidents later, I managed to coax what was left of my car to the Heathrow rental dealershp...at 5AM before they opened, so I would not incur their anger (the car was fully insured).

Thanks for your suggestions.

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IMO, you should abandon the idea of living in the countryside. Not becoz of its merits/demerits but the wife will be bored out of her skull in one week. When out of town, one is far too dependent on car to find ANYTHING. Oh, maybe a noodle shop down the road but if i know the Filipina ladies they NEED heavy duty socializing, esp on Sunday.

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I'm not planning on going too far out of the city (less than 5km), but I know some of the newer areas are of course outside of the old city walls... I would like to investigate one or more of those while I am there.

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if you plan to live here long term, I would recommend seeing if you can stand the burning season before making long-term arrangements. Chiang Mai is only getting more crowded, less friendly, more expensive, and more polluted with each passing day. The smoking season is by far the worst part of the year for many of us, others don't mind the cancer particles and it doens't bother them symptomatically (but even if we don't feel something, that dooesn't mean it isn't staying in our lungs forever).

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I think you'll be shocked at what a dump it's become. Take a detour and visit Udon Thani as it's closer to how you probably remember Chiang Mai (except the locals are less dim-witted in Udon).

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I first visited CM in 1985 and then visited again in 2009. As you can imagine it changed tremendously. Now I live here, purchased back in 2009. CM is constantly changing with expected visitors to be 2 million within the next couple of months. Many Chinese visitors and increased traffic.

From my observation and opinion I would not want to rent or own in the old city area even though I do like to visit there periodically for night life activity including eating out.

I really enjoy living near the 700 Year Statium area which is now beginning to get popular with new condo's. It's still quiet enough to enjoy the peaceful area and surrounding mountains, close to Doi Suthep area and Neiman Rd. and the new Maya shopping Mall.

The trip to the old city and Night Bazzar area only takes me 15-20 minutes with my motorbike anytime during the day or night. Taking my vehicle can take 35-40 minutes when traffic is heavy.

When so many tourist are in and around the old city area, yes it's a feeling of excitement but for me when I drive back to my home, it's a relief getting away from the congestion of people and traffic. Once you're here for awhile you will learn the back roads and short-cuts to reduce your travel times.

So if you like living near crowded areas then you shouldn't have a problem but if you like to clear you head and not have to deal with all the confusion then I would consider the area that I've already mentioned.

I also suggest renting a motorbike if you know how to ride. If you do end-up living around my area you will most likely want to consider getting your own transportation, either a vehicle and/ or a motorbike. Relying on public transportation such as a taxi or Red truck can be burdensome due to their availability. What I mean to say is that living off of Canal Road area around the 700 Year Statium you will need to call every time you need to be picked-up by taxi.

Besides, this area is really nice driving with very little traffic when compared to downtown or the old city areas.

Good luck to you and if you have any specific questions you can always private message me.

Best wishes for an enjoyably stay in Chiang Mai.

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Hope you find the information you need. I live near the promenada mall. When I moved here I worried we were to far out. Now we are certainly not.

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Do yourself a favor and spend a few days in Loei....I lived in a Chiang Mai for three years 2008/11 and it's not what it used to be. Loei,is a stunning province and not as polluted and crowded as CNX. Also cheaper there now.

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IMO, you should abandon the idea of living in the countryside. Not becoz of its merits/demerits but the wife will be bored out of her skull in one week. When out of town, one is far too dependent on car to find ANYTHING. Oh, maybe a noodle shop down the road but if i know the Filipina ladies they NEED heavy duty socializing, esp on Sunday.

Depends on what you want. For some living in the heart of the tourist area can become a little annoying at times with noise pollution, congestion, parking and obnoxious tourists being the major complaints. Sure Philipinos like to have their social gatherings, and so that will have to be a consideration, but for me if I had a Filipina for a wife I would prefer to keep her away from the Philipino community. Why, because once she establishes connections with the rest of the Philipino community it will be harder for her to tear herself away from her group to mingle with the general expat community and having her friends around all the time can become a little nerve racking for a guy that is looking for a little peace and quiet in retirement.

Having said that living only just 10 kilometres out of the downtown core you will find secure gated communities with cheap rent and sporting amenities within from swimming pools and gyms to tennis and badminton courts. Sure you will need transportation but you will probably need it anyway unless you want to be lugging your groceries home all the time and sweating in the hot sun.

Some come here to live as cheap as they can. Others come here because they can afford more luxuries than back home. Just depends on your preferred life style I guess. Just my 2 cents.

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If you remember that the steering wheel always stays in the center of the road - it is easier. That said, if living in CM, I would not think a car is necessary. 5km from the Thapae Gate is certainly going to still be city. If you are talking about hte NE section of the old city with all the backpacker style restaurants and guesthouses, you might find it fun to be near, but that you have outgrown it in 27 years - htough you might enjoy wandering around and having an occasional meal there..

If you go out Huay Kaew Road, there are some condos there and it still keeps you in reach of the tourist areas - plenty of Songthaews [pickup taxis] rnning their routes so transport will be easy and cheap and no car needed.

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I'd never want to live in a house in Thailand, the burglary rate is extremely high it cost only a minute to break into any house. Better go for a apartment with proper security only then you can leave with a good feeling. There are lot's of brand new apartments in the $250 range and most of them are furnished, have a flat television, fridge and aircon etc.

A difference with 27 year ago is the city now is completely dominated by cars, the whole middle class drives financed 3 liter diesel Status Utility Vehicles. The driving skills are poor and ignorant but not as rude as China or India actually quite friendly.

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If you have time and nothing better to do, you might find it worthwhile to check out some of the neighborhoods and streets on Google maps. Just about every highway, road, street, and back alley can be seen on the Streetview feature by moving the little gold-colored man from the lower right corner to the very street you want to look at. It can be time-consuming, but also fun and informative.

https://www.google.co.th/maps/@18.7897641,98.9818163,3668m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

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Definitely a good idea to come and inspect first. Be prepared for some major changes! Thae Pae gate to Maya - allow 30 or 40 minutes after 4pm.

I think you'll find that almost all of SE Asia drives on the correct side of the road - i.e. the left! (apart from the former French colonies).

Motor bike??? Good luck!

I'm in the Philippines now, which means I'm currently driving on the wrong side of the road.

Last time I drove extensively on the left side of the road was a 10 day car tour of England. At the end of my trip, and two significant accidents later, I managed to coax what was left of my car to the Heathrow rental dealershp...at 5AM before they opened, so I would not incur their anger (the car was fully insured).

Thanks for your suggestions.

Just a bit of trivia, Alk.

America drove on the left side of the road until 1905.

Don't know why you changed.

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