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Chiang Mai is a city that welcomes every walk of life, although it is more typically known as a digital nomad paradise. It is steeped in history and culture and home to some of the friendliest locals in Thailand. The city also remains very affordable on a western budget with dorms still found for 150 baht per night and local Thai food can cost as little as 30 baht for a full meal. There is also plenty to do during the day and evenings. You will never be bored!
If you happen to be here in November, then you MUST enjoy the local Festival of Lights, Loy Krathong. Otherwise, one of the most popular places to visit is Doi Suthep, the local mountain and temple that overlooks the city. If you can make it up there before sun down, you’ll get an incredible view of Chiang Mai below as the sun sets. There are also waterfalls to visit along the way.
How to Get to Chiang Mai in Thailand
There are many ways to get to Chiang Mai. The most convenient method is to fly and flights can be as cheap as 600 baht from Bangkok. Many international flight operators now fly directly into Chiang Mai as well. Other modes to get here would be the train or the bus, again typically best to come from Bangkok to get here.
Chiang Mai has some very unique ways to get around. There are tuk tuks, songtaews also called red trucks, rickshaws, the public bus and more! All are very affordable with the starting cost beginning at 30 baht. There is also Grab, which is Asia’s Uber, to get from place to place. To learn more about what a tuk tuk or songtaew is, See How to Get Around Chiang Mai for more details.
Where to Eat in Chiang Mai for Dinner
Khao Soi Style Khun Mae // When you come to Chiang Mai to eat, you MUST try the famous Khao Soi. It is a curry soup dish unique to northern Thailand. You will never get the same taste as you do here, so don’t miss out! The best place in town is called Khao Soi Style Khun Mae.
Dash // Another place to try is Dash. This restaurant is always busy and is located in old city. They serve a mix of Thai and Western food, although their western food is superior.
Nana Jungle Cafe // Located south of the old city is a rather new addition called Nana Jungle Cafe. I ate there recently and had the lamb which was divine! It was also very reasonably priced. This restaurants aesthetic makes you feel like you are in a big city like Bangkok, and from 8 pm they have live music nightly.
Chez Marco // An oldie but a goodie is Chez Marco. Chef Marco serves up sublime Mediterranean food and tapas and has a great selection of wine. Located on the famous Loi Kroh Road, you’ll have plenty of people watching opportunities.
David’s Kitchen // This is definitely a break the budget type of place, but it has been voted the best restaurant in Chang Mai many times over. Eat at David’s Kitchen for a 5 star experience.
Things to See in Chiang Mai at Night
Listen to live music // If live music is your thing and meeting some great people, then you’ll want to head to North Gate Jazz Co-op. Here, musicians can walk in and play while the audience enjoys a cool drink hanging out by the moat and ancient city wall. Live music happens every night.
Enjoy a variety of music styles // The other fabulous live music joint is Thapae East, also located near the moat. Music is not limited to style here and each night you can expect to hear sets of different mixes of music.
Go out dancing // If dancing is your thing, then you’ll definitely want to head to Zoe in Yellow, which has been the go to dance spot for over a decade for locals and tourists alike. Dance until they kick you out!
Experience the city’s only late night club // After Zoe shuts, head across the moat to Spicy. It is the city’s only late night night club where you can enjoy drinks and dance until the sun comes up.
Go shopping at the Night Bazaar // For a calmer night out, head to the shopping mecca of the Night Bazaar. It is open nightly and packed with unique souvenirs. Alternatively, if you stay the weekend, there is the Sunday Walking Street and Saturday Walking Street markets as well.
Also check out:
- Sharjah, UAE After 5:00 pm
- Ras Al Khaimah, UAE After 5:00 pm
- Osaka, Japan After 5:00 pm
- Rishikesh, India After 5:00 pm
- George Town, Penang After 5:00 pm
- Istanbul, Turkey After 5:00 pm