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Changing Chiang Mai: from Idyllic Village to Vibrant Urban City

Thursday , 06 December 2018 ARTICLES

Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Chiang Mai

When mention is made of Thailand’s ever-growing vibrancy and eclectic culture, it is inevitable that one’s attention is immediately drawn to Bangkok. The capital city and global tourist offers something for everyone, providing business, residential as well as lifestyle opportunities for migrants and locals alike.

It may come as a surprise to many, however, that Chiang Mai is rapidly becoming a modern, urban, cosmopolitan business hub for young and digitally savvy millennials . Long regarded as a destination for tourists and retirees seeking a quieter and more culturally immersive experience, Chiang Mai has recently evolved, thanks to a growing urban art scene and an influx of digital nomads. We take a look at the largest city in northern Thailand and the unique combination of tradition and modernity, creating a truly eclectic mix of exceptional experiences for visitors and residents.


A cultural mix of heritage and innovation

Chiang Mai Central Festival Mall

Also known as “The Rose of The North”, Chiang Mai is well-known for its rich heritage and tradition, with historical monuments, hill tribes and sprawling green landscapes. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere of Chiang Mai has made the city a very popular destination for retirees, regularly getting a spot on lists of popular retirement destinations. A key attraction that sums up the rich heritage and culture of Chiang Mai’s history is the Arts and Cultural Centre located on Prapokkloa Road, a public art gallery offering visitors with traditional Thai pieces through educational experiences.

The city is also well known for its vast assortment of over 300 jaw-droppingly beautiful temples. The oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man, was built in the thirteenth century, and is one of the most visited places in the city.

Over the last several years, Chiang Mai’s cultural heritage has expanded to include contemporary art, food and music. The art scene in Chiang Mai  is booming, with the launching of multiple art galleries, exhibitions, residencies and festivals. Combining art with food is the Woo Art gallery where visitors can experience the most delectable flavours in Northern Thailand and pick up a piece of locally inspired mixture of abstract and figurative art from their very own lifestyle shop.

Chiang Mai Hip Nimman Road

The focus of Chiang Mai’s changing landscape lies on Nimman (Nimmanhaemin) Road, a 1.6km stretch chock full of cafés, bars and a range of shops catering to varying interests. One can visit the ever-popular Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre on Huay Kaew Road or for those looking for a more cultural experience, there is the Kad Na Mor Student Night Market that also contains a variety of dining options. The street is also well known for its quality restaurants, providing for a range of local as well as concept eateries.


Changing perceptions

Chiang Mai has come a long way in the course of the last decade, providing for a mix of affordability, advanced infrastructure, and quality of life that’s difficult to replicate elsewhere. These are some of the reasons behind the city being known to be a top location for digital nomads and eager entrepreneurs, seeking out an alternative to Bangkok’s busy cosmopolitan setting. According to the Nomadlist, Chiang Mai is the second best city for remote workers looking for the ideal place to call home.

Chiang Mai Digital Nomad

Chiang Mai has also been selected by the Thai government as one of three cities (the others being Phuket and Khon Kaen) to participate in the pilot of its Smart Cities programme. With its main trade being agriculture, the city has commenced plans to develop wireless sensors for farmland irrigation to minimise water wastage and increase productivity. This will help to  increase employment opportunities for those looking to relocate to Chiang Mai for work in the near future.


Investment opportunities abound

Sansiri Dcondo Rin

The emergence of Chiang Mai has provided an influx of investment opportunities that are ripe for the picking, especially across the property sector. Aside from the fact that the city is attracting more and more entrepreneurs and its popularity as a more cost-friendly destination than Bangkok.Chiang Mai already has a large and growing expatriate population that will ensure that there are a pool of tenants always looking for a rental property.

The upcoming project, dcondo rin by Sansiri, is a perfect example of Chiang Mai’s unique position as an intersection of modernity and history. The project’s design is inspired by the rich heritage of Lanna culture with a modern twist, presenting an exceptional opportunity for property investment. Located at the Super Highway road in the commercial centre of Chiang Mai, dcondo rin allows its residents direct access to Central Festival Mall, one of the most popular malls in the region. It is also surrounded by a host of other amenities like the Chiang Mai University, the largest public university in Northern Thailand, as well as Theppanya Hospital, Index Living Mall and the Ruam Chok farmers market.

With Chiang Mai reaching capital appreciation of an impressive 10% to 11%, and average returns on investment of 5% to 6% over the same period, now is a better time than ever to purchase a property in the rapidly growing and culturally rich city. To find out more about Chiang Mai please click here.

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