I am gradually getting to know Chiang Mai bit by bit. Today Nik and I started by going to his favorite coffee shop. Then we finalized our apartment search, went to the mall, stopped by the apartment to pay our deposit and take photos, got a flat tire, and finished the day by having dinner with Eh, a good friend of Nik’s from his last visit to Chiang Mai.
I’d have to say that this was a pretty darn good day. It was relaxed, I learned a lot more about Thai culture, and we ate good food.
After paying our deposit, we took one more look at our future apartment. The building is a brand new “condotel”, meaning that they rent by the night or by the month. We will be leasing it for 3 months. It seems to be a good neighborhood, and we will be able to walk to a few restaurants and convenient stores. And the busier parts of town are just a short ride away.
The apartment is a fully furnished one bedroom corner unit, with a sliding glass door between the living and sleeping area. We will have a small balcony, full bathroom with stand-up hot shower, marble floors, 2 locking wardrobes, covered parking, security, internet, weekly maid service that provides us with clean linens, and we have a distant view of the mountains. Sounds pretty good, huh?
We will be paying 8,000 Baht/month + utilities ($250). Cheap, right? As we learned this evening, by Thai standards, this is quite expensive and luxurious. The average Thai apartment is about 5,000 Baht/month max ($150), and the average salary is 7,000-10,000 Baht/month ($218-$312). After I learned this, I sort-of felt like we had been ripped off. But there are two of us, and most of the amenities I mentioned earlier do not come with the typical Thai apartment. Honestly, there is no excuse for this kind of luxury in Thailand. The only reason is that we can afford it. N and I are not wealthy people, but our nation is. I knew that this trip would teach me about economics, and this is one of my first significant lessons. We are traveling on a pretty tight budget, but today made me realize more than ever that our budget is only tight by American standards.
And of course, as we left the apartment, we got a flat tire. Luckily there was a mechanic’s shop just across the street, so we rolled it over and they had us back on the road in 30 minutes. Now we know where to go if we have any trouble!