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I Love Chiang Mai | Script Lettering

The population of Thailand is around 70 million people, 11 of them living in Bangkok alone.

Thailand is home to 71 living languages. The 2014 Ethnologue country report lists one national language (Thai), one educational language (Isan), 27 developing languages, 18 vigorous languages, 17 threatened languages, and 7 dying languages.

“Thailand has experienced the gravitational pull of Europe over the agitations to do with becoming ‘modern’. Yet, it has never been colonised” by Rachel V. Harrison and Peter A. Jackson.


Thai Type Tourist

On July 19th, my partner and I moved to Thailand for one month while working remotely.

We rented an apartment —they call it “condo”— next to the Chiang Mai University, which was very convenient as it allowed us to go for a stroll along its gardens and lake every day before breakfast.

Our monthly rent was AUD $550 for a thirty-five-square-metre apartment with a strong internet connection, a small kitchenette and no oven or stove. Working from home, this forced us to go out for lunch and dinner daily, getting to know the local eateries around us.

We set up a daily budget of AUD $20 for two people. We knew we would go over sometimes, nevertheless we made it happen often, and we became very creative with our money while still enjoying the city.

This is a list of things you can buy for 35฿ (around AUD $1.4) in Chiang Mai: 1 can of Leo beer; 1 meal which includes white rice, chicken and chicken broth soup with its condiments; 1 latte; 1 ice lemon tea; 1 small bottle of shampoo; 1 big-size papaya; 25 bananas.

In Chiang Mai there are dental clinics literally in every corner. I noticed a lot of students wearing prescription glasses, but very few people wearing sunglasses. Many girls ride scooters —like I did when I was a teenager—, and they are extremely beautiful. Wearing a mask was mandatory for indoor and outdoor activities, although the majority of tourists we encountered didn’t wear them at all.

Every local we interacted with was extremely good to us, including the people we couldn’t verbally speak to, due to our lack of Thai knowledge. We felt extremely safe and welcomed, and fell in love with the culture.

Google Translate Picture App was a great tool to have in many occasions when there was a printed menu in Thai with no pictures.

We didn’t cook, nor doing the dishes for four weeks. We also engaged a local business to do our laundry for 135฿ per week (AUD $5.40). Every Thursday after dinner we went for one-hour Thai massage for 200฿ each (AUD $8). Our time in Chiang Mai was literally full-time work, cultural research, outdoor meals, self-care and entertainment.

At the end of our four weeks, we spent a total of AUD $1450 including our apartment, a Thai sim card and a scooter for the month. What’s your total living and expenditure for the month in your city?

While I was in Thailand, I decided to do some research on Thai type designers, foundries and type institutions. Here are some you may want to check out:

The International Program In Communication Design
Typography Class at CommDe
Thailand Creative and Design Center
Bangkok International Typographic Symposium (BITS)
Typographic Association Bangkok (TAB) and TAB on IG
Canson Demak
Stawix Font Foundry

I have also selected five Thai talented women which you’ll find on my September 2022 newsletter.

We have fallen in love with Chiang Mai and its people, and we cannot wait to go back again for more. If you ever make it to this vibrant and welcoming city, this is a list of local places we absolutely loved!