In this post I outline some of the best, easiest and cheapest options for short term accommodation and apartment renting in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
When looking for accommodation in Chiang Mai as a digital nomad, the advice when looking for a place to live from most people is simple: “stay somewhere for a few days, then scout around for an apartment and move in“.
It sounds super simple, but even then, making the decision of where to stay those first few days isn’t easy. Which areas are good? Where do people hang out? What if the place I pick is terrible?!
In this blog post, I outline some of the best and easiest options for short term accommodation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I will tell you places you can just turn up and move in, accommodation that you can book online, and even places that you can stay in to give you a taste of longer term accommodation. All accommodation and prices listed are for rooms, I never recommend hostels or shared rooms.
Short Term Accommodation in Nimman Area Chiang Mai
In order of recommendation:
The Sayla Hotel (Baan Say La Guesthouse)
Right in the thick of Nimman, Baan Say La (now called Sayla Hotel) is moments away from the main Nimman road, but far enough way to not be too crazy. Combined with its traditional Thai styling (and of course WiFi), Baan is a great place to stay. Moments away is Yellow Coworking, Starbucks, Wawee Coffee, a 7-11 and lots of other things. With limited rooms, booking in advance is essential, but I think this is one of the best spots to pitch up for a few days.
Slightly out of the Nimman craziness, but close enough to walk in a few minutes, the Trio Condominium is a collection of small but functional rooms, good parking and a decent swimming pool. It’s close to Food for Thought and Wako Bake (a very underrated coffee shop), and you can walk to Maya in a couple of minutes.
The Trio Condominium
Price per month: 12,000-20,000
Located set back from Sirimangkalajarn Road (parallel to Nimman), PT Residence is seconds from the roads of Nimman. The rooms were refurbished in the summer of 2016. Most rooms have balconies, WiFi is good, there is a Roastniyom coffee shop and 7-11 downstairs, and Yellow Coworking is 5 minutes walk away. I’ve never known PT to be fully booked and walk-ins are fine. They don’t use hotel websites for bookings, but have just launched a new website. PT is owned by the same people as the upmarket The Mirror (next door, but the Mirror doesn’t rent day to day) so contact The Mirror for enquiries and they should be able to help. Not to be confused with PT Place on Nimman. PT Residence is one of the best value-for-money long term places to stay, so it’s recommended for short term too.
Chiang Mai Lodge
Located slightly further away from Nimman area and towards Santitham (a cheaper locals area), Chiang Mai Lodge is an older building situated in a busy back road that is known for several expat/backpacker bars and shops (tip: don’t get a road-facing room). One of my favourite coffee/coworking spots – Ombra Coffee – is right next door. Chiang Mai Lodge always has rooms available, and if you are looking for a budget place with everything you need on your doorstep you won’t go far wrong. Longer term rooms are only 5,000 to 6,800 (£110-£160) per month, so check this place out for cheap lengthy stays.
One of the most well known condos in Chiang Mai, staying at The Dome will make sure every taxi driver and tuk-tuk mafia knows where you are staying. Well known for its older expat scene, The Dome has a small gym and a cafe (Noi’s) on the ground floor where you can meet and hang out with other expats. I’ve never known The Dome to be fully booked and walk-ins are fine. If you want to check out a quiet place with a more “refined” crowd, The Dome is a good start.
In the same back road as Chiang Mai Lodge, Varada Place is a similar budget place. Opposite the Corner Bistro (known for its Friday night Hip Hop and Fries night), Varada is pretty basic but clean accommodation that due to good reviews and not many rooms, does fill up, so book in advance. Prices drop for longer term stays – 5,000 baht (£110/$140) per month – so stay for a few days and maybe stay if you like it (personally, I dislike places with corridor-facing windows).
Pansook The Urban
In the same road as The Dome, Pansook The Urban is a much more modern building. With a younger and more local crowd, Pansook The Urban also now rents some rooms by the night, which can give you a chance to check this place out to see if you want to stay there longer term. Monthly rates are around 15,000 (£350/$425). Rooms are pretty big, with small kitchen units, washing facilities, and small balconies. Its pricey for just a few nights, and you may find better deals on AirBNB.
Launched in like 2015, so still seems new. Nice pool and gym. Close to Maya. Monthly rates 20,000-30,000. You do get quite a bit of noise from a nearby car park which often hosts massive festivals at weekends.
Another high end place, nice pool. Close to Mana and Maya.
Right next to Maya Mall (includes CAMP coworking space).
Palm Spring Soi 5
Rather new place, trying to be high end. But rooms are small, the road is often really busy with cars, and nearby bars will keep you awake at nights.
Right on Nimman opposite Salad Concept. Next to the Burmese. Used to be a cool location with Mana coworking space on the same side street (sadly now closed), but it can be noisy right on the main road. Wouldn’t recommend it.
Down a small soi off of Nimman. Tired old place but some rooms have been renovated. Monthly rates from 10,000-30,000.
Another scary dusty old building, but if you get a rooms that’s been renovated you’ll score. Big swimming pool and good gym on site, but neither free when you stay there.
Right next to Maya mall and popular with nomads who have been coming to Chiang Mai for years. Decent swimming pool. Price 12,000-30,000 per month.
Accommodation near Punspace Thae Pae Gate
Punspace at Thae Pae Gate is, in my humble opinion, the best coworking space in Chiang Mai. Spacious, good internet, decent tables and chairs, great coffee shop, Skype rooms, nice toilets. It ticks all the boxes. And its nowhere near Nimman! The East side of Chiang Mai is also pretty cool, yes its got more backpackers, things are a little more expensive, less spicy and less “Thai”, but it also has the best healthy food options and feels pretty chill in the little back roads of the Old City.
My favourite accommodation in the old city (well, just outside it), the Smiths Suites are beautifully modern and available for daily and monthly rental. Just like most stuff on the East Side of Old City, Smiths is expensive. But with a roof top pool and spacious rooms, and with Punspace only 5 minutes away, its a great place to be based. Unfortunately, its damn popular, so book early and thank Buddha you got a reservation.
Where else to stay?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of places to stay in Chiang Mai, but it should set you on the right track to getting up and running during your stay, meeting some people in the digital nomad / location independent scene, and making sure you aren’t staying in a hell hole!
Where did you stay? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!