A New Home in Chiang Mai (August 2013)

This is the 4th time we have moved and this time, I feel it is a good fit for our family needs and our budget.

When we simplified our lives and moved to Chiang Mai in 2010 with five suitcases, we started out in a studio and quickly realized it was way too small for us. Within a day, we moved to a two-bedroom apartment (8000b = $267) 1/7 (?) of our much larger but beautiful home in Texas (photos).   Then we moved to one bedroom in the same building with a larger living space (9000b = $300 because there was a bathtub!)  Then we moved to a much larger house 4 bedrooms (10K b = $333). I wrote about our living expenses in 2010 in a post here. Then in 2012 when our lease ended in the large house, we moved into studio apartments. We occupied two studio units for 6000b = $200.  That was tight for us and it was temporary because we thought we were returning to the US due to family matters.

Now, we feel a bit more at ease as Jack’s Mum is recovering in the US.  After our trip back to the US from April – June 2013, we have decided that we want to make Chiang Mai a more semi-permanent base. We must have looked (again) at about 20 different places for rent.  We new we had to be strict with our budget. We knew we had to stay focused.  We contemplated over and over about whether to stay inside the city and pay more. It was tempting to take a two bedroom condo with spacious kitchen and living space, a swimming pool, close to a mall, eateries etc., but with monthly condo fees, electricity, water and parking fees we would be paying over 15k before food, tuition fees, visas and travel costs.

In our new place  we are paying 5000b = $167. Yes. That is correct.

After moving here and have lived here full-time for two weeks now, I can say with certainty that I love it here. We are removed from the hustles and the bustles of the busy city center of Chiang Mai, but yet, not too far from it.

Our place is  55sqm ~ 592 sqft and it is perfect for the three of us. It helps us stay focused on our family goals and keep only the things or “stuff” we need that are essential in our lives.   We don’t own a TV. We did not ask our landlord to provide us with one!    We turned down a large wardrobe they offered and bought a much smaller portable one instead that takes up less space. So far, we eat a lot more home cooked meals. We take walks around the neighborhood and to the nearest market. We accept and appreciate our natural surroundings with tons of butterflies, beautiful trees and plants, nice fragrances from the various flowers around, the view of the mountains and the rice fields during our walks and drive into the city center. Emma can have play dates more often. She has created her very own “Emma’s Corner” which is always a huge positive and something we wanted her to have. Emma already has snail pets, named several butterflies as white flower, zebra and sepia. We have fishes in our two ponds. We have no idea what we are doing with them yet, but won’t hurt to learn how to keep these fishes alive. Our landlords are willing to look after our car and motorcycle when we are away for a long period of travel. They are easy to work with.

Jack has his own private work space for his on-line clients and students.  Lately, I feel more focused. I feel energized and invigorated living here.  I have space for cooking lessons. I can display and showcase the NGO handmade items we are promoting.  Since moving here we have eaten home cooked meals more times than eating out. We make lots of smoothies. We have fun in the kitchen: me and my girl. We cook together. We chat. We discuss the value of eating at home, knowing what’s in our food, and sitting at a dinner table together as a family. Moving here has added value to our mental and spiritual health for sure! And that’s always a good thing as far as this family is concerned.

Saving money on rent allows us to give our time and effort to projects we value and want to participate in.  We can give our money to worthy causes like this one we recently participate in Mae Sot.  You can read more about why we took part in the project here.

It also allows us to travel more and have the freedom to pursue many dreams and goals.  This move is definitely a good reminder that it is not because we are financially “wealthy” that we can do what we do, it is because we live simply.

I think this is a start of another something-wonderful in our lives.  It feels good to be here. So now another chapter of our lives begins!

Front door
Garden in the back
Garden in the back
Walkway to our front door
Drive way to the property where we live
Bevo the butterfly




12 thoughts on “A New Home in Chiang Mai (August 2013)

    1. Hey James. I’m so glad you and Maria are enjoying your time there. Even though we love it there, I was worried at first. 🙂

  1. Hello! Found your blog awhile back and it couldn’t have been more ironic! We’ve been living just north of Mae Sot with plans of returning to the states in April (originally from Texas). That all changed today when my husband was offered a job in Chiang Mai! Now it looks like I’ll be travelling to Chiang Mai in a few weeks to look at housing options – can you steer me towards any particular areas? We have an 11yr old son but, like you do not require a lot of space – the more outside space the better!

    Thanks in advance for any tidbits you can share!!!

  2. We first heard about you while watching HGTV and have been following you since. We plan on moving from Arizona to Chiang Mai in June 2014. We have two children – 6 and 9. We would appreciate your input on the following:
    *What school does M attend? In searching we have found Lanna & Nakorn Payap to be somewhat affordable. Any suggestions or comments?
    *We heard that Dengue has been a real problem this year and we are a little concerned. What are your thoughts on Dengue and what do you do to protect M?
    *I can obtain a retirement visa, but am not sure what my wife and our sons will need.
    Any suggestions or thoughts you may have would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you so mcuh.

  3. We have been following you since we lived back in the states. Before we quit our jobs and moved to Chiang Mai. We have now been here a little less than 6 months, and are loving your new place. We are actually looking to downsize quite a bit as we rushed into our townhouse. Do you happen to know if your landlord has anything similar available? Thanks for the great post! Take care 🙂

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