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Life in Chiang Mai


Why I Love Chiang Mai

By Shauna Pugh

People often ask me why I have chosen to live in Chiang Mai; in truth there is no single reason that would define my being here. I have been in Chiang Mai for close to two years now; I have been educated, changed, informed, awed, scolded, accepted and loved since living here.

Moving to Chiang Mai, to say the least, was not an exciting idea to me. I had lived in Thailand off and on for close to 12 years. I have always been someone who was determined to crack the mystery code of what made this culture of people who they were. From the first weeks in Chonburi city wandering off into only Thai neighborhoods, to the years I lived in Chonburi province, living in an all Muslim town near Pattaya, I just couldn’t seem to grasp the true loveliness these people acquired in their life. I had encountered Chiang Mai only once at this point on a brief holiday trip with some Thai friends, and never had a chance to really explore the people and its culture. My wife being from Chiang Rai we decided to move from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai to start a new business and a new life. We stumbled upon a humble business called Soho Bar, a great location that I thought I could apply my skills and sustain my life while in Thailand.

I had no idea my life was about to be changed forever. The people here seemed to have the root of what made Thai people who they are. I was introduced to so many people Thai and expat alike, most seemed to be so different in culture compared to any other place in Thailand I had lived before, I was now (aware). Being a typical farang living in Thailand I thought I knew exactly how it was done, but at this point I was starting to get educated on true Thai culture, and starting to make the changes necessary to truly be a part of these unique people. At times I was blatantly scolded by Thais, never verbally, but with a profound show of ‘girl you have got it wrong’. I will never be so delusional to think I am Thai, but after so many years I can honestly say the people of Chiang Mai have made me aware of my thoughts and surroundings, and most of all other people’s feelings. I can with no doubt say I am well informed about Thai culture and what makes Thai people so unique. I can from my heart thank you all for what I have learned and for my being accepted and loved by the most unique people on earth.

With no doubt I understand why the government of Thailand wants to preserve Chiang Mai’s culture, and to keep the farang madness out of this awe inspiring culture. From the beauty of the land to the warmness of Thai people’s hearts, nothing could be clearer to me, than what made Thailand and Thai people who they are is locked in this Rose of the north called Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai Mail is publishing a series of articles on residents’ experiences of life in Chiang Mai. If you would like to contribute please email [email protected]

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Why I Love Chiang Mai