Life in Chiang Mai
in Chiang Mai
By Heather Allen
A friend of mine has recently moved to Chiang Mai, perhaps
permanently, at least for a year or so. He wants to give it a try at first.
Whilst he is not new to Chiang Mai he has always been a tourist here and so
is now viewing Chiang Mai through new eyes; those of a resident.
He is looking for a place to live and although the condos along the river
have wonderful views and many of them are very, very nice he does not want
to drive, most certainly not a motorbike and he feels he is not ready for a
car. The areas along the river are not necessarily the easiest to get out of
without one’s own transportation, it is true. Other areas that have some
great places to stay are a bit far out of the songthaew’s reach and whilst
getting home may not be too much of a problem, getting out certainly could
So I suggested the Huay Kaew corridor, including Nimmanhaemin. The traffic
is certainly nothing to brag about but songthaews in this area are
ubiquitous. As are tuk tuks. There are markets, food, restaurants, shops,
the supermarket and entertainment all in an easily reachable area from
Suthep near the University down to Kad Suan Kaew.
Getting into the old part of town is not too difficult and getting back may
cost you a tiny bit extra but again, certainly easily done. The Santitham
area is certainly on the rise and the area near Wat Jet Yod is lovely. But
Santitham is a warren of little streets that don’t actually see that many
songthaews and Wat Jet Yod is too far out without your own transport.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if there were some kind of bus that ran along the
Superhighway on a regular basis, perhaps from Big C (the old Carrefour)
along to Tesco, Nimmanhaemin and down to Kad Suan Kaew and back? If only the
authorities asked me where I would like to see a bus, I am sure I could give
them several great options! I recall some story a while back about regular
red songthaews running routes to Central Airport but have not yet figured
out which ones they are. If anyone has spotted one, please feel free to send
me a photo so I, too, know what to look for since I really have no idea at
That said, the transport system in Chiang Mai, while flawed, certainly beats
many other places in Thailand where the options are limited and the costs
high. So, whilst we all complain about the ubiquitous red trucks, let us not
forget that without them Chiang Mai would not be nearly so easy to get
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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