How do you define a home in a foreign country? Maybe it’s somewhere to put your things, or somewhere that makes you feel safe or happy. Maybe it’s somewhere you can be yourself, or somewhere worth sneaking out of a party to return to. Whatever it is, we found it at Indie House. We don’t often do reviews on The Borderless Project, but we do value sharing things we deeply love and are convinced the world needs to know about- and that’s the case with Indie House @ Ku Muang in Chiang Mai. (Just to be clear, this isn’t a sponsored post. Like all traveler-to-traveler tips, some hidden gems just deserve to be shared and this is one of those.) Digital nomads, English teachers, study abroad students, anyone who needs an actual home for a month or more in Chiang Mai, we have found your haven.

 

Our Home in Chiang Mai: Indie House @ Ku Muang (Review & Information)

 

Coming to Chiang Mai and looking for somewhere to live, we got several recommendations of rental agencies, apartment-listing sites, and friends of friends of friends who had once rented somewhere here and might have a contact. We scoured Chiang Mai Buddy and emailed CMStay, but none were just what we were looking for given our time frame of one month. In trying to find somewhere to live, we didn’t want much. A fair enough price, a chance to see something in person before committing, and enough space to call our own and carve a temporary home out of.

What we learned was that the best finds in Chiang Mai, and perhaps everywhere, come from walking out the door and up and down the streets until you find what you’re looking for. For three hours we walked through the Old City, no appointments, and walked into any place that looked like it would rent a room or apartment for a month. By the end, we only had cards from hostels that would cut us a “deal” based on us staying a month, none of which we were excited to live in. We took a wrong turn down a street on our way back, saw a sign that said “Monthly Room for Rent”, and we found Indie House @ Ku Muang.

The owner’s son was sitting outside and showed us the rooms (all were currently available). We took one look, asked how much, tried not to jump out of pure enthusiasm, and told him to please tell his dad that we would take it…and when could we move in?

Our month at Indie House ends today. For the first week or two I waited for something weird to happen. It was too great of a deal and nobody else seemed to know about. So we waited to find out what the catch was. And it has now been a month and, against all the odds, the experience has been flawless. This has felt more like a home than anywhere we’ve lived abroad, and has hands down been the greatest find we’ve made to date. Here’s why.

The Details

Let’s talk about the facts first: Indie House @Ku Muang (they have other locations but all are quite different, this review just reflects the Ku Muang location).

Location:

2/2 Arak Soi 2

Indie House @ Ku Muang is located in the Old City of Chiang Mai, on a tiny local street called Arak Soi 2. Just off the main moat, you don’t hear a sound from the traffic. Apart from one other small hotel on the street, it’s all local family homes which we loved. A couple doors down one family runs a grocery store on their patio. Next to them, another neighbor runs a delicious (and cheap) restaurant with no menu. You sit, you name a dish, she makes it for you. It comes out to less than a dollar every time.

You’re just a few minutes from plenty of other restaurants, cafes, temples, street food stalls and 7-11. It’s right across the street from Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, and a short walk to Nimman or anywhere in the Old City.

The House:

The house is a refurbished classic Thai teak home. The communal areas are outdoors, including a front garden patio and kitchen area, and upstairs patio. There are a ton of potted plants giving things life, and the walls are cutely painted like you’d find in a Thai cafe. The kitchen, like most Thai kitchens in short term rentals, is made up of a microwave, small griddle, and fridge. All we need since food on the street is cheaper than cooking (but just enough to make coffee, eggs and toast in the morning so start the day at home).

Our Room:

We took a room upstairs, one of the two largest. It comes with a king-size bed, and an upper loft with a queen-size bed. It has its own bathroom with a hot water shower. The room itself also has a couple nightstands, TV, A/C (with your own control, the dream), and a minifridge.

The room had huge windows with plenty of light, and a mural a a tree on one way. We loved it.

They have several other rooms, mainly other doubles I believe. Upstairs is nicest as it has tons of natural light, but downstairs is quite cozy.

Huge plus: Like a guesthouse, they will still change your linens every week even if you’re staying for 6 months. Very nice.

Price:

So we took the biggest room, able to fit 3-4, and the monthly rate is 5,000 THB for the room, plus 100 THB per person for water (with a deposit of 5,000 THB: all which was refunded to us). As a group of 3 people, that means we’re paying $1.62 USD per person per night. That’s cheaper than one space in the worst, bed-bug-ridden dorm room you can find outside the Old City. We know because we stayed in those, too (feel free to message us to ask which to avoid).

They also have smaller rooms for less, but we didn’t get into the details. But for an expat looking for a good place to call home, it’s even a steal to get the big room for one person.

*Update: When we left, we asked the landlord and he said the rent for the same room (able to fit up to 4) would be increasing to 6,000 THB in 2016 and 7,000 THB in 2017. Again, still a bargain, but just so there are no surprises.

Landlord:

Wonderful. Our delightful landlord isn’t omnipresent, but is always a few seconds away by phone call or email. He stops by every other day to check things out, always bringing along his dogs which is the highlight for me, and sitting on the patio with him and chatting when he comes by is always a pleasant way to kick off our day. We have such a heightened appreciation for him because we’ve really seen it all over the past couple years, and a landlord this far on the positive end of the spectrum is rare.

His son lived in the house while we were there, which was especially convenient as we always had a nearby connection when we needed something.

 

Popcorn the resident beagle at Indie House @ Muang in Chiang Mai, Thailand --- The Borderless Project

 

Why We Really Love It

Besides the fact that the price is so good we should be grateful for anything more than a tarp over some rocks and dirt, it’s also been incredible disregarding what a great deal it is. Part of it has to be the fact that it’s a real house. Indie House @ Ku Muang feels like a home. The owner’s dog Popcorn was living here with his son for the first couple weeks, and walking into the yard and being lovingly greeted by Popcorn each time made it feel like home. The walls have cute paintings, there are living plants in the garden. The kitchen has plates with little cartoon animals on them. It’s darling.

We work online and mainly needed somewhere we could relax and actually get some work done. We’ve stumbled upon the digital nomad’s paradise. The house is yours to change your writing location by the hour. You can sit outside and get some fresh air, or be work away inside with amazing A/C. Nobody is here to bother or distract you, and there are food, coffee and snack shops steps away when you’re ready for a break. Days when we aren’t working, we’re still so close to everything we want to see in the city. We can rent motorbikes just up the street at our favorite spot and go anywhere.

If you’re a digital nomad looking for a cheap place to do work, relax between adventures and have great wifi, this is it. With an extra dose of personality and coziness.

Things to Consider

It’s amazing as a place to stay long-term, especially for anyone who has a project or work to do. 5,000 THB for the month is great. Per night? It’s 900 THB for the same room, so maybe still worth it to you, but not necessarily something to describe as a “steal” of a deal like the monthly rate. As a couple or small group, it’s also been perfect because we have the place to ourselves. A solo traveler trying to meet people will remain a solo traveler because there probably won’t be other people here. A solo traveler who wants peace and quiet? Heaven.

Want to stay at Indie House @ Ku Muang?

We literally walked up and booked it, and this is always a simple approach if you’re already in Chiang Mai. There is a sign outside with a phone number in case nobody is here (likely). Otherwise, you can book online. Indie House @ Ku Muang is on Booking.com.

If you’d like us to put you in touch with the landlord, feel free to comment below and we’d be happy to connect you via email 🙂

*As mentioned above, this is not a sponsored post. This review of Indie House reflects our personal experiences and opinions that we chose to share with you!

 

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