Chiang Mai is probably the most livable city in Southeast Asia for a foreigner. Good infrastructure, a thriving expat community (conservative estimates put the number at 30,000), and friendly native hosts ensure it will hold that distinction for years to come.
With a population of just over 1.2 million, Chiang Mai is not a big city by Southeast Asian standards. And this, Thailand’s northern capital, retains all the charms of past lives while graciously embracing the present. Among more than 300 ancient temples and monuments you’ll find museums and 7 universities. There are 10 national parks, 12 golf courses, more than a dozen waterfalls, and an international airport that handles 130 flights per day. Chiang Mai is a complex little metropolis with many layers to unfold.
Chiang Mai is a foodie’s paradise, restaurants from virtually every corner of the world thrive all around the city. Markets of every description supply farm-fresh fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables for those who cook at home.
From antique shops to mega malls, Chiang Mai has everything you need to get your shopping fix. Residents here are spoiled for choices when it comes to shopping. You won’t even have to forego your favorite foods or brands from back home, just about everything you could want is available here. Westerners are often shocked by the quality and size of the shopping malls in Thailand.
Health care and safety in Chiang Mai are not a concern, they are an advantage this city holds over most on the planet. Chances are, moving to Chiang Mai will be an upgrade in health care for most people. It is also entirely possible that Chiang Mai could be the safest place you’ve ever lived.