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Retire to Chiang Rai compared to Chiang Mai ?

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Here are a few of the things that I enjoy about Chiang Rai....I suppose you could find some of these in CM but there is something about the small town feel that makes CR more special in my eyes. I oft

I was living in Chiang Mai for 2 years and I am living now in Chiang Rai. I am not into bars and tourist environment, and I think that busy traffic and markets are OK just for a week end... or for a

Clearly those of us who live here, have made our declaration for Chiang Rai over Chiang Mai. Far more people have chosen Chiang Mai, however, and one could argue as to why that is, but I view that as

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There are also villages and small developed areas outside of CM, 10-20km. That way, you can go into the city when you need towny stuff.

My own experience of horizontal entertainment in CM suggests that a wallet is often required.

I like the small and more rustic town feel of CR, although both places are a trifle boring if you like bookshops, big malls, different bars and are used to Bangkok (OK, CM has one or two bookshops with large stocks, plus more Tescos and BigCs)

The best advice is probably to visit both, and spend a bit of time.

The comments about hospitals are very germane. If you are over 60, you probably need to be in easy reach of a cardiac catheter lab and a CT/MRI scanner. Country hospitals don't have those, as far as I know. Medicine is taught at CMU, so there must be a teaching hospital there. I believe that Nursing is taught at CR, but I don't think that there is a major hospital which deals with cardiac angios or neurosurgery there. But, that said, you takes yr chances if you live anywhere in the world which is not "populated".


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Just a couple of things. We usually refrain from mentioning the other Chiang Rai forum by name as they are a breakaway group who originally posted here. Also since a new immigration office has opened in Chiang Rai it doesn’t look like they will be continuing the immigration day at Central Plaza.

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Not sure of the accuracy but here is one list.

. Nakhon Ratchasima 2,582,089
. Ubon Ratchathani 1,813,088
. Khon Kaen 1,767,601
. Chiang Mai 1,640,479
. Buri Ram 1,553,765
. Udon Thani 1,544,786
. Nakhon Si Thammarat 1,522,561
. Si Sa Ket 1,452,471
. Surin 1,381,761
. Songkhla 1,357,023
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Chiang Mai is not the second largest city. : )

So which one is,Phuket,Pattya?

Numbers vary depending on which site you believe but CM usually comes in at 6th or 7th largest city in Thailand. Number two is usually shown as Nonthaburi.

CM isn't even close to being second largest city in Thailand.

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AlanM, Having lived in Chiang Rai for the first 4 years I spent in Thailand, and now living in Chiang Mai for the last 4.5 years, I would say they were similar price wise but Chiang Rai may be cheaper for the basic commodities, fruit, veges etc.

I prefer Chiang Mai myself but I know a lot of people who moved to Chiang Rai because it is not as busy. Both are great places to live and the

local people are very nice. Come and spend a bit of time in each town and make up your mind then. Hope you make the best choice for your future. Good luck.

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Concerning immigration...I was in Mae Sai earlier in the week and the immigration office confirmed they will no longer be coming to Central Plaza in Chiang Rai on the first Saturday of each month.

Reason? Because the NEW immigration office in Chiang Rai opened this Monday - January 27th. They will be handling all immigration matters with no need to go to Mae Sai immigration except for work permits. For some reason you will still have to go to Mae Sai immigration on matters dealing with work permits.

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Straight forward answer, Chiang Rai is a much smaller town (Chiang Mai is Thailand's second largest city) and consequently, Yes, Chiang Rai is cheaper than Chiang Mai.

How much cheaper depends on how you plan to live, will you buy or rent your home? how do you spend your time? your money?

The people at the Immigration office in Chiang Rai are an absolute pleasure to deal with, they always have a smile for everyone, I don't have any experience with the Immigration officials in Chiang Mai, but I have heard it's not so pleasant.

Obviously Chiang Mai Immigration Office is busier than the Chiang Rai one due to the size of the city but there is nothing to complain in particular, at least as far as I am concerned after 4 years of dealing with it....

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I retired to Thailand (Koh Samui) from Bedfordview, Johannesburg 7 months ago. Bought a house before coming and had many holidays here. I don't know the places you mentioned, but my advice is live there for 6 months to see if you like it and the Thai lifestyle, before committing.

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