At the time that I wrote this post, I have been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 2.5 months. When I first arrived, I was staying at a very nice guest house called, “CS Guesthouse.” The guesthouse is north of the old city and within easy walking distance. While staying there, I was not sure how long that I would stay in Chiang Mai since I was looking to get a job teaching english.
I ended up staying for roughly 1 month at CS Guesthouse and really enjoyed my stay. I would highly recommend staying at CS guesthouse if you are planning to stay in Chiang Mai. The owners can speak english and Thai. They are very knowledgable of the surrounding area. Additionally, they have great connections with local travel companies and are an invaluable resource when planning your visit in Chiang Mai.
Fortunately, I was able to get a job teaching English. The school offers free on-campus housing. I have been living on-campus since I started working at the end of May. The living situation is great but I have been casually looking at other options. I have been having a really hard time finding something that is appealing while being relatively inexpensive.
I wanted to write about my experience because it has truly been difficult to find a descent place! I will admit that I am being picky with my ideal accommodation situation (hey! That rhymes!). Both, in regards to location, price, and finding a kick-ass deal. I wanted to share any information that I have found helpful.
So! Before looking for a place to rent in Chiang Mai, there are a few things that you need to identify for yourself prior to actually looking. This will aide in finding the best place. You need to ask yourself “what features does my ideal accommodation have?”
These may include:
-Furnished vs. non-furnished
-Number of Bedrooms
-Number of Bathrooms
-Cost of Electricity per unit
-Cost of Water per unit
-Apartment, Serviced apartment, condo,or house
Obviously, the price will influence the rest of the features or lack of features that your place will have. When I have been looking online, I have been hard pressed to find anything cheaper than 4000 BHT or $123 USD. 4000 BHT will get you a very basic room, which most likely will not be furnished.
But, it is possible to find unfurnished houses for that price too!
It is important to note that most places that you will find on english websites are going to be more expensive. This is because the market for english apartment websites are generally people that have more money. This is a generalization of course. This is true simply because they have a strong exchange rate and they can afford relatively more expensive housing.
My search has mostly been on the internet. After talking to other expats and locals, I have heard that it is cheaper and often more affective to explore areas that have housing on foot rather than looking online.
Find a neighborhood that you want to live in and drive/walk/bike around to see what is available. Walk into apartment complexes and ask to see if they have any rooms available. Be sure to ask the following questions:
Do they require a deposit? How much?
What day of the month is rent due?
How much is water per unit?
How much is electricity per unit? (Keep in mind that the rate is 5 BHT per unit, which is charged by the city)
How much is internet?
What minimum length of contract do they require?
Will they offer a monthly discount if you sign a longer contract?
What is the penalty if you cancel your contract early?
For some people that are coming to Chiang Mai, they want to find something really quickly before getting a feel for the city. Prior, to committing to somewhere I would highly encourage you to rent a motorbike or some other form of transportation to get familiar with the city.
Although the city is relatively small and easy to get around, there are some areas that are more desirable for various reasons. Keep in mind that when it comes to real estate, it is all about location. Therefore, you will have to pay a premium to be closer to nicer areas.
After throughly searching the online resources that are featured at the end of the post. I decided to drive my motorbike throgh areas that I would be interested in living in. One day I was cruising in the Santitham neighborhood of Chiang Mai in the Northwest corner and came across Plern Plern Bed and Bike.
I walked in to inquire if they had any availability and was greeted by a friendly receptionist that offered to give me a tour of the facility. The apartment has 14 rooms ranging from small, medium, large, X-Large, and XXL. The building is a modern looking building that features covered motorbike parking spaces, clean maintained facilities, weekly maid service, and a coin-operated washer and dryer. The rooms have the following amenities:
1. Fridge (the drinking water will be complementary provided 2 bottles twice a week);
2. TV with Cable TV;
3. En-suite bathroom with warm shower;
4. Free Wireless Internet
5. Private balcony for M-L-XL
6. Cleaning service twice a week (towel change is included) and changing bed equipment i.e. bed sheet/pillow cases once a week;
7. Free of charge for water supply;
8. Bikes are provided a free parking space.
Below are the internet sites that I have been able to find while searching.
I hope you find them helpful!