I didn’t have a great start in Chiang Mai at all. I got sick on the first night and needed to extend my stay in the expensive hotel I had booked to stay in for the first few days. To add insult to injury, after that, my first apartment wasn’t very nice either, but at least it wasn’t expensive. In fact, Chiang Mai felt like home after only a couple of days. I understand now why so many digital nomads and expats choose to stay in this town for the long term.
What I didn’t expect was the cold. Yes, it was cold. For one week the temperature dropped to max 13 degrees. Which feels even colder when you don’t have warm clothes and all restaurants and cafés don’t have heating, either. After a week the weather was okay and it got warm again, between 25 in 30 degrees.
The #nomads Slack channel, (the online community from nomadlist.com), was very active and I immediately found a “tribe” and friends. Maria, Steph, Nick, Andrew, Alex and more. I just had a really good time there.
Exploring abandoned buildings in Chiang Mai was fun.
Not to mention the food; the coffee!! The most difficult questions I had each day were: “where am I going eat, and where do I want to get a coffee? The variety of restaurants in Chiang Mai is amazing, it’s like heaven for vegans (and non-vegans, too). Usually I tried to eat one or two meals per day at “Jay”-restaurants, the cheap (but delicious) vegetarian Thai places where a meal costs around 1-3 euro. Eating this way helped keep my cost of living pretty low so that I could save some money for more travel-intensive times. I’d also go to places like ImmAim, Food4Thought, Pun Pun or Rustic & Blue with more “western” prices and menus, too.
Chiang Mai in 2016 my “safe spot”, where I made good friends, ate a ton of good food and coffee, and generally had a really easy time being a nomad.