We'll be coming in May and will be staying for 3-6 months or so and I've been looking around at different areas to judge how much to budget for rent. We're hoping no more than 8-10k thb, before utilities. I don't think I'd do well driving a motorbike, so a good walking neighborhood with lots of affordable street food is my main concern (both to keep our food budget down, but also to try out a variety of local food.)
I've heard that Nimman area is very nice and trendy; yet, it seems to still have some reasonably priced condos for rent. I do worry that a trendy neighborhood will mainly have more expensive restaurants though? And we don't really need a lot of condo amenities or services. A fairly simple furnished studio would suit us (Our splurges we'll be looking for is just A/C and that it has a decent desk or table and a couch.)
The other idea I've seen seems to be living to the east of the city to have access to the night market for food. Though I've seen some mention of a good market on the south side of the old city as well. Would either be good to rely on for our nightly meal?
The only other thing I worry about is internet. I've read good and bad and it's hard to get an idea what the real situation is. Most places seem to offer WiFi instead of a direct connection, and I wonder how WiFi could possible be okay for such large buildings. How far away is the signal and how many people are sharing it? Any recommendations on what to look for on this front would be welcome as well.
Sorry so long, thank you very much for your time!!
I will diffidently vote for Nimman area we stayed there for 2 months, this place has the best of the both worlds locals and heaps of Nomads. Really easy to get hooked in :) We were staying Baan Thai Resort and Spanice place with a big pool. We are thinking of going back and spending an other month there :)
Wifi is available everywhere, even in Baan Thai but if you buy a AIS sim card which is only US $1.50 they have this co working place called C.A.M.P. AIS - Creative And Meeting Place in MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Center it's on corner of Nimmanhaemin and Huay Kaew Road, we find the internet very reliable and 5 minutes walk from Baan Thai and great way to keep the cost down.
We were paying USD$7 a day for our studio apartment with fridge and without kitchen, if you get a room on 2nd floor your bedding is included and cleaning done every 10 days. if you get a room with kitchen the cost is bit high. Most of the people don't have kitchens in their homes they all eat out as it works out cheaper to eat out than cooking at home. Heaps of healthy eating options are around we eat broccoli chicken with egg most days the cost is only US$1, heaps of gym's around I am at Hill side paying US$7.50 a week, plenty of whole sale fruit markets around each week we spend US$12 and come home with the following.
10 Drinking coconut
1 Whole watermelon
kg Sweet mango's
kg Passion fruit
Check out this list which I put together, where to eat in CM - http://karolinapatryk.com/blog/travel-reports/asia/thailand/
Feel free to personal message me on face book to ask any further questions I would be happy to help :)
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I just left Chiang Mai after living there for almost three years. Nimman is a wonderful place to live -- there is a nice mix of Thai and Western people, although it is becoming increasingly touristy. You can definitely find a place to rent within your budget, although before you sign, check on the wifi of the place. Restaurants are a bit more expensive, but there is also street food you can eat all around.
I lived just south of Chiang Mai Gate, at Smith Residence. They are pricey, and it is a mix of western expats and thais. Wifi isn't great, but the location to the Old City is.
Personally, if I ever go back to live in CM, I would choose Nimman. I found the expats skewed younger in that area (versus the retirees and sexpats) and there was a lot more to do.
If you want to read more about my life in CM, feel free to check here: http://www.dtravelsround.com/search/chiang+mai
8-10K thb for renting is pretty high. You have a lot of good choice.
For food, food price around Nimman rd. is not cheap. Nimman is touristy. However, average food price in Chiang Mai is affordable and available throughout city. Don't worry about difficulty finding food.
If you can't ride moto bike, learn it or use bike. Moto bike option makes your cost of living low and you can go anywhere easily. Chiang Mai city is extensive but old town is compact.
I will recommend you "I love Chiang Mai" group in Facebook for foreigners who want to live in Chiang Mai.
Hopefully, you'll have fun in Chiang Mai.
Hi! I lived in Chiang Mai for almost three years and just left. In terms of what you are looking for would be somewhere by the South Gate (Chiang Mai Gate). Every night there is a large food market where you can get street food. From there, you can walk pretty much anywhere in town. When I first moved there, I lived at Smith Residence. It is a nice, clean place but wifi can be spotty and it is largely expats who have retired there. But, there is also Noble House, closer to the gate and a few others.
Nimman is a great area to live, but you are right, the food can get expensive. However, there are street food markets you can walk to from there -- depending on if you live closer to soi 1 versus far away at 17.
If you want to know more, I have written quite a lot about life in Chiang Mai.