I have touched on this subject previously when I posted my initial impressions about our new home in Chiang Mai, which can be found HERE.

We have just completed six months living here and I thought I would expand the topic to cover my experience of living in a Thai Moo Baan, village or in this case a gated community.

Gated communities are very popular in the cities of Thailand and well adopted by both Thai and farang residents. There are many new Moo Baans being constructed on the outskirts of Chiang Mai to keep up with the fast expansion of Thailand’s number 2 city – no it isn’t a little backwater no matter what the tourist brochures tell you.

Having lived in a Moo Baan for a while I can appreciate the benefits as well as acknowledge some of their limitations.

These are self contained communities with security to limit access, which means they are quiet without intrusive traffic other than resident cars. As a contrast to traffic burdened Chiang Mai this is a welcome oasis of peace. Our Moo Baan has a double security layer. The complex itself is made up of five separate Moo Baans within a huge walled enclosure. There is a main security point entering the main complex:

The main security point at the front. This road leads directly onto the 1001.

The main security point at the front. This road leads directly onto the 1001. Turn left, do a U turn and head right into Chiang Mai city.

Our mostly smiley security guys.

Our mostly smiley security guys. We get a salute on entry and exit. Visitors or trades people have to leave ID, which is picked up on leaving.

We then have a second security gate coming into “our” Moo Baan within the complex:

The Chonlada Moo Baan security gates.

“Chonlada” – our Moo Baan and its security gates. More salutes. We feel very important.

The complex is maintained by a body corporate type central organisation. Water, electricity, grounds maintenance and supporting facilities such as the sports centre and shops come under this umbrella.

The central road through the complex feeding into the five Moo Baans.

The central road through the complex feeding into the five Moo Baans.

These structures pop up around the place but only seem to be used by the Myanmar workers at lunch time and post-lunch snooze.

These structures pop up around the place but only seem to be used by the Myanmar workers at lunch time and for a post-lunch snooze.

The grounds are meticulously looked after by a small army of Myanmar workers. There are about a dozen people working six days a week just watering grass, mowing and generally manicuring this main thoroughfare. There are other teams working within the separate Moo Baans. Our road and paths are swept once a week by hand.

A Myanmar lady watering the grass.

A Myanmar lady watering the grass. If you think working for the public service is boring try doing this six and sometimes seven days a week from 8 am to 5 pm.

Myanmar workers within our Moo Baan.

Myanmar workers within our Moo Baan. Our gardens are visited twice a week by one of these gardeners for a water and clean-up.

The complex has a small shopping centre with a restaurant, massage place, shop and laundry. The restaurant is 100% Thai. Most residents are Thai not foreigners and the facilities like this reflect that.

The small shopping centre.

The small shopping centre for residents.

A mini local market sets up to sell food on a weekend.

A mini local market sets up to sell food on a weekend. They get plenty of business too.

The water is filtered within the Moo Baan and is good for general use but Thais, and me too, prefer to use freshly filtered water for drinking and cooking. We buy water from these filtered water stations beside the shops. 1.5 litres costs a bit over 3 cents. We provide our own containers and fill them every couple of weeks. My house in Si Bun Ruang when built will have its own filtration system.

This little bloke was checking out the reject coin slots not buying water!

This little bloke was checking out the reject coin slots not buying water!

The alternative is to have water delivered. These are twenty litre containers.

The alternative is to have water delivered. These are twenty litre containers being driven through one of the other Moo Baan security check points.

Many Moo Baans use their recreation facilities as a selling point but I’m not sure why because hardly anyone uses our fitness centre. Looks good on the brochures I guess. We have got into a routine – finally – of going to the gym one day and then swimming the next, with Sunday off! It is unusual to see anyone else there.

The central admin and sports building.

The central admin and sports building. The pool sits behind this.

Entry area to the pool and other faculties.

Entry area to the pool and other faculties.

Recently the water in the pool has been almost too warm to be refreshing but as we move into a wetter period we are getting regular evening storms, which has made the water slightly cooler. Who would think I would be complaining about the water being too warm?

The 50 metre pool.

The 50 metre pool.

Children's pool.

Children’s pool.

The small but adequate gym.

The small but adequate gym.

Yes we do use it these days. Trying to combat retirement flab.

Yes we do use it these days. Trying to combat retirement flab.

The view from the treadmills over the pool.

The view from the treadmills overlooking the pool.

Three tennis courts. I have seen them in use once.

Three tennis courts. I have seen them in use once.

Two indoor badminton courts. Thais like badminton.

Two indoor badminton courts. Thais like badminton.

For a more sedate games experience. There are two of these.

For a more sedate games experience. There are two of these.

On the way out you can refresh yourself and put the calories back on at the local cafe:

The last coffee I had here wasn't great.

The last coffee I had here wasn’t great.

Once inside our Moo Baan, which is called Chonlada, we turn right at this lake into our part of the bigger village area:

Those buildings at the back are deserted for some unknown reason.

Those waterfront houses at the back are deserted for some unknown reason.

Our street - Soi 3.

Our street – Soi 3. Only eight houses, two of which are empty. Maybe half a dozen car movements in the day.

Home.

Home. The best $530 a month I have ever spent. Three bedrooms, three en-suites.

So on the plus side a Moo Baan gives you a very sheltered, secure and civilised living experience. Chiang Mai is a busy city and coming back to a wonderfully peaceful, garden environment is a pleasure.

Our small garden terrace. A favourite breakfast spot.

Our small garden terrace. A favourite breakfast spot.

On the downside having a home within a Moo Baan isolates you from the “real” Thai living experience. This is something I will experience when we build in Si Bun Ruang and become just another house in a Thai village street. The comparison will be interesting.

If you enjoyed this story please leave a comment below. It is nice to know someone is reading!

Thanks for dropping by.