Chiang Mai, take two

Returning to Chiang Mai, I want to try something new. On previous visits here, I’ve always stayed near the core of tourist activity: the Old Town and the Night Bazaar, a few hundred meters to the east. But I realize that all I see is tourists and the tourist-service places (massage, hotel, bars, hostels, and souvenir shops). This is fine, but what if I want to consider Chiange Mai as an actual place to live, as many ex-pats do? I should experience a different area.

Our accommodation is in Nimmanhemin, west of the central city. I choose this area because it’s close to Doi Suthrep, which impressed me as a peaceful getaway, and because a search of a ChiangMai expat forum mentions it frequently. That should give me a good representation of a possible expat life here.

Although I booked on a hotel-booking site, the place turns out to be a condo, managed like an AirBNB asset. Once past that confusion, it turns out to be quite comfy.

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The neighborhood is quite bilingual, at least: almost every business has an English sign and name, and many have Chinese as well. Across the street is a salad restaurant, with (almost) every hippy-type health food you can ask for, like this rainbow flight of fresh juices. Around the corner, cheap street food: Burmese, Thai, and vegan. Traffic, however, is just as dense as the worst parts of the Old Town. They are building more and more condos, mostly, I suspect, for the many expats I see around. Obvioously this area is very accommodating for Westerners. But if moving away from the city center is supposed to make it easier to breath, it’s not a success.

We have two big excursions to make: one, a return to the lovely Wat Palad, which we enjoyed so much before going to Pai; second, a trek to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.

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