When I first got to Chiang Mai, I stayed in the walled “old city,” where backpackers, guest houses, and harem pants with elephant prints run rampant. But when I started looking for an apartment, my volunteer organization suggested the trendy Nimmanhaemin Road area. After I made the move, I found that I’d traded tour signs for elegant wine bars, and now end up impossibly underdressed everywhere I go.
Ten years ago, the neighborhood — Nimman for short — was nothing more than old apartment complexes and noodle shops. But, a revitalization of the area left it bursting at the seams with almost painfully hip cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Hints of its history remain, making my new home a mix of authentic Thai and quirky new commercial development.