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Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai – Top spots for ex-pats

Map

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. 

Safety alert!

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:

  1. Chiang Mai
  2. Night Bazaar
  3. Riverside
  4. Nimmanhemin
  5. The area around The Pae Gate

Combined with what they have to offer to tourists, it looks like this:

Neighborhood

Ideal for:  Why?

Chiang Mai

First visit to Chiang Mai

Temples and shrines

Night Bazaar

Nightlife

Markets and nightlife

Riverside

Long-term stay

Music venues and luxurious hotels

Nimmanhemin

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

Map of Old Town

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. 

Temple 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

Wat Chedi Luang Image source: conqueringtravel

Wat Phra Singh 

Wat Phra Singh Image source: Pixabay

Wat Phan Tao 

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 optionThis cozy private room

Room

Moderate optionThis private house 

Room

Luxury option – Traditional Wooden House & Rice Barn

Room

Find more Airbnbs in Old City here

Where to stay in Chiang Mai for nightlife – Night Bazaar

Map of 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. 

Bar 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: 

  1. Boy Blues Bar
  2. Blue Bat Rooftop Bar
  3. 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.

Boy Blues Bar 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. 

Blue Bat Rooftop Bar Image source: hampatipak

Fabrique Nightclub

Fabrique Nightclub is for the parties and those wanting to dance the night away with live music. 

Fabrique Nightclub 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 optionThai lanna Moonpie house

Apartment

Moderate optionSunset studio apartment 

Apartment

Luxury option – Perfect apartment with the view

Room

For more Airbnbs in Night Bazaar check here

Where to stay in Chiang Mai on a budget

Map

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.

Nimmanhemin 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

Shopping Mall Image source: wwqian

The Zoo

Zoo Image source: mymine.gallery

Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders

Insects 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 optionThis stylish apartment

Apartment

Moderate price – Modern Beautiful Luxury Boutique Condo

Apartment

Luxury optionThis brand new apartment 

Room

For more Airbnbs in Nimmanhemin check here