How to book Baan Thai Chiang Mai serviced apartment online

Baan Thai sign

Baan Thai sign

Whenever I mention on a Chiang Mai group online that I’m currently staying in the Baan Thai serviced apartments in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai, I always get someone private messaging me asking how to book online. The simple answer is, you don’t, you turn up and speak to reception in person, if there is a room free you book it straight away, if there isn’t, you find somewhere else until a room becomes available.

I have however managed to help a person book a room before he arrived in Thailand, I done this by placing a 1,000 Baht deposit for him, he was a mate I know from the UK, who came here to code with me for a month.

Before coming to Chiang Mai I read about Baan Thai online on Travel Dave’s blog, his article is more informative than what I’m writing here, except for the price has now changed.

Baan Thai Nimman

Baan Thai Nimman

As of October 2015 the price for a month has increased to 6,000 Baht, at the time of writing this, that price converts to £109.50. On top of this you’ll need to pay utilities, how much utilities cost will depend on how much you use the air conditioner.

Personally I use it almost every night, my room is in Baan Thai B and faces towards the pool, beyond the pool is Baan Thai A and then the road, the noise isn’t too loud during the night, but I prefer to have the balcony doors closed, this greatly reduces air circulation, so to counter this I put on the AC, it keeps the room nice and cool of course, but it also creates a constant white noise that prevents me from ever hearing outside noises.

Our most recent month came to £168 in total for the room including utilities, this isn’t bad, but you could find a room for close to half this around Nimman, however it wouldn’t have a pool or the same friendly Baan Thai vibe. Baan Thai is full of foreigners, many are digital nomads, others are retirees. You’ll quickly recognise the other tenants around town at either a Gym, local co-working space, or at one of the many local bars/cafes.

Baan Thai B

Baan Thai B

Baan Thai is directly under the flight path, if I happen to be around, I’ll usually be in the pool, from the pool you can watch the planes fly overhead, not just commercial planes, but also the fighter jets from the Thai Air-force, floating in the pool watching them roar across the sky in groups of three, I consider to be part of my morning ritual.

Overall I consider Baan Thai to be relatively quiet, there isn’t any bars near by that are open beyond midnight, however, if you’re an early riser and light sleeper, you’ll probably want to turn on the AC and shut the doors.

For the 6,000 baht a month, we get our room cleaned weekly, we also pay separately for laundry to be collected when needed, the cost of laundry is 40 baht (£0.73) per kilogram. As a couple, our weekly laundry cost averages around £3.20, it’s collected at 15:30 each day and returned the same time the following day. If you wanted to keep your costs low you could do your laundry yourself at near by laundrettes for roughly half the price. For me though, never having to worry about cooking, cleaning or laundry is a great time saver which allows me to get on with other things in life.

Cake in Wanz Cafe

Cake in Wanz Cafe

The Nimman area has a ton of Cafes and Restaurants, our two favourites on our street are Zood Zood for a good selection of tasty meals as well as their Butterfly Pea Water, and Wanz Cafe for a mixture of Wifi usage and Ice Green Tea consumption, Wanz is also a bar at night and Motor cycle mechanic during the day, the cafe has a motor cycle theme, the coffee tables each have a motor cycle engine as part of their frame. I’ve not been to Wanz in the evening, so I can’t really comment on the bar or food, but the cakes in the day time Cafe are good enough for my palate.

Chiang Mai Noodles in Zood Zood

Chiang Mai Noodles in Zood Zood

Our other favourite local place to eat and relax with some music is D-fine, it is however two streets over from our street, so roughly a two minute walk.

As already mentioned this area has a lot of places, the three I’ve mentioned here I’m sure aren’t the best, they’re just places we’ve enjoyed and often frequent for some normality in life.

Another place I feel worth mentioning is Salad Concept, Salad is a great break from eating Thai every day and this place is clearly the best in the area.

So to get a bit back on topic, if you’re wanting to stay in Baan Thai, either you’ll need to have someone already there place a deposit for you, or you’ll need to book a cheap hotel for your first night and spend a day walking around Nimman, this is what we did, we walked into every serviced apartment place we could find, besides from the location, the swimming pool at Baan Thai is what won the place over for us, its huge and the perfect size for laps.

flowers

Who doesn’t like flowers?

Often I’ll read people on groups say “what is their number, if they don’t have a website I’ll ring them and book that way”, don’t waste your time, why would they take a booking from someone on the other side of the world when someone will simply walk in that day and pay a cash deposit?. Rooms aren’t vacant for more than a day in Baan Thai, but rooms become vacant frequently as people are always moving in and out. Minimum stay is one month.

My favourite street food vendors are just around the corner, out the front of either Tesco or 711, they are Mr Moustache and Pad Thai Maploy.

I hope this helps, best of luck.

Chiang Mai Thailand first month living expenses report

So, it’s been a while since my last expense report, I’ll do one today for last month and my most recent one I’ll do tomorrow.

This is for our first 30 days in Chiang Mai, it’s said your first month somewhere is always the most expensive, this has been true for us, as our second month is much lower, so be sure to check back tomorrow. If you’d like to see our previous expenses, the reports are linked in the list below.

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

Chiang Mai Living Expenses

Chiang Mai Living Expenses

Chiang Mai Trip Expenses

  • Accommodation + electricity £213.38
  • Food, entertainment, living etc £702.12

Total £915.50
Cost per person £457.75
Cost per day (per person) £15.25

This is for the first 30 days we spent in Chiang Mai, during this time we went to Cambodia for 5 days, I’ve excluded those days from the spreadsheet and only included the first 30 days spent in Chiang Mai. We had a more expensive month in Chiang Mai than we had in Hanoi due to several reasons, one is memberships, our membership column is for anything we’d pay for monthly, e.g. Wifi, mobile phone data plans, co-working space membership, gym memberships etc.

Butterfly Pea Water

Butterfly Pea Water

The initial few days were our most expensive due to socialising with friends/family who were visiting, this is really the only time I drink now.
As I get ready to return to Australia, I’m reducing my drinking to zero, in my last 18 months before leaving Australia in 2006 I never drank once, excluding farewell drinks the 2 weeks before departure. When the weather is hot and sunny I have zero desire to drink, I consider this a good thing.
In Vietnam I drank Bia Hoi beer almost nightly but at £0.15 a beer 2% alcohol and freezing cold it’s rather desirable.

Some new costs we now have are room cleaning, laundry and eating out every meal except for breakfast. If we’re home, it’s either for swimming, resting or sleeping, everything else is taken care of.

Hiking Chiang Mai

Hiking Chiang Mai

Two of the main advantages of Chiang Mai for foreigners is it’s low cost living and permanent sunny weather, for this reason there is a very large number of Digital Nomads living here and working on-line, either running their own businesses or working remotely for employers back home, they’re literally everywhere!, many work in co-working spaces, however, if you go into any of the hundreds of cafes and restaurants in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai, you’ll find yourself either sitting next to someone working away on a laptop, checking orders on their phone, emailing clients from their tablet or a bunch of people discussing tech, e-commerce, coding, digital life etc, this is the norm and not the exception.

If you ever find yourself in Nimman and see a bunch of people in a restaurant on their phones, don’t be like the idiot in the image below, as they’re simply checking which tropical island to live on next, or how much money they’ve made from Chiang Mai today, or perhaps chatting to friends and family back home, perhaps it’s just a tourist glad to have some internet access.

I was once in a restaurant in Amsterdam and some tool started criticising a girl he didn’t even know, simply for “looking at her phone in a restaurant”, these people I call “the bored, face palmers” they’re that bored with their own life, that they need to criticise others and whenever I hear them, I want to face palm my self. For some people, being in “a restaurant” is something they do every day and they aren’t going to miss too much of the amazing restaurant excitement going on around them simply by looking at their phone.

Pool Baan Thai Chiang mai

Our Pool

The foreigners living here, tend to live well away from the tourist areas, everyone in this area is very friendly be it locals or foreigners and all bars shut by midnight, so there isn’t drunken zombies staggering around, sex tourism or even a single annoying hawker of any kind.

The food here is amazingly cheap and superb, there is no excuse for not living a healthy life style or atleast finding something that suit’s your taste.

A lovely street meal will cost anywhere from £0.45 for the best omelette and rice I’ve had, all the way up to £0.95 for the best seafood Pad Thai I’ve had. A lovely spicy Papaya Salad will set you back around £0.55, street smoothies, Ice Tea and Ice Coffee set you back around £0.50, while an Iced Green Milk Tea in one of the many trendy Cafes will set you back around £1 to £1.30.

Green Tea Latte

Green Tea Latte

Restaurant meals will set you back anywhere from £1 to £3, but will average around £1.50, anything over £3 would be something foreign imported and not of very good quality.

The other day I bought an Ice Cream Sandwich off a guy in the street for £0.18, it was a proper Ice Cream Sandwich, ice cream between 2 slices of bread, rather than the fake imposter version of Ice Cream between 2 wafers.

Our first month in Chiang Mai was nice and relaxing, everyday is like a beautiful summers day.

I’ll post my most recent expense report tomorrow and include a little more on life in Chiang Mai.

 

Hanoi Vietnam one month expense report

So, last month we spent 28 days in Hanoi Vietnam, this was our cheapest month yet, here you’ll find our expense report, this is my 4th expense report so far, for my previous reports, see the following

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

Hanoi expense report

Hanoi expense report

Hanoi Trip Expenses

  • Visas £162
  • Bus (from Nanning China to Hanoi) £36
  • Accommodation + electricity £243.7
  • Food, drinks, taxi, bus, cinema £274.82

Total £716.52
Cost per person £358.26
Cost per day (per person) £12.79
Cost per day per person excluding the now non required Visa £9.90

This was insanely cheap, at no time did we feel we were on a budget, we had a brilliant apartment over looking the water, the list of costs above doesn’t explain too much, so I’ve included a screen shot of our excel spreadsheet, we update this daily, it greatly helps us plan for future days a head. The spreadsheet is excluding the accommodation cost, we keep this in a separate sheet.

Hanoi traffic

Hanoi traffic

The brilliant thing about only spending £716.52 for the month is that this is considerably less than our passive income, so in theory we could live in Hanoi forever, eat out every meal and never work a day again, I say “in theory” as we’d have trouble getting a permanent Visa.

After eating out every meal for a week, it becomes quite boring and you really crave a home cooked meal, and you actually crave simple things, this could be anything, a plain potato, a bowl of 2 minute noodles, a salad or a full on roast.

We started shopping roughly every second day, if you take a look at our spreadsheet you’ll see the days we shopped were our most expensive, followed by a much cheaper following day.

In Hanoi beers range anywhere from 7 for £1 to 1 for £1, if you drink and eat in a Bia Hoi you can manage 7 beers for £1 if you find a really cheap Bia hoi at 5,000 dong a beer, at the time the exchange rate hit £1 = 35,000 dong.

Hanoi West Lake

Hanoi West Lake

We’d go to a Bia Hoi almost every day, the beer is cold and low in alcohol, so it was very refreshing and the food is also very cheap and enjoyable. The service is brilliant, the staff watch your glass like a hawk, if it becomes empty there is already a new beer on your table.

Hanoi was always very hot and very humid, this was helped a little by having an apartment right on west lake, the wind off the lake provided a nice constant breeze. We also had the water park just a few hundred metres up the road.

I really enjoyed our time in Hanoi, the food was great, beers were cheap, fruit was plentiful and the Vietnamese great to drink with, we made friends with locals and expats, the area we lived had a lot of expats, on our final night our expat and Vietnamese friends all threw a party for us on our rooftop.

Hanoi rooftop party

Hanoi rooftop party