Many apartments in Thailand are set up here like hotels. They are furnished and you can move in on the day-of if you want.
We saw several places ranging in price from 3,000 Baht to 15,000 Baht (75 EUR to 400 EUR) per month, and ended up settling on the cheapest place we saw. Not because it was the cheapest place, but because it was the nicest believe it or not!
The 15,000 Baht places were of course very nice, but it felt too artificial as they are set up for foreigners. The average household income in Chiang Mai is 18K, so paying 15K is really inflated for the city. Plus it was important for us to live with Thai locals for the cultural exchange, and not only be surrounded by western tourists all the time.
We pretty much lucked out on a place that ticked all our boxes, even though we weren’t being choose-y at all.
Let me show you.
Our building has 4 levels and we are on the top (4th) floor. In the picture below, our room is the one with the bench and the open door. The stairs going one level up leads to the common roof top which we use often.
This is the view from our doorstep looking onto the shared balcony/hallway. We hang out and eat meals the balcony everyday. It’s become our extended living and dining room. Which is nice because our actual room is very small.
Our room is about 12 sqm or 129 sq ft. It’s very simple but is good enough for us. We’ve since rearranged furniture to make it feel more spacious and to accommodate our bikes (along the window).
Another view of the room. It is quite plain and minimalist.
We asked the landlady to add a fridge, so she did and we removed a shelf to place it along the wall. She charges us an extra 200 Baht for the fridge, which I just add to our utilities (1K more per month).
At the back of our room there’s a full bathroom. Sorry we didn’t close the seat, that’s how we got the place! This is a really nice bathroom for this price range, and was a big reason why we chose this apartment. Even places we saw that cost double the price didn’t have as nice a bathroom as this. It’s common in South East Asia to have a wet room, where the toilet and shower area are combined, so when you shower the toilet gets completely wet. Not the worst thing but if we could get a more western-style bathroom in our price range, why not!
As I mentioned, we didn’t mean to be choosy but we got everything we desired. Like a great view, a western bathroom, a balcony, and a central location near the mountain – all for the bargain price of 75 EUR per month! With utilities it’s about 100 EUR per month.
The room is a bit small compared to where our friends stay, but no one else has the awesome view or balcony that we do. So we consider ourselves very fortunate to have lucked out on the first try!
We’re about to extend our month-to-month lease by another month, making our total stay here 3-months before we pick up during Northern Thailand’s smokey season. Still deciding where to go. We’ll see!