Founder, writer, and startup consultant at Remote Commons.
It's hard to describe why Chiang Mai feels so great, but if you've ever been here, you know. With a great balance of nature and culture, chaos and comfort, it's a place where you can truly relax but you'll never have to worry about growing bored.
Chiang Mai is a Goldilocks city - not too big, not too small. Amazingly, I’m still discovering new sides of the city. It was exactly what I was looking for when I was a recent grad, then again when I was hustling as an entrepreneur, and again now as I’m slowing settling into parenthood. While it feels like a small town in many ways, the world passes through Chiang Mai, so I’ve found the universe always has a way of delivering exactly what I need.
The city is layered, diverse, and pretty in a kind of accidental, mish-mash way. You look down the street and there’s a 7-Eleven right next to an old religious monument. Right beside it, a chic cafe similar to the ones I'm used to at home in Melbourne. It allows you to create the lifestyle and routine you want.
I love starting my days walking around the lake on Chiang Mai University’s campus. It’s lush and green and has great views of the mountains. Now that I have a family, my evenings are spent at home, but it wasn’t too long ago that I’d check out Trivia Night at a local expat bar, do sundowner drinks at a rooftop bar, check out a meetup at a coworking space, or take in the local jazz scene.
In terms of remote work, the Wifi in Thailand is excellent. I’ve taken calls from a houseboat on a lake in the middle of a forest, as well as at a temple at the top of a mountain. Balancing work and play is easier when you can hotspot. I have a dope home office, but when I want to get outside, I usually hit up Alt_Chiang Mai or Yellow Connect for coworking.
Chiang Mai makes it easy to set up a home base. Getting your own apartment here is fairly easy, but requires some effort and understanding of local regulations. You’ll want to use an agent that can speak to property managers directly for you. Booking online via Airbnb or Booking.com is easy, and you can usually make a deal for a longer stay once you’re in touch with the property manager. Several of my friends moved into the same neighborhood, so we have a great little village.
Pong Noi is my favorite neighborhood. It’s only 10 minutes away from the city center, but the neighborhood is green and lush. Accessible hiking trails, a great mix of cheap eats and posh cafes, and cool pop-up markets on the weekends. This part of town has an especially crafty vibe with gems like the Baan Kang Wat artist village.
And one of the best parts of living here - Thai food! It’s cheap and it’s everywhere. Be sure to try khao soi (a curried noodle soup), it’s a northern Thai specialty! When friends are visiting, I like to take them to Hong Taew Inn. It’s a bit kitchy and old, but the food is bangin’. Ozark, and Food4Thought are my go-tos for brunch when I want Western food. My favorite date night venue is the rooftop restaurant at Hotel Yayee which serves tasty cocktails.
Anything else you love doing - chances are, you'll find it here. Bouldering, board games, Bachata, aerial yoga, pottery making, painting, and even wakeboarding! In addition to my work online, I run a pole studio, so dance is my main hobby. I also love to get out of the city and enjoy being in nature. One of the best things about Chiang Mai is that it’s a big enough city to support a lot of culture and activities, but small enough that you can be out in nature or the countryside in no time.