Located about 2km’s south of Chiang Mai’s Old Town is the Galare Thong Tower apartments where we stayed for a month. There are several types of furnished apartments available in the complex varying in size and price. We chose through Airbnb the Superior Corner room of the 3rd Floor which fit our budget and requirements. The building itself is basic with no facilities like a pool or gym but it does have a small reasonably priced little shop, an overpriced cafe and an expensive laundry service.
The apartment we rented suited us perfectly and made the transition of living in Chiang Mai very easy. The studio was a decent size with a king size bed, small dining table, storage, an armchair and a kitchenette (cooktop & sink) with a full sized fridge in the main room. Positioned behind a half wall was a study and wardrobe area leading to a bathroom with a bath and plenty of bench space, but not much hot water. The studio also featured a reasonable sized balcony with a table setting and a dismal view of the neighbouring building.
The studio and furnishings were much more warn than depicted in the images online with the fabric very stained, the kitchen tap held up by some zip ties and areas of rotting on the bench surface. There was also the problem of the local ants which seemed to be out in the kitchen at meal times and the rest of the time in the bathroom! Towels and linen are supplied as well as detergent, kitchen sponges and tea towels. There is plenty of crockery and glassware as well as a few pots and pans and cooking utensils. The kitchen also has several appliances including a microwave, rice cooker, kettle, toaster and a coffee machine.
Wifi was available at an additional cost of 350THB ($AU12) per month, but only one username was provided and limited to one device at a time. This becomes extremely frustrating if two of you need to work or be online at the same time. The service was also unpredictable at times. There is cable TV and a DVD player with a few average flicks to keep you entertained.
A cleaning service is also available, again at an addition charge of 200THB ($AU7) for one clean per week. The ladies usually come the same time every week and do a basic clean and change the towels and linen over. Handy as you don’t have access to a vacuum cleaner or cleaning products free of charge. Washing can be done at the expensive laundry which charges per item. Alternatively, you can wash your clothes yourself at some of the local coin washing machines for 20THB or there are several cheaper laundry services nearby.
Also not included in the rent is the electricity which can add up especially when you use the air con, so watch out! The meter is read at the end of your stay with the charge for this and the cleaning taken out of your bond. During our stay the air con malfunctioned, but the building manager arranged for a maintenance crew to be out to fix it that day, which was great.
The walls between the buildings are particularly thin, so if you have music loving, boisterous neighbours next door or the elephant furniture removalist above like we did you might find it a little too noisy at times!
The positives of the Galare Thong Tower apartments were that it is generous in size, very light and have all the facilities you need either in the building or nearby during your stay some of which are at an additional cost though. There is plenty of parking for your bicycle or motor bike and the building itself seems quite safe. It is also jammed packed with expats, so you will find yourself having an english conversation in the lift on most occasions.
Nearby to the apartment building is a Tesco Lotus (about a 20 minute walk) and several 7 Elevens for any basic supplies. There are numerous inexpensive food vendors and an afternoon/early evening food market just around the corner for takeaway food. There is also several Karaoke bars lining the driveway to the complex if you fancy an evening of singing. Speaking of the driveway, there is a large sign alerting you to ‘fierce dogs’ halfway between the street and the apartment building. There are a couple of dogs who rotate their muzzles and don’t mind chasing you on your bike. Even the little chiwawas in the area vicious. This did make me a little cautious when going up and down the driveway particularly when I had Jack with me.
If you have kids, there is a small park not far up from the Tesco Lotus on Chiang Mai-Lam Phun Road with a Western style playground. We only found this by chance on our last day as there are no signs and it is set back from the road. There is also a run down playground with the traditional metal Thai play equipment at the end of Chiangmailand Road. The nearby Ratilanna Riverside Spa Resort has a beautiful pool where you can pay for a single visit and also an expensive but very nice gym!
There are plenty of song teaws and tuk tuks available to take you to and from town, although if you are staying for a while, we would recommend you purchase a bicycle. Much more convenient and cheaper in the long run. Check out our recommendations about transport here.
If you don’t mind being a little out of town and need accommodation for an extended period of time than Galare Thong Tower apartments are a good option. For us, the location did limit the amount of time we spent in town particularly in the evening because of Jack and his early bedtime. As we rode our bikes this made it difficult, whereas in town we can pop him in the pram when he gets too tired.
We also found we ended up using the kitchenette only for cooking breakfast as it was much more cost effective to purchase ready made meals at nearly by food stalls and restaurants. So perhaps the kitchenette was an added luxury we didn’t really need. We would happily recommend Galare Thong Tower apartments for a short (min 1 month) to a long term stay.
As it is a large building, there seems to be plenty of apartments available all year round. As mentioned, we found our particular apartment on Airbnb and this was our first time of using this accommodation service. There is also a notice board within the foyer with available apartments that may or may not be listed online.
Galare Thong Tower Apartment & Condominium
472 Chang Klan Road
Chiang Mai 5000
+66 53 204 590