Finding a Home: Chiang Mai

Showed up in Thailand for a two-month trip with no hotel booked or apartment to live in. Here is how we figured it out:

Fortunately I had a family friend who offered to pick us up at the Chiang Mai Airport.  He let us stay at his house for as long as we needed until we found a place to live. We had done our research before we set off to Thailand and read that you can walk into extended stay serviced apartment or hotels without a reservation and they would be able to accommodate you.

Our requirements for an apartment:

  • WI-FI
  • Pool
  • Queen or King Size bed
  • Walking distance to shops, restaurants in the Nimmanhaemin District
  • Budget – max $600 USD for one month

We landed in Chiang Mai on the 9th of January.  While we could continue to stay with our family friend, his place was too far from the city center, which is where we wanted to find an apartment.  So, with a few places in mind, on the morning of the 10th, we set off on our search. We soon ran into a bit of a problem. Everything was booked!

We walked down each street of the Nimmanhaemin district . The hotels were expensive priced at approximately $50 a night, putting us back into NYC pricing. The serviced apartments that were available were over our budget and the ones that were affordable weren’t going to be available until the 20th of January.

Whoa panic mode. What do we do?  Where do we go?

There were hotels available a few blocks away from the Nimmanhaemin district. We started comparing pricing on Bookings.com and Agoda.com and found the only option available in our budget was Sakulchai Place which is a six minute walk to the Nimman district.

We booked 10 days here which included – King size bed, dining area with fridge, bathroom with shower, TV, wi-fi, access to a pool, gym facilities and food service (extra cost per item). The hotel doesn’t sell alcohol or allow drinking by the pool because of religious reasons per the owner. It is $34 (1,150 baht) per night putting us at $340 for the 10 days. A little pricey, but it was our best option and we’ve really enjoyed 5/10 days so far at the hotel!

sakulchaiOnce we settled into Sakulchai (pictured above) we went back to Baan Thai where they had a room available for one month starting on the 20th of January. This serviced apartment has a pool, and is in the heart of the Nimman district. In total for a one month stay, electricity fee, cleaning service and a room key charge it will cost us $190 USD (6,500 baht). Which really makes up for our 10 day stay at our hotel. In total we will spend $530 USD. Which is less than half of our rent in our home cities of Brooklyn and Toronto. You also have to keep in mind that we are living very no frills. We figure our main goal of living in Thailand isn’t to be in our apartment all the time.

TIPS:

  • Research places before you head to Thailand
  • Ask the hotels/extended stays if they have availability around the time you’ll be arriving
  • Book a hotel for 3 or 4 days in the area you’d like to stay before you get on a plane
  • Talk to locals about where to stay
  • Don’t stress about finding a place. We managed to stay calm and make light of the situation. Things will always work out in the end.

Check back next week to see how we like Baan Thai!

Until my next journey,

XO

Kit

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