Living in Chiang Mai and Finding Accommodation

If you’ve found your way here because you’re wowed by the affordable cost of living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, here are some links to long and short-term accommodation. I either came across these while I lived in the city, friends have used, or has been recommended to me over the years by readers. Use this as a starting point only for your research—I have not lived in CM in years and cannot therefore verify which of these are still up and running or running with good standards. This list was originally compiled by GotPassport.org, but they no longer keep up the list, so I moved it here and update it as I can!

Companies/sites that will help you live in Chiang Mai

Monthly+ Options (some offer shorter-term too)

Chiang Mai Lodge: Located on a back street street perpendicular to Huay Kaew Road, look across from Shell Station and coffee shop. Pros: close to the trendy and hipstery Nimmanhaemin area, and convenient to Kad Suan Kaew Central Mall too. (There is a very small night market at the mall on Thurs- Saturday weekly).

Chiang Mai Mansion: Near the Night Bizarre, clean and with Wifi.

Tip Top Thai: Has a kitchen and is in a great area. Popular with expats, and functions as a daily guesthouse as well as long-term lodging.

Huay Kaew Residence: This massive complex has studios for bare bones prices, as well as one- and two-bedrooms with kitchens for very affordable prices. According to an ALA reader, this is also the best wheel-chair friendly accommodation in town.

Huay Kaew Place: Located on the very convenient Huay Kaew Road, go just past Huay Kaew Residence. A bit old-fashioned decor with heaps of expats from all over the world, as well as American students. Has the full range, 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, and studios, and is a solid budget option.

Smith Residence: This is just about the easiest choice, and I had a lot of friends there over the years. It’s super convenient, located just outside of the south side of the Old City, and thus you have the Saturday night market right there, as well as the nightly food stalls at South Gate.

Suan Dok Mansion: Close to the trendy Nimmen area, and Huay Kaew road.

Malin Residence: On Huay Kaew across from CMU, past Canal road.

Wa Lai House: Northwest of the moat.  There are many cheap street eats and small restaurants nearby, as well as my favorite coffee shop, Akha Ama Coffee. You’ll also love shopping at Thanin Market super close.

Daily Guesthouses and Lodging

Check this list from Travel Fish, which is well-maintained with lodging reviews for CM.

Sabai Hostel: This area of the moat is a tad less touristy than the northeast corner, so this makes a fun base from which to expore. This is the part of Old City where I lived for about a year total.

Gap’s House: Simple, but it will do. Past friends have stayed here for convenient budget lodging.

9 Hostel: In the backpacker area of town. Well-appointed, a budget option, includes wifi, and is convenient if you’re only in town for a couple of days, want good proximity to everything, and don’t mind a lot of other travelers!

Na Inn: Very convenient and located in the heart of the Old City. Many friends have used this as a quiet, mid-range (you won’t find party backpackers here) hotel from which they search for an apartment.

SK House: Family friendly and fairly newly remodeled. Has a pool and a restaurant. Near Tha Pae Gate in the Old City.

De Naga Hotel: What a gorgeous property and a higher midrange option for a very comfortable and convenient place to stay in town.

Baan Hanibah: This is on the high side of mid-range. It’s a beautiful boutique guesthouse in a good location, very amenable staff and good value for the extras and ambiance you get.

If you have further questions about areas of town, visas, or other issues related to living as an expat in Thailand, I recommend you head to Thai Visa Forum.

There are a number of other valuable posts sharing apartment information here, here and here. You can also join and then search a number of Chiang Mai Facebook groups for expats, and some even about real estate specifically.

And for things to do in Chiang Mai and local pace-of-life sites for expats, check here and here.

And if you need a great private Thai teacher, my niece and I used Lah. If you are looking to learn Thai merely for the student visa, you will have to go through one of the language schools, however.

16 Responses to Living in Chiang Mai and Finding Accommodation

  1. Jeffrey Rahhal June 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    Hi, my name is Jeff and my wife, Faith, and I have been seriously talking about moving out of the country and have, specifically, been talking about Thailand. So, i have come across these posts of yours and have been sitting here reading them for a little while no. Anyway, my question is about pets, and is this: We have two dogs and are not willing to go anywhere without them, so we would like to know what the Thai policy on dogs is? Do the apartment, condo, or whatever other house rentals allow dogs to be kept in them? If so, is it most that allow it or is it something that is hard to find? Does it raise the rent by much to have pets? And is there any other info you might have that would be of interest to us on this subject? Thank you and I appreciate any information that you might have.

    • Shannon June 11, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

      Hi Jeffrey! That is a good question and one that I don’t have an answer for. I know some expats do keep their dogs with them, and there are rentals, especially if you are renting a full home that will surely allow it. As for the specifics, I suggest that you ask in the Thai expat forums that I linked to in the Cost of Living post, as they will have better information. Best of luck!

  2. MikesRoadTrip September 7, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    Hey Shannon, so funny, I just started following you and I searched “How to find a place to live in CM” and your post came up. ;-)

    • Shannon O'Donnell September 8, 2016 at 11:35 am #

      That’s fun! When are you headed there? I may pass through this Decemeber-ish.

      • MikesRoadTrip September 8, 2016 at 11:39 am #

        I’m not sure, just sort of thinking about it. I have a high paying video client in the States, not sure I want to give that up just yet.

      • Blair Browning January 4, 2017 at 3:45 am #

        Did you ever go this past Dec? I just happened upon your post after searching for apt info in CM. I’ve never been but feeling a pull to go & reset. My friend lives in Pai, ever been? Thx for the post!

        • Shannon O'Donnell January 6, 2017 at 1:52 am #

          Hiya! I actually came to Vietnam in Nov instead and have been in Hanoi for the past month and am sort of traveling around the north right now. I won’t be in Chiang Mai this winter season. But it’s beautiful Pai is just stunning! If you have the pull and a friend there you should absolutely make the leap and go check it out. :)

  3. Michael August 22, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    Would like to find a 6 month rental with a INDOOR pool in or close to the old city? Is there such a place- I enjoy aquatheraphy,thank you

    • Shannon O'Donnell August 22, 2016 at 3:14 am #

      Hi Michael! I think there is a good chance that something like that exists. I think your best bet for that type of requirement is to use one of the rental agents. It’s really affordable and very common. They will have the best idea of the various properties that meet that requirement. My best guess is that you might find something like that near the night bazaar.

  4. chantel weme May 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi Shannon :) I have been reading your post and am feeling so drawn by your description of the Thai culture. Do you have any links to resources on language schools for studying Thai? Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom!

    • Shannon O'Donnell May 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

      Oh man, tough question. I only took private lessons (link in the post), so I am not sure about which are the best schools right now. I know that there are a lot of options, and if you are already in town then I would suggest you go there and ask in person. Some require that you attend class 3 or 5 days a week for a certain number of hours to qualify for the visa. Also ask about class size, instruction method, and ease of obtaining the visa. Good luck!

  5. Andy Nihilate April 25, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    This is an awesome resource, thank you! I am currently in the middle of writing a ‘proposal’ for my husband (really just a way to weigh pros/cons and keep a list of resources) to make the case for us moving to Chiang Mai for one year (or longer if it works out!) with our 2 young kids. I’ve just had it with the fast paced, stressful life in the U.S., and working so hard but never getting ahead.

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog, thank you!

    • Shannon O'Donnell April 25, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

      So glad you found it helpful! And Chiang Mai is a great city for kids. There are tons of activities nearby to keep everyone busy, but it’s small enough to be navigable and feel like home. I wish you the best of luck crafting the proposal! :)

      • Andy Nihilate April 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        Thank you very much. I’m still researching everything, of course (the move wouldn’t happen until the summer of 2017), but Chiang Mai seems to have the best of all worlds for us. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  6. Jessa Ann Gomez May 23, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    Hi Shannon! I had fun reading your travel blog. I’m planning to move to Chiang Mai and spend three months in that lovely city. However my major concern is budget. Do you think I can live within a budget range of $500 per month? I’m looking for a nice apartment that is strategically located with stable wifi connection. Do you know any place that ranges from 3000-3500THB? Thanks in advance

    • Shannon O'Donnell May 24, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

      Hi Jessa, so glad you enjoyed the blog. For CM, I am not actually sure about places in that range. If you are able to commit to 3 months, that can often lower the price when you are negotiating. I would consider finding a small guesthouse within the Old City, or perhaps close to the night bazaar. I do believe that without AC and many amenities, that you can find a guesthouse with wifi and not much else for perhaps $3500. The expat apartments are often a bit more than that, but guesthouses will give you deals to just let a room from them. As far as total budget, that’s a very tight budget, but doable depending on how frugal you are. If you aren’t planning to eat western food much and are content for a small place to rent while you perhaps work on something, then that would do. I suggest you get 2-3 nights in a guesthouse, then rent a bike and ride the city and ask around — you’ll find something and be able to get a feel for the city. There are also some great Facebook groups for CM expats if you do a search, they will have the most recent info on the city. Best of luck!

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