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First Time in Chiang Mai: Where Should I Stay?

Where Should I Book My Hotel In Chiang Mai?

Whether you’re visiting Chiang Mai on a round-the-world trip, coming with your family, or just making it part of your holiday to Thailand, choosing the right hotel in the right area can make or break your stay. Fortunately, we have made an easy to follow guide so you can choose the right spot to cater to your type of holiday.

Most visitors to the northern capital opt to stay in one of the main central areas; these include the Old City, Riverside and Night Bazaar – each of which offers its own distinct atmosphere (although there are dozens of great places to stay outside the city in the countryside too). We’ve broken down each of these areas, giving you the pros and cons, whilst serving up a selection of all the best hotels.

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Should I book my hotel in Chiang Mai Old City?

Chiang Mai Old City: How to decide...

One glance at a map and it’s easy to spot Chiang Mai’s Old City quarter, with its crumbling 700-year-old fortress wall and pretty moat forming a perfect square right in the heart of the city. This historical centre contains much of what people come to Chiang Mai for: ancient temples, bustling markets, cheap guesthouses, cute boutiques and a never-ending supply of spas and Thai massage shops. The most popular place here is around Tha Pae Gate on the western side of the city, and this spot has the best access out to the highway circling the city too.

Overview:
Transport:
 
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Who is it For:
  • Travellers on a budget and backpackers
  • Families
  • Anybody wanting to be in the centre of Chiang Mai and close to the action
 
What's Good:
  • Huge range of cheap guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, bars, markets, spas – you name it, it’s here
  • Easy access to most parts of the city
  • Many temples, museums and galleries
What's not so good:
  • The roads around the moat often see traffic jams during rush hour
  • Most commercialised area of the city
  • Hardly any large resort-style accommodation
  • 10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai Old City

    10 Best Hotels in Old City

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  • Chiang Mai Old City Hotels

    Chiang Mai Old City Hotels

    The old city features the remains of the city wall and lots of small lanes to wander around. Staying here gives you Read More»

  • See the Hotels People Like Best in Old City

    How to find the right hotel for you in Chiang Mai Old City is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction Read More»

Should I book my hotel in Chiang Mai Riverside?

Chiang Mai Riverside: How to decide...

If you like a good view a slice of tranquility with your hotel, then Chiang Mai’s Riverside might just be for you. Located slightly outside the main city centre (about 10 minutes’ drive) the Ping River boasts a far more laidback vibe compared to the Old City or Night Bazaar areas, yet still enjoys plenty of great waterside restaurants, bars and cafes. Although there are some cheap stays around here to be had, most of Chiang Mai’s Riverside hotels are more towards the luxury-resort side of things – but don’t forget that this is Thailand, and luxury doesn’t always mean expensive.

Overview:
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Who is it For:
  • Families looking for more spacious resorts
  • Older guests with a little more cash to splash on a high end room
  • Anyone looking for a relaxed, picturesque vacation
 
What's Good:
  • Good choice of inexpensive luxury resorts and hotels
  • Pretty views up the River Ping
  • Decent access to the highway, which links to the airport, bus and train stations
  • Lots of picturesque riverside restaurants
What's not so good:
  • Can feel like you’re missing out on the city’s main action
  • Limited in the way of shopping and nightlife
  • Few budget options
  • 10 Best Chiang Mai Riverside Hotels

    10 Best Chiang Mai Riverside Hotels

    A stay on the Riverside in Chiang Mai is all about relaxation, and the finest hotels and resorts strive to provide the Read More»

  • All Chiang Mai Riverside Hotels

    Chiang Mai Riverside Hotels

    Many of the older hotels are located close to and along the Ping River. Chiang Mai night bazaar - an ever expanding Read More»

  • See the Hotels People Like Best in Chiang Mai Riverside

    How to find the right hotel for you in Chiang Mai Riverside is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction Read More»

Should I book my hotel in Chiang Mai Night Bazaar?

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar: How to decide...

Situated a little outside the Old City, Chiang Mai's lively 'Night Bazaar' area is the place to stay for shoppers, being home to the city’s largest night market which runs daily. The nightlife scene in these parts – whilst not as hip and happening as across town at Niman – draws in a steady crowd, with plenty of foreigner friendly beer bars, as well as some naughty late night disco and go-gos around LoiKhroh Road. Accommodation wise, the choice is as eclectic as the souvenirs on sale at the bazaar itself: think everything from budget guesthouses to big-name luxury resorts which tower over the northern capital.

Overview:
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Who is it For:
  • Shoppers
  • Those wanting to be located between Chiang Mai’s Riverside and Old City areas
  • Families and large groups
 
What's Good:
  • The night bazaar is a Chiang Mai 'must do'
  • Easy to reach both the Riverside and Old City
  • Lots of fun beer bars, most of which stay on the cleaner side of things
  • A few late night discos and clubs are good for Chiang Mai's night owls
What's not so good:
  • Not many cultural attractions
  • Crowded
  • 10 Best Hotels in Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

    10 Best Hotels in Night Bazaar

    Booking a hotel in the Night Bazaar area of Chiang Mai offers the ultimate in convenience. Shops, restaurants, spas, Read More»

  • Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Hotels

    Night Bazaar Hotels

    Lively to the point of chaotic, the Night Bazaar area attracts enthusiastic shoppers and bar-hoppers alike. You will Read More»

  • See the Hotels People Like Best in Night Bazaar

    How to find the right hotel for you in Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is now easy: See which hotels have the highest Read More»

Should I book my hotel in Nimman Road

Nimman Road: How to decide…

To the west of Old City, just north of the airport, Nimman Road has become the trendy and modern part of this historical city. With the university in this area, the place naturally has a young and lively atmosphere, with plenty of affordable shopping, dining and nightlife. Unlike Night Bazaar, the shopping scene features malls and trendy boutiques instead of markets. The nightlife scene is also a lot more sophisticated. Hotels here are mostly clean, modern buildings and excellent value for money.

Overview:
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Who is it For:
  • Trendy young travellers
  • People who want to party
  • People who like shopping for unique new designs
 
What's Good:
  • Excellent boutique shopping
  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Convenient for the airport
  • Great value for money
What's not so good:
  • Few cultural attractions
  • Traffic can be very slow
  • Can get noisy next to the airport
  • 10 Best Hotels in Nimman

    Hotels on Nimman Road tend to steer away from the cheap backpacker stays that the city is so famous for, offering Read More»

  • Chiang Mai Ninman Hemin Hotels

    Nimmanhemin Hotels

    Hotels in Nimmanhemin are located around one of the coolest districts in Chiang Mai where you will find plenty of lively Read More»

  • Nimman Road (Nimmanhaemin)

    Nimmanhaemin Road, as well as the surrounding area that’s normally just called ‘Nimman’ – is by far the coolest Read More»

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