18 Oct What’s the Best Area of Chiang Mai to Live
This is a question that doesn’t just have one answer. The best area of Chiang Mai to live in depends a lot on your lifestyle and what you plan to do and what co-working space in Chiang Mai you plan to use. We live in the trendy Nimmanhaemin area of the city, but that’s not the best place in Chiang Mai to live for everyone. Many people ask why Chiang Mai, click here to find out why we choose Chiang Mai to settle down. Here is the breakdown of the best area of Chiang Mai to live.
Living Outside the City in Chiang Mai
This is by far the cheapest place to live in Chiang Mai, and it’s also the most peaceful. The rent is much lower outside the city limits and you will get a much bigger place for your money. The downside is that there are less restaurants, less coffee shops/Co-working spaces, and less options for internet service. This is all easily fixed by renting or buying a motorbike and commuting into the city. Motorbikes can be bought for as little as $200-300 USD, and can be resold when you are leaving for not much less than you bought it for. So if you prefer quiet and are looking for a bigger place for your time in Chiang Mai this may be your better option.
Living Inside the Moat in Chiang Mai
This option is the complete opposite from the one above. What most refer to as the ‘Moat’ is the area inside the old city walls constructed around the 9th century. Inside the walls is a bustling part of town full of restaurants, temples, markets, and a bunch of older homes and apartments. This area of Chiang Mai is typically the most touristy and can get quite busy with lost visitor with maps in their hands. The accommodation typically found here is more basic, older, and what I would call Thai Style. The prices are some of the highest in the city because you are in the middle of most things and space is at a premium. The upside to places in here is that you should be able to walk anywhere in the city and wouldn’t need a motorbike.
Living in the Nimmanhaemin area of Chiang Mai
This is where I live, that’s not to say the other options aren’t good too, but I choose to live here because of the new buildings and the up and coming vibe that this part of town has. New condos are springing up every year in this area, the building we are in this year wasn’t even built last year. Also the Chiang Mai University is close and helps give the Nimmanhaemin area a very University vibe. The people that have been here for years tend not to like this area, but we live here cause it feels like home, like a western city, but you are still definitely in Thailand. From here you have just about everything you need and you don’t really need a motorbike. We walk everywhere or if we need to go into the old city we hop on one of the red trucks for 20 Baht ($0.60) per ride.
Living Around the Moat in Chiang Mai
There are also places scattered around the Moat in Chiang Mai to live, but there are less options for Ex-pats. However, if you can find one of these places it’s a bit of a mix between living way outside of Chiang Mai and inside the moat. The prices will be somewhere in between. The finishes on most of these places will be a bit more ‘Thai-style’, you will get more for your money than inside the moat and being near Nimmanhaemin, but less than outside the city. Here you will likely want a motorbike again.
There are so many choices when trying to find the best area of Chiang Mai to live. My suggestion is to rent a place for a week or so in town or on AirBnB and see for yourself what suits you. And wherever you plan to rent make sure you walk through the area at night to make sure it’s quiet at the hours you want it to be quiet. Thai bars are known for opening up late and being loud until late (like next to our current apartment!)