where to stay in chiang mai thailand

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai Thailand: Best Areas and Hotels

Wondering where to stay in Chiang Mai Thailand for First Time, Couple, Families, Nightlife, Backpacker? Find out the best areas, neighborhoods & hotels to stay in Chiang Mai in this guide.

In this guide, I use my knowledge of Chiang Mai to give you a virtual tour of the best parts of the city. The guide describes the central areas of The Old City, the Riverside and the Night Bazaar, and the slightly less well-trodden destinations of Suthep, Nimman Haemin, and the East Side of Chiang Mai. Read on and check out the delights that this super city has to offer!

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai: Tips & Info

When you are deciding on which location to stay in Chiang Mai, you should consider how do you plan to get around during your stay? Even though it has a population of over 200,000, Chiang Mai is still a relatively compact city. Most of the key central areas are within a kilometer or so of each other.

If you don’t mind the heat, then you can walk from place to place in the center of town. You might not need to use taxis or public transport at all if you stay in a central area.

However, if you choose to stay in one of the more suburban parts of town, you will almost certainly need to use transport to get around. If budget isn’t an issue, then hotel taxis are the most comfortable option.

Alternatively, you could download the Grab Taxi app and book transport that way. And then there are the shared red Songthaew taxis and tuk-tuks. Songtaews are the cheaper of the two and are quite convenient for hopping on and off.  Tuk-tuks cost a little more but are perfect for that holiday photo. If you are happy with arranging one of these forms of transport, you can stay further out of town.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand – 6 Best Area to Stay Chiang Mai

Here’s where I’ll take you on a quick guided tour of the six best areas to stay in Chiang Mai. I’ve picked some different places that have something to offer for all budgets and types of traveler. These include places that are smack bang in the center of town and also some leafier, suburban areas. Simply read on and then choose the place that appeals to you.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai Thailand – 6 Best Areas to Stay Chiang Mai

  1. The Old City
  2. Chiang Mai Riverside
  3. East Chiang Mai
  4. Around the Night Bazaar
  5. Suthep
  6. Nimman Haemin

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai Map

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand map
Where to Stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand  map

To see more detail of where to stay in Chiang Mai Map, go to Goolge Map.

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1. Chiang Mai Old City, Where to Stay in Chiang Mai for First Time Visitors

Where to stay in chiang mai for the first time visitors: Nimman Haemin
Chiang Mai Old City @David McKelvey

Chiang Mai’s famous Old City lies within the moat and ruins of the old fort. The area is roughly a kilometer square. There are a few roads that run through from North to South and East to West, but much of the area is a delightful maze of small streets and alleys that are full of temples, monuments, and old architecture.

So the Old City is the perfect place to stay if you are keen on digging into the local culture and explore Chiang Mai’s museums, temples and history.

In and amongst the old world charm of the area, there are many places for you to stay. The area has many mid-range boutique hotels and guesthouses that combine a modern and classic design aesthetic to great effect.

You will also find plenty of budget hostels and guesthouses in The Old City, especially on the Southern side, so there are plenty of choices for backpackers and budget travelers.

YOU SHOULD STAY IN THE OLD CITY IF:

  • You are a first-time visitor
  • You’re traveling alone
  • You want convenience and don’t mind a bit of hustle and bustle
  • You want to soak up the history of the city
  • You are looking for mid-range accommodation

WHERE TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI OLD CITY

The Old City is in the center of Chiang Mai. It is close to everything and full of historical attractions and modern places to dine and drink.

Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai Old City

Pingviman Chiang Mai Hotel

Pingviman Chiang Mai Hotel
Pingviman Chiang Mai Hotel

This luxury hotel has to be one of the most attractive hotels in the whole of Chiang Mai.

It is decorated throughout in traditional Thai style with wooden flooring and wonderfully attractive and ornate architecture, fixtures, and fittings.

It is an ideal place for couples and honeymooners, who can enjoy the beautiful surroundings and make use of the swimming pool and pamper themselves in luxury at the excellent spa. 

Smile Lanna Chiang Mai Hotel

Smile Lanna Chiang Mai Hotel
Smile Lanna Chiang Mai Hotel

This high class, top-rated hotel offers an oasis of calm in the heart of the old city.

It is an excellent choice for people who want a central location but a peaceful place to recover after exploring.

Smile Lanna accommodates everyone from solo travelers up to family groups or groups of friends in their variety of well-appointed hotel rooms. Families will enjoy Smile Lanna Hotel because of the creative activities the hotel organizes for kids. 

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Chiang Mai Old City

Chada Mantra Chiang Mai Hotel

Chada Mantra Chiang Mai Hotel
Chada Mantra Chiang Mai Hotel

This popular mid-range hotel is in the northeast part of the old city. It offers excellent value, double rooms, and family rooms/dorms that provide accommodation for groups of six or eight guests.

These larger rooms make the place ideal for families and groups of travelers.

Chada Mantra has an outdoor swimming pool. Guests particularly appreciate the cleanliness of the hotel and the quality of the buffet breakfast.  

POR Thapae Gate Chiang Mai Hotel

POR Thapae Gate Chiang Mai Hotel
POR Thapae Gate Chiang Mai Hotel

Guests rate this hotel as exceptional. Facilities here include an outdoor swimming pool and free bicycles to explore The Old City.

Guests can choose between a continental or buffet breakfast or use the shared kitchen

Among other things, guests are impressed by the excellent service, great location, and quality of facilities at a lower mid-range price.

Best Budget  Hotels in Chiang Mai Old City

Green Sleep Chiang Mai Hostel

Green Sleep Chiang Mai Hostel
Green Sleep Chiang Mai Hostel

This hostel has smart wall-art, great features, and a warm welcome, so of course, it’s a guest favorite.

You can stay in various accommodations ranging from double rooms to dorms that sleep up to 10 guestsFemale-only dorms are also available.

The hostel offers a continental breakfast, a shared lounge and kitchen, and a helpful tour desk where they are happy to arrange your exploration of the city.

Hostel Lullaby Chiang Mai

Hostel Lullaby Chiang Mai
Hostel Lullaby Chiang Mai

This hostel is a super choice for single travelers since it is a good place to meet other people and is extremely safe and secure.

The excellent facilities include free bike rental and electronic key card access.

Guest s comment on what a sociable place this is to stay and particularly appreciate things like the free yoga classes and free cooking classes that the hostel offers.

>> MORE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI OLD CITY <<

2. Chiang Mai Riverside, Where to Stay in Chiang Mai for Best River Views

where to stay for sightseeing: Chiang Mai Riverside
Chiang Mai Riverside @Michael Coghlan

The majestic Ping River winds through Chiang Mai from the north on its journey to the sea far away to the south. The riverside area offers some higher-end hotel options with great views. There are also some good mid-range accommodation choices. If you want a good river view, then that will, of course, add a little bit to the room price, but it is worth it. Remember that the cheaper hotel alternatives are also just a short walk from the riverside as well, though.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars fringing the river, especially on the West Bank, so this is a great place to stay for eating and drinking

The Central Riverside area is very close to the center of town and all of the markets and the night bazaar. So the Riverside area is also a good place to stay for keen shoppers as well as partygoers.

YOU SHOULD STAY IN CHIANG MAI RIVERSIDE IF:

  • You want a river view
  • Your budget is mid-range and upwards
  • You want to be a few steps away from some great riverside bars and restaurants
  • You want to be close to the center of town

WHERE TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI RIVERSIDE

Chiang Mai is bisected from north to south by the Ping River. Riverside hotels offer excellent views, and the central ones are close to all the ancient and modern attractions of the city center. 

Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai Riverside

K Maison Lanna Boutique Chiang Mai Hotel

K Maison Lanna Boutique Chiang Mai Hotel
K Maison Lanna Boutique Chiang Mai Hotel

This luxury boutique hotel offers an extremely friendly and personal service to its guests.

There are several different kinds of double room, but that’s all, so this is a perfect place for couples or travelers who want a calm and peaceful retreat from the city’s rush.

The hotel has a stylish, modern design, and there is a large swimming pool and an attractive outdoor garden and terrace.

The Empress Premier Chiang Mai Hotel

The Empress Premier Chiang Mai Hotel
The Empress Premier Chiang Mai Hotel

The Empress Premier is a large and prestigious city hotel close to the river.

There is a large swimming pool on a fourth-floor rooftop, and the hotel rooms, particularly those on the higher floors, offer some fantastic views of the city.

Guests cannot praise the service levels at this hotel enough; with flowers on arrival, complimentary meals, and small gifts offered to guests, it’s a genuinely friendly welcome.

Facilities include a swimming pool, sauna and hot tub, fitness center, shared lounge, restaurant, and a bar.

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Chiang Mai Riverside

At Pingnakorn Riverside

At Pingnakorn Riverside
At Pingnakorn Riverside

This riverside hotel offers impressive four-star facilities in a garden setting where you can stroll right along the banks of the Ping River.

The thing that most impresses visitors to this hotel is the extensive and delicious buffet breakfast.

Guests also like the relatively central location but the beautiful garden Riverside setting, which they find incredibly relaxing.

Hongkhao Village Chiang Mai Hotel

Hongkhao Village Chiang Mai Hotel
Hongkhao Village Chiang Mai Hotel

Guests rate this hotel as superb for its extensive garden, attractive terrace, and huge swimming pool. It is a beautiful looking place with all rooms designed in Northern Thai Lanna style.

This upper-mid-range hotel enjoys a fantastic location close to the river, and the relaxed setting is especially popular with couples. There are also luxurious family suites perfect for parents and kids to stay.

Guests particularly recommend enjoying the tasty complimentary breakfast on the pretty garden terrace.

Best Budget Hotels in Chiang Mai Riverside

Ban Narai River Guesthouse Chiang Mai

Ban Narai River Guesthouse Chiang Mai
Ban Narai River Guesthouse Chiang Mai

This boutique guest house sits right on the river banks and is a great budget option that fronts directly onto the water.

Guests enjoy the friendly family service and the proximity to The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and all the activities and entertainments of Chiang Mai city center.

Rooms are straightforward and clean and have TV, air conditioning, and free WiFi.

DE ROSE Hotel Chiang Mai

DE ROSE Hotel Chiang Mai
DE ROSE Hotel Chiang Mai

De Rose Hotel offers excellent accommodation for groups of one to three in comfortable air-conditioned hotel rooms.

There are excellent facilities for the price, including a garden and patio, flat-screen TV and minibar.

Guests particularly like the family-run atmosphere and the friendly welcome and kindliness of the hosts. The shared kitchen is an added convenience, and the hotel also offers bicycles, motorbikes, and car hire.

>> MORE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI RIVERSIDE <<

3. East Chiang Mai, Where to Stay in Chiang Mai for Long-stay Visitors

best place to stay for budget East Chiang Mai
East Chiang Mai @John Shedrick

In East Chiang Mai, you will find the working city going about its day-to-day affairs. There is little tourism here since most tourist sights are over on the west side of the river. 

There are still plenty of places to stay, though, and you can find some real accommodation bargains here. Hotel rooms and apartments in this area are often rented out to business and long-term travelers. For this reason, you can negotiate some very good prices for a longer stay.

Also, in East Chiang Mai you really aren’t that far out of town at all. A short walk or an even shorter songthaew ride will get you back to the center in no time. 

Budget travelers and families may be happy to stay a little further out since you can find large and well-equipped places to stay, often with a kitchen, at some great prices. 

YOU SHOULD STAY IN EAST CHIANG MAI IF:

  • You’re looking for apartment-style accommodation with a kitchen
  • You want to be away from the tourist center
  • You’re a long-stay visitor or digital nomad
  • You are happy to take public transport
  • You’re looking for a longer-term bargain

Where to Stay in East Chiang Mai

East Chiang Mai is relatively undeveloped for tourism. So it’s a great place to find good-value and longer-term accommodation, which isn’t too far away from all the city center’s excitement.

Best Luxury Hotels in East Chiang Mai

Brique Hotel Chiang Mai

Brique Hotel Chiang Mai
Brique Hotel Chiang Mai

This hotel is a smart, well-appointed facility that offers some nice deluxe rooms and suites to guests seeking a bit more luxury.

It’s located over on the east side of the city, away from the busiest areas but is still a convenient taxi ride away from all the action.

There is a large swimming pool with a surrounding patio, a great place to chill out.

Guests really enjoy the large and comfortable beds and highlight the hotel staff’s extremely attentive and helpful service.

Mira Residence & Resort Chiang Mai

Mira Residence & Resort Chiang Mai
Mira Residence & Resort Chiang Mai

this residence and Resort will be a particular interest to groups of travelers since they have private villas that sleep five or six people in addition to double rooms and family suites.

Guests rate this smart modern hotel as fabulous because of its user-friendly facilities and design.

The beds are incredibly comfortable, and the plush rooms and villa accommodations all have balconies.

Best Mid-Range Hotels in East Chiang Mai

Rainforest Chiang Mai Hotel

Rainforest Chiang Mai Hotel
Rainforest Chiang Mai Hotel

Rainforest is a lovely and welcoming boutique hotel with a high-roofed Lanna-style design.

There are two outdoor swimming pools in an attractive garden, overlooked by the restaurant and bar.

It is a friendly and private location that’s perfect for couples, and there are also family rooms.

Guests particularly like the attractive design and the attention to detail given to the fixtures and fittings in the rooms and throughout this hotel.

Le SIRI Residence @ Ruamchok

Le SIRI Residence @ Ruamchok
Le SIRI Residence @ Ruamchok

Despite being on the Eastern Bank of the river and comfortably away from the tourist center’s hustle and bustle, this hotel is just a 10-minute walk away from all the action.

Le Siri has comfortable rooms and some very nice suites. It is a family-run business, and guests comment on the friendly welcome.

Visitors also appreciate the morning breakfast, which is an exciting mixture of Western and Asian cuisines.

Best Budget Hotels in East Chiang Mai

OYO 338 V-Twin Donjan Service Apartment Chiang Mai

OYO 338 V-Twin Donjan Service Apartment Chiang Mai
OYO 338 V-Twin Donjan Service Apartment Chiang Mai

These serviced apartments are a great place to stay if you want plenty of facilities and spacious accommodation at a budget price.

They have double apartments, but groups will be particularly attracted to the two bedroom suites, which offer air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and great Wi-Fi for four people at excellent prices.

The east side of the city is relatively untouched by tourism, so this is a good place to stay if you want to experience local Thai city life.

Nap In Fest Chiang Mai Hotel

Nap In Fest Chiang Mai Hotel
Nap In Fest Chiang Mai Hotel

Nap in Fest is a budget hotel laid out with a modern contemporary design. It offers excellent facilities at a low price, including air conditioning, flat-screen TVs with cable, a safety deposit box, and a fridge.

Twin and double rooms are available, so this is a good choice for travelers who don’t mind a short taxi drive to the city center

>> MORE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI EAST <<

4. Around the Night Bazaar, Where to Stay in Chiang Mai for Shopping, Nightlife

Where to stay in Chiang Mai for Nightlife: Night Bazaar
Night Bazaar @David McKelvey

The Night Bazaar area is the very epicenter of Chiang Mai. The Riverside is to the East and The Old City is to the West. The main city market is just to the North, and all the streets around here are crammed full of shops, banks, restaurants, and bars. If you want to step out of the door and be in the thick of things, then this area is the choice for you

There is a wide choice of budget and mid-range hostels and hotels, so it is a good place to stay for backpackers and those on a medium budget. 

And then there is the atmosphere of the night market, which isn’t just a bunch of shops. The pedestrianized streets throng with visitors, entertainers, and food stalls. When you explore the area you’ll discover Muay Thai boxing arenas, entertainment complexes and ladyboy shows. All life is here!
Soaking up the atmosphere and people-watching from a nearby bar or restaurant is a Chiang Mai must.

YOU SHOULD STAY AROUND NIGHT BAZAAR IF:

  • You love to shop!
  • You’re looking for a lively night scene with plenty of bars and restaurants
  • You want to be close to tourist attractions
  • You want to stay in the city center
  • You are looking for budget or mid-range accommodation

WHERE TO STAY IN CHIANG MAI – NIGHT BAZAAR

The Night Bazaar is a large central shopping area that is also the axis of Chiang Mai nightlife. It’s lively, exciting, and if you can find a quiet corner, it’s an exciting part of the city in which to stay.

Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Le Meridien Chiang Mai

Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Le Meridien Chiang Mai

The prestigious Meridian Hotel is just a stone’s throw from The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. It offers a luxurious base from which to explore this thriving area.

To prepare yourself for shopping, you can swim in the large pool or enjoy a body massage or herbal treatment in their spa.

As you would expect from a Meridian property, everything is five-star, from the service to the facilities. Rooms cater to three guests, plus kids, so this is an excellent option for couples and families.

Dusit D2 Chiang Mai Hotel

Dusit D2 Chiang Mai Hotel
Dusit D2 Chiang Mai Hotel

Dusit D2 is a small, bright, extremely well-featured hotel that sits right on the Chiang Mai night market’s doorstep

The excellent facilities include an outdoor pool, an award-winning restaurant, a spa, and a hotel health club on the top floor.

There are room options to suit groups of one to three travelers ranging from doubles to large suites.

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Night Bazaar

Yaang Come Village Hotel

Yaang Come Village Hotel
Yaang Come Village Hotel

This Central upper mid-range hotel offers laid-back, leafy luxury. Located just to the south of Chiang Mai’s night bazaar area, it is a world away in atmosphere.

The low rise Thai style hotel is laid out in extensive gardens surrounding a large swimming pool and patio.

Features include garden and restaurant dining, a spa, and private balconies in all rooms. The resort is very popular with couples.

Nap in chiangmai Hotel

Nap in chiangmai Hotel
Nap in chiangmai Hotel

Not in is a great option close to the night market with a modern, full-featured layout and design.

Guests love the service that they receive here. The location is also very convenient, located right above a 24-hour convenience store and close to the night market.

Nap in has double and twin rooms and is ideal for single travelers or couples.

Best Budget Hotels in Night Bazaar

OYO 673 Nice Sleep Box Hotel

OYO 673 Nice Sleep Box Hotel
OYO 673 Nice Sleep Box Hotel

This small hotel is located in a conveniently central spot. OYO 673 has a unique design because all rooms have been constructed from converted shipping containers.

All rooms have aircon and a flat-screen TV. Some rooms have bunk beds, and these are suitable for families or small groups of friends.

This location is great for bars, restaurants, and shopping, and while it isn’t the quietest place to stay, it is one of the most friendly and central.

Stay Thapae Hostel

Stay Thapae Hostel
Stay Thapae Hostel

This hostel has dormitory only accommodation, for females only and mixed groups.

The beds are incredibly comfortable, and the whole Resort is extremely spick and span. Guests love the convenience of the location, close to the river, and lots of night markets and shopping.

The restaurant is also highly praised, particularly their pizza.

>> MORE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NIGHT BAZAAR AREA <<

5. Suthep – Suburban Area of Chiang Mai

where to stay in chiang mai near airport: Suthep
Suthep

Suthep is a suburban area of Chiang Mai that lies on the West side of town. It is an extremely convenient choice of location for Chiang Mai Airport, which is right on its doorstep. So if you’ll be getting in late or leaving early, then it’s a good place to stay.

To the west of Suthep, you start to climb steeply up the slopes of Doi Suthep Mountain from which the area gets its name. The mountain and city views are excellent and  Suthep is a convenient place to visit Wat Doi Suthep, an iconic temple perched right at the mountain top.

Suthep has some good private villas and houses to rent, so it is an interesting choice for families or people who want to cook for themselves. 

There are also some nice mid-range to higher-end hotels here. Since the area is less built up than the center of the city, these hotels spread out over a wider area and feature gardens and outdoor swimming pools. 

YOU SHOULD STAY IN SUTHEP IF:

  • You’d like to stay a little outside the city center
  • You’re arriving or departing from Chiang Mai Airport
  • You want to be in the foothills of Doi Suthep Mountain
  • You want to rent a private house or villa

WHERE TO STAY IN SUTHEP

Suthep is a suburb of East Chiang Mai that is close to Chiang Mai International Airport. It is a quiet area spread across the slopes of Doi Suthep mountain and is a good choice for travelers who want a calm place to stay and don’t mind traveling into the city center.

Best Luxury Hotels in Suthep 

VC@Suanpaak Boutique Hotel & Service Apartment

VC@Suanpaak Boutique Hotel & Service Apartment
VC@Suanpaak Boutique Hotel & Service Apartment

This boutique hotel and serviced apartment is just a stone’s throw from Chiang Mai International Airport, so if you’re coming or going by air, this is the perfect place to stay.

The hotel has an attractive design with low rise accommodation overlooking a large landscaped garden with a big pond and a bigger swimming pool. Old rooms have large balconies overlooking this area.

There are double and twin luxury rooms to choose from, or if you want to splash out, you could book The superior two-bedroom apartment, which is a full 146 square meters in size.

Reiz – Private Residence

Reiz – Private Residence
Reiz – Private Residence

Here is an interesting option for independently minded upper-mid to high-end visitors. This boutique residence perches on the hillside overlooking the city and if you want to stay in a private and quiet location, then look no further.

Rooms are modern and plush and furnished with exceptional attention to detail. All of the rooms are large and have kitchen facilities. If you want full service, look elsewhere, but if you want somewhere stylish, spacious, and private, groups of two to four guests should give this place a try. 

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Suthep 

Hyde Park Chiang Mai

Hyde Park Chiang Mai
Hyde Park Chiang Mai

Hyde Park is a hugely popular five-story mid-range hotel located between the airport and Chiang Mai city. Despite being a little way out of the center of Chiang Mai, all the sights and activities are just a few minutes away in a quickly booked taxi.

Hyde Park has great facilities for a mid-range hotel, including an indoor pool, a kids pool, a garden area, and a fitness center.

It is a good budget hotel option with elegant modern architecture and extremely friendly staff.

Parc Borough City Resort

Parc Borough City Resort
Parc Borough City Resort

Parc Borough City Resort is an exceptionally comfortable upper-mid-range resort. All accommodation comes in the form of suites, which are equipped like small luxury apartments. You can enjoy the comforts and convenience of a large seating area, a kitchen, a desk, and a spacious living area.

The resort is very close to the Chiang Mai International Airport, so it’s ideal for travelers arriving or leaving by air. There is also a convenient night market nearby.

Guests comment that the staff is helpful and very well-informed in recommending and arranging trips, tours, and activities.

Best Budget Hotels in Suthep 

THE TIPPANET Hotel Chiang Mai (adults only)

THE TIPPANET Hotel Chiang Mai (adults only)
THE TIPPANET Hotel Chiang Mai (adults only)

This hotel is one of the highest-rated places in Thailand for the budget. Guests are almost universal in their praise of The Tippanet, from the extremely comfortable beds and quality showers to the attractive decor that echoes a Northern Thai, Lanna design theme.

Many guests comment that this is the best hotel that they have ever stayed in. Above all, it seems to be the superlative level of staff assistance and friendliness, making this such a popular choice.

The hotel has double rooms and family rooms with two single beds and an extra-large double bed, so it’s suitable for couples and families.

Bike Sleep Repeat Hostel

Bike Sleep Repeat Hostel
Bike Sleep Repeat Hostel

Yes, you’ve guessed, this is a hostel that offers particularly good facilities to cyclists. Bicycles are available for hire, together with information and guidance on the best places to cycle in the Chiang Mai area.

But non-cyclists seem to love this place too. The accommodation is all dorm rooms, and these come in the form of closeable pods so that you can enjoy privacy even in a shared dorm.

Bike Sleep Repeat has all the facilities that backpackers love, like a shared lounge and kitchen, and plenty of storage space. It’s an excellent choice for all kinds of budget travelers, whether they travel on two wheels or not.

>> MORE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SUTHEP AREA <<

6. Nimman Haemin – Northwest Chiang Mai

Staying near Nimman Haemin Chiang mai
Huay Kaew Waterfall

Nimman Haemin is an area in the Northwest part of Chiang Mai that’s given its character by the Chiang Mai Rajabhat University campus. The large student population has led to the area developing a hip and happening vibe. 

There are lots of restaurants, coffee shops, and live music places mainly frequented by local Thais, and this makes it a vibrant and fascinating part of town to explore. 

Nimman Haemin is a great part of Chiang Mai to find shared workspaces and co-working culture. So if you are one of the ever-increasing numbers of digital nomads combining work with travel then you will be in your element here.

There are some nicely-designed mid-range hotels to choose from in Nimman Haemin but not much for budget travelers who might be better off choosing a different area to stay.

This part of town is close to Chiang Mai Zoo and Huay Kaew Waterfall, so these are simple to get to if you choose to stay here in Nimman Haemin.

YOU SHOULD STAY IN NIMMAN HAEMIN IF:

  • You’re looking for a happening area
  • You’re looking for co-working spaces
  • You want a mid-range hotel
  • You want to be close to Chiang Mai Zoo and the University
  • You want to stay a little way out from the town center 

 Where Is The Best Area To Stay In Chiang Mai?

 Where Is The Best Area To Stay In Chiang Mai

The Old City of Chiang Mai forms its central and most famous area, and it is the perfect place from which to begin your explorations of this fascinating city. 

The area is a veritable maze of streets bordered on all four sides by a moat and the remains of the old city walls and fortifications. Since much of the local traffic gets diverted around it, the Old Town forms a comparatively calm heart to Chiang Mai.

There are scores of places to stay here, particularly at the low to mid-price range. You are sure to be able to find a place that meets your needs.

Where Should I Stay In Chiang Mai?

Where Should I Stay In Chiang Mai

To decide on the best place for you to stay in Chiang Mai, you should first ask yourself a couple of questions.
Do you want to be close to sights, infrastructure and to choose from a wide range of accommodation at all price levels? If so, then stay centrally at The Old City, around The Night Bazaar or, by the Riverside.

If you’d prefer to stay somewhere a little less touristy, look at other areas such as the East Chiang Mai, Suthep, or fashionable Nimman Haemin.

Where To Eat In Chiang Mai Old City?

There are so many great places to eat and drink in Chiang Mai’s Old City that it is hard to know where to begin. Here’s just a quick sample of the many tasty treats that await your taste buds. 

You can sample a world of different breakfast options at Chiang Mai Breakfast World. My Secret Café in Town isn’t so secret these days. It is a hip coffee shop and co-working space that is famed for its delicious cakes. 

Or you could try The Vorra Bistro at The Chiang Mai Old Town Hotel, which offers classy international dining. The nearby Canal Restaurant and Bar is a nice Thai restaurant right by the canal-side.

And these just scratch the surface of the wealth of great restaurants and bars that you can find!

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai for First Time Visitors?

I suggest that a first-time visitor to Chiang Mai should base themselves in The Old City or around The Night Bazaar. These are the best areas to soak up the special busy-yet-sleepy charm of this enigmatic city.

If you really don’t want to be anywhere too central or busy, then maybe stay in Nimman Haemin. But be prepared to take taxis and tuk-tuks to get to the major sights.

>>Check Best Hotels in Old City or Night Bazaar or Nimman<<

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai for Backpackers?

There are lots and lots of backpacker-friendly places dotted around all over Chiang Mai, so backpackers can really choose whatever area suits their tastes. Having said that, The Old City and the center of town around the Night Bazaar have the biggest choice of backpacker hostels, dorms, and guesthouses.

These areas are also right in the heart of the city and everything that a backpacker or independent traveler could need is located within easy walking distance. This area is perfect for anyone sticking to a budget.

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai for Honeymoon?

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai for Honeymoon

Chiang Mai is a great choice for a Honeymoon stay. Its relaxed atmosphere and wealth of things to do mean that you can celebrate your marriage in style. You can expect to have a honeymoon that you’ll always remember.

The Riverside area boasts the best views in Chiang Mai. So choosing a hotel on the banks of the Ping is a great idea for newly-weds.

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai Near Night Market?

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai Near Night Market
Chiang Mai Night market Paul Arps

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is justly famous and offers shoppers a jaw-dropping number of stalls selling local handicrafts, fake designer gear, food, furniture, and everything in between.

The market itself spreads out along Changklan Road, and there are many hotels and guesthouses on this road and scattered around its side roads, also known as sois.

These hotels cover a broad spectrum of budgets and traveler requirements from budget to five-star so you’ll have no problem finding good digs just a stone’s throw from all the shopping!

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Nightlife?

The Old City and the center of town around Ta Phrae Road and Changklan Road are the heartbeats of the Chiang Mai nightlife scene. 

You can find a plentiful supply of restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightspots in these central areas. So if you’re a night owl, then you can either stay here or jump on a tuk-tuk or the shared Songtaew taxis and head for the bright lights.

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Family?

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Family

Families traveling together will find great accommodation choices in hotels located all over Chiang Mai. Hotels with family rooms are very common these days.

Families with small children should consider choosing a hotel or guesthouse that is situated on a quiet road or has large grounds. However, even in central Chiang Mai, there are plenty of pedestrianized areas that have hotels that are perfect for families.

My suggestion is that you and your family choose any area you like and then carefully pick a family-friendly hotel in that area.

Best Place To Stay In Chiang Mai For Lantern Festival?

Best Place To Stay In Chiang Mai For Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

The lantern festival in Chiang Mai is known in Thai as Yee Peng. It is held in November every year on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month. The actual date changes from year to year. It is a special time to visit Chiang Mai since you’ll never forget the sight of thousands of flame-filled balloons ascending into the evening sky.

The Old Town is a good place to stay if you plan to be in Chiang Mai during the Yee Peng festival. The Old Town is the center for many of the Yee Peng celebrations and you can watch the annual parade around the old city gate. Plenty is going on, with live music, food and craft markets, and firecrackers and fireworks seemingly everywhere.

Best Place To Stay In Chiang Mai For Loy Krathong?

Loy Kratong is a Thai national festival that takes place in Chiang Mai right after Yee Peng on the 12th full moon in November. It is a charming celebration where Thai people gather at rivers and other bodies of water to float off “Krathongs,” which are small rafts made of leaves, candles, incense, and flowers.

They do this as a good luck offering and the longer the Krathong floats then, apparently, the better the person’s luck will be. I can’t guarantee it will work for you but it’s fun to have a try!

In Chiang Mai, the banks of the Ping River is the place where people gather to release their krathongs.  So the Chiang Mai Riverside area is a great place to stay to witness this event

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai On A Budget?

Chiang Mai is a great choice of location for budget travelers. It is a big city, and there are literally hundreds of places to stay, eat, and drink on a budget. Food is a national obsession in Thailand and Thai people dine out a lot. This means that if you find yourself anywhere in central Chiang Mai, you won’t be far from great, economical places to eat and drink.

The central city locations of The Old City and the Night Bazaar area are perfect for budget travelers since there lots of budget hostels, hotels, and dorms. You will also find local food stalls and markets here offering all manner of tasty budget fare.   

How long should you stay in Chiang Mai?

If Chiang Mai will be your only stop in North Thailand, then try and give it at least three or four days of your time. It is a lovely place.

If you plan to travel around on a longer trip in North Thailand, then you might well come through Chiang Mai on two or three occasions. If that’s the case, staying a few nights each time will give you the deepest appreciation of the charm of the place.

Does Chiang Mai Have A Red Light District?

Like pretty much every town in Thailand, Chiang Mai has a red light district located around several streets in the Night Bazaar area. It features the usual beer bars, go-go bars, and massage parlors. Whether you like it or hate it, you should remember that this is just as much a part of Thai culture as all of the temples and festivals.
Chiang Mai’s bar area isn’t nearly as in-your-face as it is in places such as Pattaya so it is easy to avoid if you choose or visit if you wish.

Is Chiang Mai Expensive?

Chiang Mai can be as economical or as expensive as you want it to be. Many of the local sights are free of charge, and you can stay in super-budget places too. So if you are happy with cheap and cheerful travel and take steps like walking instead of getting tuk-tuks and taxis, then you can keep your costs very low indeed.

However, you can also lord it up at top-quality international hotels and restaurants as your inclination and budget dictate. If money isn’t an object, then you can hire a private car with a driver to see all of the sights and travel in air-con comfort.

But how you choose to experience Chiang Mai is entirely up to you.

What Is Chiang Mai Known For?

Chiang Mai is a fascinating and cosmopolitan city that is the old capital of the Lanna culture of Northern Thailand. The city is packed with history, and old forts, temples, museums. There is a deep Lanna cultural heritage here waiting for you to discover.

From a dining perspective, no visitor should depart without having tried the epic local noodle curry soup, Khao Soi. This sweet, sour, spicy, crunchy, creamy concoction is simply delicious.

If you come here in November, you can experience the city’s world-famous Yee Peng lantern festival.

A great Chiang Mai experience is to travel up the winding road that leads to the top of Doi Suthep. This mountain, which looms over the city, rewards visitors with a beautiful temple and some jaw-dropping views.

Where is Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is located in the Northern part of Thailand, some 650 kilometers from Bangkok. It is the capital of Chiang Mai province and the largest city of the Northern or Lanna region of the country.

Even if you plan to travel to other places in Northern Thailand, you will probably arrive in Chiang Mai first, whether by bus, car, train, or plane. It is the gateway to the North since most forms of transport from other areas of the country, and internationally, seem to arrive here.

How Far Is Chiang Mai From The Beach?

Chiang Mai is in the far North of Thailand and is, therefore, a very long way away from the beach. The closest beach is probably just South of Bangkok, over 750 kilometers away. 

But flights are cheap, and you can easily travel from the beach to Chiang Mai in a day. And many people choose to do just this, combining some quality beach time at one of Thailand’s many beach or island destinations with a journey to Chiang Mai to explore the cultural delights that it has to offer. This mixture of destinations is a great and balanced way to get the most from your visit to Thailand.

What is the best things to do in Chiang Mai?

What is the best things to do in Chiang Mai
Thai cooking classes

Chiang Mai is a great place to study. It is famous for its Thai cooking classes, and you can pick up some super culinary tips and skils here. But if you want to try something a little different, you can also take good meditation classes in Chiang Mai. There are also places where, since you’re here in Thailand, you can learn a little Thai to smooth your travels.Chiang Mai Zoo is a popular tourist spot, and so are the snake shows that you can visit by day trip. Temples like Wat Doi Suthep and Wat Phra Singh are also well worth a visit.

And finally, shoppers will get plenty of joy from the Night Bazaar and the Walking Street market on Sundays.

Best 5 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai

Why not live a little and treat yourselves to some proper quality? Having a little splurge on some top-class accommodation in Chiang Mai will reward you handsomely. A five-star hotel in Chiang Mai will cost a lot less than it would somewhere like Europe, and the facilities are world-class. So here I have chosen two great 5 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai City Centre.

Best Hotels in ChiangMai: Shangri-La Hotel
Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai

Shangri La Hotel, Chiang Mai, almost needs no introduction due to its international reputation. This imposing hotel is set in extensive landscaped gardens around a huge swimming pool. The hotel is located just to the South of the City Center in a quiet area that offers good views of the river and the city. The breakfast buffet is particularly singled out for praise by guests.

They offer a very handy airport pick-up and drop-off service. Guests also highly rate the professionalism and politeness of the hotel staff. The Shangri La offers you all the facilities and luxurious touches that you’d expect from five-star accommodation, and the spa facilities, in particular, receive high praise. It is a great choice for a treat.

best hotels in Chiang Mai: Phra Singh Village
Phra Singh Village

Phra Singh Village is situated right in the center of the Old Town, and it offers a different kind of five-star luxury. It is an intimate hotel with a variety of room types ranging from doubles up to large suites. 

Guests particularly enjoy the free mini-bar and free afternoon tea service. Also, the central location means that all kinds of things to see and do and places to eat, drink, and be merry are right on your doorstep.  

There is an outdoor swimming pool located in a central courtyard, and the hotel also offers a large selection of spa and wellness services. Their massages are particularly popular with guests.

Best 4 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has great hotel options at all prices and levels of facilities. In particular, there are some extremely good value four-star hotels that offer impressive facilities at reasonable rates. Here I have select one of the Best 4 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai Near Night Bazaar and another great choice in a leafy suburb.

Best Hotel in Chiang Mai: dusitD2 Chiang Mai
dusitD2 Chiang Mai

dusitD2 Chiang Mai is the best place to stay if you’re a shopper since it is situated right in the middle of the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. It has a sleekly modern and bright design, and it’s packed with facilities like the swimming pool and the well-appointed Deverana Spa. All rooms come complete with a flat-screen TV and DVD player.

The hotel staff is attentive and helpful, particularly in recommending and arranging trips, tours, and activities.

Eastin Chiang Mai is a good four-star hotel situated on the fashionable Westside of Chiang Mai. The hotel has a clean and modern design.
The huge wall-length windows offer some great views of the city and the mountains behind. Guests rate the Eastin very highly and are particularly impressed by the breakfast buffet and the chic, boutique décor.

best hotels in chiang mai; Eastin Tan
Eastin Tan Hotel Chiang Mai @booking.com

All-in-all the Eastin is one of Chiang Mai’s highest-rated four-star hotels and is a great option if you’d like to base yourself a little way out of the busy center of town. 

Best 3 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is particularly well-served with three-star hotels. There are over 500! I’ll save you the trouble of sifting the hidden gems from all those options and just recommend two of the very best places to stay that offer the best quality stay on a mid-price budget.

Best 3 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai: Chu Hotel

Chu Hotel offers you plenty of bang for your bucks with great facilities for a mid-range hotel. It is a low-rise hotel set in spacious grounds just a stone’s throw away from the Ping River. Rooms are spacious and extremely well-appointed. Guests rate the quality of the bed particularly highly, so you can be sure of a good night’s sleep.
It is a popular choice with families and couples probably because it is a cozy family-run resort.  Despite being on the East Side of the river, the resort is next to a bridge. So it is still a very convenient location for the Night Bazaar, and the main city market is also nearby.

Best 3 Star Hotels In Chiang Mai: Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel

Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel is a very popular boutique hotel with a swimming pool. It is located in the middle of the Old Town and is a smart choice for the budget-conscious traveler who wants to stay in the heart of the city. They offer an airport shuttle service.

Since the location is so central, you can expect some traffic noise during the day, but this goes away at night. There are several room options and you might choose to pay a little more for a room that opens out onto the pool. You should also check out their rooftop bar, which overlooks the city.

Best Chiang Mai Hostels

Since Chiang Mai is extremely popular with independent travelers and backpackers, there are hostels everywhere, particularly in and around the Old Town. So it is easy to find one, but below, I’ve selected a couple of great options that are consistently highly praised by guests.

best Chiang Mai hostel: Amaka Bed and Breakfast

Amaka Bed and Breakfast is a very highly rated hostel in a convenient location just to the North of the Old Town. Guests are particularly impressed with the breakfasts, which come in an impressive number of varieties, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Asian, continental, and American.
The hostel offers family rooms, dorms, suites, and king-sized bedrooms so there is something for everyone. The beds are very comfortable and the quiet side street assures guests of a peaceful night’s sleep.
The hotel is furnished in a chic contemporary continental style, and, as you would expect, there is good quality WiFi throughout. Reception staff will be happy to arrange trips and tours for you

Best Chiang Mai Hostels: Ashi Hostell

Ashi Hostel is located just 300 meters from the iconic Tha Pae Gate so, it really couldn’t be much more central. It is also just a few hundred meters away from shopping heaven in the form of the Night Bazaar.

A nice touch is that the hostel offers guests free bicycle usage, so getting around the center of Chiang Mai couldn’t be simpler. It is a friendly, family-run place and there is a bar area which is a great place to meet other travelers. The modern and clean rooms each feature a bunk bed that sleeps two guests. There is great WiFi throughout. 

CONCLUSION

So, there you go! Now you have all the information you could ever need to help you choose a place to stay in laid-back but action-packed Chiang Mai. If you want five-star luxury, then we’ve got you covered. If budget comfort is your thing, then Chiang Mai also has that in spades. And I’ve given you some great ideas for everything else in between. Thailand’s delightful Northern capital really does have something for everyone. I know that you’re going to love your stay.



About Author

I'm Linda Smith. I'm passionate about traveling and I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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