Finding Digital Nomad Accommodation in Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai Accommodation

Finding Digital Nomad Accommodation in Chiang Mai Thailand

Digital Nomads have certain requirements for their Accommadation when they come to Chiang Mai, the following details how to go about finding Accommodation in Chiang Mai, along with a helpful checklist that you can use to evaluate each place.

For those experience Digital Nomads, it is pretty common knowledge that just arriving in a popular tourist destination where you do not speak the language or know the area and expect to find something perfect ... is a myth. 

The smartest approach is to book a place for 3-7 days and spend a week finding your perfect monthly accommodation or condo.  It may cost you around 30-40% more for a Hotel room, for those few days - but you have a Air Controlled place to return, to work from, to Sleep, swim and store your bags as you look for your perfect budget accommodation. AND, lets face it, 30-40% more means about 20-40 dollars to save yourself having to go to an expensive Hotel because you did not find anything on your first day.

Short Term Accommodation in Chiang Mai Specially Designed for the Digital Nomad

 

Digital Nomads have certain requirements for their best place to live - what could be better than to start your stay in a Digital Nomad Condo, built by a Digital Entrepreneur exclusively for the discerning Digital traveler?

First a word from our Sponsor:

The following Airbnb properties are quite honestly a Digital Travelers wet dream. For many they will be several levels higher than the accommodation you eventually settle for, but for your first week in Chiang Mai you can treat yourself to the good life, at a remarkable affordable amount while you find your perfect place to stay.


This is a lovely clean and well facilitated 2018 fully renovated unit that offers many high end features that do not come with a hotel or typical Airbnb.

Especially design for the digital traveler, the unit has a large working space for 2 people, Internet speed 10x faster than typical, 5 Universal plus for any device with 10 USB chargers for all your devices. Android TV Box, and the most incredible Bed and Shower you will find anywhere in Chiang Mai

Located on the 5th floor with elevator access and keypad door lock. Outside view overlooks trees with the city skyline. Special care has been given to provide an amazing place for the single or couple Digital Nomads

This is a lovely clean and well facilitated 2018 fully renovated unit that offers many high end features that do not come with a hotel or typical Airbnb.

 

Especially design for the digital traveler, the unit has a large working space for 2 people, Internet speed 10x faster than typical, 5 Universal plus for any device with 10 USB chargers for all your devices. Android TV Box, and the most incredible Bed and Shower you will find anywhere in Chiang Mai

 

Located on the 11th floor with elevator access and keypad door lock. Outside view overlooks a main road and the Airport so you can get sidetracked watching the Planes take off. Special care has been given to provide an amazing place for the single Digital Nomad


What Area to Stay in Chiang Mai

 

There are 4 areas in Chiang Mai where the majority of new arrivals tend to populate, depending on their specific requirements, but mostly because of the number of other expats living in the local community. Obviously there are Expats spread around the city, many choosing to live in the more remote areas, (because they like solitary living or moved in with a Thai person); and sometimes because they want the peace and quiet.

 

Chiang Mai Old City:
One glance at a map and it’s easy to spot Chiang Mai’s Old City quarter, with its crumbling 700-year-old fortress wall and pretty moat forming a perfect square right in the heart of the city. This historical centre contains much of what people come to Chiang Mai for: ancient temples, bustling markets, cheap guesthouses, cute boutiques and a never-ending supply of spas and Thai massage shops. The most popular place here is around Tha Pae Gate on the western side of the city, and this spot has the best access out to the highway circling the city too

Who is it For:
Travelers on a budget and backpackers
Families
Anybody wanting to be in the centre of Chiang Mai and close to the action

What's Good:
Huge range of cheap guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, bars, markets, spas – you name it, it’s here
Easy access to most parts of the city
Many temples, museums and galleries

What's not so good:
The roads around the moat often see traffic jams during rush hour
Most commercialized area of the city
Hardly any large resort-style accommodation

 

Nimman Area
The Nimman area is located to the east of the old city, and is a thriving and more upmarket area of town. This is the prime location chosen by the digital nomad community and has many better quality condos occupied by expats. Close to everything, including 3 shopping malls and many supermarkets the Nimmanhemin (Nimman) area and it’s surroundings is an inner city type vibe. Mostly Condo’s in this part of town, many new developments finishing each month waiting and ready for lease or purchase.

Who is it For:
Trendy young travelers
People who want to party
People who like shopping for unique new designs
Digital Nomads

What's Good:
Excellent boutique shopping
Vibrant nightlife
Convenient for the airport
Great value for money

What's not so good:
Few cultural attractions
Traffic can be very slow
Can get noisy next to the airport

 

Hang Dong Area
The Hang Dong area is located just a 10 minute drive from the Old City and the Nimman area. This area is popular with retiring expats because of the many Moo Baans (gated community developments) and rural vibe. Beautiful housing developments with lakes, club houses and gyms are located here, along with many large home improvement stores.

 

Who is it For:
Older folks with partners
People who want to retire

What's Good:
Beautiful cheap housing
Easy access to city
Convenient for the airport
Great value for money

What's not so good:
Few cultural attractions
Few night time activities

 

Chang Kang Area
The Chang Kang area is located close to the Ping River, which has long been a favorite location for western styled restaurants and night life. It is also close to the red light district, and the tourist oriented Night Bizzare market. This area of town is populated by many single men, and has a much larger local population that speaks English.

Who is it For:
Shoppers
hose wanting to be located between Chiang Mai’s Riverside and Old City areas
Families and large groups

What's Good:
The night bazaar is a Chiang Mai 'must do'
Easy to reach both the Riverside and Old City
Lots of fun beer bars, most of which stay on the cleaner side of things
A few late night discos and clubs are good for Chiang Mai's night owls

What's not so good:
Not many cultural attractions
Crowded
Sexpat heavy


Checklist for renting Property in Chiang Mai Thailand

This article is aimed mostly at renting and leasing a condo or house in the Chiang Mai area, but can equally be used for other cities in Thailand.

Renting an Apartment (called Condo here in Thailand, as an apartment tends to be a daily, weekly or monthly complex), it means you are committing to probably a 6 month lease … maybe a year. You want to ensure that before you sign the lease you have checked the little things that over time will make a difference.

Following is a list of things to look for, in no particular ranking of importance, and at the end of the article you can download and print a property checklist that will allow you to compare a couple of different places to each other. If you are considering leasing a house in Thailand the list will also be helpful, as many of the more practical aspects of long term living will be the same.

Location

Many people make the mistake of finding a condo close to the hotel or backpackers they booked for the first few days without first getting to know the area. Make sure you are familiar with the area you first moved to, and other parts of the city. Digital Nomads like certain areas to socialize and work together, Expats prefer areas with other retirees. Do not make the mistake of signing a lease only to later find out you are alone in a non English speaking area which requires long travel times to get to where you want to be.

 

Contract Period

How long is the Contract? 3 month leases for condos are rare, 6 month and 12 months more available. You want to ensure that the written contract lease time is the same as you where told verbally. There may be security deposit return problems if you did not read the contract period stated in the rental agreement.

 

Monthly Rent

What is the monthly rent? Is there a discount for 6 months or 12 months? Most places have a sliding price scale with a longer period of time. If they do not .. why? Have a look on the notice boards in the building and compare the price being asked with other units available in the complex advertised there.

 

Security Deposit

What is the security deposit? Typically it is 2 months rent. Sometimes they will ask for 3 months but you would be foolish to commit this much when there are so many other condos or houses available to rent. Make sure the amount of the security deposit you pay is also put into the contract.

 

Termination Period

Many places will require you to give 30 days notice of your intention to move out of the accommodation. Failure to do this may result in your security deposit being withheld for 30 days. If you are leaving the country or moving cities this means you will loose your deposit because you will not be there to collect it.

 

Staff Speak English

Do the staff in the lobby speak English? This is essential if you want to organize cleaning, or collect mail or use the Concierge services. This is easy enough to find out when you visit each place for an inspection

 

Free Parking

You want to make sure you have a place to park your motorcycle or car without having to pay extra

 

Restaurant/Coffee Shop/Convenience Store

Are they located on premises? How far away is your nearest food/essentials supply? If you run out of toothpaste or decide your meal requires a beer – how easily are you able to get them? Long term living comfort for many people will require the ability to easily and quickly find things they need without having to plan a big weekly shopping trip. Remember in Thailand a 7/11 sells items for a fraction more than a supermarket. This store will become easily the most relied upon place for essential items and supplies.

 

Furnished

Usually renting or leasing a house or a condo in Thailand means it will come with furniture. Make sure the furniture when viewing the property stays on site. Check for any damage and scratches and take photographs. Print them out and have the landlord or agent sign and confirm this.

 

Maintenance Fee

Most lease agreements include the condo fees – but some do not. Be sure to ask and find out what your real monthly total is going to be and if it includes the Monthly Condo fees.

 

Availability Phone / Internet

Some older places are not equip to provide phone or your own private internet connection. If you rely on the internet, and you are staying long term, it is much better to have your own personal internet connection put in and provide your own WiFi. Many complexes offer WiFi, sometimes exclusive to one provider or from the complex itself (via floor WiFi hotspots). The standard WiFi connections will be slower than getting your own service connected. If this is important to you – check if the local internet providers can install in your unit.

 

Electric/Unit Price

The variation in the per unit cost is huge. Getting your own house and being connected and pay the electric department directly in your own name, the rate is often several baht cheaper than what a complex will charge. This can make a big difference in your electricity bills. The government rate is 4 baht per unit.  Many monthly places charge as much as 8-9 baht per unit.  The cheaper the monthly place you get you can sometimes pay hugely excessive electric.

 

Water/Unit Price

Same applies for the water (although this bill is indecently affordable in Thailand). Just ask and check.

 

Elevator wait time

Hardly ever considered, but often an annoying inconvenience after you move in. How many elevators are there? how quickly do they move and how long are you waiting. Most complexes have the lifts return to the ground floor, so that your entry is usually pretty quick. But how long will you wait on the 15th floor to get out?

 

Regulated AC Units

After your rent, (and food) the biggest expense will be the electricity. If possible get a condo or house that has new AC Units. Not only are they more reliable and economical, they have a temperature thermostat that shuts the unit off. Often you will only need to cool your accommodation down for 20-30 minutes – but falling asleep and having the AC on all night is paying 20 times more than you need to if it had a thermostat. Long term having an AC that shuts itself off when the preset temperature is reached is very useful.

For a 30sqm room a 12000 BTU unit will be fine.  a 45sqm unit should have an 18000 BTU unit.  Finding a unit with a small AC means it will have to stay on longer to cool your place and cost far more in electricity.

 

Night Noise & Surroundings

Check the location at Night. Is it close to a bar or nightclub? If it is, you will hear the dull thump thump thump until the early hours of the morning. This is often not as bad as tourist singing karaoke if there is a large restaurant close by, or roosters waking you up at 5am in the morning. The quiet and peace of a condo in a rural area might also come with dogs and noise from animals. The birds in Thailand are loud and noisy and unlike popular media portrays, roosters are crowing all day and night – not just in the early hours of the morning.

 

Shower Pressure/Temp/Height

Another often over looked aspect when checking a condo before leasing it trying the shower. Often the shower heads are too low, the water heater depending on the wattage will heat the water 20-30 degrees above it’s base water supply temps. This is no problem in the summer but a luke warm shower in the winter can bother some people. Does the temperature gauge work? I myself spent 6 months in one place where my two heat options where … none and boiling. The landlord did not want to replace the unit and the repair man said it worked fine (none of them actually got in naked, they felt with their hand and concluded I was over reacting). I spent 6 months turning the heat off and on and stepping under the water for 20 seconds at a time when the temperature was OK, then backing away as the water started to boil me. Over night guests were not impressed when I forgot to warn them about this in advance.

Check the pressure. You may find a small tinkle of water is fine for you, but if you want a decent shower – you need pressure. If there is a bathtub, see how long it takes to fill. Nothing worse than waiting 20-30 minutes for a bath. Just a tip here while on the subject. Thai people think most westerners smell. They are well aware that in our own countries we spent a life time of washing just once a day. You sweat more in the heat, and you do not notice how badly you smell. Shower twice a day 🙂

 

Kitchen or no Kitchen

Without a doubt it is cheaper in Chiang Mai to eat out than it is to prepare your own food.  You usually do not have to walk very far from your accommodation to find delicious food.  But if you do like to cook one overlooked item is the height of the kitchen.  In Thailand they are 8-9cm shorter than in the west, which can cause back ache with all the stooping.  Just check your comfort level - many westerners will make them taller.


How to Lease a Condo or House in Chiang Mai

If you are coming to Thailand to live for six months or more – chances are you will want to lease or rent a condo or house and get greater value over living in monthly accommodation. Condos and houses are more luxurious than the standard apartment, usually fully furnished and come with all the mod cons of your home country – only much much cheaper. Assuming you have decided you want to rent or lease your own condo or house – lets look at how to go about this.

OK. first let’s make a distinction in what is an Apartment VS what is a Condo. (I assume you know what a house is)

Apartment: In Thailand this refers to a monthly accommodation complex that you rent on a monthly basis. All the units in the complex are usually owned by the same person or company and standardized to look the same. Most can be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Apartments generally come equip with a bed, a TV, a writing desk and a closet. Some will have basic kitchens and the more elaborate have separate bedrooms and kitchens.

Condo: In Thailand this refers to a unit that is individually owned within a condominium complex. Condos usually have larger areas, and are fully furnished including a bathroom and kitchen. While it is possible to rent a Condo for 3 months, more typical is a minimum 6 month lease, with a discount in price for longer term rentals.

Article Details in a Nutshell

Condo for single people and inner city life
House for couples and families or the quiet peaceful in nature living
Prices range from 6000-25,000 baht
Leasing provides cheaper and better than Serviced Apartments (6 months+)
Plenty of both Houses and Condos available
Location is Important for lifestyle
Real Estate Agents are free for you to use
Best deals come from Thai owners who do not speak English
Read the Lease contract and understand the ‘odd’ bits

Availability of Condo’s and Houses for Rent and Lease in Chiang Mai

Over the last 5 years there has been an increasing number of newly constructed buildings aimed at foreigners. This includes both luxury condos and gated communities of houses. These complexes more and more are being constructed with gyms, swimming pools, community areas, convenience stores and a few restaurants located within the facility or close by. Many of the newer communities fill the 49% foreigner owned quota (everything must be 51% Thai owned) and while Thais own the majority they are able to rent to westerners. One of the benefits of living among other westerners is the formation of housing associations that ‘motivate’ owners and property managers into taking action on maintenance.

There are of course older places, that are available for cheaper rent. These places (both homes and condo’s) usually lack the western kitchens and features that you are used too, and have fewer westerners living there. . While these cheaper places are available this article will assume you can afford the US$250 to get the basic luxury accommodation option.  With the massive amount of building taking place over the last few years, and older places being remodeled, there is an abundance of both Condominiums and Houses available

Accommodation in Chiang Mai Where to live

There are 4 areas in Chiang Mai where the majority of new arrivals tend to populate, depending on their specific requirements, but mostly because of the number of other expats living in the local community. Obviously there are Expats spread around the city, many choosing to live in the more remote areas, (because they like solitary living or moved in with a Thai person); and sometimes because they want the peace and quiet.

 

Chiang Mai Old City:
One glance at a map and it’s easy to spot Chiang Mai’s Old City quarter, with its crumbling 700-year-old fortress wall and pretty moat forming a perfect square right in the heart of the city. This historical centre contains much of what people come to Chiang Mai for: ancient temples, bustling markets, cheap guesthouses, cute boutiques and a never-ending supply of spas and Thai massage shops. The most popular place here is around Tha Pae Gate on the western side of the city, and this spot has the best access out to the highway circling the city too

Who is it For:
Travelers on a budget and backpackers
Families
Anybody wanting to be in the centre of Chiang Mai and close to the action

What's Good:
Huge range of cheap guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, bars, markets, spas – you name it, it’s here
Easy access to most parts of the city
Many temples, museums and galleries

What's not so good:
The roads around the moat often see traffic jams during rush hour
Most commercialized area of the city
Hardly any large resort-style accommodation

 

Nimman Area
The Nimman area is located to the east of the old city, and is a thriving and more upmarket area of town. This is the prime location chosen by the digital nomad community and has many better quality condos occupied by expats. Close to everything, including 3 shopping malls and many supermarkets the Nimmanhemin (Nimman) area and it’s surroundings is an inner city type vibe. Mostly Condo’s in this part of town, many new developments finishing each month waiting and ready for lease or purchase.

Who is it For:
Trendy young travelers
People who want to party
People who like shopping for unique new designs
Digital Nomads

What's Good:
Excellent boutique shopping
Vibrant nightlife
Convenient for the airport
Great value for money

What's not so good:
Few cultural attractions
Traffic can be very slow
Can get noisy next to the airport

 

Hang Dong Area
The Hang Dong area is located just a 10 minute drive from the Old City and the Nimman area. This area is popular with retiring expats because of the many Moo Baans (gated community developments) and rural vibe. Beautiful housing developments with lakes, club houses and gyms are located here, along with many large home improvement stores.

 

Who is it For:
Older folks with partners
People who want to retire

What's Good:
Beautiful cheap housing
Easy access to city
Convenient for the airport
Great value for money

What's not so good:
Few cultural attractions
Few night time activities

 

Chang Kang Area
The Chang Kang area is located close to the Ping River, which has long been a favorite location for western styled restaurants and night life. It is also close to the red light district, and the tourist oriented Night Bizzare market. This area of town is populated by many single men, and has a much larger local population that speaks English.

Who is it For:
Shoppers
hose wanting to be located between Chiang Mai’s Riverside and Old City areas
Families and large groups

What's Good:
The night bazaar is a Chiang Mai 'must do'
Easy to reach both the Riverside and Old City
Lots of fun beer bars, most of which stay on the cleaner side of things
A few late night discos and clubs are good for Chiang Mai's night owls

What's not so good:

Not many cultural attractions
Crowded
Sexpat heavy


Obviously there are many other places where you can choose to live, The areas above are just a guide, but it is suggested that before you commit to a long term lease, you spend a month or so in a monthly apartment closer to the main city and then explore the various areas.

How much does it cost to Lease a Condo in Chiang Mai?

A 30 sq.m Condo with kitchen and modern amenities will start at around 6000 baht (US$180), increasing in size to 45 sq.m you are looking in the 9000-12000 baht range. (US$270-360) per month. Larger 80-120 sq.m 2 bedrooms places are around 18000-25000 baht (US$549-760).

One of the first things many new arrivals notice (especially from America) is how small the condos are here compared to where they are from. You very quickly adapt and begin to enjoy the smaller units, with less cleaning required, ease of getting around from kitchen to bathroom etc. Price will often depend on the extra facilities of the condo, Gyms, Pools, Massage and location will all add to the price.

How much does it cost to Rent a House in Chiang Mai?

Houses are available in the inner suburbs and city itself, and these tend to be older (often Thai style) and can start from as low as 5000 baht maybe 8000 baht for a two bedroom. The further out you go the bigger and newer the houses become with more western features. Many expats decide that they want to rent a house in a Moo Baan (gated community) which are usually located in the Hang Dong and surrounding areas. Older styled houses are found closer to the city areas (and also outside the city) which are smaller and basic sometimes with a yard, but usually close to the neighbors.

The Advantages of Renting a Condo

Renting a condo or an apartment in Chiang Mai will provide you with greater access to amenities and better security. Most complexes will have electronic key cards, security guards and CCTV monitoring, it can be difficult for visitors to reach you without arranging to meet them in the lobby. Condo’s will often also have gyms, shops, pools either inside the complex or located close by to service the people living there.

Living in a condo provides a greater social life, with the opportunity to bump into and get to know the other 50-500 tenets living there (depending on the size). Staff at Condominiums will often help you with bills or letters that you do not understand in Thai, and are used to dealing with westerners and any of the little and niggling complaints we might have.

Condos can be leased for shorter periods of time (3 months plus) with the price in rent going down the longer you stay. For example a 12,000 baht a month place for 3 months, might be 11,000 for 6 months and 10,000 for the year. Condos are usually located in the heart of the action, just a short walk to your local community and the activities you will spend the majority of your day doing.

The Advantages of Renting a House

Renting houses in Chiang Mai is a better value for money often for the same price as an inner city condo you can get a 3 bedroom house with gardens, patios, and if located in a Moo Baan, community pools, gyms and club rooms. The city is only 10-15 minutes away and usually you have tropical scenery around to view.

The house offers you space!, either for yourself and your family or if you decide to get a live in maid or home help. Many come fully furnished, others do not, and you will be expected to take out a longer term lease (most are yearly).

Living in a house allows you to potter around in the gardens, and not sacrifice having to live in a minimalist style (you can fit more ‘stuff’ in a bigger house compared to a Condo).

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