After I'd graduated my TEFL course (yay me!) and thankfully still had some savings left, it was time to start looking for a place to call home. At first I was overwhelmed by the options, and in most cases, not being able to communicate in Thai, but after looking at an exorbitant number of places, I think I got the hang of it.

The general consensus in Chiang Mai is that if you want to live like you do back home, you are going to pay for it. Many people assume because Thailand is cheaper than what they're used to, everything will be a bargain. Not true. It's still easy enough to get ripped off or just to be blinded by the own bling of your dollar bills.

Here's a list of some Chiang Mai housing options:

A very important condo, with a very important pool.
A fully-furnished condo in a snazzy area

Think Nimmanheiman Road, Huay Kaew Road (near Kad Sun Kaew Mall) or one of the up-and-coming areas like the Chiang Mai Business Park area (near Payap University), which might cost anywhere between ฿8000 - ฿20000 per month. If you can afford this lavish option, then yes, you will feel like a king looking out your window at the average person in their old Crocs, and all your friends will be really impressed and probably even resent you a little bit. But in all honesty, no one needs a ฿15000 penthouse in a laidback place like Chiang Mai, unless you are, of course, very very important.

A house

Hello house! Domesticate me?
This option was out of the question for me, as I would be too tempted to play housewife, snatch myself some stray animals, and grow a collection of Thai vegetables in the garden (and then spend the rest of my days trying to figure out what they are). For many couples or groups of friends, this is a great option. It's also worth considering if you are alone and would like to gather up some housemates, or be adopted by some who are already settled in. I've seen unfurnished and partly furnished houses for rent starting at around ฿8000 or ฿9000 a month. If you're lucky, you might find a deal like this near the old city - I had some friends who lived together in a ฿9000 house off the west side of the moat (Suthep area) right near Nimmanheiman Road and CM University. I have also come across others who are living in their own delusions - ahem - I mean, houses, costing ฿20000 a month and upwards.

This picture pretty much depicts the true size of the room.
A one-room apartment

Most of the time, this is literally one room, with an attached bathroom. Yes, almost exactly like a cheap guesthouse. Many Thai people live like this, especially the younger ones in university or fresh out of their parents' nest. The rent is cheap pretty much wherever you are (฿1000 to around ฿4000) and contracts are more suited to travellers (usually starting from 3 or 6 months). I have a Thai friend who rents a room right in the centre of the old city for ฿1200 a month, and has filled it with a massive armoire, a double bed, all her girly junk, and of course, fairy lights. She plans to install her own air-conditioner unit in the future. These kinds of places really are the best bargains you'll find in Chiang Mai.

Of course there are more housing options in Chiang Mai than the ones I've mentioned above. For example, I live in a fully-furnished apartment in a building which looks like it belongs in the Soviet era. My neighbours are Thai locals and their apartments are more similar to the third option I described above - a big room, basically. My landlord is a foreigner who fell into the jackpot when he decided to start buying up rooms in these particular buildings, and schmancing them up for foreigners like me to live in. So instead of a 30sq metre room, I now have a bedroom and study area, separated from the kitchen and lounge area. And then there's the bathroom, and the little balcony outside the kitchen window. Okay, not exactly a balcony, but I still started a garden above the air-conditioner unit, and I still see wildlife there in the form of pigeons.

Photos of my apartment, and some important links below:

My brand new apartment!
Bedroom and study area.
My favourite place - the kitchen.
The lounge area. As you can see, we were still backpackers at this stage.

The bathroom and shower.
We changed up all the art, and it goes without saying the place is a lot less tidy.

How the study area looks now.
My flourishing little balcony garden, with a bit of the charming building next door.
Our roof - great for guitars and sunsets.
The view from our roof of Doi Suthep.

Here are some of the better sites for apartment or house rentals in Chiang Mai:

Chiang Mai Apartment & House Classifieds - more up-to-date than many other sites.
Buy Rent Chiang Mai - another good one but the cheaper properties are often rented very quickly.
Hongpak - a Thai site aimed at locals with an English version that is still very strange to navigate. However, I found it to be one of the most current with lots of cheap options in many areas.
DD Property - some really good deals can be found here from time to time, so check back often.
Chiang Mai Thai Apartments - another good one, although it does list a lot of long-term hotel rentals.

A quick Google search will reveal plenty more sites than the ones I've listed here - many of them badly designed with an abundance of expensive properties. All I remember is that during my search the best leads to follow came from the above sites. Good luck and happy hunting!


  1. Thank you for sharing all these sites. Searching for that perfect apartment that passes your requirements is quite difficult nowadays especially with the heightened competition. Thus, posts like this that share helpful information and tips are very much appreciated especially by first time apartment hunters like me. Thank you for posting!

  2. Nice looking apartment I must say ;-) Also theres Chiangmaihouse.com as well, they were really good for us because we brought our dog with us and they were really helpful finding dog friendly places with fences so she couldn't get into fights with other puppies in the street.

  3. Hi there. Thanks for the site, and you are so lucky to have your pup with you in Thailand! Nice to know there are dog-friendly places =)

  4. Hi, it's a very nice looking apartment! Do you mind giving me the address? I hope there's still room available.

  5. Looks like the perfect apartment for your needs, I particularly like the mini garden area you have created as well as the space on the roof top for mellow evenings.

  6. Hi Anon. I'm not sure what you mean by address, would you like to knock on my door? =) Hehe, only joking. Here is my landlord's website address: http://www.buyrentchiangmai.com/, and yes, there are usually apartments available all the time! He is building quite a lot of them!

  7. Very helpful for us, apartment hunting when you travelling is often a nightmare. Thanks

  8. Hey! I live in the same apartment! It's a great place and they are decorated so nicely, perfect for expats =)