International Education in Chiang Mai
Looking for an alternative family base in Thailand away from the hectic capital of Bangkok? Chiang Mai, with its peaceful temples, easy access to nature and slower pace of life, is definitely worth considering. Despite being the largest city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has so far remained a haven for those seeking a quiet, calm and family-friendly lifestyle.
The expat community in Chiang Mai has grown steadily over the past few decades, and so has the number of international schools in the city. With a choice of 16 and counting, and with somewhat lower demand and prices than other popular expat cities in Thailand, there has never been a better time to search for an international school in Chiang Mai.
The choice of curricula in Chiang Mai’s international schools reflects the expat population - the American and British curricula are the most common, with the International Baccalaureate following them closely. Of course there are other options too, including the German and Singaporean curricula.
A common feature of international schools in Thailand is a Christian teaching ethos, and this is also present in international schools in Chiang Mai. These schools are usually longer established and were once run by Christian missionaries. Your child does not necessarily need to follow a Christian faith to attend these schools. You will also see both Thai and English offered as languages of instruction. Some of these schools belong to ‘Tier 2’ in the Thai school system; Tier 1 being the typical international schools you may be familiar with, Tier 2 meaning bilingual schools that mainly teach the Thai curriculum, and Tier 3 being local public schools.
Most international schools in Chiang Mai are located south of the ancient historic centre of the city, where the residential areas spread out. North of the ancient centre, the city quickly gives way to various national parks with infrastructure and amenities becoming more sparse. There are however a small number of international schools scattered northwards, and some of these offer boarding for students due to their remote location.
Most ‘Tier 1’ international schools in Chiang Mai follow the same school calendar as their counterparts around the world. They also have similar facilities and extra curricular activities. Native English teachers are very easy to come by, and languages other than English and Thai are commonly taught.
Class sizes are usually between 15 - 25 students, and student bodies are generally diverse with international students having a strong majority over local Thai students. Not every international school provides bus transport however, so if this is a requirement for you, be sure to verify it with each school you consider.
Below, we have compiled the top 5 international schools in Chiang Mai according to our users. However, there are another 11 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Chiang Mai based on your requirements.