Chiang Mai Hospitality Guide

Leisure and entertainment are two certain priorities among the people of Chiang Mai. Thailand’s northern capital is a tourist town, but it is also home to 300,000 people, many of whom prefer a laid-back lifestyle focused on meeting and eating with friends, enjoying nature, taking it easy and partying with visitors.

Without losing its ancient charm, Chiang Mai has provided a myriad of simple entertainment options for its visitors and locals. This isn’t Las Vegas, but rather a quaint town comprising numerous restaurants and bars, and a number of discos, movie houses, bowling alleys, cultural shows, museums and nature activities. In recent years, the accommodation options have gone upmarket with the opening of several five-star hotels and luxury boutique guest lodges. Budget travellers will also find the charming guesthouses in the old town particularly good value.

Bars and Nightlife

Join the locals in perpetual enjoyment mode, be it a beer garden, trendy spot, sports bar, karaoke lounge, girlie bar, upmarket saloon, thumping disco or music venue; try these ones…more

Gay and Lesbian

Feel comfortable and welcome among Chiang Mai’s warm gay community and its network of venues, gay-friendly services and facilities, and meeting places; don’t miss out…more


Cheap cheap or cosy and convenient, Chiang Mai is packed with choices; most offer trekking, travel services and a great backpacker atmosphere; here are our favourites…more


From five star luxury at affordable prices, to exclusive boutique lodges, modest family hotels and sprawling resorts, Chiang Mai has a surprisingly large choice…more


Select from an astonishing choice of restaurants and cafes, from romantic riverside hideaways to posh international cuisine and atmospheric al fresco venues…more


Chiang Mai is Thailand’s spa capital, with dozens of choices for pampering and relaxation, providing the best value for money in the Kingdom – treat yourself in one; here’s where…more

We suggest treating yourself while here since you can enjoy a truly luxury experience at affordable rates. Try a breakfast on the terrace at the Dhara Dhevi, lunch at the Four Seasons, high tea at the Anantara Resort, cocktails at the trendy dusitD2 or dinner at the elegant Shangri La.

Enjoy an evening of live music as you tuck into an abundant spread of Thai curries and snacks at the popular riverside restaurants, or catch a bite to eat at a small noodle shop down a quiet lane. Afterwards, head to the lively bars on Moon Muang road or go shopping at the Night Market. For a taste of the local scene, head over to the Nimmanhemin area (west of town) to hang out with the students in their trendy bars.

The great advantage of entertainment in Chiang Mai is that’s all in close proximity of the hotels, where you can simply stroll from one laid-back bar to another down small Old Town lanes, free of the bustle of other popular tourist centres and intense traffic. What’s more, it’s one of the cheapest tourist centres in Thailand – from haute cuisine to tapas and street side Pad Thai served on a banana leaf, everyone’s budget and taste is surprisingly well covered.

One unique way to absorb the classic Northern culture is to attend a Khantoke Dinner. Exclusive to Chiang Mai, they are enchanting evenings of Thai cultural dance and music, with Northern specialities enjoyed at lap level, all within a stunning traditional giant teak pavilion.

Choose from a range of luxurious hotels to suit all budgets and tastes, or opt for a simple guesthouse tucked away out of sight in the Old Town. Outside of Chiang Mai are several excellent resorts and spas set among tropical jungle or rice paddies. We’ve line up the web’s biggest room booker,, for an instant search. Dozens of cheap guesthouses are also listed.

Further reading…