What is the real cost of living in Chiang Mai?

On the front page of nomadlist.com, the first photo of Chiangmai says “$722/m” and when I click it, it says “chiang mai costs $511 per month to live and work remotely”. what is the real cost? I don’t understand. I want to live there in an apartment and work remotely, use wifi, and eat out everyday. I’m thinking of relocating there. thank you

Oops! Sorry about that. Just about to roll out the new version, so you’ve seen the transition a bit here. See http://nomadlist.com for better data.

For Chiang Mai:

Cost of living for a local living cheap, renting outside the center of the city, buying groceries and cooking at home

Cost of living for long-term living (e.g. years), renting in the center of the city, like a middle/upper-class local or foreign expat

NomadCost™ is based on staying short-term (up to 3 months) in a place, sleeping in (cheap) hotels in the center of the city and eating outside 3 times a day


@johnnyfd might be helpful here as he lives there right now, he’ll probably confirm that it really depends on how you live

Thank you for responding.

I wish those living costs numbers were elaborated and broken down like you just did in this thread on the actual Chiang Mai listing on nomadlist website.

It is difficult to give a real cost for anything. I’ve done Chiang Mai on less than $500 a month but other people would freak out if they tried to live the same way. The Nomadlist is a rough guide built on stats and magical unicorns so I’d always take it with a giant grain of salt.

Even if you broke down the real numbers, you still wouldn’t get an accurate representation of how it applies in your own life.
My suggestion is to look at your own home city or a city you have lived on the nomadlist in and compare your own cost of living. If your lifestyle is 30% more expensive than the list, assume all the numbers on the list are 30% off.


I’ve lived in Chiang Mai now for 2 years.

Bootstrap Budget: I was living for less than $600 a month.

Baller Budget: I spend less than $1,000 usually and don’t desire anything else.

Here is a detailed post I wrote a while back.

Hey @MikePark we lived in Chiang Mai from Dec 2014 to Feb 2015 and I’d say we spent about $800-900 per person. We rented an apartment with a kitchen which costs more in Chiang Mai then renting a studio so your costs would come down there. Food is also very cheap if you want to eat out all the time. As @levelsio has pointed out - the longer you stay, the cheaper it is. Shorter term rentals generally cost more BUT it’s still very affordable.

If you’re not insistent on a kitchen like we were, I recommend arriving in Chiang Mai, hiring a scooter for a day, and driving around some areas in old town and around the Nimman area. There are a lot of buildings with studio apartments available for rent. We saw some starting at $250-300 a month.

We worked from Punspace (coworking space) 3x days a week and from home or from cafes on other days. You can see Punspace pricing here: http://www.punspace.com/pricing/

This is a couple of years old but I think it’s still very useful - http://www.neverendingvoyage.com/the-cost-of-living-luxuriously-in-chiang-mai/

All in all, it really IS possible to live cheaply in Chiang Mai. How much you spend depends on your choice of lifestyle.

Just chiming in to repeat what others have said. I’ve seen apartments as low as $50/month here, and depending on your needs, you can get by on virtually nothing. Lots of free wifi, it’s walkable or otherwise has plenty of cheap transportation.

I pay about $250/month for my newly-renovated studio condo in a nice older building right in a popular area with 4 co-working spots on my block.

A guy in the building behind me pays nearly $1,800USD for his swanky serviced apartment.

It all depends on the balance you’re looking for.

A huge savings comes in how you eat. You can eat out 3 meals Thai style ( Pat Thai, Kao man Gai) @ 200 Baht max * 30 = 6000 Baht / $178 Or you can have burgers and pizza at nicer places and move that up to 600 Baht a day * 30 = 18,000 Baht / $533 There is $355 in wiggle room depending how you eat.

I’m paying $199(+ $100 more for water and electric) for a place off Nimman (in James building), and it’s centrally located to street food, stores, entertainment. Co-working is about $100/mo. Daily food spend (combo of street food and restaurants) is about $15/day. Then add in transportation a few beers here and there, etc.