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Moving to Chang Mai, Thailand: About Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is Thailand's 5th largest city and is the biggest city in northern Thailand with a population of about one million people in the metropolitan area. It is situated on the Ping River and is surrounded by beautiful countryside as well as some of the country's highest mountains.
The city attracts 2 million foreign tourists a year and is also home to about 20,000 ex pats from all different nationalities. They settle here for the slower pace of life - it is far less busier than Bangkok and is also much more affordable than the capital or Phuket, so your Thai Baht will go a long way.
Many expats choose to retire in Chiang Mai, there are also a number of foreigners working as teachers here and it also attracts students on a gap year. Here you can enjoy cheaper dining, pick up a bargain in one of the local markets, take part in a Thai cookery, yoga or massage class or go sight-seeing. And with 300 temples in Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas, as well as museums and the chance to go rafting or ride elephants, there is plenty to do in this part of Thailand!
Moving to Chang Mai, Thailand: Chiang Mai Weather
The weather in Chiang Mai is cooler than in Bangkok and there are three separate seasons: the cool season, which runs from December until February; the hot season from March to June; and the rainy season which is end of May until November, with rainfall at its heaviest in September. In March to May time temperatures can reach 34 - 36 degrees centigrade and the heat can be quite stifling.
Moving to Chang Mai, Thailand: Living in Chiang Mai
Rent in Chiang Mai is affordable and you can rent anything from one bedroom flats, luxury apartments with a swimming pool to houses. There are also many English speaking lawyers, businesses and property agents, to help you get settled in.
Chiang Mai has many wonderful markets serving all sorts of wonderful, fresh ingredients including fruit in abundance such as apples, papaya and avocado. You can also tuck in at one of the many Thai street stalls serving up simple Thai food such as noodle soup with chicken or pork. Very often the stalls specialse in only one or two dishes, so the food is usually pretty good. Street food can be found all over the place in Chiang Mai including the Chiang Mai Gate Market and the Somphet Market.
For a lively social life, Chiang Mai has a bustling nightlife and many pubs and bars can be found in the Loikroh Road, the city's nightlife centre. In Moon Muang Road you will find some places where ex-pats mingle as well as sports and go-go bars. The city also has two cinemas: Chiang Mai Vista Cinema on Huay Kaew Road and Major Cineplex (Airport Plaza).
Out and about for sightseeing, the various temples (called wat in Thai) are well worth a visit, but do make sure you dress modestly and remove your shoes before you go in. Wat Chiang Man is the city's oldest Buddhist temple and dates from the 13th century. For views over the city, visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Built in 1383 it is the most well known temple in the city.
Museums include the national museum, cultural museum and the tribal museum and there are also many national parks that are well worth a visit including the Elephant Nature Park which is about an hour's drive from the city. For the more active among you, there are many organised treks to see the surrounding area which you can take either by foot or elephant.