How to Rent in Chiang Mai: A Guide

19:42 Amy 10 Comments

This comprehensive guide explains how to rent accommodation in Chiang Mai.

- How to rent a house or apartment
- How much it costs
- What you can get for your money
- Best areas to live
- Short term rentals
- How to get internet
- Where to find listings
- Useful 'rent in Chiang Mai' Facebook groups
- Documents you need
renting in Chiang Mai

1. Stay the first 2 nights in a guesthouse.
2. Make a list of at least five different potentials as close to your place of work or study, or one of these areas, as possible.
3. Contact owners via email or phone, ask about availability, make an appointment to visit.
4. Visit, in person, all available options and any you couldn't make contact with.
5. Note down and compare utility prices, internet availability, and anything else important to you.
6. Choose your sweet new pad and move in.

This guide is comprehensive and quite long, but covers everything you need to know.

Before we begin, I have three invaluable tips for you:

My Number One Tip:

Visit the places you're considering in-person to make sure they live up to online reviews.

You'll need two days to visit potential places to live. Book at least two nights at a guesthouse before you arrive in Chiang Mai. This will give you time to check out longer term options in person. Santitham is a great area to stay while you search, because it's right in the middle of Nimmanhaemin and the Old City and it's easy to hail down a red car or tuk tuk on Huay Kaew Road if you don't have your own motorbike. Sunshine House is the perfect two-night base. I lived there for 6 months and it was ideal. If Sunshine House is full, try nearby guesthouses Zzziesta Chaing Mai Bed & Breakfast or Fashen Poshtel, or Box Hostel-n-Cafe if you're on a tight budget.

My Second Important Tip:

It might seem obvious, but the location of your new home matters. I know this firsthand, and trust me, commuting for 40 minutes through Chiang Mai rush hour is not enjoyable.

1st priority: as close to your place of work or study as possible.
2nd priority: as close to your favourite of these main areas as possible.
3rd priority: don't live next to a temple because the bells and chanting will wake you up super early every day.

My Third Useful Tip:

Get a Thai sim card for your phone. 

You will need a Thai number to arrange viewings and receive call-backs. Simply take your passport to 7/11, show them your phone, and ask for a sim card with at least 100 baht credit. The staff will guide you through the process. Alternatively go to any shopping mall in Chiang Mai and visit an AIS shop to do the same thing.

How much is rent in Chiang Mai?

The Chiang Mai rental market has something to suit almost every need and budget. Factors that influence rental price:

Location. A basic house or studio apartment in the Nimmanhaemin area could cost twice or three times as much as a similar property on the edge of the city. As a general rule, the further out a place is, the more you get for your money.

Length of rental agreement. A one year contract is cheaper than a six month contract, a six month contract is cheaper than a three month one, and so on.

Size. A bigger house or apartment is more expensive than the smaller one next door, unless the interior is particularly beautiful/modern.

Interior. Beautiful, modern, or luxurious interiors cost more, and can drive the rental price of a small place up much higher than a basic large place in the same area.

Onsite facilities. Apartment buildings and gated communities with gyms, swimming pools, and security guards cost more.

Your negotiation skills. You can sometimes negotiate a lower price, but not always.

Utility bills. Utility bills are almost always excluded from rental price and vary wildly from place to place. Some landlords inflate utility prices, and some don't. Check how much 1 unit of electricity and 1 unit of water costs before moving in so you can compare, as it can affect your monthly rental price dramatically. Your biggest bill each month will be electricity, especially when you use aircon a lot. My electricity bill is between 700 to 2000 baht each month and my water bill is around 100 - 200.

How much is apartment rent in Chiang Mai?

Apartments range from 3500 baht a month for a very basic studio apartment to 50,000 baht for a luxury 3 bedroom penthouse. Cheaper apartments are sometimes available, but rarely. If you want a nice apartment with small kitchenette, budget at least 7000 baht but be prepared to spend more or make compromises. Sometimes apartment owners are unrealistic about their condo's worth, so look around before you decide.

The cheapest studio apartments in Chiang Mai are generally super basic, have no air-conditioning, and are in an old building in a less desirable area. Rock hard mattress guaranteed. There might not even be a laundry room onsite.

Pay 5500 - 7000 baht a month and things start looking a little better: newly renovated 30sqm studio apartments in older buildings, aircon, furnished, often with internet included. There might not be a laundry room onsite, but there should be.

Pay 7000 - 9000 baht a month and you can get a nice little place to live, mostly studios between 30 - 40sqm, but with a few 1-bedroom options available. In desirable areas like Nimman, the interiors are still not so great. Some units have kitchenettes. In more out-of-the-way areas, the interiors can be quite nice indeed. You should definitely expect a laundry room onsite, and maybe even a pool and gym. From this price point on, everything should work inside your apartment. If something is broken, it should be fixed before you agree to move in.

Pay 9000 - 10,000 baht a month and you'll get a mix 30 - 45sqm studio and one-bedroom apartments in pretty good locations with pretty nice interiors, with a few larger 50 - 60sqm apartments in less desirable neighborhoods and/or with old-style, basic, unrenovated or kind-of-ugly interiors. Most units have at least a kitchenette. Many buildings have swimming pools and gyms.

Pay 10,000 - 12,000 baht a month and options get a bit nicer, but are still generally 30 - 45sqm studio and one bedroom apartments. Apartments in desirable neighborhoods like Nimman are still small, nicely-decorated studios. You get a lot of bang for your buck if you choose a slightly out-of-town apartment in this range. Most units have at least a kitchenette. Many buildings have swimming pools and gyms.

Pay 12,000 - 15,000 baht and things start getting exciting. You'll notice that a small percentage of the smaller apartments you're looking at have been finished with an eye for style - original paintings, coordinated kitchenware, carefully chosen nice furniture. You can get nice modern 30-60sqm apartments in desirable neighborhoods, and those out of town have beautiful interiors. However, the larger apartments in this price range generally have old, not-so-nice furniture and a rather 'basic' feel to them, especially in more desirable areas. Most units have at least a kitchenette. Some apartments are serviced. Many buildings have swimming pools and gyms.

Pay 15,000 - 18,000 baht and you'll get a lovely place in any area you want. You'll notice that a lot more of these apartments are serviced, have luxuries like washing machines and full kitchens, offer one or two bedrooms, have been finished with a modern stylish interior, are in a more desirable location. It would be surprising if apartments in this range didn't have gym or pool access. Room interiors can still be surprisingly small and sparely decorated, but modern, in desirable locations.

Pay 18,000 - 21,000 baht and you'll get a large, lovely place in any area you want. You'll see more one-bedroom than studios in this price range. It would be surprising if apartments in this range didn't have gym or pool access. Many apartments have washing machines inside. At the top of this range you can get really stylish large apartments in slightly more out-of-the-way places, and beautiful modern smaller places in desirable neighborhoods.

Pay 21,000 - 29,000 baht and you'll get a spacious modern and/or luxurious pad in any area you want. It would be surprising if apartments in this range didn't have gym or pool access.

Pay 30,000+ baht and you can basically be living the stuff of dreams for many people. You'll get things like walk-in closets, gourmet kitchens, duplex apartments. It would be very surprising if apartments in this range didn't have gym or pool access. But even still you can find surprisingly un-luxury places in this price range, so shop around.

How much is house rent in Chiang Mai?

Houses in the main tourist areas are expensive for what you get, but you can get excellent value for money out-of-town. But remember my tip - stay as close to work or your place of study as possible. I lived a 40-minute drive out of town once in an incredible, unfurnished dream-house that cost just 11,000 baht... but the daily commute was horrible. The far-out location also meant I couldn't drink on a night out because I never drive drunk (and you shouldn't either).

House rental prices range from 3500 a month for a basic unfurnished house far away from the main tourist areas, to 200,000 baht + for five bedroom luxury residences with a private pool, gourmet kitchen, maid's house, and more.

You can get a decent, simple, furnished house that's not too far out for 10,000 baht. You can get a beautiful house with a huge garden that's quite far out for the same price. I would recommend staying in a house if you need more room, have a pet, or work in a non-central location such as an international school.

Furnished or unfurnished?

After staying in both, I would say always rent pre-furnished places. Buying nice furniture gets expensive fast. You might think "aha, but I can buy second-hand!" and yes, you can - but only when someone else moves out, is selling their stuff, and you hear about it. You can't just get everything you need secondhand at any time you please.

Is there house sharing in Chiang Mai?

House sharing does exist in Chiang Mai, but there's no easy place to find opportunities online. It's best to check or ask in the Facebook groups listed at the bottom of this post.

Which is the best area to live in Chiang Mai?

I wrote a whole post about areas to stay in in Chiang Mai here. Stay in or as close as possible to your favourite area, especially if you don't have your own transport. Stay away from them if you want to get away from it all.

If you do have a car or motorbike, you can get more for your money the further out you get.

I mean it about the transport thing. Even apartments and houses along Canal Road, near Central Festival Shopping Mall, or out towards Promenada Resort Mall are near-impossible to live in without your own transport.

How to rent an apartment for one month in Chiang Mai

Most contracts are for a year, and many offer six months. If you want to stay for a month or two check out this comprehensive list of monthly rental accommodation in Chiang Mai below. Remember to compare WiFi, utility prices, and maid services. Email the places below to ask for vacancies or go visit them in-person. As far as I know, short term rentals are not available in houses.

Here's a list of places that rent month-by-month in Chiang Mai ordered by price low to high. See a map of the areas mentioned here.

Mata Apartment in Santitham. Starts at 3200 baht per month.
Tip Top Thai in the Old City. Prices vary, rumoured to be as low as 4500 baht per month. Contact them via Facebook or visit them in person.
Huay Keaw Residence between the Old City and Nimman. Starts at 4500 per month.
Chiang Mai Lodge in Santitham. Starts at 4800 baht per month.
Buarawong Residence near Montfort Primary School, a little out of town. Starts at 5000 baht per month.
SB Residence @santitam in Santitham. Starts at 5500 per month.
Sunshine House in Santitham. Starts at 7000 baht per month.
Life in Town on the south side of the Old City. Starts at 7000 baht per month.
Chiang Mai Smith Residence, two locations. Starts at 7500 baht per month.
Vanilla Residence in Santitham. Starts at 9000 baht per month.
PT Residence in Nimman. Starts at 9000 baht per month.
Galare Thong in the Night Bazaar area. Starts at 9000 baht per month.
Green Hill near Maya Mall. Starts at 10,000 per month.
Chiang Mai Mansion in the Night Bazaar area. Starts at 12,000 baht per month.
The Opium Service Apartment & Hotel in Santitham. Starts at 12,500 per month.
Viangbua Mansion, a little out of town, near Santitham. Starts at 12,500 baht per month.
Sakorn Residence & Hotel, riverside area. Starts at 16,000 baht per month.
Frangipani Serviced Residences, north side of Old City. Starts at 37,000 baht per month.
The Dome Chiang Mai between the Old City and Nimman, monthly rates available on request.
Chiang Mai Properties is searchable by rent duration.
Most places on this listing.

How to get good internet in Chiang Mai

Hopefully your apartment or house will come with good internet. But, more likely, your internet will suck or not even exist. The easiest way to install internet is to ask your landlord / apartment building reception staff. Ask what your options are and if they can arrange it all, let them.

If you have to DIY, choose an internet provider. Popular internet providers in Chiang Mai include Sinet and 3BB. I use Sinet and it's great. Go to their office or kiosk in person:

Sinet: Maya Mall on the 3rd floor, Central Festival on the technology floor, or their main office near the airport here.

3BB: This map shows all 3BB Shop locations in Chiang Mai, simply zoom out to see them all.

Ask them:
1) Can you install internet at my address?
2) What's the minimum contract length?
3) How much?
4) Is there a promotion right now?

Alternatively, buy an AIS internet dongle from 7/11.

Where to find a place to live in Chiang Mai

1) Search online.
2) Ask in a Facebook group. There are so many rent in Chiang Mai groups and you'll see a lot of repetition, but you can often find exciting leads.
3) Use an agent. It makes it easy - tell them your requirements and they'll tell you what's available and arrange viewings. Finding services are free.
4) Drive or walk around and ask in person.

Useful Facebook groups.
Buy/Sell/Rent Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Real Estate
Chiang Mai Secondhand Property for sale rent
Houses & Land and condos for rent or sale in Chiang Mai, Thailand
House for rent in Chiang Mai
REAL ESTATE CHIANG MAI  ~ buy sell rent
Rent & Sale House in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Secondhand and Real Estate ChiangMai

Agents and websites to rent in Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai Apartment Rental
Chiang Mai Best Homes
Chiang Mai House
Chiang Mai Lanna House
Chiang Mai Open Realty
Chiang Mai Properties
DD Property
Jasmine Homes
Perfect Homes
Ping Property
Property Thailand
Rent Hub

Renting in Chiang Mai Terminology

Soi - a lane or a little street coming off a main street. For example, the main street Nimmanhaemin has several sois coming off it: Nimman soi 3, Nimman soi 15, etc.

Mooban - tiny neighborhood of houses, usually kind of self contained, often with a guard at the entrance. Kind of like a gated community or estate.

Serviced apartment - More expensive than other apartments, but they usually come with everything you need to live for a while except food, like internet, a pool, and maid services.

Documents you need

Please note that this stuff changes all the time in Chiang Mai and you should confirm any information you find, here or elsewhere.

Whenever you rent a place in Chiang Mai you and your landlord have to inform immigration. Your landlord must go in-person to immigration, where he/she will get a document called a tm.30. It is extremely important that you get a photocopy of the tm.30 from your landlord and staple it into your passport, especially if you want to stay for longer than two months - any extension requests will be refused with the tm.30.

Get a copy of your contract. Without one, you can't get Residence Certificates and other things you might need in the future.

I really hope this helps you find a place to live, and would love to hear from you if it helped :)

She's pretty sure these posts will be your cup of tea:


  1. Amy,

    Thank you so much for this article...

    I didn't understand about "tm.30" think... Do I need it to stay only 3 months (I would like to stay more, but I only got this tourist 3 months visa)???

    Do you have a article about how to get a tourist visa extension? Me and my wife work online, as freelancers, and we don't know what to do to stay more than 3 months in Thailand...

    Thanks again,



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