Chiang Mai at a Glance
Living in Chiang Mai
Education in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a great place for expats to study due to its abundance of universities, including Chiang Mai University, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Chiangmai Rajabhat University, Payap University, Maejo University, and Far Eastern University. If you want to learn Thai or teach English as a foreign language, there are several colleges that specialize in this.
For younger expat kids, there is also a great selection of schools, including several international schools around the edge of the city. Some of these were founded by missionaries with a Christian standpoint, such as Chiang Mai International School and Grace School. There are also bilingual schools with a secular approach (Nakorn Payap, Lanna School) and one that has a Buddhist influence (Panyaden School), so you should be able to find one that fits your child’s needs.
Transportation in Chiang Mai
Although traffic in Chiang Mai’s center has become somewhat more congested in recent years, it’s still nowhere near as chaotic as the one in Bangkok. Most people want to ride in a tuk-tuk when visiting Thailand, the quaint three-wheeled vehicles that can weave in and out of traffic. You’ll need to arrange a price with the driver beforehand, but they can be a cheap and efficient way of getting places.
There are also the songtaews (meaning two rows), a kind of cross between a bus and taxi, pickup trucks that have two rows of seating. These are all over the city and easy to flag down. To a lesser extent, there are buses and taxis, too. If you want to travel at your own pace, rickshaws, motorbikes and bicycles are all available for hire at reasonable cost. Driving is on the left hand side. Be warned that certain drivers have a rather devil-may-care attitude to road regulations, so keep your wits about you at all times.
Culture and Leisure in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai has a rich history and a wealth of cultural attractions. Whether you’re visiting for a short term or making a home there, life in Chiang Mai will never get boring as the colorful city has many delights. Wat Prathat Doi Suithep is a highly significant temple, located out in the country and looking down on the city from its mountain nest. You can also see some beautiful waterfalls.
Expatriates living in Chiang Mai can also look forward to visiting Wat Chiang Man, the city’s oldest temple with a Buddha statue which is said to be almost 2,000 years old. There is also Wat Chedi Luang, featuring a pagoda that was once 91 feet but that was reduced to half that size in a 16th century earthquake; however, it’s still the tallest point in the city. At the bottom of Doi Suithep is Chiang Mai’s expansive Zoo and Night Safari, and there’s also the Aquarium, the largest in Southeast Asia despite being at some distance from the sea.