From digital nomads to retirees, the unique vibe of Chiang Mai appeals to all
From digital nomads to retirees, the unique vibe of Chiang Mai appeals to allThe unique vibe of Chiang Mai makes it different from just about every other destination in Thailand. This is why the city attracts people from all walks of life and locations. Local artists, retirees and even digital nomads are drawn in by one thing…October 19, 2021
The unique vibe of Chiang Mai makes it different from just about every other destination in Thailand. This is why the city attracts people from all walks of life and locations. Local artists, retirees and even digital nomads are drawn in by one thing.
“Everyone is just so calm. That is the city’s charm. We have new buildings and other advancements, but the mindset and the slow life people love haven’t changed,” Lazudi Consultant Khun Chatchanok Prakobboon (Fon) explains. “The local lifestyle of Chiang Mai has been this way for more than 40 years now.”
Some believe the laidback lifestyle is related to the cool weather in the winter or the unique connection with nature this region has. Whatever the case may be, Khun Fon points out that it is appealing to people from all over the world. Retirees, digital nomads and even Thai buyers are drawn to Chiang Mai for its slower way of life, along with the city’s culture and diverse landscapes. But there are more reasons these distinct groups fall in love with the north of Thailand.
“One of the other reasons people like living in Chiang Mai, especially those from overseas, is the lower cost of living. You can save money residing here as opposed to Bangkok or Phuket where everything is more expensive. It is a factor that appeals to both retirees and digital nomads, two very distinct groups,” Khun Fon says.
Chiang Mai was ranked as the fifth-best place for remote working by Big 7 Travel earlier this year and the city placed highly on several similar lists over the years. And while travel restrictions have limited digital nomad arrivals since 2020, their numbers should start growing again.
“Prior to COVID-19, more and more digital nomads were moving to Chiang Mai. Not only were we seeing more co-working spaces open, but there was a growing community that saw the city become a hub in Asia,” Khun Fon states. “There is the potential for this once again as we move forward.”
Meanwhile, the city was named as the fourth-best affordable place for Americans to retire overseas by U.S. News and World Report in 2020 as well as being ranked on a similar list compiled by Forbes. Both sites also mentioned the quality of health care and wellness facilities available. Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai and Chiangmai Ram Hospital are among the internationally accredited hospitals in the region.
“The hospitals here are really good. Not only is this attractive for retirees, but it is creating new opportunities for medical tourism. Focusing on this could be a huge boost for the region,” Khun Fon notes.
While there are plenty of positives, Chiang Mai does need to work on a few areas. Khun Fon believes improving public transportation, building a new airport, adding MICE facilities would allow the city to grow even further. However, reopening to tourists remains the most important factor.
“Next year, Chiang Mai is likely to start growing again. Unlike other markets in Thailand, the growth here has been steady over the years. There is always activity and forward momentum,” Khun Fon details. “Obviously, tourism is a big part of the economy, but there are also two million people here which creates other opportunities.”
Chiang Mai real estate attracts all types of demand
There is both overseas and local demand for Chiang Mai real estate. Thai buyers, especially ones located in central and northern parts of the country, are drawn to educational opportunities.
“You see a lot of Thai buyers purchasing a second home for when they send their children to school here. This is a city that has a number of good schools and universities. Prents know their kids will receive a good education,” she says.
On the international side of things. Khun Fon has seen interest from Hong Kong, Singaporean and Australian property seekers. She notes that many younger people are considering Chiang Mai property as they want to live somewhere new.
“I’ve received a lot of interest from people in their 20s and 30s who want to experience someplace new. Some are simply looking to rent while others are thinking about buying. With it being easier for the new generation to work where they want, being based in Chiang Mai is appealing,” Khun Fon concludes.