Where to Stay in Chiang Rai: Best Areas & Hotels

The best areas to stay in Chiang Rai for both first time and returning tourists are around Clock Tower Area, North Sanambin Road, The Riverside, Near Highway 1/Airport, and North Chiang Rai. In this blog post, I will help you to decide where to stay in Chiang rai.

I will describe the city and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of some of the best places for you to stay. This guide will give you some great pointers on how long to stay and what to do while you’re here. It will also help you choose the best accommodation for your specific needs.

In deciding on an area to stay in Chiang Rai, you need to choose whether you would like to stay centrally or out of town. The city center itself is relatively small and compact. Anywhere you choose to stay in a central location like the riverside, or the Clock Tower area, or around Sanarmbin Road will be convenient for shops, restaurants, banks, and infrastructure.

An alternative to staying central is to choose an out-of-town location like the North City, or close to the airport or main highway. These are convenient locations only if you are traveling onwards or have your own car or bike.  So, unless that is the case, then a central area may be the best place to stay in Chiang Rai. 

💖 Best Area:Clock Tower Area
💎 Best luxury hotel:MORA Boutique Hotel
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Le Patta Hotel Chiang Rai
💰 Best budget hotel:SuanTung Coffee & Guesthouse

Where to Stay in Chiang Rai: 5 Best Area to Stay Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is a delightful city in Northern Thailand. The following are my suggestions for the best places to stay in Chaing Rai. Whether you are on a super-tight budget or the sky is the limit, there’s a place here for you. And whether you love to stay at the heart of the action or far from the madding crowd, I have just what you need.

1. Clock Tower Area, Where to Stay in Chiang Rai for First Time Visitors

where to stay in chiang mai: Clock tower
Clock Tower @Paul Arps

The Clock Tower area is the travel center of Chiang Rai. There are scores of hostels, café’s, bars, restaurants, and everything else a traveler could hope to find. 

It has a good budget and mid-range places to stay, and despite all the tourist stuff, it still retains Chiang Rai’s laid-back charm.

Here, you are just a couple of minutes’ walk from the City’s main shopping area and just a few minutes more away from the views of the river. It is an excellent place to stay for independent travelers, particularly those who want to meet like-minded souls.
Chiang Rai is not noted as a party town, but what action there is, happens here.

STAY IN CLOCK TOWER AREA IF you are a first-time visitor; you’re traveling alone; you want a great place to stay for eating and drinking; you want to stay somewhere central; you want to explore the city on foot.


2. North Sanambin Road, Where to Stay in Chiang Rai for Shopping

Sanambin, or airport, Road is the central thoroughfare of Chiang Rai. This road runs south through the middle of town out to the suburbs and the airport.

At the northern end, the road intersects with the Clocktower Area, but as you head a couple of hundred meters south, you will find a great selection of mid-range hotels. Sanambin Road also has lots of shops, banks and travel agencies so there is an extremely convenient and central place to stay.

STAY IN NORTH SANAMBIN ROAD IF you want mid-range accommodation; you want to be close to the center of town; you want shopping nearby; you want restaurants and bars nearby.


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3. The Riverside, Where to Stay in Chiang Rai for Views

where to stay in chiang mai: Chiang Rai riverside
Chiang Rai riverside @Miguel Discart

The Kok River area boasts some of the best views and the best hotels in the city. If you head out to the east or west, you will rapidly come to the countryside. But the central area around Wat Phra Kaew Temple is very convenient for city restaurants, bars, and infrastructure.

You can stroll down the riverside or enjoy the setting from your hotel grounds. If you have the budget, staying beside the river is it is well worth the expense.

 STAY IN THE RIVERSIDE IF you want a great river and mountain view; you are looking for a five-star hotel; you want to be close to temples; you want to stay somewhere central and quiet.


4. Near Highway 1/Airport, Where to Stay in Chiang Rai Near Airport

Highway 1 is the main artery that connects Chiang Mai Province with the rest of Thailand. It runs through the South and East side of Chiang Rai up to the Myanmar border at Mae Sai.

There are lots of hotels located conveniently close to this highway and also to Chiang Mai Mae Fah Luang Airport in the Northeast of the city.

The accommodation in the environs of the highway and airport is largely mid to upper range and you can find some good value hotels that are conveniently placed for exploring Chiang Mai Province and for onward travel. So staying here is a good idea if you want to be close to, but not in, the center of Chiang Mai.

STAY NEAR HIGHWAY 1/AIRPORT IF you want to be away from the tourist center; you have your own transport; you want to be close to the airport.


5. North Chiang Rai, Where to Stay in Chiang Rai Close to Countryside

The bulk of Chiang Rai City lies to the South of the River Kok. But there is a smaller settlement on the north bank, and this area has an interesting selection of hotels and hostels at all price ranges.  It is a good place to choose if you want to be out of the city while still enjoying the convenience of the city center just a 15 or 20-minute walk away.
If you have a bicycle or moped, you can head west into some lovely countryside in just a few minutes. One of the appeals of staying here is how quickly you can free yourself from the city center and get into some of North Thailand’s beautiful hill country. 

So this is a part of Chiang Rai that will appeal to independent travelers and those who like to head a little way off the beaten path. If you’re traveling alone and looking to meet people, maybe somewhere more central will be a better choice.

STAY IN NORTH CHIANG RAI IF you want something a little different; you want to be close to the countryside; you like central, but not too central; you are looking for great value low to mid-range places.


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Best 5 Star Hotels In Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai has a good selection of five-star hotels and resorts. Many of these are in extensive grounds on the banks of the Kok River that runs from east to west through the City. This location provides the most picturesque setting in Chiang Mai. So, if you are looking for a top-quality resort, then you should definitely plan on staying here. Here, I have picked out two of the very best five-star hotels in Chiang Rai for you.

The Riverie by Katathani 

You can probably tell from its name, but this five-star hotel sits right on the banks of the Kok River. The views from the balconies of the rooms look out over Chiang Rai and the surrounding mountains, as well as the river.

If you really want to push the boat out, you could book one of their River View Suites. But, whatever type of room you choose, you will enjoy top-quality service and excellent facilities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, and even a tennis court.

best hotels in chiang Rai:  The Riverie by Katathani  5 star hotel chiang rai
The Riverie by Katathani @booking.com

Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort

The Le Meridian name is a benchmark of hotel quality, and the Le Merdian Chiang Rai Resort offers a perfect example. 

This sumptuous hotel sits in a prime spot right next to the river, so the views are great. The huge gardens feature a large lake and an outdoor pool. The hotel building itself is a modern take on traditional Thai architecture with a characteristic pointed roof.

It is spacious, luxurious, and pretty much all that you would wish for in a five-star resort. It almost goes without saying that guests rave about the food and highly praise the friendly and attentive service.

best hotels in chiang Rai: Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort @booking.com

Best 3 Star Hotels In Chiang Rai

The mid-range hotel supply has grown rapidly in Chiang Rai over the last few years. Central city spaces have been utilized to build compact but extremely well-appointed places to stay. There are also some more expansive choices a little way outside the city center.

Visitors to Chiang Rai can find some exceptional value at this price range. The combination of extreme comfort with a friendly, homey atmosphere makes these mid-range hotels very popular with families. Below I list a couple of the very best.

Sleepy House Chiang Rai

Sleepy House is a Japanese-style boutique hotel rated by guests as superb. It has a delightful home-from-home atmosphere, and guests remark on the care and attention-to-detail that the owner has put into the design. 

There are cat paintings everywhere, and the wood furnishings and cute décor contrast nicely with the clean design.

The hotel enjoys a central spot in the Clock Tower area of Chiang Rai, right in the heart of the city.

There are double and family rooms, some with balcony. And, of course, there is free WiFi throughout.

best hotels in chiang Rai: Sleepy House Chiang Rai
Sleepy House Chiang Rai @booking.com

Pakdara Villa

This mid-range hotel is ls situated a few kilometers south of Chiang Mai City. It is close to Singha Park Chiang Rai and is a great choice of accommodation if you are planning to visit this great family-friendly attraction.

Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast. The ample double or twin rooms all have a private seating area, and facilities include a hairdryer, fridge, everything you’d expect, and a little more. This hotel is the perfect choice for visitors who have their own transport.

best hotels in chiang Rai: pakdara villa 3 star hotel chiang rai thailand
pakdara villa @booking.com

Best Chiang Rai Hostels

Chiang Mai has long been a favorite destination for backpackers and independent travelers. These days it is also a go-to location for digital nomads. Therefore the city has an unusually large number of hostels and budget guesthouses. These are spread out all over Chiang Rai but, to save you trouble, I have picked two of the very best ones. These places receive glowing reviews from travelers and come highly recommended.

Connect Hostel

Connect Hostel is located in the center of Chiang Rai and is convenient for pretty much everything. It has a clean and modern white design. Guests enter a huge communal lounge and dining area with a cool spiral staircase leading to the bedrooms and dorms above. There is also a terrace at the front.

A shared kitchen is another popular facility. A common observation from guests is that the staff are very friendly and helpful. The Hostel also has a tour desk that can arrange activities and onward travel.

It is a great meeting place and very popular with solo travelers, and couples like to stay in the double aircon rooms with a private bathroom.

best hotels in chiang Rai: connect hostel chiang rai thailand
Connect Hostel @booking.com

Baan Mai Kradan Hostel

This central hostel had an ultra-modern design. The frontage is all about metal posts contrasted with wood paneling. It looks great situated in a small garden setting with outdoor seating. 

Guests can choose from private double rooms or family rooms. There are dorms as well that sleep six or eight. And they have triple rooms and quadruple rooms. The hostel caters to everyone!

Guests can choose between a buffet or an a la carte breakfast. There are plenty of facilities, and the hostel even has a table tennis table and a dartboard for the use of guests.

best hotels in chiang Rai: Baan Mai Kradan Hostel Chiang Rai
Baan Mai Kradan Hostel @booking.com

So, there’s my guide to where to stay in Chiang Rai – 5 best areas. By now you will have a good feel for the city. It really is one of the best destinations in Thailand and I hope that you have a wonderful and memorable stay!

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