Friday, February 1, 2013

My Apartment in Chiang Mai

I've had requests to post pictures of my apartment in Chiang Mai, so I ran around (not tidying up) to take a few for the blog.  This apartment, or condo as many will call it is on a small side street from a larger main 4-lane road.  It's just far enough off the main road to be little effected by road noise.  My unit is far right top which has no front balcony as the 3rd floor units do, but 4 openable windows and lots of light facing the mountains.  Mine is the top (4th floor) walk-up which gives me some leg exercise, especially when I get down to the motor bike and realize I've forgotten my helmet, or keys, or something else important.
Most condos and apartments are like hotel rooms here.  One room with a bed and a bathroom.  Mine has a separate bedroom of considerable size, a queen sized bed with linen and lots of built-in closet space.  There is a TV on the wall at the foot of the bed with 70 channels and about 7 are in English.  Several news stations and a few movie stations.  There is also WiFi all included in the rental price of $150.

Kitchens are almost never included in a rental.  Street food is so cheap that Thais don't cook at home.  Food is always nearby and very easy to get.  Working folks will stop off at a food stall after work and get take-home for the family.  I was lucky to get a kitchen even though it was not outfitted, it is a great comfort to be able to cook some western style food at home.  I underestimated my ability to eat Thai for every meal.  Comfort food is more important than you might imagine!  There is trash pickup every day, but no recycling.  Plastic bottles and cans go out with the trash, but I always put them in separately in case there is someone who comes around to pick out recyclables (maybe wishful thinking).                                                                                                  

The small living room is adequate for me.  I have 2 small, low tables and 4 chairs and a built-in counter and shelves unit.

Both the kitchen and bathroom are outside on the rear balcony and you can see the wire mesh to keep the birds out.  The shower has an on-demand water heater which does not store hot water, but heats it as it is used.  This is very efficient and you'll never run out of hot water!  I enjoy having these facilities outside.  It is never too cold to shower outside and it is nice not to have cooking odors and kitchen heat linger in the unit.
A note on toilet usage:  Thais do not flush toilet paper because the sewer systems and pipes are not large enough to handle the paper.  Instead each toilet (no matter where you go) has a kitchen type hand held spray nozzle that you spray your butt with to clean yourself, then use a little toilet paper to dry yourself and put it in the nearby wastebasket.  Cleaner ass and little paper used, America could take a lesson on this one.

And finally here is what my rides are.  Bicycle for the neighborhood and moto for further afield.
Present plans are to purchase a larger moto for more comfortable riding to outlying areas, and to purchase another bike for when my friend Albert decides to reclaim this one.
Cars are expensive here, about twice the price as in the U.S.  But during the hot season and rainy season, a car might be the only way to get out of the apartment.  I rode the moto this week and got caught in the rain, nay, torrential downpour and it wasn't comfortable.  This "cool season" only lasts Jan, Feb, Mar.  The rest of the year is either hot, rainy or both.


  1. I like everything that is necessary for life, no frills. Question about the Internet, what is the speed and price? And about the scooter, is it rented or you buy it? Our trip to Thailand is scheduled for April, it will be my vacation time. Not so long ago, my sister was in Thailand
    with her boyfriend, and they told me in detail where it's better to rent a scooter, condominium, and where to buy nice food. So I think that I have everything for a comfortable holiday.

    1. Hi Lusil, I must tell you that April is the worst time to visit Thailand as it is very hot and smokey from farmers burning their fields.

      As for renting a scooter you will need an international driver's permit with a motorcycle endorsement, which means you'll need to have a home driver's license for motorcycle. Maybe some rental agencies will rent without, but if you go through a police road block they will fine you something like $10. Advice: don't leave your passport with the rental agent. Pay the security fee because if something happens to the bike they will hold your passport ransom for repairs/replacement and you won't be able to leave the country until you settle with them.

      Internet: I don't know the speed but it is better than the US. You can buy a SIM card for your smart phone for calling and add internet for a reasonable price.

      Best to you and your upcoming trip!