Searching for an apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is a popular city for digital nomads due to the low cost of living, relaxing atmosphere, and lots of coffee shops to work from. Many stay here for a few months to work on projects and renting a fully-furnished apartment monthly is usually the way to go.
It’s good to have some idea of which apartments to check out before arriving in Chiang Mai to speed up the process. I recommend you stay at a guest house or a hostel for few days to check out the different options available for you instead of booking in advance if this is your first time in Chiang Mai. What you see in the pictures may not be as good as it is in person, plus you get to decide if you like the location.
For me, I spent two days at a guesthouse in the old city, did a little bit of exploring, and went apartment hunting right away. I basically just walked around to check out the apartments, but renting a bicycle or motorbike would probably have been much easier.
It might also be a good idea to use a real estate agency, such as Chiang Mai Properties, if you have more specific requirements or looking for a place to live in long term as they can provide you more options.
First thing is to decide which area to stay in. Some may prefer the Old City (downtown) as it’s the busiest area. But for me, I liked being near the Nimmanhaemin area (or just Nimman for short) mostly due to the many coffee shops here. My goal here in Chiang Mai is to work on some projects and I enjoy working in coffee shops, so being able to easily walk to many different cafes is a big deal for me. This area is also much less touristy than the Old City so you get a better feel of what it’s like to live here.
Now, if you’re renting a motorbike (which usually goes for around 2,000-2,500 baht/month), then location may not be an issue and you will have a lot more options of nicer places to stay in at a lower cost. But since I’m not very experienced riding motorbikes (the roads here can get very busy at times but still nowhere near as bad as Bangkok) and I don’t like having another thing to think about, I needed a place very close to where I’ll be spending most of time in.
My Choice: The Bliss Hotel
After checking out a few serviced apartments, I decided to settle in at The Bliss Hotel mainly for the location:
- 5-minute walk to the Nimman area where a lot of nice cafes, bars, clubs, and restaurants are located
- quiet area with a view of the mountain
- very close to The Harbor mall
- there’s a small market area across the street with food stalls to buy cheap food from (you can get a good meal here for $1)
- 7-Eleven a few meters away (which is open 24/7)
- close to Huay Kaew park where you can do some exercise or take a walk
- near Chiang Mai University where you can take classes
- it’s by Huay Kaew road so it’s easy to find songthaews (red trucks) to take you anywhere you want
- 15-minute walk to Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Center
- 20-minute walk to Chiang Mai Ram hospital
The building looks pretty new and the rooms are nicely decorated and modern. I got a superior room on the 4th floor (the building has 8 floors, but the upper levels only had standard rooms available at the time and I wanted a superior room). It is a good-sized room with a sofa and coffee table, which I use often when I’m working on my computer during the night. It also looks brand new, the power outlet in my bathroom is still covered with a plastic wrapper, so I’m guessing it hasn’t been used much. All rooms have a balcony, which I mainly use really just to dry my clothes.
The view from my room wasn’t that great, though, as there’s another apartment building next to it partially blocking my view of the mountain. If it was a floor higher the view would’ve been better. On the plus side, since mostly people probably ask for rooms on the higher levels, my floor is very quiet and I don’t think I have any neighbors at all. The rooms on the lower levels are also probably in better conditions.
All rooms have a nice 32” LCD TV with a USB and SD card port. The USB port comes very handy when watching downloaded movies. H.264/MPEG-4 encoded videos work best. You can also use it to play music or view pictures.
Here are more information:
- Rooms start at 9,000 baht/month for standard, 11,000 baht/month for superior, 12,000 baht/month for deluxe, 14,000 baht/month for grand deluxe, 17,000 baht/month for 1-bedroom. Subtract 2,000 baht/month if staying for 3 months or more. Weekly maid service is 250 baht (optional) and Wi-Fi Internet is 500 baht/month (optional, if you can pick up a 3BB hotspot signal in your room, which I could, you can subscribe for 100 baht/month unlimited Internet). Water is 200 baht/month and electricity is 7 baht/unit (budget around 1,500 baht/month for electricity if you plan to use the A/C everyday).
- 32” LCD TV
- Work table with 2 chairs
- Big fridge
- Hot water in the shower (the more expensive rooms have a bathtub)
- Sofa and coffee table in superior rooms or higher
- Big, comfortable bed with 2 pillows
- Good-sized closet
- Kitchen sink and cabinets
My only complaint is the lack of a microwave. I believe the more expensive rooms have them, but a microwave is so cheap that they could’ve easily added one to all the rooms. While you don’t really need to cook here in Chiang Mai as it’s usually cheaper to just eat out, It’s nice to be able to make coffee/tea or soup from time to time.
The building doesn’t have a gym or a pool, which would’ve been nice to have but not a big deal for me. I found the staff to be friendly and helpful as well. There’s also an indoor parking garage and security guard on site 24/7.
Other Serviced Apartments
Below are other apartments I’ve looked into.
Really nice place with a pool and gym. Opened just 4 months ago. This would’ve been my first choice if it wasn’t for the location. It’s located in Viangbua Steet by Chang Puek Road.
Rooms start at 12,500 baht/month (includes weekly cleaning and internet).
Huay Kaew Residence
Good location right by Kad Suan Kaew mall. Rooms start at 4,500 baht/month. I didn’t go inside to check out the rooms as I didn’t like what the rooms looked like in the pictures on their website. But if you’re on a tight budget and wanted a good location to stay in, this might be a good option. Has gym and pool.
This one’s in the Old City and seems like a good value. I went there to check out a deluxe room but it wasn’t available so I only got to see the superior room which I found just ok. Pretty spacious, though.
Starts at 6,500/month. The building has a pool and gym.
Green Hill Place
I’ve only read about this online. Location looks good near Nimman. They have 2 buildings, one has rooms starting at 8,500 baht/month (33 sq. meters) and the other at 11,000 baht/month (40 sq. meters). Good room sizes.
Has a gym and pool, but you have to pay 50 baht each time you use the pool. I also read some reviews on TripAdvisor about this place and there seems to be many complaints about the staff.
This one looks good as well, right by Huay Kaew road. The rooms and rates are actually very similar to The Bliss, but I found The Bliss to be a better value.
Rooms start at 9,000 baht/month.
Le Chalet Suite
Located by Suthep Rd. Looks to be a good value but you may need a motorbike to get around.
Single bed room costs 7,000/month, junior suite room 12,000/month. Right now they’re offering a 1,000 baht/month discount if you don’t use the indoor parking. Weekly cleaning and Wi-Fi is included in the rent.