Chiang Mai

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Travel Guide Asia Thailand North Thailand Chiang Mai Province Chiang Mai

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Introduction

Spirit Bells

Spirit Bells

© All Rights Reserved kymar1

Chiang Mai (Thai เชียงใหม่) is the largest city in the North Thailand region. It is roughly 700 kilometres north of Bangkok and is a great place to spend some days, or even more if you want to explore the region around the city and do some of the activities mentioned below.

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Sights and Activities

Elephants

You have to visit the Elephant Nature Park and spend at least one night there. It's highly rated by CNN, BBC, National Geographic and Time Magazine and the King of Thailand.

In Thailand there are so called elephant "camps" which are brutally treated elephants that have bleeding backs from the ropes that strap the chairs to them so toursits can ride them. The Elephant Nature park is a charity institution and rescues these, so the elephants are free and you can ride them naturally. You also go on trips organised by the park to vaccinate elephants kept elsewhere. Other activities at the park include bathing the elephants in the river, playing with the other animals and taking trips to the markets (day and night).

Markets

The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is where vendors hawk various goods such as statues, t-shirts, DVDs, and Thai food. The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is open every night but is more expensive than the Sunday Night Markets which take place in the Ta Pae Gate area and stretches into the middle of the old city. You can find more traditional Thai clothing and goods at this market and it's a good experience to simply check out the different local food available here.

Wararot Market is the largest local market in Chiang Mai and is also well worth a visit. It is where the locals come to shop so is less geared toward the tourist but is an absolute experience with all the sights and smells.

Muang Mai Market is a must visit for any food lover. It is the fresh food wholesale market for Chiang Mai located on the west side of the river near the US Consulate. There is an amazing variety of fresh food on sale, some of it straight off the back of farmers' pick up trucks.

Doi Suthep

To the north of Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep, a large mountain adorned with the temple of Wat Phrathet Doi Suthep. Anyone catching a song-thaew up the slopes (a tuk-tuk can't drive up the mountain) will be rewarded with fantastic views of Chiang Mai and the sights of a traditional Thai temple. There are also many waterfalls along the way to the temple where the sweaty traveller can stop to cool off. Some of the waterfalls do charge an admission fee to foreigners though.

PhuPhing Palace

Past Wat Doi Suthep is PhuPhing Palace which offers yet another cultural experience for the keen tourist. Be sure to get there before 3:00pm though as the palace closes then.

Moat and Library

Walk the fantastic moat and take in the ruins that created it then visit the library to learn about how Thai's learn about western culture.

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Events and Festivals

Songkran (Thai New Year)

ChangMai Lanterns

ChangMai Lanterns

© All Rights Reserved rea-neill

Songkran is the biggest party of the year, held during the hot month of April. In the past, people would throw water among themselves in nice way to bless each other. These days, the festival has evolved into an all-out water fight that takes a whole week. Chiang Mai is the spot in Thailand where Songkran is celebrated for the longest period. The rest of Thailand limits the Songkran festival to some few days. The reason for this is that the festival originated from Chiang Mai in the past and so the city feels more strongly attached to it than anywhere else in Thailand.

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is a major festival celebrated in the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (usually around November). Although it's celebrated throughout Thailand, the festivities in Chiang Mai are renowned for being the best. During Loy Krathong, people release traditional hot air balloons (Kome Loy) into the sky, set off traditional fireworks and place Krathong (little rafts) on water.

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Weather

Chiang Mai has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw), tempered by the low latitude and moderate elevation, with warm to hot weather year-round, though nighttime conditions during the dry season can be cool and much lower than daytime highs. The maximum temperature ever recorded was 42.4 °C in May 2005.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max29.4 °C32.2 °C34.9 °C36.1 °C34 °C32.6 °C31.8 °C31.3 °C31.5 °C31.3 °C29.8 °C28.3 °C
Avg Min14.2 °C15.6 °C19 °C22.4 °C23.7 °C23.9 °C23.8 °C23.6 °C23.1 °C22.1 °C19.2 °C15.3 °C
Rainfall7.7 mm9.2 mm19.2 mm54.1 mm153 mm117.3 mm153.2 mm224.6 mm200.2 mm118.1 mm51.3 mm18.3 mm
Rain Days0.712.26.414.61618.420.617.211.65.11.6

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Getting There

Most budget travellers coming from within Thailand will probably arrive by either bus or train, though there is an international airport serving Chiang Mai.

By Plane

Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) is found to the west of the old city.
Air Asia, a well-known Asian low-cost airline, has domestic flights from Bangkok (Don Mueang airport), Pattaya, Phuket, Hat Yai, Krabi, Surat Thani, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen. Used to be the cheapest option if you booked at least a week before, but now the strong competition of other carriers, as well as AirAsia's popularity among tourists, makes this true mostly only if you're lucky to catch a good promo. Regular fare for tickets to Bangkok, including taxes, is from 1,400 baht (with fees for luggage, food, seat reservation easily adding almost half of that). Promotional fares can be much less. Prices can be significantly higher if you book just a few days before, or want a specific day/flight.

  • Bangkok Airways. A full-service carrier positioning itself as an "Asia's boutique airline" (for example, they provide a lounge to Economy passengers both in Chiang Mai and Bangkok), flies from Ko Samui, Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), Krabi (seasonal), Mae Hong Son and Phuket. Surprisingly, Bangkok Airways can be cheaper than the budget airlines (but not to the Samui where they have a duopoly with Thai Airways), particularly if you book just a few days ahead. From 1,350 baht to Bangkok.
  • Nok Air. Thai low-cost carrier, flies from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport eight or more times a day (typically from 1,200 baht all-in and up. Promo fares can be as low as 450 baht but note that these do not include at least 300 baht for a baggage if you have any). They also fly from/to Udon Thani three times a day, the price is in the same range, and while it's still somewhat more expensive than a (12-hour) bus trip, it's several times cheaper than the price of the Lao Airlines flight to Vientiane, which is easily accessible from Udon Thani.

The airport is 3 km southwest of the city centre, 10–15 minutes away by car. Legal airport taxis charge a flat 150 baht for up to 5 passengers anywhere in the city. Uber charges the same flat fare if going from/to the airport. If you take a metered taxi, the fee will start from 40 baht plus a 50 baht service fee from the Meter Taxi counter. The taxis operate from the exit at the north end of the terminal, after baggage claim and/or customs, walk into the reception hall and turn left. The airport has a shuttle minibus service available, offering drop-off to any hotel in the city for a flat fee of 40 baht (July 2015) - perfect if you're arriving alone and don't mind waiting 10-15 minutes for a few fellow passengers. The minibus counter is at the southern end of the terminal, near the International arrivals. Alternatively, take Bus 4 to the city centre for 15 baht, or charter a tuk-tuk or songthaew for 50-60 baht per person (if alone, negotiate with a songthaew driver who already has a few passengers). Most hotels and some upmarket guest houses offer cheap or free pick-up/drop-off services.

There are numerous ATMs and exchange offices of several banks in the main airport hall, which is very long and combines both international and domestic arrival and check-in booths on one floor - but you'll need to take an elevator to the second floor once you've checked in, and that's where you won't find neither exchanges nor ATMs. The exchange rate, while not terrible, may be not as good as you can find in town.

By Train

Services from Bangkok leave on a regular daily schedule and take 12–15 hours to reach Chiang Mai. If you go by night train (recommended), try to choose one which arrives late to get an opportunity to see the landscapes. They are impressive, with bridges and forests and villages and fields.

Daytime services leave at 08:30, and 14:30 with second-class (281 baht) and third-class (121 baht) carriages. The seats in each class differ in softness and width, and can become uncomfortable after 10+ hours.

Overnight sleepers provide comfortable bunks with clean sheets and pillows in first- and second-class. First-class beds (~1,400 baht) are in private two-bed compartments. In second-class (~900 baht), the carriages are open but each bunk has a curtain for privacy. First-class is always air-con, second class is sometimes air-con. There are usually four trains per day with sleeper accommodation, though only two of these will have first-class compartments. Station staff will be able to help you.

Carriages are kept clean; the toilet and floors are regularly mopped during the journey. Vendors make regular rounds selling snacks, drinks, and lacklustre meals. Vendors will try to inflate the prices for tourists so be prepared to get ripped off, haggle, hop off quickly at stations to make a purchase (or order through the window), or bring your own.

In second-class, the bunks are folded away leaving pairs of facing seats. At some point in the evening, or on request, they are flipped down into bunks and made up into beds. In first-class, the bottom bunk is used as a bench seat before having a futon mattress deployed onto it in the evening.

If you're not in the mood for bed when your carriage mates are bedding down, you can head off to the dining car, which provides fairly good food and drink at not too great a premium. Later in the night, the dining car can be converted into a disco, complete with loud music and flashing lights.

Tickets can be bought up to 60 days in advance at any station in Thailand. Booking in advance is advised, especially for the popular 2nd-class overnight sleepers. Larger stations accept payment with Visa and MasterCard. This is fairly safe, as SRT is a state-owned company. If you are not yet in Thailand, the e-ticketing SRT website will let you buy and print an e-ticket. Some find it tricky to register. You have to avoid any special characters while filling the registration form. You must book at least three days in advance, and you can only purchase 1st and 2nd class air-con sleeper tickets which are 150-200 baht more expensive than fan-only car tickets. The price on-line is the same as at the ticket office. Various travel agencies, some available to contact from outside Thailand, can also procure tickets for delivery or pick up, with fees typically starting at 100 baht.

SRT charges 90 baht to transport a bicycle between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

By Car

Highway 118 goes north from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and Highway 11 goes south to Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae and around to Nan. Highway 1 connects with Highway 11 and goes all the way to Bangkok.

By Bus

Travellers coming to Chiang Mai by bus will arrive at the Arcade Bus Station, which is near the train station on the east side of the Ping River. Chiang Mai has bus services to most main Thai cities. Buses leave frequently to Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Mae Sai, Nan, and other cities. Green Bus Thailand covers most routes in the northern regions and tickets can be booked on their website.
Minibuses leave hourly to Pai, 4 hours, 150 Baht from the Arcade terminal (separate terminal for minibuses) or 200 Baht with pickup from your accommodation.

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Getting Around

Chiang Mai is an easy city to get around for those with no transport of their own.

There are several landmarks that the traveller can use to get around. The most obvious thing you will notice when you arrive is the square moat that still stands in the city centre from days long gone by. The gates and some of the walls are still standing as well and it is easy to use this landmark as a good way to gain your bearings. The road around the inside and outside of the moat is one way however, and it can be confusing for the first-timer as you are often required to over-shoot your destination and then do a u-turn to double back. As long as you remember that the inside road goes anti-clockwise and the outside road goes clockwise you should have no problems.

By Motorcycle

For the brave, motorcycles are can be rented for about 150 Baht a day for a manual 100cc bike, or slightly more for an automatic version. Make sure you ask for a helmet when renting a motorbike as the police around Chiang Mai have been known to pull foreigners over for not wearing a helmet even though there are a lot of Thais who do the same thing! You usually have to leave your passport with the owner when you rent the bike. Some places accept other forms of ID like drivers licenses.

By Public Transport

Local public transport is provided by tuktuks, songthaews, rickshaws and the infrequent Chiang Mai Bus service. City Bus B1 goes from the Arcade bus terminal (between terminal 2 and terminal 3) to the train station then to the Tha Pae gate (the eastern city gate) to the Chiang Mai Zoo. The bus Por Aor 10 is the most frequent from the airport. The bus stops are sometimes not easy to find.

By Tuk-Tuk and Song-Thaew

If you prefer to be safer, then tuk-tuks (three-wheeled motorized pedicabs) and song-thaews (red pickup trucks with two rows of seating at the back) offer easy alternatives for those who want to move about. Song-thaews are a lot cheaper than tuk-tuks and a cross city-fare will cost you about 40 Baht. The Song-Thaews in Chiang Mai, are driving along several routes, which you figure out, by the colour of the Song-Thaew. (e.g. Red ones are driving between the city and Doi Suthep.) Most drivers don't speak English well, so it might be more convenient for the newcomer to hop on a tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are more expensive but faster than song-thaews. They will also drop you right at the front door of wherever you are wanting to go. A basic rule with both song-thaews and tuk-tuks is to negotiate the prices before you get into the vehicle. You avoid nasty arguments this way and both parties usually end up happier.

The usual line for tuk-tuk drivers in Chiang Mai is that fuel is expensive and hence their prices are so expensive. With a little haggling and perseverance, you can usually bargain the price down a bit. Another tip for bargaining with song-thaew drivers is to haggle in a group. They usually give a group discount for more than one traveller. Watch out for the song-thaew and tuk-tuk drivers around the Arcade Bus Station though. They are well-known to increase the price for the new tourist in Thailand. You can easily get around this by being in a group.

By Car

Chiang Mai has metered taxis, although not as many as tuk-tuks and songthaews. The "flag fall" is 50 baht for the first 2 km. Then 10 baht per kilometre after that. Journeys longer than 12 km can be negotiated. This fare structure applies to all metered taxis in Chiang Mai Province.

You cannot generally hail taxis in the street. To book a taxi, call +66 53-279291, state your destination and the call centre will give you a quote. Or contact individual drivers via the mobile phone numbers displayed on their vehicles.

On Foot

When sticking to the center of Chiang Mai, you can easily make it around on foot. A walk to the evening market, would take you about 30 minutes, but that is about the longest distance. You can consider taking a ride from the busstation, if you are carrying a heavy pack. For daytrips outside of Chiang Mai, you need to organize some transportation.

By Bike

Traffic inside the old city walls is subdued enough to make biking a safe and quick way to get around. Bike rentals are plentiful; rental costs 30-250 baht/day depending on the bike quality.

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Eat

If you go east past the Night Bazaar from Ta Pae Gate you'll eventually end up at the Ping River which boasts a series of riverside restaurants. These are more expensive than your typical local restaurant but the atmosphere is more modern, they have live bands, and you'll be able to find English speaking staff.

  • Riverside Restaurant is one of the most popular serving both Thai and international food and featuring live music throughout the evening.
  • For a really local experience try Antique House or for excellent live Blues see legendary local guitarist Took at The Brasserie
  • Another great local eating experience is at Anusarn Market near the Night Bazaar. There are a number of Hawker style restaurants the pick of the bunch of which is Best Taste Kitchen.
  • At lunchtime try Huen Phen on Ratchamankha Road. This restaurant serves authentic northern style food at very reasonable prices. It is packed daily with locals.
  • Eat at the cafe opposite Gecko book store.

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Drink

  • Tuskers Bar and Grill is one of Chiang Mai's best bars. Just off the Moat Road they have a large bar area and beer garden with great food and drink. It is very popular with local expatriates, locals and tourists and holds regular party nights.
  • Guitarman is a great venue for live music with big names playing there regularly.
  • For a late night drink the most popular spot is Jackies Van located around the corner from Tuskers and next to the legendary nightclub Spicy.

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Sleep

On the eastern side of the Moat Road is Chiang Mai's main backpacker area, Ta Pae Gate. This is the area where the cheapest guest houses, most cheap foreign restaurants, and backpacker pubs and clubs are found. It is also close to the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

  • 2230 Hostel, Nimmanhaemin Rd Soi 1. This establishment triples as a hostel and a local drinking spot. It's run by a Thai-American man and a Chinese man. Free coffee at any time of the day or night. Complimentary use of the washing machine and kitchen. Nineteen rooms that can house 38. Two showers and three toilets are located on each of the five floors. Rooms contain two pod-style bunkbeds.
  • 7 Century Guest House, 270 Ratchaphakhinai Rd, ☎ +66 53-287541, +66 81-4388175, e-mail: le7century.guesthouse@hotmail.com. Check-out: 12:00. Guest house that is a bit worn. 2 single (150 baht), 4 double (180-220 baht) and 1 triple rooms (250 baht). Singles can be a bit mouldy due to poor drainage and ventilation. Good hot shower (private for single rooms, shared for double and triple). Terrace. Free Wi-Fi. If they have a laptop free you can borrow it to take to your room. Fan in rooms. Kitchen free to use. Soft beds. Service also available in German. Help with booking trips, treks, motorbikes and other things. Friendly staff. 150-250 baht.
  • A Little Bird Guesthouse, 17 Soi 1 Ratvithi Rd, ☎ +66 53-289577, e-mail: alittlebird_cm@hotmail.com. Check-out: 12:00. Cheap basic dorms with hot shower and free Wi-Fi. An easy place to meet people in a good location. 100 baht mixed dorm; 120 baht female dorm.
  • Baan Na Na, 11/2 Rachapakeenai Rd, ☎ +66 53 274 267. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Small and simple guest house attached to the back of a pleasant but moderately priced cafe and restaurant. Friendly staff, shared basic Western bathrooms with warm shower, shared with cafe so can get heavy use at peak times. Good Wi-Fi in rooms. Fan dorm 100 baht, air-con dorm 150 baht, double fan room 200 baht, double air-con room 350 baht. 100-350 baht.
  • Bed and Terrace Guest House, 10 Kotchasarn Rd, Soi 5, ☎ +66 53-449708, e-mail: service@bedandterrace.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:30. Thai modern-style guest house with terrace, comfortable rooms with double windows overlook a mountain panorama. 450 baht.
  • B.R. Hotel, Morakot Rd (Northwest corner of the moat, from where Huay Kaew Rd turns to the left, drive straight (north) 700 m, turn left on Morakot Rd and you'll see the sign on the right side), ☎ +66 53-220061. Check-out: 12:00. Simple, but cosy Thai hotel. Fan rooms are often sold out, however 299 baht for an air-con room with TV and small balcony is an excellent value during hot or wet season. No Wi-Fi (but Truemove 850 MHz 3G works perfectly). While the hotel is not far from the centre, the closest place where you can catch a public songthaew (near Kad Suan Kaew Mall) is almost 1 km away, so the place is better suited for those who rent a motorbike. Free parking. On the nearby intersection with Hasadhisawee Rd, there are numerous and cheap food stalls in the evening. Hotel staff generally do not speak English. If no vacancy, there's Inthanon Hotel next on the same road, priced ~50 baht more. 199 baht fan, from 299 baht air-con.
  • Bunchun Art Hostel, 31/5 soi sriwichai, ☎ +66 83 0723121 (mobile), e-mail: bunchunhostels@gmail.com. Check-in: 09:00, check-out: 11:00. A great chill-out art hostel, a place to meet new friends other travelers and local Thais. Lots of little dogs and chickens. Wifi. 2 private rooms, 3 mixed dorms. 100 baht for dorms, 400 baht for privates. 100 baht.
  • FWD House Hostel (Box dorm with 10 single beds), 78 Ratchamanka Rd (4.3 km from the airport, 4.5 km from the train station, 5 km from the bus station), ☎ +66 82-6233349, e-mail: forwardhouse.th@gmail.com. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. A 10-minute walk to the temples and Loi Kroh Rd, and a minute walk to the Sunday night market. Owner and staff are welcoming, friendly, can cater to your personal needs, and also make you feel at home. 180 baht.
  • Giant Guest House 1 & 2, 24/1 Moon Muang Rd (Giant 1); 4 Rachamanka Rd (Giant 2) (Map position is of Giant 1), ☎ +66 87-1821611, e-mail: giantguesthouse@gmail.com. Check-out: 12:00. Two guest houses. Cheap basic rooms, hot showers, free Wi-Fi, free shared computer, free bicycles, free water, reggae bar attached (Freedom Bar 16:00-24:00). Can book everything here and sightsee by bicycle. Kitchen with cooking lessons available and massage school 200 m away. Watch out for the 300 baht room "switch" after they pick you up in the airport. They will give you this price in front of the guesthouse. 100 baht dorms, 180 baht single fan room (shared bath), 250 baht queen bed with fan (private bathroom). Monthly rates 3,500 baht, single room with fan and shared bathroom (1 person).
  • Green Tulip Guest House, 18 Samlan Rd, ☎ +66 53-278367. Guesthouse with a roof-top garden, Internet café and large screen TV in the lobby. Beautifully decorated and designed with elegant wood floors throughout the building. Choice of fan and air-con rooms with shared or private bathrooms. 250-650 baht. edit
  • Hollanda Montri Guest House, 365 Charoen Rat Rd, ☎ +66 53-242450. Family-style guesthouse, fan or air-con rooms, and with a tropical garden on the banks of the Mae Ping River. 500 baht.
  • Hug Hostel, 115/3 Sri Poom Rd, Tambon Si Phum, ☎ +66 53 417 222. Opened in 2014, the hostel is clean. 400 baht.
  • Julie Guest House, 7/1 Prapokklao Rd, Soi 5, ☎ +66 53-274355. Popular guesthouse in a quiet part of the old city near Tha Phae Gate. This guesthouse is notorious for filling quickly, quite often by 09:00, as it is listed in some guide books. The lounge area is often full of travellers. Food and drinks are served. The in-house travel agency make different types of bookings for you. Free Wi-Fi, but it doesn't always work. 100-180 baht (fan room without/with en suite).
  • Linda Guesthouse, 456/67 Soi Banditpatana (Close to the railway station, follow the sign at Charoen Muang Rd), ☎ +66 53-246915, fax: +66 53-246915, e-mail: lindaguesthouse@hotmail.com. East of Tha Phae Gate, easily accessible on songthaew routes. Very clean rooms. The guest house also offers many trekking tours. The staff speak German, English and Thai. Family-like atmosphere. Cheap and very good food around the clock, freshly made. 100-300 baht, reduced cost for longer stays.
  • Mint House, 80-82 Prapokklao (Soi 5). Near Chiang Mai Gate., ☎ +66 86-2531743. Really friendly and helpful staff. Centrally located, clean and good prices for dorms and rooms. Rooms have dedicated bathrooms that, strangely, are not en suite, but all across the hallway. Keep an eye out for room rates changing after you've already checked-in (e.g., +100 baht). Don't be a wimp when this happens. Single 200 baht, double 300 baht, dorm 120 baht.
  • Parami Guesthouse, ☎ +66 53-266139. A small cosy family-run guest house. 300-550 baht.
  • Ping River Inn, ☎ +66 81-9935187, e-mail: ping.river.inn@hotmail.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. A basic but clean inn along the Ping River near Nakorn Ping Bridge and the yellow songthaew route. Hot showers, two bottles of free drinking water, towels, roof access, cable, and free Wi-Fi. If the foot bridge over the river ever gets fixed, the Ping River Inn will be within five minutes walking distance of Warorot Market. 390-540 baht.
  • Riders Corner (Rider's Corner Bar & Restaurant), 357, Moon Muang Rd (NE corner of moat), ☎ +66 87-0481787, e-mail: riders.corner.cnx@gmail.com. De facto motorcyclist headquarters in Chiang Mai. Clean and comfortable. Full restaurant and bar. Five rooms and frequently fully booked. Free Wi-Fi. Secure parking for motorcycles. English owner is helpful and free with information. Sells good maps of north Thailand. 250-550 baht.
  • Spicy House, 42/1 Ratchamanka Rd., ☎ +66 84-6134776 (Mim), e-mail: spicyhouse@hotmail.com. Perhaps the friendliest little guest house in Chiang Mai. Beloved by backpackers for its low cost and friendly atmosphere. Mim, the owner, gives a free meal for guests every night. She is also an expert chef, and Spicy House sometimes acts as a cooking school. It is in the centre of the Chiang Mai action, but down a quiet soi where you can withdraw from it when needed.
  • Tha Phae Inn, 164-166 Tha Phae Rd (About 600 m east of Tha Phae Gate on the north side), ☎ +66 53-234640, fax: +66 53 252790. Family-run guesthouse. Friendly. Excellent value/location combination. Basic double rooms with baths, hot water & small TV. Free Wi-Fi. Common area with tables so you can bring food and eat. Refreshments for sale on-premises. Basic double air-con room with en suite shower was 350 baht as of Nov 2013 (no fridge, old furniture, but generally clean). From 350 baht.
  • YMCA International Hotel, 11 Mengrairasmi Sermsuk Rd, ☎ +66 53-221819, e-mail: chiangmai:hotel@ymcachiangmai.org. 88 rooms and dormitory. Restaurant, swimming pool, coffee shop, massage. Standard room, 600 baht.
  • Boonthavon Apartment Hotel, 39 Soi 1, Ratchadamnoen Rd (Walk from Tha Phae Gate into the old city down Ratchadamnoen Rd; turn right after 10 m at Soi 1. Follow it round (100 m), Boonthavon is on your left.), ☎ +66 53-226700. Dead central, and probably the cleanest hotel in Chiang Mai. Extremely friendly staff (only a few of whom speak English). Security entrance. A short walk to the Tha Phae Gate in the old city (nice central location). Monthly rentals are available at 7,500 baht with a 5,000 baht deposit (on top of the 7,500 baht, there are additional charges: electricity is 7 baht per kilowatt, 600 baht for unlimited Internet, 200 baht for cable TV, and 200 baht for water). Location is great. Just around the corner is a great little cafe called "Angel's" which serves a mix of Thai food and really great Western breakfasts. The location of the hotel is also a short walk to several excellent restaurants and cafes such as the UN Irish Pub, New Delhi Indian Restaurant, and Loco Elvis Tex-Mex. Double room with balcony, private bathroom, air conditioning, mini-fridge, and small TV is 550 baht with an additional 50 baht per day for Internet.
  • BP Chiang Mai City Hotel, 154 Ratchamanka Rd, ☎ +66 53-270711, e-mail: info@bpchiangmaicityhotel.com. A mid-sized hotel with a small fitness centre and pool. 1,000-2,000 baht.
  • Centre of the Universe (Chiang Mai Swimming Pool and Resort), ☎ +66 81-4730746, +66 53-327808, e-mail: info@therealcentreoftheuniverse.com. With only 3 detached Thai-style bungalows in a private garden, this has to be the smallest boutique hotel with the biggest swimming pool in Chiang Mai. Very friendly and helpful staff. Each room has air-con, TV, Wi-Fi, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities and access to 3 swimming pools. 1,200-1,500 baht.
  • Chiang Mai Apartments, 9/2 Moon Muang Rd, Soi 7 (Across from the Sri Pat Guesthouse (no sign)), ☎ +66 53-225140. Very central, clean and bright rooms. Excellent quality. Free Wi-Fi in room. 650 baht (fan)- 950 baht (air-con), both including a modest breakfast.
  • Cool Guesthouse, 87 Sripoom Rd, Sripoom (close to Chang Phuak Gate), ☎ +66 53-212618, e-mail: info@coolguesthouse.com. Small boutique guesthouse with patio and garden. Free bicycle use for guests. English, French, and Spanish speaking staff. Each room has air-con and fan, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, safe. 500-800 baht.
  • Elliebum, 114/3-4 Ratchamanka Rd, ☎ +66 53-814723, e-mail: elliebum@gmail.com. Friendly boutique guesthouse, beautifully furnished, spacious, spotlessly clean, air conditioned, en suite twin or double rooms. Breakfast included. 900-1,500 baht.
  • Lai-Thai Guest House, 111/4-5 Kotchasarn Rd, ☎ +66 53-271725, +66 53-206438, e-mail: mail@laithai.com. A large northern Thai-style guesthouse with hotel-like facilities and services. All 110 air-conditioned rooms en suite with hot shower are decorated with traditional wooden floors and bamboo walls, equipped with minibar, cable & satellite TV, and free Wi-Fi. 500-780 baht.
  • Liam's Suan Dok Mai, 87/45 Moo 7, Samakon, Faham, ☎ +66 53-855033, e-mail: info@liamsuandokmai.com. Check-out: 10:30. Beautifully decorated guest house on the northern outskirts of the city that was built from scratch by a Belgian couple. Offers comfortable and spacious rooms with air conditioning, a pool, and a nice dining area for meals. One can find plenty of places nearby to eat and drink as residents in the village setup tables outside of their homes and operate small-time restaurants and bars. Provides a good mix of comfortable lodging with hosts that fluently speak several languages. Also pet-friendly. Free shuttle service from Chiang Mai. 1,000-3,500 baht.
  • Nice Mum Lodge, Loi Kroh Rd, Soi 2 (25 m off Loi Kroh Rd), ☎ +66 83-2044111, e-mail: nicemumlodge@gmail.com. Oddly named, but a superior accommodation. Close to shops, bars, restaurants, the Night Bazaar. Spotlessly clean, if somewhat austere. Run by the affable Mr Pong, who speaks good English. Great plumbing, showers, large flat screen TVs with Western programmes, fridge. Secure, covered parking for those turning up with expensive rides. Highly recommended. Free, excellent free Wi-Fi. From 800 baht.
  • Royal Peninsula Hotel, Assadatorn Rd, Northeast (Outside N side of moat), ☎ +66 53 252 222. Good rooms, air-con, hot water, bar fridge and TV. Huge and a bit old building, but OK if you're not looking for luxury. At times (especially during the low season) may be available for 500-600 baht on various hotel booking websites - that's a steal! 700-900 baht.
  • Sakulchai Place, Huay Kaew Rd, Soi 10, ☎ +66 53-211982. Spacious and clean. Standard, deluxe and superior rooms available for daily/weekly/monthly rates. Internet (Wi-Fi/LAN), air-con, hot showers. New building, modern rooms. In the trendy Nimmanhaemin district across from shopping mall and 5-10 minute walking distance to night life, cafes, restaurants. 590-890 baht.
  • Siri Guesthouse, 31/3 Moon Mueang, Soi 5, ☎ +66 53-326550. A family-run guest house on a popular, but quiet lane. Fan and air-con rooms, all with bathrooms and hot water. Free Wi-Fi. 700 baht. edit
  • Sleep guesthouse, 26/1 moonmuang soi7 (Inside the moat, northeast quadrant), ☎ +66 53-2975487, e-mail: info@sleepguesthouse.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Nicely decorated loft/industrial design guesthouse. Double and twin rooms. All rooms with air conditioning, mini-fridge, 32 inch led TV, private bath room with rain shower, free wiffi and free breakfast included in price. 999.
  • Smile House Boutique, 3/5 Suriyawong Rd, Soi 1 (Behind Ruam Pat Hospital), ☎ +66 53-800567-8. A wooden house which is simply decorated to create a peaceful atmosphere. The rooms are beautifully decorated. 700-1,200 baht.
  • Sri-Pat Guesthouse, 16 Moon Muang Rd, Soi 7 (Inside the moat, northeast quadrant), ☎ +66 53-218716. Nice guest house with air conditioning, TV, private shower, fridge and a little balcony. Try getting a room on the street side, since the other side has a water pump working during the night which can be annoying in some rooms. 900 baht.
  • Swiss-Lanna Lodge, Rat U-thit Soi 2, Wat Ket, ☎ +66 53-411202, e-mail: info@swisslannalodge.com. Renovated (as of 2015) wooden northern Thai-style guesthouse. It touts its "extremely friendly and helpful" staff, which it says speak English and French provide great tourist information. 890-3,390 baht.
  • The Britannia, 27/3 -4 Moonmuang Road, Soi 9 (at the northeast of the city moat), ☎ +66 53-418994, e-mail: info@thebritannia-chiangmai.com. Check-out: 11:00. The Britannia offers fan rooms for 650 baht, and air-conditioned rooms for 800+ baht. Some of the air-conditioned rooms have a balcony. Rooms offer a tv with some international channels, hot showers, insect-proof windows and Wi-Fi in rooms. Some rooms also have a coffee and tea maker and a safe. If you arrive after 18:00, send the owners an email at least one day before arriving. 650-900 baht.
  • Viangbua Mansion, 3/1 Viangbua Rd, ☎ +66 53-411202. Deluxe serviced-apartments for daily rental. Offer a wide range of services and some degree of security. In a somewhat remote NW area of the city. 900-3,200 baht.
  • Anantara Chiang Mai Resort (Formerly, Chedi Hotel), 123-123/1 Charoen Prathet Road,Changklan, Muang (10-minute walk from Night Bazaar), ☎ +66 53 253 333, e-mail: chiangmai@anantara.com. Located along the banks of Mae Ping River, 52 rooms and 32 suites with private balconies. Has a fitness center and guests can attend cooking classes. From 6,400 baht in low season, but can go up to 30,800 baht for the same room in high season.
  • Baan Orapin, 150 Charoen Rat Rd, ☎ +66 53-16164016. content 6 rooms in a beautifully restored old Thai house set in a small garden. Air-con, hot water. 3,000 baht.
  • Ban Shewe Wana Suite Resort, 290-292 Charoen Muang Rd, ☎ +66 53-240020, e-mail: reservations@shewewanasuite.com. 12,000 baht.
  • Central Duangtawan Hotel, 132 Loi Kroh Rd, ☎ +66 53-905000, e-mail: cdc@chr.co.th. Excellent luxury hotel with cheap(er) Internet rates. Popular with tour groups and conventions. The Internet here is slow and not included in the room rate. Probably a little cheaper than similar hotels as it's near the beer bar district, but the area is quite safe and the hotel is high quality. For those not staying at the hotel, for 300 baht per day, you can use the excellent gym on the fourth floor (includes a gender-segregated Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna, as well as a large L-shaped swimming pool that looks out on the city centre). 1,450-2,950 baht.
  • Dhara Dhevi (Formerly, Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi), 51/4 Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Rd, Moo 1, ☎ +66 53-888888. In the traditional Lanna-style, this 24 hectare (60 acre) resort includes a spa, cooking classes, children's club, and fitness centre. The resort caused some local controversy when it built a reproduction temple based on one of Thailand's most holy sites on its grounds. 27,000-353,000 baht.
  • Empress Chiang Mai, 199/42 Changklan Rd, ☎ +66 53-253199, fax: +66 53 272467, e-mail: rsvn@empresshotels.com. Luxury hotel in traditional Lanna-style with 375 rooms and suites, a convention centre, sauna rooms, outdoor swimming pool, business centre and massage parlour. Good breakfast and friendly staff. 1,500-5,500 baht.
  • Horizon Village & Resort, 200 Moo 7 Chiang Mai-Doi Saket Rd (Halfway down Rte 118 Chiang Mai-Doi Saket), ☎ +66 53-868891-3, fax: +66 53 868894, e-mail: info@horizonvillage.net. The hotel is connected to the Tweechol Botanical Garden, a private garden of 50 hectares. The garden has many animal shaped shrubs. Former US president Jimmy Carter stayed here when in Thailand for the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. 1,800-2,600 baht, 5,000 baht for a suite.
  • Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel, 204 Ratchapakhinai Rd, ☎ +66 91 859 8225, e-mail: lannatree@gmail.com. Boutique hotel with great location, onsite restaurant, outdoor pool, massage. 2,550+ baht.
  • Mövenpick Suriwongse Hotel Chiang Mai, 110 Changklan Road, Muang Chiang Mai 5100, Chiang Mai, Thailand, ☎ +66 53 270 051-7, fax: +66 53 270 063, e-mail: hotel.chiangmai@movenpick.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Situated in the heart of Chiang Mai, the hotel's contemporary interior incorporated into the decor of 266 rooms and suites its traditional Thai Lan Na architecture. The atmospheric dining scene serves both local Thai dishes and classic international specialities. Fueng Fah restaurant offers a vast selection of local and global food at its breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets (18:00-21:00 - 299 baht, kôw soy noodle soup 160 baht, watermelon shake 100 baht). At Le Bistrot & Le Terrace, sample that Thai culinary twist in Mediterranean specialities, alongside traditional Italian pizzas and pastas. The Pool Bar is a laid-back zone for light meals and cocktails by the poolside, while Sweet House takes centre-stage when it comes to indulgent pastries, Mövenpick ice cream, aromatic coffees and infused teas (Thai iced tea 50 baht, Thai tea cake 65 baht). Empty minibar on private purpose to fill it. The hotel is perfect for culture buffs and adventure seekers, with easy access to hundreds of temples and spectacular zip lines in the surrounding forest. On Friday the friendly 170-person staff works in local traditional Lan Na style uniform. Free one-way shuttle service to Saturday and Sunday walking street market at 18:00. Free WiFi, complimentary tea and coffee making facility, LED TV, safety box, air conditioner, gym, spa, outdoor swimming pool, minivan to Chiang Mai International Airport (100 baht), bike rent (100 baht per day/1,000 baht deposit). Sean Connery and the Eagles stayed here. 6,000 - 20,000 baht.
  • Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa, 135/9, Charoen Prathet Rd, ☎ +66 53-252999, e-mail: info@pingnakara.com. Nicely designed with hand-carved fretwork. From 4200 baht.
  • RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, 33 Changklan Rd, ☎ +66 53-999333, fax: +66 53 999332, e-mail: info@ratilannachiangmai.com. A luxury boutique resort on the bank of the Mae Ping River and the centre of Chiang Mai. Only minutes away from Chiang Mai Airport and the Night Bazaar. 4,400-24,000 baht.
  • The Rim Chiang Mai, 51/2 Arrak Rd (Close to Wat Phra Sing), ☎ +66 53-903999, e-mail: butler@therimchiangmai.com. Luxury hotel in traditional Lanna-style, 36 rooms, outdoor swimming pool, tropical garden, fitness club, and spa, restaurant (Thai & Western cuisine) and very friendly staff. From 4,800 baht.

View our map of accommodation in Chiang Mai or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.

Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.

For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.

Post

Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 18.823009
  • Longitude: 99.027359

Accommodation in Chiang Mai

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Chiang Mai searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Chiang Mai and areas nearby.

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