If you get an extended trip in Thailand, or are not interested in the “beach scene,” consider a trip up to northern Thailand to visit Chiang Mai. I was not planning on going to Northern Thailand until my friend temporarily relocated there for personal reasons. I am glad I got the opportunity to experience this part of Thailand as it was one of my favorite parts of my Thailand vacation.
Chiang Mia features the heat of the Thailand but not the dense humidity of Bangkok, due to its proximity to the mountains that eventually grow into the Himalayan range towards Burma and China. A city of less than 150,000 and under 1 million people in its metro, Chiang Mai has a laid back atmosphere but features all the modern amenities you can imagine. Where renting a bike in Bangkok would be intimidating and scary, it’s the perfect way to explore Chiang Mai. If you are more ambitious, you can follow the outgoing roads to more villages and towns in Northern Thailand. The city is exploding with temples, but still features an active bar scene if you’re down to party. It has two large Air-con malls when you need to escape the heat, and plenty of spiritual activities to partake in. You can easily escape the city for a variety of hiking, outdoor activities, sports and wildlife viewing.
If I had a choice of anywhere to live in Thailand, I’d go north. Many expats make the same choice, as there is a thriving international community. The three days I spent in Chiang Mai were a welcome surprise and highly recommended for anyone wanting to see a different side of Thailand