Where to Stay in Chiang Mai – Top spots for ex-pats
When we say Thailand, the first association that comes to mind to many tourists is certainly its capital and most famous city of Bangkok. But, this city is not the only town in Thailand attractive to tourists from all around the world. In Northern Thailand, there is the largest city of Chiang Mai Province, a small town under the same name, Chiang Mai.
Situated on the Ping River, surrounded by the highest mountains of the country, and close to the major trading routes of the country, this so-called ‘new city’ was historically significant for centuries as it was once the capital of the great Lan Na kingdom. Today, this town managed to effectively merge the traditional with the modern resulting in the perfect alternative for the overcrowded and urban capital.
While Bangkok is notorious for its congested traffic, Chiang Mai can be easily explored by foot only, while adventurous tourists can hop on a scooter or a bike and ride to the countryside to see its many breath-taking waterfalls. Meanwhile, hedonists will, without any doubt, enjoy what the nightlife and local cuisine of Chiang Mai has to offer.
Unlike Bangkok, Chiang Mai is considered to be a relatively safe travel destination. However, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of if you plan to visit this city. Firstly, due to something called the ”Southeast Asian haze”, it is best to avoid visiting Chiang Mai, and Thailand in general, during the dry season. Namely, the farmers from the nearby villages cut down and burn the plants in order to create fertile soil.
Secondly, locals simply love to scam tourists. Credit cards, gems, guesthouses are the most common scams so take care of your documents and valuables, and don’t get tricked easily.
Thirdly, if you are going to Chiang Mai during the rainy season, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes as the outbreaks of the Dengue fever usually occur during this period.
Lastly, traffic in this city is ludicrous. The greatest problem of Chiang Mai is the lack of sidewalks by the roads so you have to share the road with the drivers who mostly don’t pay any attention to walkers. So be extra careful, watch where you’re going, look both ways when crossing the street and nothing bad will happen to you.
Five best neighborhoods to stay in Chiang Mai
The city of Chiang Mai offers plenty of favorable options when it comes to accommodation. Finding a place to stay will depend on whether you are interested in the nightlife, handicrafts, museums, temples, shrines, and cuisine.
The most popular places to stay in Chiang Mai among tourists are the following ones:
- Chiang Mai
- Night Bazaar
- The area around The Pae Gate
Combined with what they have to offer to tourists, it looks like this:
|First visit to Chiang Mai||
Temples and shrines
Markets and nightlife
Music venues and luxurious hotels
|On a budget||
Cheap hotels, shops, and restaurants
|The area around The Pae Gate||Bohemians||
The Pae Gate and festivals
Where to stay in Chiang Mai for the first time – Old City
If this is your first visit to Chiang Mai and this part of Thailand, then staying in the Old Town is the right choice. It encompasses the inner area around the city square, and all important places to visit are at a short walking distance.
This traditional part of the town has more than 300 ancient temples and shrines, as well as some museums and galleries. It is incredibly compact but abundant in historical buildings and old shophouses.
Image source: Pixabay
Things to see and do in the Old City
As this part of the town is something like a living museum, you should visit the three most famous temples:
- Wat Chedi Luang
- Wat Phra Singh and
- Wat Phan Tao as well as many others.
Whichever temple you choose, you will not regret it as they are truly remarkable.
Wat Chedi Luang
Image source: conqueringtravel
Wat Phra Singh
Image source: Pixabay
Wat Phan Tao
Image source: jgrantjenkins
Where to stay in the Old City
Old Town is full of cheap guesthouses, hotels, and cool Airbnbs so it is the ideal part of the city to seek accommodation. The average nightly price in Airbnbs is $49.
The top 3 places to stay are the following ones:
Affordable option – This cozy private room
Moderate option – This private house
Luxury option – Traditional Wooden House & Rice Barn
Find more Airbnbs in Old City here.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai for nightlife – Night Bazaar
As the sun goes down, the area around Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai comes alive. This part of the town has numerous shops, markets, restaurants, and open bars, but above all else, there are numerous night clubs which are packed with tourists and locals who like to dance and have fun.
Image source: Pinterest
Things to see and do in Night Bazaar
As you walk along the street, you will come across different types of clubs or bars to suit everyone’s taste in music, which makes this part of the town well-known for nightlife. Here are the best ones:
- Boy Blues Bar
- Blue Bat Rooftop Bar
- Fabrique Nightclub
Boy Blues Bar
In Boy Blues Bar, you can enjoy some live performances every day of the week except on Sundays when the bar is closed.
Image source: ryy_car
Blue Bat Rooftop Bar
Blue Bat Rooftop Bar is a great place for a nightcap along with the view of the surrounding areas.
Image source: hampatipak
Fabrique Nightclub is for the parties and those wanting to dance the night away with live music.
Image source: pongkorrapat
Where to stay in Night Bazaar
Apart from being famous for its wild nightlife, Night Bazaar is also popular when it comes to accommodation since many hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnbs for every budget are located in this area. The average price in Airbnbs is $44 per night.
Check out our top picks:
Affordable option – Thai lanna Moonpie house
Moderate option – Sunset studio apartment
Luxury option – Perfect apartment with the view
For more Airbnbs in Night Bazaar check here.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai on a budget
Nimmanhemin is a very loud and crowded area around Nimman Road. Along with a vivid and cheerful atmosphere, Nimmanhemin has many fashionable shops, restaurants and bars, all affordable. Younger people, students, and nomads pick this neighborhood since it represents a modern and trendy side of Chiang Mai. This part of the city is not known for its cultural attractions since there are not many.
Image source: steve.mcb
Things to see and do in Nimmanhemin
Young travelers usually visit Nimmanhemin in search of special and unique designs available at low-prices at the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall, or more sophisticated nightlife than the one found in Night Bazaar. As for cultural attractions, there are only a few such as the Zoo or the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders.
Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall
Image source: wwqian
Image source: mymine.gallery
Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders
Image source: bianca_inokashira
Where to stay in Nimmanhemin
Hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnbs in this neighborhood are contemporary, clean, affordable and great value for the money. The average nightly price in Airbnbs is $48.
Check out our recommendations:
Affordable option – This stylish apartment
Moderate price – Modern Beautiful Luxury Boutique Condo
Luxury option – This brand new apartment
For more Airbnbs in Nimmanhemin check here.