Why I Love Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand

People always ask why I live in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

My response is always the same: “because it’s awesome!”

Then, I go on to explain that it’s a great place to explore your dreams and passions.

I love being surrounded by monks at all times in Chiang Mai
I love being surrounded by monks at all times in Chiang Mai

Making a home in Chiang Mai, Thailand

My wife, Carrie, and I stopped in Chiang Mai for two weeks so she could take a Thai massage course.

That was in May of 2012.

We stayed until December, 2013

 

There's nothing like looking into the night sky and seeing a fiery lantern raising towards the stars.
There’s nothing like looking into the night sky and seeing a fiery lantern raising towards the stars.

Life in Chiang Mai

In the year since, we have made friends, rented homes, explored the countryside on a scooter, hosted guests, feasted on Thai food and embraced the chance to work on that which interests us most.

For me, those interests include my photography, storytelling and this Web site.

For Carrie, that’s yoga, meditation, energy work and spiritual healing.

 

My photography has appeared in two exhibitions in Chiang Mai
My photography has appeared in two exhibitions in Chiang Mai

 

Carrie had the wonderful opportunity to teach Yoga and Reiki at a wellness center named Sankara. This was her first class ever.
Carrie had the wonderful opportunity to teach Yoga and Reiki at a wellness center named Sankara. This was her first class ever.

A community of dreamers

Once you get past the bar and backpacker scene, there is an amazing community of alternative-thinking people living their lives according to their own rules.

These beautiful people include the dancers and artists; the internet entrepreneurs and early-career retirees; the yogis and healers; the English teachers and freelance writers…

It’s an incredibly supportive, uplifting, active and loving community; which we are thrilled to be a part of.

 

One morning Carrie and I got up before dawn and rode our scooters to a lake with our friend Caroline. This is them performed sun salutations at sunrise.
One morning Carrie and I got up before dawn and rode our scooters to a lake with our friend Caroline. This is them performed sun salutations at sunrise.

 

We were finally the hosts when we threw a New Years Eve party
We were finally the hosts when we threw a New Years Eve party

 

Caz is our bestie.
Caz is our bestie.

 

Just relax, lay in a circle and let the gentle sounds of RJ and his healing bowls lull you into another world
Just relax, lay in a circle and let the gentle sounds of RJ and his healing bowls lull you into another world

 

This is Yoga Tree: one of Carrie's favorite places in Chiang Mai. They often have events, such as this Kirtan concert that later had everyone up and dancing without inhibition
This is Yoga Tree: one of Carrie’s favorite places in Chiang Mai. They often have events, such as this Kirtan concert that later had everyone up and dancing without inhibition

I get to eat Thai food every day!

No more having to choose between Pad Thai or curry… one can be lunch and the other dinner.

Or, I can eat both in one meal. An average plate only costs $1 -$2.

 

Yup.
Yup.

 

Our favorite bowl of Kho Soi (the local dish) is in the basement of the airport mall. This statement often causes much debate among our friends
Our favorite bowl of Kho Soi (the local dish) is in the basement of the airport mall. This statement often causes much debate among our friends

We Live in Big Beautiful Thai Houses

Chiang Mai, Thailand, is cheap. Like, really cheap.

You can get a studio apartment for $100 per month.

However, for just a few hundred more, Carrie and I have rented entire houses.

One of them even came with a live-in maid.

 

My office doubled as the guest bedroom
My office doubled as the guest bedroom

 

On a few occasions, we actually convinced Naa, the housekeeper, to cook with us
On a few occasions, we actually convinced Naa, the housekeeper, to cook with us

 

Carrie in our living room during our New Year's Eve party
Carrie in our living room during our New Year’s Eve party

 

Our bedroom
Our bedroom

 

Our sink at the Pink House with our water jug of drinkable water for 25 baht per jug - 83 cents
Our sink at the Pink House with our water jug of drinkable water for 25 baht per jug – 83 cents

A Series of Amazing Opportunities

Since deciding to stay-put in Chiang Mai, I have dedicated myself to photography and this Web site.

As a result of following my dream, some amazing opportunities have come my way.

These are a few of my favorites.

 

I had the opportunity to teach Photoshop to Burmese refugees with the Burma Rights Network
I had the opportunity to teach Photoshop to Burmese refugees with the Burma Rights Network

 

Seven of my photographs appeared in the Spiritual Life Asia exhibition at the Silver Temple in Chiang Mai
Seven of my photographs appeared in the Spiritual Life Asia exhibition at the Silver Temple in Chiang Mai

 

I created my first postcards and am currently selling them in my friend's souvenir shop in a Chiang Mai museum.
I created my first postcards and am currently selling them in my friend’s souvenir shop in a Chiang Mai museum.

 

 I led photo tours around Chiang Mai as a part of my friend Allan's Chiang Mai Day of Photography business
I led photo tours around Chiang Mai as a part of my friend Allan’s Chiang Mai Day of Photography business

Photographers and Digital Nomads Unite!

Being a digital nomad and working primarily online or behind a camera can be a bit isolating.

Fortunately, in Chiang Mai, there are lots of other people doing the same thing and we all love getting together and sharing common interests over a cold Chang beer.

 

I am a part of the Chiang Mai Photographic Group, which meets every two weeks. In 2013, we also put on a huge photo exhibition at the Airport Plaza mall, which was seen by thousands of people every day.
I am a part of the Chiang Mai Photographic Group, which meets every two weeks. In 2013, we also put on a huge photo exhibition at the Airport Plaza mall, which was seen by thousands of people every day.

 

From bloggers to app creators, designers, photographers and work-abroad'ers, the Chiang Mai Business Group welcomes entrepreneurs from all over the world to our semi-regular meetings
From bloggers to app creators, designers, photographers and work-abroad’ers, the Chiang Mai Business Group welcomes entrepreneurs from all over the world to our semi-regular meetings

Smiles, Produce and Souvineers at Local Markets

Going to local markets is one of my absolute favorite activities in Chiang Mai.

Smiles and laughter always accompany our visits, as Carrie and I communicate using 1% Thai language and 99% pantomime: aka, the universal language.

 

Just one of the many smiles that we get every time we go to a local market in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Just one of the many smiles that we get every time we go to a local market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

The Sunday Walking Street Market is a feast for the eyes and stomach, but a nightmare for the claustrophobic hiding inside all of us
The Sunday Walking Street Market is a feast for the eyes and stomach, but a nightmare for the claustrophobic hiding inside all of us

 

How much do you think all this fresh produce would cost back home? In Chiang Mai's local markets, it costs $13
How much do you think all this fresh produce would cost back home? In Chiang Mai’s local markets, it costs $13

We Love Visitors

There’s something extra special when we get to explore our new home with friends and family from our old homes.

 

Carrie's father, Bill, stayed with us for 10 days of elephants, lanterns, coffee shakes and wonderful conversations
Carrie’s father, Bill, stayed with us for 10 days of elephants, lanterns, coffee shakes and wonderful conversations

 

My friend and old coworker Susan came through Chiang Mai with her childhood friends.
My friend and old coworker Susan came through Chiang Mai with her childhood friends.

 

Thanksgiving was spent with my dear high school friend Daniel, his wife Queenie, and some of our best friends from Chiang Mai
Thanksgiving was spent with my dear high school friend Daniel, his wife Queenie, and some of our best friends from Chiang Mai

Never Ending Sightseeing Opportunities

In Chiang Mai, you can spend a lifetime looking at temples and ruins, going to museums, wandering the streets, sitting in cafes, watching monks go by or scooting around.

Meanwhile, mountains, jungles, villages, rice fields and and other cities are just a short ride away.

There’s something for everyone!

 

One day, a bunch of us rented a songthaw taxi for the day and visited the White Temple in Chaing Rai - a 3 hour drive each way
One day, a bunch of us rented a songthaw taxi for the day and visited the White Temple in Chaing Rai – a 3 hour drive each way

 

An entire lake is hidden within the Chiang Mai University grounds
An entire lake is hidden within the Chiang Mai University grounds

 

Doi Suthep is the most famous temple in Chiang Mai and one of my favorite places to take visitors
Doi Suthep is the most famous temple in Chiang Mai and one of my favorite places to take visitors

A Few More Reasons I Love Chiang Mai

 

Carrie and I ride a scooter. What could be better than having my wife wrap her arms around me every time we go somewhere.
Carrie and I ride a scooter. What could be better than having my wife wrap her arms around me every time we go somewhere.

 

Having a long beard is completely acceptable
Having a long beard is completely acceptable

 

I edit photos and write my storis on a keyboard with Thai letters on it
I edit photos and write my storis on a keyboard with Thai letters on it

But most importantly…

I get to spend every day with the love of my life
I get to spend every day with the love of my life

Have you ever lived abroad?

If so, what was your favorite part of that life? If not, where would you most like to live?

  • I’ve been reading about peoples lives in Chiang Mai because me and my boyfriends are coming to live there while we wait up to 9 months for our visas to Australia to be approved and this literally made me cry out of happiness, thanks! :)