Denise and I left Australia on 16 January and returned on 7 March 2017. We stayed in Chiang Mai from 24 February to 5 March (10 days) a much shorter time than usual. We’d previously spent four weeks in Burma, attended a family wedding in Bangkok, and spent a few days at a resort in Hua Hin (not my favourite style or place, but family).
It is always nice to come back to Chiang Mai. It is one of my favourite places in Thailand — much cheaper than Bangkok, but more manageable also.
Chiang Mai has been changing rapidly over the past five years with continuing development. Chinese tourism is having a major impact (especially at Chinese New year) and will continue to expand. As in many places, the provincial government is not always making sensible decisions with regard to development.
Chiang Mai is the second city of Thailand but it is a small city and as different from Bangkok as one can imagine. The population is about the same as Canberra where I live about 350,000 but this is notional depending on where one draws the boundaries and no one can agree on this. Chiang Mai is much more interesting than Canberra however and has much more to offer. The northern Thai or Lanna people are proud of their heritage. They are not as poor as the people of Northeastern Thailand near Laos, but also have in the past been much less affluent than the people of the central plains of Thailand or the South.