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Moving to Chiang Mai: How much money do you need for the start?

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Chiang Mai

Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 26/09/2023, 11:45

Hi there! 👋 I’m Joanna, author of The Blond Travels. If you find my articles helpful, I’d be happy if you could follow me on Instagram, or . Support from readers like you means a lot to me and helps to keep this website alive. Thank you! 🙏Joanna Horanin

If after visiting Chiang Mai you started thinking that it would be a great place to move to for a little while, or you want to become a teacher here and stay in the north of Thailand longer, then you must be wondering how much money you need, so moving to Chiang Mai wouldn’t be too stressful.

Over a week ago I moved here for the second time and I started a new life again. This time, my experience was a little different. I wasn’t planning to work in a school, all my classes are conducted online. I am also in a relationship as well and my expectations for the standard of living are a little higher, too.

Every time I moved to Chiang Mai I learned something, and because they were both different, I would like to share my experiences with you about how much money you need to start your new life in the Rose of the North.

The flight

It’s obvious – you need to get to Chiang Mai somehow. Most of the time the cheapest tickets are from March to October, when the city is extremley hot, or it rains all the time. This is not the rule, of course. A return ticket costs about 350-500 Euros per person. A one way ticket is around 200 – 300 Euro. These are avarage costs, based on what I normally find and the prices can rapidly change.

To save a little it is best to go to Bangkok and take a flight, a bus, or a train to Chiang Mai. The price is around 40-50 Euros.

Insurance

Don’t forget about your insurance! At the moment there are plenty of options available in different prices and for different periods of time. Travel insurance is perfect for those, who would like to stay in Thailand for only a couple of months. If you are planning a longer stay then it is best to look around after something different. Remember that when you make a claim, most of travel insurance companies will ask you for a return ticket.

Among the companies I tried are American Express UK (about 40 Euros per year), Signal Iduna (about 50 Euros per year) and Virgin (about 50 Euros per year).

If you want to stay abroad for longer, then one of the best options is the insurance from World Nomads, which offers the same as a normal travel insurance plus you can claim your money back if you visit a specialist, even if you haven’t had an accident (this is something you cannot claim for if you have a normal travel insurance). The insurance from World Nomads costs around 300 Euros per year.

Find out how to choose the best travel insurance:

Accommodation

Moving to Chiang Mai can be very simple, if you plan it carefully.

When you get here, stay in one of the hostels for a couple of nights. I recommend 9 Hostel (5 Euros per day) – it’s quiet, cozy and you can explore the city from here. Oxotel (40 Euros per day) is my second favourite place – it’s best for those, who can afford a little more and are looking for comfort and style.

There are many apartments in Chiang Mai and everyone can find something for themselves. A studio (one room with a bathroom) costs from 80-130 Euros per month. For a one bedroom flat and a small kitchen you will pay a bit more: 250-300 Euros per month.

When you sign your rental contract, you will need to pay a deposit (1-2 months worth of rent) and pay for one month upfront. So, for a studio you will pay minimum of 240 Euros.

How to find an apartment in Chiang Mai:

Internet

In many places the internet is for free. Ask about it before you rent a place. In my building it wi-fi costs 6 Euros for 30 days.

If you work online it’s better to invest in your own internet. Depending on where you live, you can choose a package for a year, half a year, or for a couple of months. Sinet is one of the most popular companies in Thailand, which offers fibre optic broadband. My monthly package costs me 17 Euros per month.

Transport

There are no local busses in Chiang Mai. The cheapest mode of transport are so called songtheaws, which can take you almost anywhere in the city. However, they are not the most reliable. Sometimes it is hard to catch them and a driver can refuse to tak you if your destination is not on their way.

Renting, or buying, a scooter is the best option and it gives an unlimited freedom. Before you buy (if you intend on doing so), check out some of the local rental places and rent a scooter for a month first.

Renting a Honda Click, which is always my number one when it comes to scooters in Thailand, costs around 60-70 Euros per month. You always need to leave a deposit of 20 Euros.

Check out how to ride a songtheaw in Chiang Mai:

Food

Before you get to know all of the cheap restaurants in Chiang Mai you will need to experiment a little, which always means spending more money. Budget around 200 Euros for this. I must assure you that it will get cheaper next month and after sampling some local food, you’ll be able to judge how much money exactly you need to spend every month.

Summary

Moving to Chiang Mai might be costly sometimes. Remember that after you are settled you won’t have to spend money on a flight, insurance, or different deposits, so your budget will be much lower.

Assuming that you will buy a flight for 400 Euros, choose the cheapest travel isurance and mid-range hostel, your cost of moving to Chiang Mai should be around 1,000 Euros. Add 20% on top of that for any other expenses.

If you are travelling with a partner then your cost will be a little higher, if you want to rent a one bedroom flat. On average you will have to spend 1,200 – 1,500 Euros.

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