After six months of travel from New Zealand to Thailand we were ready for a bit of a rest and needed time to catch up on work and the blog. Although it has become a bit of a backpacker cliché, we decided that Chiang Mai, Thailand, was the perfect place to settle down for a month and rest up. After finding a great apartment, we settled into a comfortable routine and found living in Chiang Mai to be pretty affordable – here’s how much it cost us for one month.
Activity Costs in Chiang Mai
We spent very little on activities during this month since we’d visited the city before and there are many things to do in Chiang Mai which are free or at least pretty cheap. For example, we went to the National Museum and the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar which are free to enter; the only ‘activity money’ we spent was on massages in Pai and entrance fees at Wat Doi Suthep.
|Massages in Pai||£7||£3.50|
|Doi Suthep Entrance Fee||£1.20||£0.60|
Chiang Mai Accommodation Costs
We found a perfect apartment in the Jigsaw Condo just outside of town which we rented for a month; you can read more about our apartment search in Chiang Mai here. Our apartment definitely wasn’t the cheapest but we were happy to pay a bit more for the luxury of having a kitchen, living room and comfortable work space. Our apartment rental made up the bulk of our accommodation costs for this month, although we also spent a couple of nights in a guesthouse while we were searching for apartments and took an overnight trip to Pai.
|Accommodation||Total||Per Person||Per Day|
|House No. 11 (Two nights)||£18||£9||N/A|
|Jigsaw Condo (27 nights)||£358||£179||£12.30|
|Mr Jan’s, Pai (One night)||£4||£2||N/A|
Chiang Mai Food Costs
We have been to Chiang Mai a few times before so we knew what we were in for when we decided to stay for a month; there’s an abundance of restaurants as well as the Chiang Mai Night Market where you can eat great and cheap food. We also had a kitchen in our apartment where we cooked some of our favourite dishes from home; we typically ate breakfast and lunch there and split our dinners between eating out and eating in. It felt really homely in our little apartment and we were sad to leave! All of this combined meant we had the lowest food costs of our trip so far.
|Expense||Total||Per Person||Per Day|
Transport Costs in Chiang Mai
We didn’t travel a huge amount whilst in Chiang Mai except when going to and from our apartment and the old city. It’s really easy to get around Chiang Mai; we usually just hopped on a songtheaw for 20 Baht each, failing that we would jump in a tuk tuk for a little more. If you are brave and experienced enough then you can rent a cheap scooter in Chiang Mai. Whilst in Pai we rented a scooter for a day since public transport is a little more difficult to find, this only cost us £4 for rental and fuel. We’ve also included the cost of travelling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and our return minibus to Pai in the figures below.
|Buses||Bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: £17.50||£8.75|
|Bus from Chiang Mai to Pai (return): £12||£6|
|Songtheaws and Tuk Tuks||26 Songtheaws or Tuk Tuks altogether: £51||£25.50|
|Transport to Doi Suthep:||Songtheaw to and from Doi Suthep for two people: £6 (we shared with two others)||£3|
|Scooter:||24 hours Rental and fuel in Pai: £4||£2|
We had to extend our Visas whilst in Thailand so this added a big chunk to our expenses. Extending from 60 to 90 days cost 1,900 Baht (about £37.50) each and was a pretty painless process. We had the usual laundry, toiletry and medicine costs, along with a few purchases for the apartment such as a toaster and other utensils. Amy needed yet another pair of flip flops, we picked up a book and some clothes and also found an HDMI cable – really useful for watching films from your laptop on a TV.
|Thai Visa Extensions||£75||£37.50|
|Toiletries & medicines||£3.20||£1.60|
|Kitchen items for apartment||£30||£15|
|Vincent Bugliosi book||£2.80||N/A|
|Clothes, HDMI cable, bag, flipflops||£17.50||£8.75|
Total Cost of Living in Chiang Mai for One Month
We really enjoyed our month in Chiang Mai; it didn’t disappoint us at all. We were able to reduce our costs, get a lot of tasks done on the blog, eat loads of macaroni cheese and plan for the next few months. If you’re thinking of spending a bit of time in one place then Chiang Mai has it all. If you are really frugal then you can get away with a much lower cost of Living in Chiang Mai too; especially if you go for cheaper accommodation than we did. Here are our total costs:
|Expense||Total||Per Person||Per Day|
As always, we used the tremendous Trail Wallet app to track all of our spending – version two is out now in the app store! You can find all of our detailed cost posts here including our total costs for travelling around Thailand for two months.