Bangkok VS. Chiang Mai – Real Estate head-to-head

Bangkok Chiang Mai real estate comparison

Bangkok and Chiang Mai are two of the largest cities in Thailand. Bangkok is the capital of the country with a current population of 8.2 million and is located on the southern coast of the country facing the Gulf of Thailand. Chiang Mai alternatively is located high in the northern region of the country and serves as the main city within the province of the same name – this city has a greater metropolitan population of 1.1 million. 

These two cities offer two different experiences for those wishing to buy property in Thailand. If you are looking at buying or renting property, how does Bangkok and Chiang Main compare? What does each city have to offer in terms of quality of life, average prices, living conditions and public amenities? This article provides an in-depth comparison between the two cities. 

How do property prices compare?

The actual property prices within a city are a major consideration – you need to know what your hard earned cash will buy you. What are the average property prices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai? Prices listed are in THB:

Average Rent p/month Bangkok Chiang Mai
1 Bedroom apartment in the city centre 20,879 11,204
1 Bedroom apartment outside the city centre 9,145 6,488
3 Bedroom apartment in the city centre 62,229 23,642
3 Bedroom apartment outside the city centre 29,067 14,511
Average apartment price p/square foot Bangkok Chiang Mai
In the city centre 12,903 5,109
Outside the city centre 6,337 2,972


As you can see, property prices in Chiang Mai are much lower than Bangkok, and both cities offer lower rates for properties bought outside the city centre.

What are the general living conditions in each city?

The actual quality of life when living within a city is hugely important. Is the city expensive? Will you feel safe when walking through the streets? Is the city expensive to live in? How do Bangkok and Chiang Mai compare for quality of life and living conditions?


Generally, Bangkok is considered to be a fantastic city to live in. Rent is inexpensive and you can get more for your money in terms of living space. Furthermore, food is hugely inexpensive too, in fact, pretty much everything is inexpensive in comparison to other major cities worldwide! As you will read below, recreational activities are in abundance, and the city has amazing transport links.

Chiang Mai

The future looks bright for Chiang Mai as it continues to receive investment and develop as one of Thailand’s major cities. As with Bangkok, the cost of living is extremely cheap in Chiang Mai and renting a property will certainly not break your bank account. Additionally, as with most locations in Thailand, food prices and recreational pursuits are cheap and you can pick up a good quality meal for next to nothing. Violent crime is extremely low in this city, and crime, in general, is not a major issue – you certainly feel safe walking through the streets.

wakeboarding thailand

What sites and things to do are there?

If you are choosing a place to live, you want to be reassured that you will have plenty to do in your free time. What can a city offer in terms of recreational pursuits? What can you do after work or during the weekend? Both Bangkok and Chiang Mai are popular destinations and have a host of fantastic things to do:


This city has a practically unlimited amount of sites and things to do. Due to its expansive nature, Bangkok is a true playground and you would never be short of entertainment or recreational pursuits. If you love food, Bangkok has a heap of street markets and food stalls to explore such as the Chatuchak weekend market. Furthermore, if you love to exercise, the city has a plethora of cycling trails and public parks such as Bang Krachao. 

Moreover, if you enjoy learning, Bangkok has some world-class museums such as the Jim Thompson House and National Museum of Bangkok. Finally, who can overlook the legendary nightlife of Bangkok? If you love partying then this city will certainly not disappoint, with locations such as Khao San Road.

Chiang Mai

It’s a fact that Chiang Mai may not be as expansive as the capital, but it still has a great variety of things to do and see. If you love shopping, then the city has a series of night markets at locations like Wualai Road that sell items such as gifts and textiles. Furthermore, as with Bangkok, Chiang Mai has a never-ending amount of food stalls and a fantastic array of restaurants and bars. Who can forget Chiang Mai’s impressive temples such as Wat Prathat and Wat Prasingh – the city has a range of religious shrines that are superb if you love culture and history.

bts skytrain bangkok

What transport links does each city have?

An important aspect of choosing an area to buy property is the availability of public transport. If you commute to work or travel regularly, you need the assurance that there is a reliable transport infrastructure. How will you move about the city? Will you be able to travel to other parts of Thailand easily? What international airports are there? As both Bangkok and Chiang Mai are well-developed cities, they do benefit from great transport links:


  • Airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport – both airports are located outside the city limits and travel times can take a while due to congestion. Suvarnabhumi is the main international and domestic airport and is the main airplane hub for the country. Don Muang Airport mainly offers domestic flights within Thailand and other Asian countries.

  • Bus: Bangkok has an extensive bus system with several major terminals including the Northern, Eastern and Southern stations. These stations offer bus routes throughout Thailand and you can travel to practically anywhere in the country by bus.
  • Train: Bangkok has several major train stations: Hualamphong, Bang Sue, Thon Buri and Wongwien Yai. As with the bus service, these stations offer a range of long-haul journeys to other regions of the country, together with regular local routes.


Chiang Mai

  • Airports: Chiang Mai International Airport – daily flights from Bangkok, and other Asian countries. Also, services the northern region of Thailand with flights to cities such as Mae Hong and Chiang Rai.
  • Bus: Chiang Mai has two main bus terminals – Arcade Bus Station and Chang Puak Bus Station. Both stations offer a variety of services and routes throughout Thailand. The Arcade bus station is generally for inter-city travel, whilst the Chang Puak station deals mainly with routes within the province.
  • Train: The Chiang Mai railway station is located just to the east of the Ping River. This station operates a myriad of long-haul train journeys to Bangkok, which can take up to 15 hours.


Hopefully, you will have found the information within this article invaluable. You should now have a clear understanding of what both Bangkok and Chiang Mai have to offer in terms of day-to-day life, and the cost of renting and buying properties here.

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