Chiang Mai guest houses guide

Guesthouses can be boutique alternatives

Guesthouses can be boutique alternatives

The old town lanes of Chiang Mai are ideal for guesthouses and many visitors opt for the down-to-earth character of these rather than hotels. Certainly the budget traveller will be pleased with the large selection of cheap guesthouses in Chiang Mai, but those with more discerning taste can also find upmarket boutique places.

There are numerous guesthouses of varying quality scattered around the Old Town, as well as the leafy lanes closer to the Night Market, or south of the moat. A few are located on the riverfront, and some long-stay or more peaceful places are located out in the suburbs. Rates range from 150 to 800 baht per night, and it’s worth paying a bit more for an atmospheric place. Many of the guesthouses double as a one-stop shop for trekking, tourist services and even offer cooking courses.

Read our tips further down the page on choosing a guesthouse.

The following is a selection of trusted guesthouses in Chiang Mai, grouped by location, price, and gay-friendly. Out of season (May-October) rates drop by as much as 30-40 per cent. Note! In Thai, a soi is a lane.

Choose and book budget hotels and guesthouses here

Chiang Mai guest houses in the Old Town

Julie Guest house: A labyrinthine place popular for its cheap rooms, and bohemian atmosphere. Situated in a quiet section of Chiang Mai's old city. Dorm beds: 80 baht, doubles: 200-350 baht (new and old building); 7/1 soi 5, Phra Pokklao Road, tel: (053) 274 355, email: julie_chiangmai@gmx.net, website: www.julieguesthouse.com.

Chiang Mai White House: Lonely Planet favourite with clean rooms, good security, quiet location and nice garden. Fan room: 350 baht, fan room with cable TV: 400 baht, air con and cable: 500 baht, extra bed: 50 baht; 12 soi 5, Ratchadamnoen Road, tel: (053) 357 130, website: www.chiangmai-whitehouse.com.

Eagle House 2: Centrally located with a good travellers centre, including popular trekking and on-site cooking school, somewhat dated rooms but shady outdoor area. Dorm beds: 100 baht, single fan room: 220 baht, double fan room: 250 baht, triple with fan: 330 baht, aircon: 320-380 baht; 26 Ratwithi Road, tel: (053) 418 494, (053) 210 620, fax: (053) 216 368, email: mail@eaglehouse.com, website: www.eaglehouse.com.

Eagle House 1: Fan rooms: 150-330 baht, aircon rooms: 290-380 baht; 16 Chang Moi Gao Road, Soi (Lane) 3, tel: (053) 874 126, (053) 235 387, email: mail@eaglehouse.com, website: www.eaglehouse.com.

Gaps House: Lovely leafy place in a sprawling antique teak house complex, good mid-budget choice, no advanced bookings, often full. Cooking classes on offer. Aircon rooms: from 370 baht (with breakfast); 3, soi 4, Ratchadamnoen Road, tel: (053) 278 140, 270 143, email: info@gaps-house.com, website: www.gaps-house.com.

Gord ChiangMai: One of the best lodging choices in the heart of the city for its friendly hospitality. They offer airport pick-up/drop-off, complimentary breakfast, daily room clean, free WiFi and bicycles for exploring. Spotless rooms from 990 baht for twin/double to 1,790 baht for a family suite. 29/8 Soi 6, Ratchamanka Road, T. Phra Singh, tel: (053) 280 923, mobile: 081 951 8875, email: happy@gordchiangmai.com, website: www.gordchiangmai.com.

Smile Guest House: Very convenient yet quiet location near Thapae Gate, includes a pool, various styled/priced pokey rooms and has atmosphere, but gets full. Room with a/c (type A): 900 baht, a/c (type B): 700 baht, fan room (type C): 500 baht, fan room (type D): 350 baht. 5 soi 2, Ratchamankha Road, tel: (053) 208 661-2, fax: (053) 208 663, email: smile1@smilehousechiangmai.com, website: www.smilehousechiangmai.com.

Lamchang House: Nice wooden house with small garden restaurant, run by friendly old couple. Fan rooms with shared bathroom: 250 baht; 24 soi 7, Moon Muang Road, tel: (053) 210 586.

Chiang Mai Kristi House: Decent rooms but lacks atmosphere our common area, convenient and quiet location. Aircon rooms: 200-350 baht; 14/2, soi 5, Ratchadamnoen Road, tel: (053) 418 165.

Giant Guesthouse 2: Cheapest in town, dorm beds or rooms, popular with Japanese backpackers. Dorm beds: 120 baht, double fan room with shared bathroom: 180 baht, double with private bathroom: 280 baht; 4 Ratchapakinai Road, tel: (053) 227 338, 087 182 1611, email: giantguesthouse@gmail.com, website: www.giantguesthouse.com.

Safe House: Resembles a small apartment block, popular long-stay venue with all mod cons. Standard room: 550 baht, weekly: 3,300 baht, monthly: 12,100 baht, suite room: 1,200 baht, weekly: 7,200 baht, monthly: 26,400; 178 Ratchaphakhinai Road, tel: (053) 418 955-57, email: info@safehousecourt.comwebsite: www.safehousecourt.com.

RCN Court: Tucked out the way but popular for long-stayers, offering full amenities, a gym and decent sized rooms with cable TV, better value on long stay. Fan room: 280-350 baht, aircon rooms: 500 baht, weekly: 2,500 baht, monthly: 6,300 baht; Soi 7, Moon Muang, tel: (053) 418 280-2, email: booking@rcnguesthouse.com, website: www.rcnguesthouse.com.

Top North Guest House: Located in southeast corner of moat among quaint lanes, a large popular place with great pool area and atmosphere. Single/twin rooms: 400-500 baht, triple: 600 baht; 15 Moon Muang Road, tel: (053) 278 684, email: topnorth@hotmail.com, website: www.topnorthgroup.com.

Britannia Guest HouseIn the heart of a lively backpacker section of town, this apartment block is comfortable with clean and new rooms, a professional staff and cooking classes. Deluxe rooms: 500-700 baht, super deluxe : 600-750 baht, executive rooms: 700-900 baht; 27/3, Moon Muang Soi 9, tel: (053) 418 994, mobile: 085 212 3009.

Minicost Guesthouse: Centrally located, new building with clean comfy rooms and efficient Australian run services, wifi in rooms, bikes for rent, internet café, excellent choice for those expecting comfort levels and can afford a bit more. Rooms: from 600 baht; 19-19/4, Rachadamnoen Road, Thapae Gate, tel: (053) 418 787-8, website: www.minicostcm.com.

Guesthouses east of the Moat

Sarah Guest House Chiang MaiLong running, established guest house offering cheap and convenient accommodation, in the very centre of Chiang Mai. Only 2 mins walk from the Night Bazaar or Tapae Gate. Trekking and cookery courses run from the guest house. Single/twin with fan: 250-300 baht, single/twin aircon: 400/450 baht; 20 Thapae soi 4, tel: (053) 208 271, email: sarahguesthouse@hotmail.com.

Naam Khong Guesthouse: Located beside Thana, Naam Khong is better value, with large, comfortable, quiet and airy rooms, though it lacks atmosphere. However, guests can use Thana's facilities. Fan room: 250 baht, aircon: 350 baht; 27/8 Thapae soi 4, tel: (053) 275 556, email: info@ThanaAdventure.com.

Thana Guesthouse: Israeli house of choice, with signs in Hebrew, Kosher food in the restaurant and good rooms. Aircon rooms: 400 baht, triple: 500 baht, single room in new, adjacent hotel: 700 baht, triple: 1050 baht; 27/8 soi 4, Thapae Road, tel: (053) 279 794, email: info@ThanaAdventure.com, website: www.thanaadventure.com.

Parami Guest House: Charming guest house in an authentic Lanna-Thai teak wooden house which is over a hundred years old and surrounds a private and breath-taking tropical garden. Parami is located in the centre of Chiang Mai, and close to the river. Fan room: from 320 baht, aircon: from 540 Baht; 210-212 Charoenrat Road, Watkate, tel: (053) 266 139, website: www.paramiguesthouse-chiangmai.com.

Galare Guesthouse: First class accommodation on riverfront, with all mod cons and hotel service. Room rate: 1,150 baht; 7/1 soi 2, Charoen Prathet Road, tel. (053) 821 011, (053) 818 887 email: info@galare.com, website: www.galare.com.

River View Lodge: Well appointed rooms in spacious building with pool and lovely garden on riverfront. Room rate: 1,800-2800 baht; 25 soi 4, Charoen Prathet Road, tel: (053) 271 109-10, fax: (053) 279 019, email: riverviewlodgch@gmail.comwebsite: www.riverviewlodgch.com.

Baan Jong Come Guest House: A lovely upmarket place away from the busy streets, but central. Aircon rooms: 350-450 baht; 47 soi 4, Thapae Road, tel: (053) 274 823.

Lai Thai Guest House: Popular place, alongside the moat (so noisy) with restaurant and pool. Plenty of rooms finished in wood but slightly overpriced. Rooms: 650-950 baht; 111/4-5 Kotchasan Road, tel: (053) 206 438, (053) 271 725, email: mail@laithai.com, website: www.laithai.com.

Little Home Guesthouse: Near the Moat in modern Thai-styled building with private balconies. Fan room: 350-400 baht, aircon: 500-600 baht; 1/1 soi 3, Kotchasan Road, tel: (053) 206 939, email: littlehomegh@hotmail.com, website: www.littlehomegh.com.

Upmarket Chiang Mai guesthouses

Rose of Suthep: A pleasant family run homestay near the leafy Wat Umong area, ideal for those staying awhile, or attending courses at CMU. With only three rooms, it’s a private experience away from the backpacker hordes. Room rate: 550-2,000 baht; 143/33, Moo. 10, Tambon Suthep, tel: 085 626 6739 (James), tel: 089 522 7312 (May).

A9 Place: This charming garden apartment comes fully serviced with breathtaking views of Doi Suthep. It is great for both tourists and business travellers being around ten minutes from the town centre and boasting free WiFi. Fan room: 380 baht, aircom: 550 baht; 51 Soi Lanna Hospital, Sukgasem Road, Tambon Patun, tel: (053) 224 288, mobile: 081 611 4576, email: info@a9place.com.

Chanakan MansionThis luxurious guesthouse is found right next to Chiang Mai Interntaional Airport with a great view of the runway and Doi Suthep. Nevertheless it is quiet with swimming pool, air conditioning, cable TV, free WiFi internet, fridges and four poster beds. Room rate: 1,000-2,000 baht; 156/149 Cholprathan Road, tel: (053) 811 705, 089 850 5160.

Doi Luang Private Resort: This is very large holiday home in the foothills of Doi Luang is perfect for a relaxing family vacation amidst the hot springs and waterfalls of this picturesque national park. There are six en suite bedrooms and ten acres of private grounds with an additional separate cottage and acres of land to pitch tents, but within easy access all the entertainment and cultural attractions of the Lanna capital. Weekly rates from 50,000 baht including maid service and free 4x4 rental. Chiang Dao, website: www.chiangmaiholidayhomes.com.

Baan Suay Jan: Luxury family holiday home and villa in Chiang Mai with private swimming pool, park and sports complex. Enjoys the peace and tranquility of a country home yet is ideally located for all amenities and tourist attractions. The lounge, dining and kitchen area leads out through a covered terrace to the swimming pool area where guests can relax during the day and enjoy open fire bbq's under the crystal clear starlit nights. San sai, website: www.chiangmaiholidaylettings.com.

Mountain Guest HouseComfortable guest house not far from the northeast corner of the moat or Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall. Free internet (plus wifi), airport transfer, breakfast, tea and coffee make this a good choice. Self-service laundry facilities and tour booking also available. Day rate: 450 baht, monthly: 4,000-5,500 baht; 11 soi 1, Santisuk T. Changpuak, tel: (053) 406 474, email: mountain.gh@gmail.com.

Baan SabaiActually a resort and spa with a homely feel, certainly upmarket and comfortable with soothing pool and suburban gardens, 10 minutes from Chiang Mai city. Spa and wellness facilities a speciality, under Swiss management. Room Rate: 1,900-10,600 baht (includes breakfast); 219 Moo 9, San Pee Sua, tel: (053) 854 778-9, mobile: 082 762 8310, email: village@bansabaivillage.comreservation@bansabaivillage.com.

Sang Serene HouseA lovely low-rise apartment building out in the leafy suburbs near Doi Suithep mountain, especially ideal for long stays. Rooms are new, comfy and tastefully decorated, with apartments also offered at monthly rates, plus a range of facilities. Room rates: 9,600-20,000 baht (month), 8,400-18,500 baht (2 months), 7,600-17,500 (3 months); 146/20 Moo 1 T. Changpuak (Huay Kaew area), tel: 081 881 8058, email: info@sangserene-house.com.

Club One Seven Chiang Mai (previously River Ping Palace): Lovely, quiet riverside location in old teak house, with creative food and friendly staff, but remote from the city centre. 385/2 Charoen Prathat rd, south near the Sheraton Hotel. Room rate: 1,800-2,400 baht (includes breakfast, free sauna); tel: (053) 274 317, email: chiangmai@cluboneseven.net, website: www.cluboneseven.net.

Pha Thai Guesthouse: A lovely boutique place with surprisingly cheap rooms, and a range of options to suit all comfort levels. Nice gardens, brand new and highly recommended for mature travellers. Room rate: 400-1,200 baht; 48/1 Rachaphakinai Road, tel: (053) 274 075, email: polphathai@yahoo.com, website: www.phathaihouse.com.

Baan Hanibah: Lovely colonnial teak styled place with private home atmosphere, trendy boutique finish and professional management. Quiet, discerning and well placed in a quiet area, with pretty patio garden. Single room: 900 baht, double: 1,450 baht, family: 2,400 baht; 6 soi 8, Moon Muang Road (Old Town), tel: (053) 287 524, email: baanhanibah@gmail.com, website: www.baanhanibah.com.

Galare Guesthouse: First class accommodation on riverfront, with all mod cons and hotel service. Room rate: 1,150 baht; 7/1 soi 2, Charoen Prathet Road, tel: (053) 821 011. email: galare_gh@hotmail.com, website: www.galare.com.

River View Lodge: Retro rooms in spacious building with pool and lovely garden on riverfront. Rates reflect the location rather than comfort of the rooms. Room rate: 1,800-2,800 baht; 25 soi 4, Charoen Prathet Road, tel:(053) 271 109-10, email: riverviewlodgch@gmail.com, website: www.riverviewlodgch.com.

Ping Nakara: This hotel is only five minutes walk from the famous night bazaar and features graceful gingerbread architecture and hand-carved fretwork throughout its nineteen rooms. A welcome retreat for the tired traveller. 135/9 Charoenprathet Road, Changklan, tel: (053) 252 999, email: info@pingnakara.comwebsite: www.pingnakara.com.

Gay friendly guesthouses in Chiang Mai

Seven SunsA friendly and comfortable place, centrally located in the old town with sociable restaurant and nice staff. Room rate: 1,350-1,550 baht; 155 Ratchamanka Road, Prasingh, tel: (053) 814 325, email: info@sevensuns.net.

Sang Serene House: A lovely low-rise apartment building out in the leafy suburbs near Doi Suithep mountain, especially ideal for long stays. Rooms are new, comfy and tastefully decorated, with apartments also offered at monthly rates, plus a range of facilities. Daily: 600-1,500 baht, weekly: 3,800-8,000 baht, monthly: 7,000-17,000 baht; 146/20 Moo 1 T. Changpuak, Huay Kaew, tel: (053) 892 002, email: info@sangserene-house.com.

Santitham GuesthouseA nicely appointed, upmarket guesthouse, Northwest of the moat in a nice quiet suburb, but within walking distance of Kad Suan Kaew mall and conveniently located for biking to the Old Town. Offer massage and food. Standard single/twin: 600/750 baht, deluxe single/twin: 1,750/2,000 baht; 61 Santitham Road, Chang Puak, tel: (053) 406 449, mobile: 081 885 1329, 081 020 3108, email: info@santitham.com.

Soho Bar and Guesthouse: A popular gay venue that also has accommodation in a nice relaxed and friendly environment, if you don’t mind a lively atmosphere. It’s conveniently close to Kad Suan Kaew Mall, near the old town, though on a busy road. Standard rate: 900-1,250 baht, special event: 1,200-1,350 baht; 20/3 Huay Kaew Road, tel: (053) 404 175, mobile: 085 029 8485, (082) 695 9930, email: sohocm@hotmail.com, website: www.sohochiangmai.com.

Tokyo Vender Hotel: Located on the Northwest corner of the moat, this isn’t a guesthouse but a five storey hotel that offers the largest and liveliest gay accomodation in town. Recently refurbished and opened, with the Power Boys caberet and revue bar in the basement, pool, restaurant and friendly atmosphere. Standard room (low season/high season): 700/790 baht, superior: 800/1,150 baht, deluxe: 1,000/1,350 baht; 6 Boonreangrit Road, Sriphom, tel: (053) 211 100/3, email: reservations@lavenderlannahotel.com, website: www.tokyovenderhotel.com.

More on gay listings in Chiang Mai.

Choose and book budget hotels and guesthouses here

Tips for choosing a guesthouse in Chiang Mai

There are plenty of guesthouses in the city and even during the busy season you can find a place to stay by just showing up, although it’s best to book in advance to ensure your stay is a memorable one. Some guesthouses provide a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, while others put little effort in other than providing a cheap place to stay. Taking the time to find a good one will make all the difference to your Chiang Mai stay.

Those arriving by train will undoubtedly be approached by touts at the station and there’s no harm in following them to see the place, but do ‘shop’ around to appreciate the difference between a fun or dull Chiang Mai guesthouse. The nicer ones have a small garden area, well-maintained rooms, and other guests for company. Trekkers will find many guesthouses offering trips to their guests and this is a good way to get to know your trekking company before you decide to set out into the mountains. A good restaurant and common areas also adds to the appeal.

Noise is another factor to seriously consider and is generally inescapable in Thailand. The upmarket places will have seen to it that the environment is peaceful, but in the built-up old town, you never really can tell when an angle-grinder will fire up. The Old Town lanes are peaceful and quiet the further you get away from the Thapae Gate area.

For central convenience, the areas nearer Thapae gate are best, but most guesthouses in Chiang Mai are within walking distance of the sites. There are clusters of backpacker-friendly places in the south-eastern and north-eastern corners of the Old Town, while the windy lanes between the east flank of the moat and the Night Market are leafy and quiet.

About the Author

Andrew Bond is a travel writer who has been living in Thailand and writing about the region for more than 10 years, contributing to numerous local magazines and major web travel brands. He travels around South East Asia by tuk-tuk, bicycle, cyclo, jeepney, taxi, moto, elephant or foot in search of new smells, sounds, sights, and atmosphere. Share your travel bits with him on Google +

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