In early December, after travelling around the world for almost 6 months, we decided to find a base and a new ‘home’ of sorts. We do feel very fortunate to have had this experience and it’s been eye-opening.
We had been moving from place to place every 2 or 3 days and realised that as wonderful an experience as it had been to travel and see Southeast Asia over the last 3 months, we both needed to settle in one place for a while. We’re both working on projects (check out Rocket Women!) that needed more of our attention. I’d also unfortunately been quite ill and bed-ridden for a few weeks in Indonesia whilst on the Gili Islands, due to a nasty parasite. So our hunt for a new temporary home began.
Chiang Mai is in the north of Thailand, making it cooler than other parts of Southeast Asia in the winter months. Usually it’s around 30 degree Celsius during the day and 14 degrees Celsius at night (apart from a recent cold snap in Asia).
It also has a thriving digital nomad community with excellent internet connectivity (100 Mbps download & upload speed at CAMP), great co-working places (have a look at CAMP at Maya mall), amazing (and cheap) Thai food, excellent modern healthcare (after getting ill on a tiny island without a hospital or a permanent doctor, I now care about this a great deal!) and is an easy place to find a temporary apartment. We ended up renting one for 3 months, between the Old Town and the ‘trendy’ university area of Nimman, an easy walk to both.
It’s been a fantastic 3 months, interspersed with a 2 week trip to Cambodia. Coming to Chiang Mai was just what we needed and we’ll be sad to say goodbye before we go to the UK in February. We’ve been working on our projects each day and eating Mango with Sticky Rice to our heart’s delight. We ended up renting a studio apartment that’s almost as large as my old apartment in Germany. The difference is this one is less than a tenth of the cost per month, at just under £130 per month, including utilities (internet, water, electricity). We used this fantastic list of apartments to find one when we arrived and found an available apartment within a day.
Chiang Mai is a great place to be from October to mid-February. The rainy season is prior to October and from February the smog season starts, mainly caused by the burning of land. A lot of expats in Chiang Mai leave around this time to go to the gorgeous islands in the south of Thailand for example or elsewhere before returning in the autumn.
Overall, if you’re looking for a place in Southeast Asia to be based from for a few months, then Chiang Mai might just be it!