Having traveled quite a lot across Europe and Asia, staying at a wide variety of places, from ratchet jungle huts to party hostels to Airbnbs to luxury hotels and resorts, I’d say that amongst all my travel-lodging related experiences, Alt stands amongst the best.
First of all, for anyone looking to work while being in Chiang Mai, it’s a no brainer to just live somewhere that also happens to be on top of and include access to one of the best co-working spaces around. I thought about staying in a hostel/hotel and getting a membership at a standalone coworking space, but (1) that’s kind of annoying; and (2) my hours (American) didn’t really lend to that making sense.
More than work convenience, though, Alt’s managed to create a really nice social environment that’s relatively laid back. It’s kind of like an upscale, social hostel for folks who are no longer in their early 20’s, and you have a lot of folks who have been at Alt in the past coming to revisit or who have simply never left and are still there months in, which you’ll see the appeal of after staying yourself.
There are, naturally, a few naggles here and there, mostly layout related as this is the owner, John’s, first such endeavor, but they’re relatively trivial. For example, the only kitchen with a cooktop is right outside a couple of rooms, so some folks may not like getting assigned there due to noise/smell. The shared bathroom for flexie rooms requires a walk across a public area for people showering, which is a little funky. The coworking space itself is one large (supposed to be quiet, and usually is) area with an upper and lower area, and it has 2 call booths and 1 conference room; probably an idealized iteration would have a split quiet and not-quiet set up, with 1-2 more call booths.
In any case, there’s a nice blend of folks, obviously trending towards digital nomad/remote workers moreso than the backpacker crowd, with most people seeming to stay on average for at least 2-4 weeks, if not longer. Extending seems common, and a lot of former tenants who stay in Chiang Mai come to work during the day and hang out.
There was a good vibe while I was there and a decent number of folks who were basically down to hang out and do things every evening and weekend. I’d say there were basically 3 types of people; (1) the shorter term stay folks who were more open to doing things all the time; (2) folks who had been there 1+ month and had established friends with other former or long-term tenants, who were cool but often doing their own thing and who had knocked out a lot of the touristy stuff already; and (3) quieter folks who were just using it as a base.
I only stayed for a week but would have gladly extended my stay, circumstances permitting. Met some cool people and had a really good time while also being (mostly) productive. Would love to come back in the future!
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