Bangkok has a raw urban-jungle fast-paced environment.
Many foreigners prefer a place more subdued and green. If you're a relaxed type of guy, then you must consider Chiang Mai as a 'must-stop' Thai city to visit.
Chiang Mai is Thailand's second-largest city. Nestled amongst the country's highest mountain, Chiang Mai has a cooler temperature. It attracts international travelers who want to visit exclusive attractions such as the Elephant Nature Park, Bua Thong Waterfalls, and the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep shrine.
Thailand is renowned for its warm climate, sunny beaches, and lush mountain terrain.
But not everybody can stand the country's constant heat. Chiang Mai is your answer if you're seeking a more moderate climate.
Chiang Mai is a leading major city in Thailand and only 364 miles from Bangkok.
Both cities enjoy a tropical wet and dry/ savanna climate. But Chiang Mai has an average temperature which is 4.3°F (2.4 °C) cooler, a primary reason for so many ex-pats choosing the city for a permanent home.
This great city receives 12.3 inches (313 mm) less annual rainfall and has 4.1% lower humidity than Bangkok.
If there's a Thai city that rivals the popularity of Bangkok, then it's Chiang Mai.
The most pleasant average temperatures are November, December, and January. If you're a single guy from a cool country, then aim to stay in Chiang Mai during these months.
Incidentally, December, January, February, and March coincide with the region's driest period.
Many of our North European members prefer traveling to Chiang Mai during these four months.
Doi Inthanon is Thailand's highest mountain peak, at an elevation of 2,565 meters above sea level.
The towering mountain has chilly breezes allowing the hill-tribe farmers to grow temperate climate fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Doi Inthanon isn't the only cool mountain you can explore, far away from Thailand's usual heat. East of Chiang Mai city is the luscious Mae On district. North of Chiang Mai lay the country's third-highest mountain - Doi Luang Chiang Dao.
Go exploring at Chiang Mai and stay frosty.
The cost of living plays a significant role in where you eventually decide to travel or live.
|Rent Per Month||Bangkok||Chiang Mai||Difference|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||21,300 ฿||13,080 ฿||-38.59%|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||10,423 ฿||8,964 ฿||-14.00%|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||57,902 ฿||25,400 ฿||-56.13%|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre||26,821 ฿||15,909 ฿||-40.69%|
Bangkok has always been a high-priced city. Thailand's capital attracts tourists and Thai girls alike.
But Chiang Mai has considerably lower pricing across the board, including condo rentals, which are as much as 56% more affordable.
Our friend Jim moved from a modest Bangkok condominium to an outer suburb Chiang Mai house recently. The fully furnished home was newly renovated and situated on a sizeable plot of land. Jim ended up saving more than 50% on the price he was paying in Bangkok.
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||70 ฿||55 ฿||-21.43%|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||816 ฿||600 ฿||-26.51%|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||125 ฿||120 ฿||-4.00%|
|Cappuccino (regular)||67 ฿||62 ฿||-7.47%|
|Rice (white), (1kg)||40 ฿||26 ฿||-34.11%|
|Apples (1kg)||91 ฿||69 ฿||-23.79%|
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||750 ฿||500 ฿||-33.33%|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)||57 ฿||53 ฿||-7.52%|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||129 ฿||106 ฿||-17.81%|
|Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)||150 ฿||145 ฿||-3.33%|
|Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment||2,915 ฿||2,139 ฿||-26.61%|
|Sports And Leisure|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||2,035 ฿||1,178 ฿||-42.10%|
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)||291 ฿||147 ฿||-49.35%|
|Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat||250 ฿||180 ฿||-28.00%|
If you're a foreigner looking for a permanent or semi-permanent place to 'hang your hat,' you certainly do have Chiang Mai on your list.
It makes sound economic sense to extend your financial future with cheaper (and better) accommodations.
What if I told you that Chiang Mai is packed full of attractions you're unlikely to see elsewhere in Thailand?
Let's take a look at five of my top picks everywhere visiting foreigner needs to check out:-
Many people have the mindset that Thailand exploits elephants. In impoverished country areas, elephants are for heavy manual labor.
But the 'Save Elephant Foundation' is exclusive to Chiang Mai, and how it genuinely helps many unfortunate pachyderms have a new lease on life.
The Foundation's cause is a magical one. The Foundation provides multidisciplinary training for elephant keepers, guides, and unemployed people as well.
Save Elephant Foundation is a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand's captive elephant population.
They have a multifaceted approach involving:-
Visitors can spend a day volunteering with the elephants, feeding them, and bathing them in the river. Most of the elephants are rescues, having suffered as show or labor animals.
A day here is an eye-opening experience - you get to spend time up close with the elephants, plus learn about their plight.
Save Elephant Foundation is also known as the Elephant Nature Park.
Thai people and foreigners love the Bua Thong Waterfalls.
The falls are about an hour away from Chiang Mai, and it's an easy trip to make on a scooter. I've preferred to rent a taxi for half a day for convenience.
What makes Bua Thong so unique is the 'otherworldly' feel you get when first viewed.
You experience climbing up and down waterfalls that aren't slippery. It isn't easy to explain.
Bua Thong is a small and beautiful, multi-tiered waterfall made of limestone and mineral deposits. The limestone creates enough friction to stop you from slipping, though there are still ropes to help you along the way.
The Bua Thong Waterfalls aren't heavy visited even by the local Thais, so your Chiang Mai girlfriend will love the experience as much as you will.
Entry is free, and lockers are available for 20 baht. Since there's water, bring a change of clothes and a waterproof bag for phones and cameras.
If you are looking for a tranquil area to relax, Huay Tung Tao Lake offers surroundings to take your breath away.
Huay Tung Tao is a vast lake of calm water surrounded by lush green foliage interspersed with bamboo bungalows and restaurants. You won't find anything comparable in or near Bangkok.
The lake is a 20-minute drive from downtown Chiang Mai. You can feed the fish in the lake and visit the King Kong park and see other statues that dot the area.
The area is popular with Chiang Mai locals since there are so many selfie spots - Thai people love their photos taken in different exciting places.
Plan a half-day trip, stroll casually around the four-kilometer circumference, stop to take in the views from the comfort of the bamboo clusters of restaurants.
Be prepared to participate in the many selfie photos your girlfriend will want to snap, lol.
There is a minor entrance fee of 20 baht for tourists, and free parking is available once you're inside. Alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks are available. They also have western and Thai toilets so take your pick.
If you want a quiet, authentic, low-key day trip with your Thai girl, then this is the spot for the two of you.
I've only touched the surface of exclusive Chiang Mai attractions, though.
Chiang Mai is Thailand's second city and was once the Lanna Kingdom's capital, hence the food reference.
Due to the colder, mountainous climate, the food in and around Chiang Mai is fattier as people need to stay warm.
This slow-cooked curry of pork (usually belly and shoulder) is a 'must-have' local district dish.
Gaeng Hang Lay Moo has flavors of ginger, tamarind, and Indian spices. The pork is tender and falls apart at the touch.
I've never found a better Thai restaurant for authentic Gaeng Hang Lay Moo than Chiang Mai. And you can discover simmering bowls of this delicacy in local markets.
Price and Pro Tip: 60 baht for one serving of Gaeng Hang Lay Moo - eat this dish in the Northern Thai way with sticky rice.
The most famous Chiang Mai food is arguably Khao Soi, made with a rich and spicy coconut curry and served with chicken or beef and two yellow noodles.
Khao Soi made its way to Thailand with Chinese Yunnanese Muslim traders, which is why it's found primarily in Northern Thailand.
This exquisite dish has a mix of red curry paste, turmeric powder, and curry powder. The coconut curry broth has boiled and deep-fried egg noodles and chicken or beef. I prefer the Chicken Khao Soi variety.
Price and Pro Tip: 30 - 40 baht for one serving of Khao Soi - ask for a larger serving and only pay 5 - 10 baht more. You'll be glad you did.
This noodle soup starts with vermicelli-style rice noodles in a broth of pork, spice paste, herbs, and tomatoes. Pork is usually the main ingredient, with cubes of dried chicken blood.
Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiaw (also spelled Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao) is another renowned Chiang Mai noodle dish.
Many foreigners turn up their noses at chicken blood. It's an unusual ingredient that takes some people time to acquire a taste.
Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiaw can range from spicy to meaty and savory flavors. Accompanying sides are pickled cabbage, bean sprouts, and fresh lime wedges, which will liven up the soup.
Price and Pro Tip: 40 - 50 baht for one serving of Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiaw - the best we have found in Chiang Mai is the Noodle Soup Lady at the Warorot Market.
If you have peanut allergies, please avoid this dish.
Many Chiang Mai foods have a Burmese cuisine influence. 'Burmese Tea Leaf Salad' is a dish you must try in Chiang Mai.
The salad is full of crunchy textures and has pickled tea leaves, crisp and roasted peanuts and other crunchy beans, toasted sesame seeds, and fried garlic.
Thai people use only the best-harvested tea leaf (laphet thoke); when freshly making this tea leaf salad.
Price and Pro Tip: 40 baht for one serving of Burmese Tea Leaf Salad - try the dish at Nong Bee's Burmese Restaurant and Library
Sai Oua (or Sai Ua) are fragrant sausages found in northern Thailand.
'Sai Ua' literally means to stuff intestines with minced pork, Thai herbs, and a chili mixture. Herbs commonly used are lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal.
The street vendor will grill the raw sausage until it is golden orange-brown.
You will find Sai Oua at street stalls and markets throughout Chiang Mai city.
Many years ago, I always enjoyed an excellent old-fashioned sausage-sizzle.
When you wander through Chiang Mai's 'Ton Payom Market' or the 'Mae Hia fresh market,' you'll get to experience what a Thai' sausage sizzle' is.
The grill master can be seen furiously chopping up a few meters of freshly grilled Sai Oua. His process is providing potential customers with sample bite-sized portions of this delicious sausage. And then he's back to Sai Oua grilling, and so his process goes all day.
Price and Pro Tip: 30 - 40 baht for one serving of Sai Oua - most street vendors offer samples to taste before buying. We suggest you taste-test too.
You can get all these uniquely Chiang Mai foods all over Thailand.
I've tried Sai Oua sausage in a few places in Bangkok. But they don't taste the same as the genuine article found in Chiang Mai.
The same is true of Khao Soi spicy noodle, one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes. 'CM' Khao Soi is by far the best I've had.
Don't take my word for it, though - take a few days off and get yourself for a Chiang Mai food festival.
People view Chiang Mai as a sleepier city than Bangkok. The pace is toned down.
Women feel safer and are, therefore, more agreeable by nature. Thai girls throughout Thailand are naturally subdued and friendly, but it feels more so in Chiang Mai. Which makes Chiang Mai the Number 2 city that single foreign men flock to pick up girls.
So how do you find single Chiang Mai girls?
Live acts are popular in the Chiang Mai nightlife scene. Nimmanhaemin Road is the strip to head to if you're into clubs.
The better nightclubs in Chiang Mai are:-
Picking up single Thai girls in a crowded, noisy club isn't for everyone. Many Thai women don't have a high level of English skills. With the booming beats constantly pounding, even your cursory Thai pick up lines will fail.
I've preferred to take an 'arranged' Thai girl to the club and proceed with the evening's activities from there. If you've got some Thai language skills and a well-honed 'night game,' then do try the Thai nightclubs.
All Chiang Mai girls want to go clubbing or have dinner out with a nice guy. Doing so isn't a frequent occurrence when their monthly salary is 18,500 baht (USD 610) - there isn't much room for her to afford much party time.
A Thai woman's lack of financial resources is the prime reason they turn to online dating to find a good single foreign guy.
If Chiang Mai Thai women are doing this, then you need to do it too.
Go where the hunting is plentiful.
You don't need skills in nightclub pickups.
You can feel at ease with initial anonymity. Contact as many Thai women as you want and do it when you want.
There is no pressure on you. Be yourself with no pretenses.
Choose the Chiang Mai Thai women you want to be with and from a wide diverse variety.
Getting to Chiang Mai is a comfortable direct hour flight from Bangkok.
You'll find temperatures more comfortable to handle if you're not used to Thailand's heat and humidity. Ease yourself into easy Thailand living and take your time to find the right Chiang Mai girlfriend you have always wanted.
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What are the best Chiang Mai tourist attractions?
What are the best nightclubs in Chiang Mai?
Which exclusively Chiang Mai food should I try?
Author: Martin Cooney
Enjoying Life in Asia/Pacific
Hi, my name is Martin. I have many friends in and traveled throughout the Asia/Pacific regions for the past 17 years. I am passionate in helping others with my insight and past adventures.
I hope you enjoy the stories I write and take a little something away from them. I've contributed to over 160 posts on travel, dating, marriage and relationships.