About us Our City

Our City

We recently surveyed the school community to discover what our parents and teachers see as the main advantages to living in Chiang Mai. Below, we have listed ten of the most frequently-mentioned reasons to choose Chiang Mai as an adopted home city.

1. Good Infrastructure

Chiang Mai has an effective, well-developed transportation system with several urban motorways (Ring Roads) that have handled the rapid population growth with general success to the present. Depending on the time of day and chosen route, it can take less than less than thirty minutes to drive on Chiang Mai's surface streets from the north to the south side of the city. Compared to Bangkok, living in Chiang Mai is much less complicated and requires less time to run everyday errands.

The Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) is centrally located and offers more than twenty daily flights to and from Bangkok, as well as a growing number of international direct connections (e.g. Singapore, Seoul, Macau, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Kunming, Shanghai, Luang Prabang). In addition, numerous destinations within the country are accessible by direct flight connections. This means Thailand's popular holiday destinations (e.g. Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi) are easy to reach in a relatively short time and at generally affordable prices on airlines such as Bangkok Airways, Air Asia and Nok Air.

2. Professional Medical Care

Chiang Mai offers a dense network of hospitals, most of which have improved their services according to western standards. Some doctors have studied in Europe or in the United States, and there are western-trained specialists in many specific medical areas. Medical staff operate in line with the local culture, evidencing friendliness, courtesy and a high level of staff coverage. Treatment costs are often only a fraction of comparable services in Germany. Two large hospitals that consistently meet the requirements and expectations of western patients are Chiang Mai Ram Hospital and Sripat Hospital, which is connected to a local university.

3. Diverse Gastronomy

Chiang Mai offers a wide variety of quality national and international restaurants, as well as a broad range of local Thai food stalls throughout the city. Proper restaurants are found mainly in the inner city and in major shopping malls; however, a reasonable number are located in suburban areas as well. All offer a wide variety of meals at a sensational price-performance ratio. Coffee lovers will be pleased to learn that, unlike many Asian cities, Chiang Mai is home to many cozy cafes offering all kinds of popular coffee specialties (espresso latte macchiato, cappuccino). The coffee itself often originates from coffee plantations in northern Thailand.

4. Reasonable Cost of Living

Compared to Bangkok and other tourist areas in Thailand, the basic cost of living in Chiang Mai has remained quite moderate. Local goods and especially services are almost embarrassingly affordable; the exception are imported goods or services designed mainly to meet western needs. Currently, it is still possible to get a good hot meal for less than 40 THB (about 1 €) in many places. It is also very affordable to rent a house; it is not unusual to find a furnished four bedroom house for 10,000 THB (about 250 €), though prices are slowly rising. Many properties are located in secure compounds (moobaans) which include a restaurant and a neighborhood swimming pool.

5. Great Shopping Facilities

Chiang Mai offers a growing variety of supermarkets, shopping malls and specialty shops. A variety of western food and imported products are available at Rimping Markets, now with eight branches in Chiang Mai. At Rimping, you will find many international grocery products, along with high quality regular and organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Chiang Mai is also home to a number of major shopping malls such as Central Airport Plaza and the newly opened Promenada Mall and Central Festival Shopping Center; these malls host a variety of familiar western stores such as H&M, Wrangler, Ecco, Crocs, and Esprit. The malls are anchored by Robinsons or Central; these Thai department stores have a good range of quality household goods. In terms of its shopping opportunities, Chiang Mai can increasingly compete with the shopping paradise of Bangkok.

6. Exciting Leisure Activities

Chiang Mai offers a diverse range of leisure activities especially for families with children. The possibilities are virtually unlimited: music and art schools, ballet and riding lessons and many other activities ensure that afternoon and weekend hours need never be boring. Numerous parent-child groups have formed in the international community, making it easier to settle in and find a good fit.

There are also a number of interesting family outings available in the area. Near to town, one can visit the Night Safari, Chiang Mai Zoo or Chiang Mai Aquarium. For an interesting and unique outing, you can visit an elephant camp such as the Maesa Elephant Camp, where you can watch the elephants painting or playing football. For a more authentic elephant encounter, you can visit the Pattara Elephant Farm where you can accompany an animal through his day including showering, feeding and riding. For those interested in the flora of the area, various gardens provide stunning flowers and a breathtaking variety of orchids, including the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden in the mountains, and the Royal Park Rajapruek during the winter months. For a more “exotic” experience, you can visit a number of different snake farms and monkey exhibits, or spend an afternoon at Tiger Kingdom (an amusement park in which you can get very close to the big cats).

On weekends and holidays, cozy resorts invite you to take a break in the mountains - something for every budget and taste! Popular destinations around Chiang Mai (1.5 - 3 hours away by car) include Pai (a quaint city visited by many "alternative" travelers, situated on a picturesque river in the mountains with a wonderful street market offering a number of arts and crafts) or Chiang Dao (a small town north of Chiang Mai with a cave to explore and climbing opportunities for skilled rock climbers at a nearby mountain).
For more information on activities around Chiang Mai see "8. Tropical jungle scenery."

7. Warm Climate

Chiang Mai has a tropical to subtropical climate. The weather conditions are dominated by three main seasons: the cool (or dry) season, the "hot" season and the rainy season. The cool season lasts approximately from November to February and is characterized by daytime temperatures of 25° to 30°C with mainly blue skies and sunshine. Rainfall is rare during these months, and night temperatures can drop as low as 12° C. In March and April, the hot season arrives and the mercury climbs up to 40°C. During the hottest weeks, even the nights remain hot, with only a minor temperature decrease. In early May, the rainy season begins and temperatures fall slightly to 30° to 35°C during the day. The heaviest rainfalls are expected usually from July to September; however, even during the wettest months, an entire day of rain is rare, as the sun usually makes its way through the clouds for several hours..

8. Tropical Jungle Scenery

Chiang Mai is nestled in a stunning landscape, a fertile valley surrounded by mountains, crossed by rivers and fringed by tropical forests. The relatively well developed road network makes it possible to visit a variety of nearby beautiful, exciting destinations: waterfalls (such as the Bua Tong waterfall, whose porous limestone allows the visitor to climb up the falls), jungle paths (such as a walking trail through moss- and orchid-covered trees on Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand at about 2500m), caves (such as the Chiang Dao Cave, a flowstone cave) and national parks (such as the Op Khan NP just outside the city). There are numerous ways to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, to relax or to simply enjoy nature.

For adventure lovers, there are a number of ways to dive straight into the jungle: rope and zipline courses (such as Jungle Flight where you can swing like Tarzan through the treetops), mountain biking and cycling tours, canoeing and white water rafting.

9. Accessible Community

Compared to other Asian cities, the international community in Chiang Mai is both well-defined and well-integrated into the local community. There are many bilingual families who consciously incorporate multiple cultures in their family life. Some Thais speak English, which makes it possible to get along without any knowledge of the Thai language. Newcomers to the international community are typically welcomed warmly, and friendships are easily built. In particular, the German-speaking community offers many ways to engage and belong, through the school life of CDSC and the offers of the Thai-German community. Life in Chiang Mai is rich and full of intercultural encounters for those who chose to embrace it.

10. Security

The crime rate in Chiang Mai remains relatively low level. In the downtown area, foreigners can stay and move freely without fear at any day or night time. In the housing developments (moobaans) children can play outside, cycle and meet friends by themselves. Taxis, tuk-tuks (a kind of motorized rickshaw) and songtheows (a substitute for public buses) are very affordable and can be used without concern.


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