A deluxe apartment in the sky-getting an apartment in Chiang Mai

We’ve recently found a great apartment here in Chiang Mai and wanted to share some current information for those who are coming to Chiang Mai soon and looking to rent as well. The following is a list of places we personally visited. Most of these places are in the Nimmanhaemin Road area, outside of the city walls. If you rent a motorbike you can get around anywhere you need to go in 10-15 minutes. This area is home to a mall with a bowling alley, a movie theatre, grocery stores, laundry services, copy/print services, ect.

We chose to live outside the city walls because all of the apartments located inside the old city have height restrictions, and we really wanted a view of the mountains, and a little less noise. There are a ton of great options to fit all budgets so we really wanted to share what we found in the hopes that it would help others coming soon. We did not take pictures of the apartments (except for the one we rented), because most of the apartments have websites so you can check out the different layouts/pictures for yourselves.

Our budget started at $400-500 dollars not including utilities. Initially when we started looking at places, we knew we could get a place at that price here. But looking at some selections made me cringe. I knew I could not live in a place that was not up to my standards (which I guess are pretty high). We looked at a dozen places over 4 days, and the more we looked the more our budget went up. The most important things to us became: fast internet, a kitchen with a stove and mountain views. And a quiet building. We looked at one place-the next door neighbor had her door wide open and the television could be heard down the hallway. Again, sometimes you get what you pay for, and we were willing to pay a little extra to get what we wanted. So our budget went up to $600-700 dollars.

Unless stated otherwise, you must pay separately for water & electric. In no particular order, here is what we checked out.

The Empire Residence

Pros: This place was swanky. Nicely decorated rooms, good location & good security.

Cons: No smoking in the apartment, no pool or gym. No kitchen in the deluxe room. 300 baht a month extra for internet. Expensive units.

Contact info: 22/3 Nimmanhaemin Road, www.empirenimman.com

Green Hill Place

Pros: We loved this place. The front desk was friendly, the apartments were HUGE. If you come with friends, this would be an excellent deal to split a 2/2. Loads of furniture, big windows, great views. They have 2 buildings-lots of options. A fitness area overlooks a gigantic pool. A little convenience store & cafe were also on the grounds. They also had 2 coin washing machines on the ground floor. Free internet is also included.

Cons: For the price and the choices they had, the views on the 4th floor were not great- electric wires/someone’s filthy pool. Maybe other floors were better, but we checked the 3rd and 4th floor and the views were so-so. The 8th floor apartment was great but the neighbor had a yapping dog. And they don’t even allow pets in the building? Go figure. The pool was 50 baht per use-but really well maintained & large. When you check out of your apartment, you have to pay a cleaning fee depending on the size of your unit. Overall nice but a little pricey.

Contact info: 45/38 Moo.5, Super Highway Road (On the other side of Nimmanhaemin Road) www.greenhillplace.com

Baan Thai B

Pros: This place was cheap. And its off Nimmanhaemin Road, giving it a great location. The apartment we looked at was 5200 Baht, which is less than $200 bucks a month. Dirt cheap. It had a swimming pool which was included in the price. Good security. The front desk attendant was really nice and helpful.

Cons: From the outside it looked ok, but when the attendant opened the door to the apartment, while clean, gave me the feeling of a prison room. I couldn’t shake it. It was bare bones, kind of like hotel style-it basically had a bed, a desk, and not much else. And it was tiny. Internet extra. But for the price, what can you expect? If you don’t need much this might work for you.

Contact info: 36 Nimmanhaemin Road, Tel:053219000

Outside of the Nimmanhaemin Road area we checked out:

Smith Residence

Pros: The Smith Residence is very popular in the backpacking community. Its in a good location and easy to get to. The apartment was clean, it had access to a gym and a roof top swimming pool (although very small). They also included a weekly cleaning service.

Cons: Very limited apartments available, very small units. No kitchen for the unit we viewed so it was a little steeply priced for us. Internet extra. A rather small couch so it would be hard to have guests stay over if they wanted too. No smoking allowed, not even on your own balcony. Only on the rooftop. So if you don’t live on the rooftop level, you have to take the elevator up to the 8th floor every time you want to smoke (or of course go outside the building). If you don’t smoke-or don’t have friends that do-not such a big deal. But we knew we’d want to have dinner/drink parties and inevitably someone who smokes will come along-plus, we smoke. The apartment was too small for parties.

Contact info: 37-39 Nuntharam Rd, www.chiangmaismithres.com 

The Grand Napat 

Pros: This place was luxury living at its best. If you can afford it, live here. The bellman opens the door for you, the staff cater to you. We felt like this place was too fancy for us. Gorgeous rooms. Spanking new kitchens, clean clean clean. Really a nice place to live. They also do daily rentals. The monthly rate included water & internet, also a cleaning service 3 times a week. All I could say was wow every time they showed us a unit.  They also agreed to give us a small discount for paying all the rent up front.

Cons:  For us, way too expensive. That is all. Sigh.

Contact info: 70/1 MuenDamPraKot Road, www.thegrandnapat.com

And finally, the one we choose:

ViangPing Mansion & Condotel

*Note: We are only speaking from seeing this one unit, which will be available when we leave in December (we think). We can’t be sure what all the units look like, as we only saw this one.

Pros: Centrally located-this place has a huge outdoor food court literally steps away. We found a laundry service and everything else we needed a short motorbike ride away. On the other side of Nimmanhaemin Road (off the super highway road.) They complex also sells gallon jugs of drinking/cooking water in the lobby. Our apartment was newly refurbished and included internet and satellite cable tv. We have our own modem for the wifi in the unit and its pretty fast. We’ve got 2 balconies (with killer views as we are on floor 12 of 14) it’s really quiet on our floor, and we can smoke in the apartment.

Cons: From the outside the building might not look as well painted as some of the others. The security is good enough, but no key card entry. We really don’t mind.

Contact info: We found this place through our realtor. But, its located at 52 M. 5 (really, that’s what it says on the card) Tel: 053225844

Conclusion:

After seeing so many apartments, one day after eating lunch we spotted a Real Estate office on Nimmanhaemin Road. We decided to check it out. This was a great idea as the guy that helped us, Warut, was really nice, the service was free, and he showed us many different types of places in our price range. The one we chose was the last option. It was the only unit we had seen that included the internet, cable, and was within our budget. Its almost 100 sq m (which is pretty large). We pay $670 per month and we pay water & electric separate. But, we got a 2/2 and its nice to be able to have a place for our friends to stay, and also to host couchsurfers. Here are some pictures of our new place.

Some last tips:

  • Find a temporary place when you arrive, and rent a motorbike or get a taxi to take you to the places you want to see. Don’t rush the process as you will be stuck with whatever you pick out so make sure you like it, and the area you chose. Visit the area at different times of the day to check the noise level. You might see a place in the evening and not realize there is construction nearby that goes on in the daytime. Get as much info as you can.
  • If you can’t find anything that you like, or want more options, we recommend getting a realtor. The company we used, Chiang Mai Properties, has 2 offices and the staff speaks English. They were so helpful-Warut, our Realtor, even picked us up at our guesthouse with our bags and moved us to the new apartment. Incredibly time saving and didn’t cost us a cent.
  • Make a list of the things that you need and the things you can live without. If you want a gym, or a pool, or internet/cable  included in your rent, take that into consideration when checking the prices. It’s hard to find a good gym here, and sometimes the extra costs can break your budget. Don’t disregard a place if the price is right and it doesn’t have a pool. How often were you going to use the pool anyway? Discuss these things and do check out the facilities the apartment building offers. One place we looked at included a maintenance fee for the pool, but the pool looked like crap. We weren’t sure we wanted to pay a premium for a service we could not use.
  • Be prepared to pay up to a 2 month deposit at some places. All the places we checked out allowed 3 month leases, which is what we got. If you sign a 1 year lease the cost went down a bit as well. If you can afford to, maybe ask if they will give you an extra discount for paying the rent up front. Of course, if you are staying a year that might be difficult, but for a shorter term lease it might save you some money.

We hope this helps you out when you are searching for a place here in Chiang Mai. Some of these places might not be in your budget, but check out all the websites before you decide, as they have different sizes for most budgets. This post was not sponsored by the Real Estate office, nor did we receive anything other than amazing service from them, which was free.

26 Comments

  • This will be super useful for us when we get to Thailand next month!! Great info. Happy to hear that you’ll be there until December, then we will finally get to meet up :)

  • Erin says:

    This is really useful for us as we are coming to Chiang Mai next month too. I’m a bit surprised at the prices as everyone who writes about apartments in CM seems to quote around $200. I bet that’s without kitchen though which we really want.

    • Mica says:

      The cheapest one with a kitchen was the Smith residence, and the only units they had available were not cheap. Supposedly Nov-Feb is high season here and we expecting that coming in before that we’d have a lot more selection. And the kitchen was an absolute must. I needed to be able to cook. I know the street food is cheap, and we do eat out at night sometimes, but when I get up in the morning the last thing I want to do is run out for food. I can make my scrambled eggs and coffee and relax. There are places for $200, but no place that I wanted to live in. And def. no kitchen. So many awesome bloggers coming next month, this is awesome. Be good to meet you guys too.

    • Yell says:

      I live in Chiang Mai and moved into a place with a kitchen area (counter) and ‘fridge, and that was it. I went to Carrefour/Big C and got a mini electric oven that makes everything I could possibly want and an electric stovetop with electric grill attached. We can make anything we want and everything we made before in the USA. The electric stove was 1100 baht and the stovetop/grill combo (with pot and lids) was 1200 baht.
      Places that offer a kitchen will charge DOUBLE because they can. They know many people don’t realize the other option. We pay 7500 baht a month for a massive 1-bedroom with a great view in an awesome neighborhood.

      • Mica says:

        Hello Yell,

        That is awesome that you got such a cheap place. What neighborhood do you live in? It would be helpful to my readers if you could list some more information about your area, that way they can compare and have more options. You say you are paying 7500 baht for a 1 bedroom. That is great! Do you have cable and internet included? How many square meters is your apartment? Our apartment is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with internet & cable included, and about 100 sq meters. We also have a kitchen area with a hood, which is important if you do a lot of cooking which I do. The fan on top helps ventilate and remove heat when I have a cookfest. We needed a larger place for the guests that we plan on having throughout the months, and maybe some couchsurfers. We also could have found a place for the price you are paying, just not with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We checked out the appliances inside our local mall at central and discussed both options- buying stuff or just getting a place with the stove already in it. In the end though, we got a great deal on our place, considering the location and the condition of the apartment. If we had stayed for a year’s lease we could have gotten it for 18,000 baht, which for us was affordable. We wanted to list the options that we found for others and welcome any additional input. If you’d like to respond with your location and let people know if there are vacancies in your building, or any other buildings that you might have seen, that would be appreciated. We also included a link to the Realtor company we used, and if you do a search, you can find many different size places for different prices. We are just writing about the places we checked out ourselves personally.

  • TomMy says:

    Nice report as I may end up there at some point. There is a informative website for Thailand called [email protected]. It comes out once a week and I noticed that for this week, the first article is about going to a lake in Chang Mai for the day.

    BTW, did you ever make it to Singapore as I don’t see any reference to it on your blog.

    As for me, I am leaving for Lima and Cusco the middle of next week. Let me know when you can your recommendations some good inexpensive places to eat and hangout in SanBlas. Just out of curiosity, do you know Phillipe, the owner of Casa de Pleiades in San Blas? I met him on my last visit to Cusco and had some friends stay at his hotel last month.

    One other thing. I am staying at a new B&B in San Miguel near the zoo my first night in Lima as it is inexpensive and only 10 minutes from airport. The owners told me they were just featured on HGTV so looking forward to my stay.

  • Highly informative post! I know that I’m going to be based in Chiang Mai in the future and this is truly helpful. I love how you broke down the positive and negative aspects of each place.

    • Mica says:

      Awesome, glad to know it helped. If we find anything more that’s helpful to others I will be sure to write a post about it. We are thinking of doing one to help others looking to buy a motorbike since we just bought one.

  • Chiang Mai is an awesome place to stay. Great useful tips for those planning on spending time there.

  • Mica, thank you for a wonderful overview and detailed information. Seems like it will be quite the group there when we arrive next month as well. We’ll be there for 6 months or so and excited to have so much current insight into the apartment options. This is invaluable as we look to parse all the different pieces of information for apartments there.

    We look forward to the opportunity to meet you all. With any luck we’ll find a place with a kitchen and can cook for the group.

    See you and the rest of the gang soon.

  • Mica, thank you guys for a wonderful overview and detailed information. Seems like it will be quite the group there when we arrive next month as well. We’ll be there for 6 months or so and excited to have so much current insight into the apartment options. This is invaluable as we look to parse all the different pieces of information for apartments there.

    We look forward to the opportunity to meet you all. With any luck we’ll find a place with a kitchen and can cook for the group.

    See you and the rest of the gang soon.

  • Oh my gosh. Your place is BEAUTIFUL. I can’t wait to come back. Stay!!!!!!!

  • Erica says:

    We’ll get there eventually… once I figure out how to make more money remotely. /sigh

    Looks awesome!

  • russ says:

    thank you so much! we’re on our way to chiang mai to hunt for an apartment. doing some island hopping first, and then heading north. currently in istanbul and the weather’s getting cold. time for warmth!

    so much great information that everyone is sharing about apartments in chiang mai. consider this a hearty thank you from a grateful travel couple.

    see you round town, we hope.

    russ
    michrusstravel.blogspot.com

    • Mica says:

      Thanks for the kind comment Russ. That what our goal when we wrote this post, to try to help out as many people as possible that were also coming to Chiang Mai. We wish you the best of luck in finding a great place for yourselves! We’re here till December 4th and we’d love to meet up with you.

  • Jake says:

    Having a budget that’s ridiculous to locals is sweeeet to get really nice digs to live in. Also it’s another mote to separate yourself from experiencing locals and local lifestyle. Which, I’m noticing about falang, is exactly how they likes it! 😉 The pictures and detailed suggestions are great, thanks.

    • Mica says:

      Hey Jake,
      I read your blog a bit just now. You got some good stories on there.
      If you work hard in life and you want to spend your money on a nice apartment in Thailand, then why not? That definitely does not mean I missed out on any local experiences- it just means I got to shit in a better toilet in my nicer apartment. Case in point- our apartment was located outside the tourist area. We ate dinner most nights among the locals right outside our apartment on the highway. We never shopped at the tourist markets, in fact we went way out of our way to shop at a market we reached by motorbike on said highway. I think that you can have both experiences- treating yourself to what you can afford and still mingling with the locals. Judge not too early, and thanks for finding my blog and reading it!

  • agnes chavez says:

    I am heading to Chiang Mae and would love to email Warut. I can not find the website for chiang mai properties or anything about Warut. Can you direct me to a contact for them? thanks for all the info.

  • @TravelEater says:

    Thanks! Very useful, even 2 years later! :-)

  • I appreciate you writing this post, I was some what familiar with this subject.
    It’s always good learning unusual concepts.

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