After spending the better part of the year based in Malta, we decided to try out the travel bloggers’ unofficial capital: Chiang Mai, Thailand.
We arrived in Thailand in the beginning of December, and after spending a few days in Bangkok, headed north to Chiang Mai via Bangkok Airways. I can definitely recommend this airline by the way, excellent service from start to finish, including a lounge with free food and drinks while waiting to catch our flight.
In Chiang Mai, we booked a one week stay at the Triple Palms House, a small guesthouse situated in a very good location in the old town. We chose it because it had a great internet connection, which we planned to use heavily in our search for the ideal apartment.
We spent the first two days walking and cycling about town, trying to get a good idea of the different areas so we could focus our search more. We liked the Huay Kaew road area to the north west of the old town, and also the Chang Klan road area, where a lot of the condominiums are situated.
The fact that many expats have settled in Chiang Mai means that new condominiums are constantly being built, which is a good thing for those looking for quality accommodation. However our search didn’t turn out to be a walk in the park.
When searching for an apartment, you need to have something in mind. We had been reading Simon and Erin’s blog post about apartment searching in Chiang Mai, and our requirements were very similar. There are quite a number of bloggers who claim that you can find accommodation in Chiang Mai for as little as $100 a month. The truth is that you get what you pay for, and you certainly won’t get much more than a small room with that budget.
We were looking for a modern, clean apartment with at least one bedroom, and a good internet connection. The first thing we discovered in our search, was that the majority of apartments available tend to be studio flats, which are ok for a short stay, but definitely not ideal for 3 months+ of living and working in.
Moreover, we also wanted the apartment to have a kitchen. Alyona is a wonderful cook, and while I love trying out Thai dishes, I’d rather sample Alyona’s tasty cooking most of the time. It’s definitely more convenient, and possibly cheaper, to be able to cook whatever you want in your own kitchen. Strangely enough for new visitors to Thailand, most apartments don’t come with a kitchen, as Thais generally prefer to eat out on the many street-side eateries that are so common here.
So we set out for our one-bedroom apartment search with the following requirements. I suggest you make a list like the following and send it to agents as soon as you arrive in Chiang Mai.
- Budget of 15,000 to 20,000 baht/month (max $650).
- Good wifi connection.
- One bedroom or more.
- Western style kitchen.
- Max 20min walk from centre.
- If possible pool and gym within the condominium.
We wanted an apartment in a central location as we didn’t plan on driving a motorbike, and it would be good to be able to walk to any activity/restaurant/landmark in town.
And so our search for an apartment in Chiang Mai started in earnest…
We had actually started the search for an apartment around a month before we left Malta, by contacting a few agents in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately this doesn’t really work, as apartments are quickly taken and by the time we arrived, all the ones we had bookmarked were taken.
Following other bloggers’ advice, we went directly to a couple of agents in order to help us find an apartment quickly. Here are the agents we contacted:
Apart from the agents, I also scoured any other classified site I could find via Google. If you do the same you will most probably come across the Thaivisa forum, which has a vast content base, but we didn’t really find any good leads there. It can be a useful place to search for other Chiang Mai and Thailand information though.
A very important thing to keep in mind when browsing online listings is that most properties will only be available for periods of 6 months and more. We found many interesting properties only to be told that they were not available for the 3 month period we wanted, especially since it was high season.
Apart from emailing all the agents, we decided to visit them in order to discuss our requirements better. We first visited Chiang Mai Homes, and found them to be very friendly. They had a very nice apartment available in the Huay Kaew area, and it seemed ideal for us. Unfortunately just before we left to view it, they got a phone call saying that it had been rented just an hour before. We were thus left to rue our unlucky start to an apartment search.
Next we visited Parker Estate Agency. The office is located within a shop and the Thai man there didn’t speak English, so he took our details and promised us that someone would call us later that day. Sure enough, the agency’s owner Nigel Parker called me and asked me to give him a few days to try to find something for us.
Chiang Mai Properties seem to have the biggest presence in town, having a number of offices in different areas. That was convenient for us as we cycled our way to their main branch on Chang Klan road. I had been in contact with them via email before we arrived, so they had our details on file. Unfortunately they didn’t have anything within our budget available, so they also asked us to wait a few days and see whether any good apartment becomes available.
After 4 days of searching and waiting, it was becoming evident that finding an apartment with our requirements wasn’t going to be easy. We realised that peak season means that most apartments would have already been rented, and it would probably have been easier for us had we arrived in Chiang Mai a month or two earlier.
Thankfully, I received an email from Angkana Rau, the owner of Satihoga Tropical Homes. She told us that she had just one apartment available at Twin Peaks condo, available at 23,000 baht/month. This was above our budget, but given the circumstances and the fact that it was in a condominium which I really fancied, we decided to go and see it.
As soon as we walked into the apartment I couldn’t help smiling, as it was the exact apartment I had been wishing for all along. The only issue was that internet had to be bought separately, costing 500 baht/computer/month. After giving this some thought we decided to go ahead with this apartment as it was as close as we could get to our ideal. We were a bit over budget but after spending the first week enjoying the comforts of this apartment and condominium, we were really glad that we went for this option.
Angkana was very friendly and professional, and also gave us a ride with our luggage from the guesthouse to our new apartment, which was very convenient. I highly recommend contacting her when looking for accommodation here in Chiang Mai. Before moving in, we signed a contract with a representative of the landlord, and all documents were very professional, giving us total peace of mind about our decision.
The apartment is fully airconditioned and has two hot plates for cooking. The kitchen is also equipped with a microwave oven, toaster and coffee machine. These included appliances are very convenient, some other apartments we’ve seen didn’t come with any equipment or silverware.
Our new home for the next 3 months is on the 6th floor of the Twin Peaks condominium, which is located in a private side road off Chang Klan road. This area is quite a busy one, with a number of shops and restaurants close by.
We do our food shopping at the Rim Ping Supermarket, which is 20 minutes away on foot, just after crossing the river Ping. A 7 eleven shop is conveniently located just 2 minutes away, and that’s where we buy the daily things like water, bread etc.
The famous Chiang Mai Night Market is also just a few minutes away on foot. We can walk to the old town in 20 minutes, making this a very good location for us, even though we don’t have any transport. For longer trips we just wave down a Song Thaew and pay the standard 20 baht each to get to our desired location.
The living room features a big table that doubles as a desk, but I actually prefer working downstairs by the pool. It’s so relaxing there and I can enjoy a quick swim when I feel like taking a break. There is also a gym next to the pool, where Alyona and myself work out several times a week. All in all we are really happy with our apartment, as it has everything we were looking for. The staff here are very polite and the other people living here (mostly expats) are a friendly bunch too.
Most apartments here require you to pay extra for water and electricity. You receive a bill towards the end of the month which you settle at the condominium’s reception. Expect to pay anywhere from 1,000 to 3,500 baht, chiefly depending on your usage of the air conditioning units.
If anything, this experience of apartment searching in Chiang Mai has shown me the power of visualisation. As Alyona rightly pointed out to me, I had been wishing for this apartment all along, and although it was difficult to find any apartment, I still got what I had wished for.
For more tips and specific recommendations about Chiang Mai accommodation, check out these posts from fellow Chiang Mai travelers:
- The Search for an Apartment in Chiang Mai (Never Ending Voyage)
- Apartment Hunting in Chiang Mai (Technosyncratic)
- The Famous Question: Where to Stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand (Got Passport)
- Getting an Apartment in Chiang Mai (Kaypacha Travels)
Leave a comment if you have any questions or want to share your own experience of finding an apartment in Chiang Mai.
Glad you guys managed to find somewhere. We loved our stay at Twin Peaks (although the internet situation is a pain) and I think it’s worth spending a bit more to be comfortable when you are planning to work a lot. Have fun!
Thanks Erin, your blog was what ignited our desire to visit Chiang Mai, and your posts about the apartment search and living costs were especially helpful. Keep up the great work!
Judie Rathburn says
Enjoyed your sharing. I will be there May 2013. Is there anyway I could contact the owner to see if this beautiful unit is available to rent then?
Thanks for your interest. We are leaving this apartment on the 20th of March. So I guess if nobody rents it till May (or rents it for a short period maybe) it will be available. I can give you the phone number of the agent (the owner of Satihoga Tropical Homes) which helped us to find this condo. She is very friendly and helpful. Her name is Angkana: +66-089-953-4981. Let me know if you have more questions!
The Residences Chiangmai says
Congratulations to find the best comfortable condominuim for lived in Chaing-mai and thanks for your ecperince its very useful to find a place to live in Chaing-Mai.
Thank you! 🙂
It’s very nice place to find in Chaing-Mai. It’s situated on the best place. Near supermarket, comfort for foreigner and everybody who doesn’t have transportation. Enjoyed your life in Chaing Mai.
Perfect Homes is a new and vibrant internet property agency based in Chiang Mai, currently listing
both good rental and properties for sale in and around Chiang Mai area.
House for sale in chiang mai
Punna chiang mai
Sandy Dilip says
Hey Alonya, thanks so much for your post that help other travellers like myself to get set up in Chiang Mai. I got in touch with Angkana and she showed me a few places – the last one being Twin Peaks which I had my eye on after reading this post! I have a studio room and managed to get the low-season rate (I arrived in November) for six months so I’m happy with the value for money so far-13,000 baht a month, bills on top which I’m hoping will be reasonable. Angkana is great – so thanks for the recommendation, it made life much easier using your experience as a guide. 🙂
Hi Sandy! I am really happy to know that the information we share here does help! Congrats on your new home! 🙂 Wow the price you got is really good! It’s true, Angkana is a very nice person, honest and helpful. Enjoy your stay in Twin Peaks, it’s a great place, you will love it!
Patent Lawyer says
It looks really lovely. And oh my, I want to be by that pool right now!
I’ve been reading your blog and I find myself relating a lot with the things you say. I’ve been travelling for 10 months now and many of your comments were very useful to me, but this is the most useful of them all!
I wanted to know if you still have the email of the agent that helped you find this place and also if you know if the phone number you posted is still accurate.
Thanks so much
I found the info I was asking for, maybe is useful for someone else:
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: +66 (0)89 – 953 4981 (Thai & English)
Thank you for your comments! Yes, these are the email and phone number we have. Actually we are coming back to Chiang Mai in 1 month, so we are going to use again all of the contacts mentioned in this post to find an accommodation 🙂
Do these accommodations come with cleaning services?
Jean Galea says
Some of them do and others don’t. We did our own cleaning. Even if a building doesn’t provide cleaning services the concierge will be more than happy to help you find a cleaner at very affordable prices.
Thanks for every other excellent post. Where else may just
anyone get that type of info in such a perfect manner of writing?
I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such info.