Our search for somewhere to stay started back in Australia in September 2015.
We were aware that our arrival in early November coincided with the start of the high season for tourists so we wanted to get a head start on identifying potential properties. Our investigations revealed a number of local property agents in Chiang Mai so we fired off a few emails with our requirements – 1 to 2 bedrooms, in the city area, gym, pool and up to $1000 per month, for a 3 month period. We only heard back from one agent – Perfect Homes – and they had a 1 bedroom apartment in the Siri Condominium that fitted our needs.
As we were going to take on a lease based on a few photos, in a city we had visited only briefly two years earlier, we wanted to have the option of leaving after 1 month just in case it wasn’t as expected eg. was there a building site next door? We negotiated to take a 1 month lease (at a higher rate) with the option of staying for 3 months at the standard rate if we liked the property. This highlights an important point – everything is negotiable when renting in Chiang Mai!
It’s also important to know that 12 month rentals are preferred by landlords in Chiang Mai. It is possible to get 1, 3 or 6 month lease for apartments/condos but the rate increases inversely with the duration.
We needn’t have worried about the condo – it was in a quiet soi (side street) in a great location in the Nimmanhaemin area – a hip/funky/trendy area near CMU (Chiang Mai University). It’s north west of the old town moat and only a short walk to two shopping malls – the newer Maya mall and Chiang Mai’s original mall – Kad Suan Kaew. There are an abundance of cafes, bars and mum and dad restaurants on our doorstep and we can walk into the heart of the old town in about 20 minutes.
It is small (49 sqm), like most modern apartment buildings here, with a combined living, kitchen and dining area along with a king size bed and ensuite bathroom with bath and shower. The apartment was advertised as having a ‘western kitchen’ – that means a two element electric hob and a microwave! Not that this is a problem – eating out here is so affordable that it’s generally cheaper to eat out than buy and prepare your own meals. We have a view to the hills to the west from our small balcony with the glistening, golden domed Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep standing out against the green hillside during the day or floodlit at night.
One of the things that ‘sold’ us on this condo was the roof top ‘garden’. It is a large space that provides much needed open space. It’s a lovely spot to do some work in the mornings (when the temperature is more pleasant) or just to sit with a drink and watch the sunset over the hills.
We are enjoying our time in this condo however when we return to Chiang Mai we will probably look to stay in another area to assess the pros and cons of that location. There are a multitude of condos all over Chiang Mai and it will be interesting to see what these places have to offer. We have friends staying ‘on the other side of town’ (near the Night Market) in a lovely complex called the Peaks Garden Condominium. We have also looked at a number of condos all over Chiang Mai whilst being here and one thing is for certain – there is a condo/apartment here to suit every requirement and budget!!!