When looking for places in Chiang Mai to stay, what are good districts that I should target? I don’t want to find myself either too far from everything or somewhere that is super shady.
Nimmanhemin (or Nimmanheminda) is the most hip area, a bit more upscale too and lots of nomads there. It’s in the west (near PunSpace)
I stayed near Tha Pae gate which is in the east, and that was a bit more local and enjoyed it there. The daily commute to the west (to PunSpace) was a pain though. It doesn’t matter how small Chiang Mai is, the traffic is challenging.
I like Santitham a lot, north of Huaykaew rd. it’s between Nimman and the City. Lots of good bars and restaurants around, lots of nomads in this area too, and the neighborhood is mostly quiet, with many beautiful streets to walk around.
I wasn’t even renting a scooter staying there, I walked, and if the distance was too long or the weather was awful I just took a red truck.
Nimmanhemin is great if you want to have a proactive nightlife.
As I want a quiet one, I stay near Tha Pae Gate (around 4 km to go to PunSpace in The Old city from my apartment by bike, around 1000 baht per month). It’s quite authentic and you could be bored, especially at night. However, I love to go to work by bike everyday.
I think it is going to depend on your lifestyle and daily routine as to which area suits you best. It seems in general most nomads tend to live in the areas to the west and north of the old city.
If you plan on settling down for a longer period it may be worth your while to get a place for a few weeks and then check out all the areas to decide on a longer term place to rent.
Big fan of Nimman like most posters here, but I do understand the Suthep side of Nimman’s a nice bit quieter and also cheaper, but a lot less hip and new. There’s also the area north of MAYA mall, where I stayed the first time — lots of short-term living places that nomads take, gets even quaint and village-like at points, and priced pretty reasonably in my opinion!