Hey, everyone! It’s Nicole here writing to you from sunny Thailand where, guess what, I’ve got an apartment to call home! After 6 months of globetrotting, it was time to settle down and get some work done so I chose Chiang Mai as my base.
My 1 Bedroom Apartment in Chiang Mai
Thailand’s cultural hub, Chiang Mai, is popular with freelance writers and creatives like myself for a few reasons. To start with the low cost of living allows people to live a high standard of life in a warm climate for less than in Western countries. But, as well as that, there is a great community of people and lots of laptop friendly coffee shops to work from. It’s a bit of a “digital nomad” haven.
The city is also famous for its old city which attracts temple hopping travellers by the thousands every year. My apartment is a 20-minute walk away from the historic old city in a more local part of town called Santitham. This area is quiet, chilled out and allows me to see an everyday side of Thailand.
The apartment complex that I live in has an extremely high-tech security system, so I always feel safe here. I even need to give my fingerprints to get in the front door! It also has an outdoor swimming pool and a gym (but, let’s be honest, I’ve not spent much time in either of them!)
I’m planning to stay here for at least 6 months but first, I want to give you an insider look at what a modern apartment in Thailand looks like!
The Living Room
What I like most about this apartment is that the colours are bright, airy and neutral. It’s given me a blank canvas to work with when decorating and keeps the place feeling fresh and spacious. What I’m not so keen on, though, is the red couch… but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I’ve learned the hard way that couch throws don’t exist here after buying what ended up just being a blanket. You live, and you learn!
Since Chiang Mai is popular for its Night Markets, I went to a few to do some shopping for accessories when I moved in. When I found the star fairy lights, I knew that they would be perfect. Fairy lights can really make any place feel cosier and I love putting them on while I watch a movie with a cup of tea before going to bed. (And, if any of you plan on coming to Thailand, I’ve already found a place to buy proper teabags!) Scented candles are another go-to of mine, but they don’t really exist here. I chose to buy an oil burner and tealights to compensate and add to the cosiness.
A funny thing that I’ve discovered about the property market in Thailand is that North facing windows are very desirable. In The UK, most people avoid North facing windows because they can make a house feel dull. However, in Thailand, people prefer them because they help the house stay cooler. My apartment has South facing windows which makes it really hot, but I don’t mind too much since it gets a lot of natural light. Plus, there are two air conditioning units which get well used when I’m working from home! Since most days hover around 30 degrees Celsius, I have no need for any home heating system!
I chose to have a blue colour scheme for the bedroom after finding my floral bedding set. Rather than having a duvet and duvet cover, I use a comforter; a thick blanket that looks like a duvet. Western style bedding can be extremely difficult to come by here but isn’t really necessary with the hot weather. Once again, I used some fairy lights to add a bit of character to the room.
In terms of storage, there are some units under the bed to keep things in as well as the wardrobe space. It’s more than enough space for me because I tend not to carry more than I need around with me.
One of my biggest qualms about living in Asia is the severe lack of baths on this continent! Despite this, I’m really glad to have such a modern, Western style bathroom. It’s decorated in neutral colours with nice tiles and a great shower!
In comparison to when I lived in South Korea, this kitchen is huge. Until you’ve lived in a shoebox studio, you have no idea how much of a luxury it is to chop your food in one space and cook it in another. Like most apartments in Asia, though, it doesn’t have an oven, but this is something that I’ve learned to live without. A lot of people compensate for the lack of full sized ovens by buying little toaster ovens, but I don’t have the patience for them.
The electric stove that I have is actually an induction cooker which cooks by magnetic force. I’m happy with it so far apart from the fact that it doesn’t work with non-stick frying pans. (Making fried eggs is definitely an issue!) For an extra bit of help, I also have a blender, microwave and rice cooker. These devices allow me to save space in my small kitchen and cook the things I need in a short time. I’ve learned that rice cookers can be used for so much more than just cooking rice. Did you know that you can make carrot cake in a rice cooker?! They’re a handy little invention!
Another thing that I should note is that I don’t have a washing machine. This might sound weird but actually, it’s pretty common around here. I’m happy about it, though, because it gives me an excuse to take my washing to the laundrette and for just £1, get my whole basket of clothes cleaned, dried, ironed and folded. I’m glad that I have this excuse to indulge in my own laziness. (Maybe next time I write to you I’ll have hired a cleaner and a cook to look after me, too!)
Future Design Tips
Now that I’m settled, don’t think that I’m going to be staying in one place for too long. I’ll still be travelling when I can and this base in Asia allows me to be close to some really interesting countries. I’m also looking forward to travelling more around Thailand and experiencing their traditional teak style accommodation at some point, too.
In the coming months, I still have lots to share with you from my mini-Euro trip to Paris & Bruges and will be heading to Laos in December, too.
Until then, I hope everyone has a fantastic December and enjoys the lead up to the festive season.
All the best,