How we found our Apartment in Chiang Mai (with Examples)


The process of finding an apartment in Chiang Mai is nothing like what we deal with back home (in Australia). In classic Thai fashion, you can arrive, visit, book and move in, all in the one day here (even on a Sunday). There’s usually no need to commit to more than a month-by-month lease and most places come fully furnished.

If you’re familiar with Chiang Mai, the process is pretty simple and straight-forward but if it’s your first time to Chiang Mai, you may experience difficultly figuring how it all works.

For our first stay as digital nomads in Chiang Mai, we did what we were used to, we booked a place online. At first, we were happy with our decision but when we got our electricity bill (which was almost half our rent) we decided never to stay at that apartment ever again.

Once you read this article, you’ll realise that booking in advance is not necessarily the best way to go about it and although it worked ok for us the first time, we had learned by the end of our stay that shopping for an apartment ‘on the ground’ was usually the most effective.

Our Process for Finding an Apartment in Chiang Mai

  1. Quick search on AirBnB

    AirBnB
    The reason I say ‘quick search’ is that your probably not going to find the best deals for monthly rentals on AirBnB. That being said, you should select a time period of at least a month and find out the monthly cost.

    For our first stay in Chiang Mai, we found our room on AirBnB and then contacted the building directly for a saving of about $100 AUD. We felt a lot more confident making a booking with a host that had already been vetted on AirBnB but decided not to pay extra to secure the booking through the actual platform. Even if you don’t end up doing the reach-around like us, AirBnB is a good place to get ideas (especially if you’ve never stayed for one month or more in Chiang Mai before).

  2. Check out RentHub

    RentHub
    RentHub is probably the best website to view apartment listings for short-term stays in Chiang Mai. It’s not as easy to use as AirBnB and you’ll need a browser that translates Thai to English but you’ll get to see the ‘real’ prices of a variety of apartments all over Chiang Mai. After which, you can usually contact the building manager directly or through the RentHub itself.

  3. Ask Around

    If you have friends or family who are currently living in Chiang Mai, ask them where they are staying and how they like it. In my case, I put the question forward on the Slack team #nomads.

    I see a lot of people asking in digital nomad Facebook groups but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that as I know from keeping an eye on these channels myself that the question gets asked a lot and it can get quite annoying. Instead, please check out the links at the bottom of this page containing apartment ideas from other digital nomads.

  4. Choose your Area & Budget, Make a Short List and Get out There!

    If you’re familiar with the digital nomad community, you’re probably aware that the Nimman area is where you’ll find the largest density of coworking spaces and cafes with free Wi-Fi. As you move away from the Nimman area, you’ll find the apartments generally get cheaper but the further you get out of town, the more essential it becomes to hire a bike. My girlfriend and I avoid riding altogether by choosing apartments in the Nimman area that are a close walk to the places we like to go like Punspace, Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall, Maya mall and a bunch of awesome restaurants.

    In terms of budget, we had paid 9,000 (~250 USD) for our last month (or 13,000 when you combine it with the electricity bill we paid) and weren’t willing to downgrade. Your budget is of course, up to you but to give you an indication, you can get a highly basic room for 3,000 (~85 USD) at the bottom end of the scale, right up to 20,000+ (~560 USD) for something really nice with furnishings. This time we keep our budget the same as last time (around 10,000 – 15,000) which we would of course split between us.

    Once you choose your area, use your research from the previous steps, make a list and hit the road. The best way to shop for an apartment is ‘on the ground’.

Examples of Apartments you’ll find in the Nimman Area (and just outside)

  1. Baan Thai

    Baan Thai

    Nimmanhemin Soi 6 | 6,500 baht month rent (~183 USD) | Electricity: 7 baht per unit | Water: 200 baht per month | Internet: 600 baht per month

    Baan Thai, just off Nimmanhemin Rd is a popular choice for digital nomads in the Nimman area. Affordable at 6,500 baht, we felt that the room was a bit basic and were a bit weary of the electricity rate as we had been stung the last time we were in Chiang Mai.

  2. Hillside 3

    Hillside 3

    Nimmanhemin Soi 8 | 8,000 baht month rent (~225 USD) | Electricity: 5 baht per unit | Water: 30 baht per month | Internet: 350 baht per | Gym: 300 baht per month

    We had seen pictures of some good rooms in Hillside 3 but the room we were shown was way too basic for us. Especially after seeing Baan Thai, we immediately ruled out this room as an option.

  3. S Condo

    S Condo

    Siri Mangkalajarn Rd Lane 1 | 25,000 baht month rent (~700 USD) | Electricity: 5 baht per unit | Water: 30 baht per month | Internet included

    Despite this apartment being outside our budget, we decided to have a look anyway. Of course, it was very nice but perhaps a little bit over-priced at 25,000 given some of the better valued options we discovered later in the day.

  4. Huay Kaew Residence

    Huaykaew Rd | Electricity: 7 baht per unit | Water: 25 baht per month | Internet: 300 baht per month

    Studio Room – 5,500 baht per month (~155 USD)

    Huay Kaew Studio Apartment

    Room with Kitchen – 12,000 baht per month (~337 USD)

    Huay Kaew Room with Kitchen

    Neither of the rooms at Huay Kaew Residence appealed to us. Both of them were incredibly old and the room with a kitchen did not include utensils. Compared to the rooms we discovered later in the day, they both seemed like terrible value for money as well.

  5. Pansook 1

    Ratchaphuek Alley | Electricity: 6 baht per unit | Water: 30 baht per month | Internet included

    Big, One Bedroom Apartment – 15,000 baht per month (~420 USD)

    Huay Kaew Room with Kitchen

    Smaller, One Bedroom Apartment – 12,000 (~337 USD)

    Pansook Room 4

    We were very impressed with the rooms at Pansook and we agreed that they were by far the best we’d seen in our price range. The 3 bigger rooms that we viewed varied in style and layout but the 4th room had the right balance of space and features.

  6. Pansook 2

    Pansook Room 5

    Plubplueng Soi Alley | 10,000 bath month rent (~280 USD) | Electricity: 6 baht per unit | Water: 30 baht per month | Internet included

    Further down the room in a new area of development lies Pansook 2 where the rooms were similar but yet again smaller. If it wasn’t for the slightly off-track location, we probably would have gone with this one instead of the slightly bigger and more expensive room in Pansook 1.

  7. Chiang Mai Lodge

    Chiang Mai Lodge

    Ratchaphuek Alley | 8,500 baht month rent (~238 USD) | Electricity: 9 baht per unit | Water: 30 baht per month

    The room at Chiang Mai Lodge was a very quaint and clean studio with ensuite. After Pansook, this was our favourite.

  8. Puwanon Place

    Puwanon Place

    Ratchaphuek Alley | 6,000 baht month rent (~168 USD) | Electricity: 9 baht per unit | Water: 200 baht per person per month

    Another very nice room with a small kitchenette. Probably one of the best value-for-money rooms we came across on the day.

  9. Varada Place

    Varada Place

    Corner of Ratchaphuek Alley & Sermsuk Rd | 5,500 baht month rent (~154 USD) | Electricity: 10 baht per unit | Water: 300 baht per month

    Probably our number 1 choice if we were on a tight budget. If I was staying in Chiang Mai by myself, I would have chosen here. Our biggest concern however was the noise polution from some of the bars across the road.

  10. Sirisuk Apartments

    Ratchaphuek Alley | Rent: 3,000 baht | Electricity: 8 baht per unit | Water: 100 baht per unit

    First Room

    Sirisuk Apartments

    Second Room

    Sirisuk 2
    To be honest, for this price we were expecting a much lower quality than what we saw. If we didn’t have a higher budget, this would have been the apartment we moved into.

  11. Chiang Mai Rose House

    Ratchaphuek Alley | Rent: 4,500 baht (all inclusive)
    Chiang Mai Rose
    Another great option for those on a budget. It seems like this particular side of Santitham is a great place to live cheaply but still be close to Nimman.

  12. Luxury Huay Kaew

    Plubplueng Soi Alley | Rent: 18,000 | Electricity: 8 baht per unit | Water: included
    Luxury Huay Kaew
    Quite Luxurious but over-priced in our opinion. It seems that apartment prices in Chiang Mai tend to go up disproportionately with value. While Luxury Huay Kaew was very nice, I’d be much happier saving a third of the cost to live in an apartment that is slightly less fancy.

  13. Palm Springs

    Nimmana Haeminda Rd Lane 5 | Rent: 18,000 | Electricity: Government Rate | Water: 30 baht per unit

    Palm Springs Areca

    Palm Springs 2

    Palm Springs Fountain

    Palm Springs 1
    Both very nice rooms that we were so close to choosing for our third time in Chiang Mai but decided against it due to price. If we decide to come back for 6 months we’d probably move into Palm Springs Fountain where the room was a little bigger.

  14. HimNimman

    Sirimangkalajarn Road | Rent: 7,800 | Electricity: 7 baht per unit | Water: 26 baht per unit | Internet (restricted at 2 devices): 350 baht per month, Extra devices at a rate of 200 baht per month per device
    HimNimman
    We chose this room for our third stay in Chiang Mai due to a combination of location (close to Punspace), Price and Quality. So far, it’s been 2 weeks and we’ve had a good experience. Although, I was quite disappointed by the 2 device internet restriction and that fact that we have to log back in each time we come back to the apartment.

More Apartment Ideas for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide


About the Author

Hi, I'm Chris. I'm a self-taught web developer, YouTuber, Blogger and Digital Nomad.

To find out more about me, check out the 'About page', the 'Hire Me' section of this website or connect on social media

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

To read my full story on how I left my corporate career in Accounting to pursue Location Independence, check out my book 'How I Learned to Code'


11 comments

  1. Hi Chris, I see that you guys have moved in quite recently to Pansook – Urban Condo. I was wondering what is it like so far?
    After reading your research, and looking into a few other bloggers, yours and the apartments at Luxury Huay Kaew are by far the best options.
    My partner and I are looking to stay for 3 months, arriving at the beginning of July. We are a bit weary with regards to the electricity, especially after reading your post.
    But seeing that you have done a lot of research and have been living there for a while… Can I ask you any feedback on the flat?

    Thank you…we might bump into you!

    Telma & Thomas
    Facebook – Blank Canvas Voyage

    1. Hi Telma.

      We’re loving Pansook and will be staying for at least an extra month. We just got our utility bill for the month and it was only around 1,000 baht! So happy given we paid quadruple at PT Residence.

      I’ve also heard great things about Luxury Huay Kaew. If you search ‘Psychotraveller’ on YouTube, you’ll find our friend Ali who is currently staying there.

      Hope that helps!

      Chris

      1. LAPTOP NEEDED

        Hi everyone, I am due to arrive in Chiang Mai this weekend, and will be staying for the next 2-3 months. I urgently need a laptop. Does any know where to buy a second hand laptop or is anyone trying to get rid of theirs? Either way will work. Thank you!

        Hey Chris, thank you so much for the reply and for the suggestion.

        We arrive in Chiang Mai this weekend and are trying to book viewings at Pansook and Luxury Huey Kaew.

        The utility bill seems a good deal, I wonder if the internet is included in the price and can be used unlimited on multiple devices?

        We might bump into you!

        Thank you

        Telma & Thomas
        Facebook – Blank Canvas Voyage

      2. Chris,
        When I saw 3000 baht for electricity I thought there goes my budget. When I read you electricity at Pansook I was a mere 30 dollars I was relieved. I am hoping to retire in Chaing Mai after the first of the year and I think the Pansook II room is perfect for me. Hey, I need to start somewhere and that will be a good jumping off point. Thank you for your great video and for doing the leg work for me. God bless.
        Charles

  2. Hi Chris;

    We are senior citizens & are looking for furnished, service apartment. We will be in Chiang Mai for 2 mos and we will be going to Hanoi for two weeks and returning to Chiang Mai for additional two months. Would you recommend Pansook 1 for us? Do we need to sign for long term lease?

    Thank you very much.

  3. Hey Chris!
    this was SOOOO SO SO SO helpful, i’m heading to Chiang Mai in a month and was lost on where to even start looking for an apartment.

    Thanks for being so informative!

  4. Your new apartment looks lovely! Really sorry we never got to meet up; we were only in Chiang Mai for less than 3 days and our internet at the hotel was broken ??

    1. Hi Chris;

      We will be arriving Chiang Mai on August 3. We have booked at BP Chiang Mai City Hotel for three days, it’s address is
      154 Rachmankha Road, Amphur
      Muang, Old City, Chiang Mai, Thailand

      How should we reach there from the airport.

      Is there any vacancy at Pansook, Urbano where you stay? What was your monthly total expense for just the apartment?

      Hope to hear from you. Thanks

  5. Pansook has no pool, luxury HK does. I loved the cute ness of the tiny room at luxury hk but due to Ally its sold out! grrr. danger of saying you love a place I guess. When I went to see the Pansook next door to luxury HK the demo room really stunk. and the bed was a bit hard (they all seem to be). so that turned me off. Really a huge factor is if you need the pool cause you’ll stay in a much crappier room if you must have that as there are so many more choices without a pool. If you work with a agency, you will get condos that people have self fixed up, so they are much homier and more “put together” inside. so this is good for those of us who dont want to feel like they are in a dorm room. I found mine, for LESS than HK Luxury (15k) at only 13k and its closer to HK road, has pool, and is fixed up nice inside. Not a one bedroom, but has a gorgeous balcony. so def check out the agencies around. the main issue is they tend to want 3 month minimum rentals and more likely SIX months. But you can always ask, and they will ask the owner. sometimes the owners just want to see some cash for christmas if you know what I mean!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *