The main utility bills in Chiang Mai will be for electricity and water. There are no mains gas connections in Thailand, so if you wish to use gas in your home for cooking you’ll need to purchase propane cylinders. You will likely also wish to have internet in your home, as well as maybe cable TV.
Compared to other parts of Thailand, Chiang Mai is known for being a little bit cheaper overall. You perhaps won’t, however, see many differences with your utility bills – the main cost savings will likely be connected to your accommodation costs, food, and entertainment expenditure.
Of course, everyone’s utility bills will be different; your lifestyle and occupancy will play a large part in how much you pay. For example, a family will usually have larger bills than a single person. A solo occupant who runs the air-conditioning constantly and cooks a lot at home will pay more than someone who mainly uses a fan and typically eats outside.
Another consideration is that the cost per unit, for both electricity and water, may be bumped up by a landlord. If you pay your own bills directly to the suppliers you will be paying the standard rate. It is not uncommon though for people who stay in Serviced aparments to be charged a higher rate per unit. This is well worth checking before taking on a property if you plan to rent.
A further thing to keep in mind is that you are advised to not drink the tap water. This means that on top of your tap water that you will also need to factor in the costs for buying potable water.
Here’s a handy guide, however, to help you to estimate how much your bills will be:
The rate per unit is around 4 -5 Baht per Kw, although you will also need to pay a standing charge as well as 7% tax.
As a rough guide, two people living in a home with a fridge running constantly, several showers per day (using an electric shower), running a washing machine a couple of times per week, cooking at home with hotplates / table top oven / microwave oven a couple of times per week, electric fans on almost constantly, and using the air-conditioning for a couple of hours each evening should expect to pay around 1,200 – 1,500 Baht per month. If you take the air-conditioning out of the equation the price will fall to around 800 – 1,000 Baht pcm. And, if the air-conditioning is run all night, the prices will increase.
For residential use, there is a minimum charge of 50 Baht per month. The tariff increases as you use more units. This page shows the different tariffs with the Provincial Water Authority for residential properties, commercial properties and government buildings, and state enterprises and large companies. Scroll to the third table to see Chiang Mai rates.
If you have a large garden and use sprinklers regularly, a pool that you regularly keep topped up, etc, you will, obviously, have a higher water bill than those who don’t have these. Practically, most people’s bill is very low – just a couple of hundred Baht. As an example, a couple taking regular showers, running a washing machine several times per week, and washing dishes, etc should expect a bill of around 100 – 200 Baht per month.
The cost of drinking water is low, but can vary greatly. The cheapest (and most environmentally friendly)
ways of obtaining water that is safe for drinking are to pay a one-off deposit (typically around 150 Baht) for a large water container (approximately 20 Litres), and have this refilled at around 30 Baht a time, or, to take your own containers to the refilling stations. At a refilling machine the cost can be as low as 0.5 Baht per litre. There are, however, concerns, as to the long-term advisability of drinking such water due to the purification method (reverse osmosis) and also that some people use plastic containers that are not designed to be reused and the plastic can start to break down in the water.
You could also consider having a water filter fitted at your property, which will be a one off cost.
Alternatively, if you buy bottled water each day (or in bulk) from a convenience store, the prices will be around 7 / 8 Baht per 500 millilitres, although you get more for your money buying larger bottles.
A basic gas canister of around 16.5 KG should cost in the region of 200 – 300 Baht. (You will generally be charged a deposit on the first bottle too.) If you opt for ones with the regulators / safety buttons, you should expect to pay around 500 Baht.
Various internet packages are available. They range in price from around 500 Baht per month to in excess of 1,000 Baht per month. Most people find that the mid-range packages adequately meet their needs. (Basic online browsing, emails, games, downloading, and streaming.)
If you live in an apartment, communal WiFi may be included in your rent, or available for an optional fee. This can be incredibly slow.
If you opt to have a fibre optic cable installed in your property (where available) you can expect to pay around 5,000 Baht for the installation.
Firstly, if you are also planning to have internet in your home, it is really worth comparing combined
packages from different companies.
Some apartment buildings and condos include basic cable TV in the rental costs.
If you will be responsible for arranging your own service, various providers are available. There are different pricing levels depending on what you want to be included. You can find packages for as little as 200 Baht per month. On the other hand, for fully inclusive packages you can expect to pay more!
A couple of quick facts:
- Tap Water is not generally drinkable.
- Gas is not allowed in all but three condos.
- If you need a dedicated internet line you will need to sign up for a minimum of six months (paid up front)
- House / Condo Management fees are generally included in the list price.
- For Electric and Water bills the meters always stay in the owners name.
Can you help out others and give us a rough guide of what you pay for utilities each month, and how many people are in your property? We would really like to hear, how much it