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Chiang Rai has an expat population that appreciates the quiet, laid back atmosphere of this little northern city. Quiet, stress free streets, incredibly friendly locals and a warm atmosphere make a winning combination for those in search of the quiet life. However, Chiang Rai is not the traffic free place of years ago when the only smells were buffalo dung and incense… The two stroke moped and pick up trucks also add to the atmosphere in contemporary Chiang Rai, yet it’s still a better choice than Chiang Mai by far if you need to get away from it all.

The expat numbers are much lower than in nearby Chiang Mai and the westerner oriented bars and clubs are noticeably fewer, making for a much more ‘Thai’ experience.  With with less choices of watering holes most expats tend to hang out in just a couple of popular bars so company and conversation is easy to find. The winters are often quite cool and it’s not unusual to see light coats being worn, especially at night when on the back of a motorbike. That said, as I write this article, it is a very sunny and hot April afternoon.

It’s close proximity to Burma, Laos and the not so distant China make a fascinating cultural mix and many of the street signs are trilingual. There is not a great deal to do in what is an unremarkable place but that’s primarily what most people love about it. Beyond the city limits, there are rich forests, rivers, and mountains to explore with trekking and world class golf to entertain and relax.  Chiang Rai is life in the slow lane for the laid back expat. It’s safe, quiet and clean.

There is even an airport just 15 minutes out of town if you need to go anywhere in a hurry. There are a few supermarkets for the luxury items, all the major Thai banks are represented and the low cost of housing and day to day living make it a very attractive long term option. There are plenty of cheap but clean hotels available while you look for a place to live, or you can stay long term in a serviced apartment for far less than Chiang Mai or Bangkok.

When you are ready, contact us and we will help you to set in motion your dream of a quiet, laid back, lifestyle.


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