Here’s the Top 10 tips I wish someone had told me before I trekked around Chiang Mai in the rain looking for a monthly condo to rent
There comes a time in every adventurers journey when the excitement of hotel hopping is growing thin and you just want a cosy little home to crash out. After a full month of island hopping in Thailand we landed in Chiang Mai with exactly this idea, to establish a base, save some money and make some friends.
So here are my top 10 apartment hunting tips that everyone should know before looking for an apartment in Chiang Mai. Some of the tips won’t be exclusive to only Chiang Mai but I’ve tried to keep it as specific to this beautiful town as possible!
To Pool or not To Pool?
If you’re looking to move to Chiang Mai then at some point you’ll probably be weighing up the Pro’s & Cons of several condos. A big factor for us when moving to Chiang Mai was that it HAD to have a swimming pool. We actually gave up on our favourite apartment in favour of a much smaller condo that came with a nice pool swimming & sauna (yes I still love sauna’s in the tropical heat!).
After having lived in a condo with a swimming pool for a few months there’s definitely a few more things to consider than I first thought.
Don’t be like me, and think that having a swimming pool on-site is the be-all and end-all, as we found some really good pay-as-you-go options that put our tiny condo pool to shame.
Loads more information on: Swimming Pools in Chiang Mai
Get your GoPro / Camera out
Chances are you’ll be visiting 5-10 condos or apartments over the course of a day. If you film each one then at the end of it all you can grab a coffee sit down and look back over the footage of your favourite places.
If your brain works like mine, then after the 3rd condo they’ll all start blurring into one. Having the video footage to look back on can really help to decide on the winning condo.
Get a Feel For The Location
Thanks to a bit of early research online, we decided that we wanted to live in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai. We were staying in the Sleep Hotel (Fantastic, with great owners & breakfast) which is based in Old Town (inside the walls) so we jumped in a TukTuk to Nimman (70 Baht) then walked from condo to condo.
Walking around rather than jumping in the back of TukTuk’s or Songthaew’s lets you get a feel for the areas, check out the local shops, and find other hidden nearby condos.
Don’t worry about getting in touch, just turn up
It’s completely normal to walk up to a condo and ask to see the room, no booking required. If you’re like me, then you’d want to call ahead or make on online viewing reservation. Well in Chiang Mai this isn’t the way it’s done, Cha-Cha as the Thai’s say.
Things to ask when you’re viewing a condo
Your in a new country, you’ve just rocked on up to a condo and now you’re viewing the apartment. Don’t forget these important questions to ask and don;t forget to grab a pen and pad from 7/11 so you can write down all the information.
- What is the rate for: Water, Electricity & WiFi?
- Ask them to do a quick Ookla WiFi speed test / or ask for the WiFi code.
- How much is the deposit?
- Does that swimming pool I can see outside the windows belong to this condo?
- Is the swimming pool open to public? Is it free for residents of the condo?
- What’s the minimum rental period?
- What discounts do you have on currently? (Cheaper for 3/6/9 months?)
- Does it have a washing machine / access to onsite machines?
What’s included with the condo?
Depending on the Condo, you might be shown a showroom rather that your actual room. If so, make sure to ask what’s included in the rental price? (Pots, pans, cuttlery, etc).
It’s normal for condos to rent bedding and towels as well. Depending on how long you are staying and how much they are charging you need to decide whether it’s worth buying your own or not.
It’s going to be a long day
If you’re wanting to do the condo hunt in a day (which is totally doable) it’s going to be super long day, so make sure you have everything you need with you. Here’s my quick list; Suncream, hat, insect repellent, notebook and pen, bottle of water, umbrella can be very useful depending on your time of year also!
You can grab most of this from a local 7/11 as the day goes on.
Survey the surrounding area
This is where you need to get your spy hat on. Thailand has a habit of throwing up building without any notice so it’s super important when picking a condo that you survey the surrounding area for signs of building work.
The last thing you want is to sign your 3/6 month contract only to find that you’re being woken up every day at 6am by building work. We visited condos that were surrounded by building sites that had clearly only appeared very recently.
On the bright side, Thai’s build building with super hero speed. We watched an entire community centre go from a field to working meditation building in just over four weeks.
Chiang Mai is one of the nicest most peaceful cities I’ve ever visited but if you want peace of mind it’s worth asking what the security is like at the condo’s your visiting. You’ll find a lot have an on-site 24/7 security guard.
My final tip is to just enjoy yourself!
If you’re returning to Chiang Mai or visiting for the first time remember to just enjoy yourself! It might seems a big challenge but finding somewhere to live in Chiang Mai couldn’t be easier!
Chiang Mai is one of my favourite cities in the world and I’m sure it will be for you too!
I’d love to hear what your top Chiang Mai Apartment Hunting tips are! Let me know in the comments below.