If you like your housing ultra-modern, you’re probably best off outside of the old city, in the apartment blocks of the surrounding neighborhoods. Nimman (Nimmanheim on the map) is known for its condo life and is Suthep’s liveliest area, full of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, malls, and a cinema. Nimman is a popular filming location for many east Asian movies, so was booming with young Chinese tourists before the pandemic, but now the buildings are emptier and you’ll likely find a great deal on monthly rentals—particularly if you use an agent such as Perfect Homes Chiang Mai, who offer three-month, six-month and 12-month contracts and come at a much better price than using Airbnb. Check for availability at the sought-after LIV @ Nimman and The Nimmana complexes, as while most condos come with gyms and swimming pools, these two are top of the lot.
Nimman is a great place to get social and creative—start by checking out what’s on at Free Bird Cafe, a vegan community hub with an eco-market, run completely non-profit as all proceeds go to their charity that supports Burmese refugees. There are regular talks, arts and crafts, and events that celebrate local Lanna culture here, and it’s a great place to meet people. The small mall One Nimman is another venue to check out, often hosting salsa dancing, live music events, and fun markets.
Whether living in Nimman or just passing through, you’ll want to work at Yellow Coworking Space, which is the biggest and best in all of Thailand. You’re completely spoiled for choice, food-wise in Nimman too, but don’t miss Kao Soy Nimman for Michelin star noodles, Why Not Italian for the best spaghetti in town, and Manifreshto for all-day brunch. This area also has great spots like the Heart N Soul Massage’s steam room or the Bully Bowl bowling alley. Make sure you don’t miss the twice-weekly sound baths at Chiang Mai Holistic and occasional movie nights at Alphabet City.
If the bright lights of Nimman are a bit too hectic, base yourself in the wider district, Suthep which is home to some of the most spiritual and peaceful sights in the city. There’s top-notch apartments at One Plus Condominium and Casa Condo, but with less of the hubbub of Nimman. Or for community vibes, get in touch Hub53, whose super reasonably priced rooms come with the use of their lovely workspace included.
Suthep is also full of lush natural sites to visit. Walk the Monk’s Trail up to Wat Suthep, a pilgrimage site that offers incredible views of the city below. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is the place to go for hiking, and be sure to track down Huay Kaew Waterfall. If hiking isn’t your thing, get some fresh air at Angkaew Reservoir, which is surrounded by cute kiosks for coffee. Additionally, Suthep is home to some of the oldest and most impressive temples in town; take a tour of Wat Umong, visit Wat Suan Dok, Wat Lok Moli. Maybe not all on the same day, lest you get hit with temple fatigue. And as with most corners of Chiang Mai, Suthep has some excellent cafes, including Lamour Cafe and the super scenic Fernpresso at Lake.
Lucie Grace is a British freelance writer, based in Chiang Mai. She lived in India throughout 2020 and 2021 and misses it daily. You can read her bylines in The Daily Beast, Fodor’s, The Independent and The Times.
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