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Where to stay in Chiang Mai - Best Areas and Hotels

Where to find the best accommodation and hotels in Chiang Mai whether you are a first time visitor or a seasoned traveller

Where to stay in Chiang Mai - a serene view of the temples during sunset

Chaing Mai is the perfect destination to visit for temples, street food, interesting cafes and the famous night markets. Chiang Mai is a cultural hotspot in Northern Thailand which combines spirituality and fun.

Now that you decided to visit, you are naturally wondering where to stay in Chiang Mai. At first, it may seem confusing to understand where to find the best accommodation and how the city itself is structured. But that's why we did deep research for you, to highlight the best neighbourhoods and the best areas to stay in, especially for tourists.

In this article, we go into great details about the areas to stay in Chiang Mai and give you our recommendations with carefully handpicked hotels to help you with your individual needs and budgets.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai - Best Areas and Hotels - Contents

Tips for finding the best place to stay in Chiang Mai

We believe that most first time visitors should stay in the Old City because that's a great accommodation choice for those who want to be close to Chiang Mai's top touristic points of interest like ancient temples, bustling markets and Thai spas.

Although Chiang Mai is a fairly big city overall, most of the accommodation spots are very centrally located, making it very easy to visit the main touristic spots around. After all, you are visiting Chiang Mai so you can experience all its landmarks and famous areas like the Wat Phra Singh (Gold Temple), the Wat Chiang Man, the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and more.

First-time visitors may prefer to stay in Old City where the history really comes to life around you. You can get lost in the throng of people exploring the many temples and markets while knowing that your accommodation is just walking distance away.

If you want a quieter stay then one of the surrounding areas will offer more local experience and an abundance of nightlife or nature-based options.

The area to stay in Chiang Mai comes down to what kind of a traveller you are: The deeper into the Old City you stay, the more incredible history and architecture you’ll find, but the further you’ll be from hikes and natural adventure.

If you are an explorer at heart, worry not, because there are heaps of great hotel options outside of the city too. The areas surrounding the city are also intact, having repelled the growing cosmopolitan culture of Thailand’s central areas, meaning you can visit local tribes and learn of their traditions first-hand.

It’s worth noting that you should book your accommodation as early as possible if you’re heading to Chiang Mai during a festival period, particularly the November Lantern Festival since it books up incredibly quickly.

In a hurry? Here's our personalised recommendation for the best areas to pick in Chiang Mai based on your interests.

  • Where to stay in Chiang Mai for the first time - Old City
  • Where to stay in Chiang Mai for families: Riverside
  • Where to stay in Chiang Mai for shopping: Night Bazaar
  • Where to stay in Chiang Mai for trendy travellers: Nimman Road
  • Where to stay in Chiang Mai for relaxation: Mountainside
  • Where to stay in Chiang Mai for nightlife: Santitham

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Where to stay in Chiang Mai - Best Areas and Hotels

Where to stay in Chiang Mai - Best Areas and Hotels

Where to stay in Chiang Mai - Best Areas and Hotels

Chiang Mai accommodation area map

For your ease, we created an accommodation map of all the 6 areas in Chiang Mai we are talking about in the article.

Old City - Where to stay in Chiang Mai for the first time

The most popular and best area to stay in Chiang Mai for first-time visitors is the Old Town. This area has everything you imagine when you picture a trip to Thailand, the Old City is packed with temples, markets, and galleries and is surrounded by the remains of a 700-year old fortress - you’re literally walled in with the most historic aspects of the city.

A truly picturesque neighbourhood, the moat forms a perfect square at the heart of the city. There’s a wide range of accommodation here and you’ll have no problem finding somewhere to stay.

The Old City is particularly suited to those looking for budget or mid-range accommodation as it has far fewer up-market or resort-style stays on offer. Ideal for first-time visitors to Chiang Mai who want to be absorbed by the history and bustling life in Thailand.

Here are our carefully selected accommodation options for when you stay in the Old City.

Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel - a wonderful accommodation right in the centre of Old Town Chiang MaiCheck Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel on Booking.com

Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel

Strategically located a stone throw away from Wat Chiang Man and Chang Puak Market, Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel is a fantastic accommodation right in the heard of the Old Town. This 3-star accommodation is a great option for first-time travellers who need a standard room with private bathrooms and facilities on a very decent price.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Vieng Mantra Hotel

This is one of our top accommodation picks in Chiang Mai Old Town.Vieng Mantra Hotel offers boutique accommodation with free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and a restaurant on-site. Important to note that each room is air-conditioned and features a private balcony. No need to bring your own shampoo, as this hotel offers free bathroom amenities for your stay.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Chiangmun Boutique

Indulge in this superb boutique hotel with fantastic reviews from your fellow travellers. Not only every room comes with air-conditioning, TV units, and free toiletries but this is an incredibly affordable hotel in Chaing Mai. Prices start from 14 EUR per night. And yes you get a sparkling clean room, a private bathroom with a shower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Chiang Mai Riverside - Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Families

If you are travelling with your family, you will want to stay in a calmer up-market stay with trendy riverside dining. Just ten minutes outside of the city centre, Riverside feels like a different world offering a laid-back alternative to the busy streets of Old Town, but with fancier, luxurious accommodation options.

With beautiful views of the River Ping and waterside restaurants, bars, and cafes to enjoy, this is the easiest way to have a tranquil up-market holiday in Chiang Mai. Here, the accommodation is luxury-resort style while still being within walking distance of all the attractions and Night Bazaar area.

The Chiang Mai Riverside is by far the best area for those travelling with families who want to be less than 30 minutes walk to the Old Town's hustle and bustle but return to a quiet hotel room with views to remember.

It can feel a little quiet here if you’re used to being in the centre of the action but the Riverside does provide an elegant stay that still very much preserved the Thai charm.

Here are our carefully selected accommodation options for when you stay in the Riverside.

Hetai Boutique House - a fantastic hotel to stay in Riverside Chiang MaiCheck Hetai Boutique House on Booking.com

Hetai Boutique House

Hetai Boutique House is a rustic and quiet property, perfect for travellers visiting with their families. Greatly located close to the Tha Pae Gate, this great hotel offers you all amenities you will need for an excellent visit to Chiang Mai.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Baan Nai Soi Mini Hotel

Modern and clean, this new accommodation by the Riverside is great for tourists who are looking for family rooms. The host is attentive and you will enjoy a traditional breakfast in the morning. Baan Nai Soi Mini Hotel features private bathrooms for your comfort.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Night Bazaar Inn

The Night Bazaar Inn is a great mid-range accommodation for families who want to enjoy the quiet provided by the Riverside but still be close to the Night Bazaar area. Celebrate the bustling night market featuring street-food vendors, local crafts, souvenirs & live music, then withdraw to your quiet and elegant hotel room.

 

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar - Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Shopping

If you’re looking for a never-ending party or a shopping spree during your stay in Thailand, this is one of the liveliest areas in the city. Accommodation in the Night Bazaar is for those tourists who want to be close to the soul of the party, as the Night Bazaar provides exciting evenings full of food, live music and street vendors.

Late-night discos, bars, and of course, the must-visit Night Bazaar are just a handful of the reasons to stay in this area of Chiang Mai. The famed Night Bazaar market in this city is full of delicious street food, souvenirs, and drinks and it is one of the most famous in the whole of Thailand.

It’s also the oldest market, stretched for over a mile, including side streets that are also packed with stands and stalls. It can take several hours to explore the whole market so this will keep you busy for most of your evening, therefore being based in a hotel in this area means you can visit at your leisure.

The neighbourhood is also a great location to stay if you need easy access to both the Old Town and the Riverside area. It gets very crowded at times and has few cultural attractions of its own but provides a great base for a fun evening after a day sight-seeing. Don’t forget to haggle!

Dusit Princess Chiang Mai - a brilliant accommodation located close to the Night Bazaar in Chiang MaiCheck Dusit Princess Chiang Mai on Booking.com

Dusit Princess Chiang Mai

Located right next to the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Dusit Princess Chiang Mai offers spacious rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and great views. This hotel is a more luxurious accommodation option but perfect for travellers who want to enjoy a large outdoor pool and fitness centre during the day, and explore the bustling Night Bazaar at night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Le Meridien Chiang Mai

This is a luxurious 5-star accommodation, so if you want to spoil yourself during your shopping trip in Chiang Mai, this is the right hotel for you. Expect stunning views, quiet rooms and luxury treatment. Le Meridien Chiang Mai is located in the centre of famous night Bazaar so you are literally in the heart of the action.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Nap in chiangmai

Situated a 1-minute walk from Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar, Nap is an affordable hotel room for travellers who want to enjoy modern and clean accommodation, but save a little more for the shopping in the Night Bazaar. All rooms come with a private bathroom and a rain shower to rejuvenate after your night shopping pursuits. 

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Nimman Road - Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Trendy Travellers

For a more sophisticated and modern slice of Thai life, stay in the small Nimman Road area just to the West of the Old City. This is the best accommodation spot for trendy travellers who want an upbeat location in Chiang Mai.

Nimman Road couldn’t be more different from the historical centre, being full of funky boutique stores, shopping malls, fine dining, and a buzzing nightlife scene including some of the city’s biggest and most famous clubs.

Home to The University of Chiang Mai, there’s a youthful and upbeat vibe here which makes for a very exciting stay if you’re a younger person looking to blow off steam and make the most of your nights as well as your days.

Staying in Nimman Road is convenient for those who want to be close to the airport. It can get noisy and does lack some of the old charms which many will be interested in, particularly for first-time visitors to Chiang Mai.

Here are our carefully selected accommodation options for when you stay in Nimman Road.

Peak Nimman Prestige Hotel - a great hotel to stay by Nimman Road in Chiang MaiCheck Peak Nimman Prestige Hotel on Booking.com

Peak Nimman Prestige Hotel

Situated in the famous Nimman Haemin area is the Peak Nimman Prestige Hotel is a great blend of traditional Lanna and modern contemporary designs. While located in a trendy neighbourhood, the hotel offers some Thai tradition to its visitors like special teak and wood-carving furnishings throughout and a signature gong at noon and 6 pm. Did you know this was the traditional way of telling the time?

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Hotel Noir

Hotel Noir is a mid-range hotel which offers free bikes, free private parking and a garden. The interior of the hotel has some Victoriana decor, making it quite fun and trendy, in the context of a traditional Chiang Mai.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Baiyoke Ciao Hotel

For young travellers who want to enjoy a serviced apartment, Baiyoke Ciao is the right aparthotel. You are very closely located to several bars and restaurants, but also have access to your own kitchenette for when you want to save some money.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mountainside - Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Relaxation

The mountainside in Chiang Mai is an ideal location for nature enthusiasts - the real rugged and wild green nature that so abounds in Thailand, more than anywhere else on Earth. The mountainside is a natural paradise for a relaxing getaway, so tranquil and lush, with plenty of natural attractions to visit, including national parks, waterfalls, and dense forest.

There are enough restaurants, cafes, and marts that you won’t be struggling to find a good place to sample the local cuisine, even whilst being slightly removed from the city.

It takes roughly thirty-minutes by car or bus to get to the centre of the city, which is worth bearing in mind if you’d like to spend a lot of time visiting the various attractions the city has to offer.

Staying here is a great way to experience life with the local people - whose culture is so rich in food, fashion, and natural beauty - and to be able to enjoy the perfectly balanced mix of nature and city that makes a holiday in Thailand so special.

Here are our carefully selected accommodation options for when you stay in the Mountainside area.

Baisirimaya Hotel - a gorgeous hotel for your stay in the Mountainside in Chiang MaiCheck Baisirimaya Hotel on Booking.com

Baisirimaya Hotel

Stay at the Baisirimaya Hotel if you wish to have a truly relaxing vacation in Chiang Mai. With gorgeous and spacious rooms, stunning views from your hotel's window and a comprehensive breakfast to satisfy all appetites, this hotel is perfect for the Mountainside area.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Cmor Hotel Chiang Mai by Andacura

Cmor Hotel Chiang Mai by Andacura is a luxury hotel for tourists who want to enjoy an outdoor pool but also have views of the mountains. Expect a large and spacious room and fantastic hospitality from the staff.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Prestige Chiang Mai

Prestige Chiang Mai Hotel is perfect for tourists who want to stay in a modern hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre. Don't forget to enjoy the roof pool with stunning views of the mountain.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Santitham - Where To Stay In Chiang Mai For Nightlife

Known as the party and fun area of Chiang Mai and with a huge student population, Saintitham is in a perfect location to stay if you want to explore the Old City’s historical attractions and enjoy the buzzing nightlife of Nimman.

There’s also a thriving LGBTQ community-based in Santitham and a gay bar and club scene that draws a lot of people to the area. It’s the place to be if you want a more positive and progressive clubbing environment (and who doesn’t?).

You will be located where there's a real café culture here as well, so it’s certainly one of the best areas in the city for simply sitting back with a coffee, reading a book and people-watching.

With an abundance of accommodation options, mostly budget and mid-range, and plenty of local dining options to top it all off, this is a great way to be right in the heart of the action but escape the main throng of tourists in Old City.

If you’re looking to have fun and relax, feel like one of the young locals, and avoid the at-times suffocating touristy areas, Santitham is the perfect area to stay in.

Here are our carefully selected accommodation options for when you stay in the Santitham area.

Home Chiang Mai - a great hotel for the Santitham areaCheck Home Chiang Mai on Booking.com

Home Chiang Mai

You will want to stay in the Home Chiang Mai hotel if you wish to party but come back to a quiet and chill environment. The staff are wonderful and there's an overall relaxed atmosphere which is ideal for when you need to rest before going back out to enjoy the nightlife of the area.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

POR Santitham

POR Santitham is one of our favourite hotels in the area, because of the gorgeous vegetation which is calming and relaxing. Expect plants everywhere, comfortable rooms and a great pool for you to recharge.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

ISTY Hotel

ISTY Hotel is located a short distance from attractions such as Chang Puak Market. While the price tag is very affordable, the hotel offers great amenities including a wonderful swimming pool and well-sized rooms.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Conclusion

Now that you read our complete guide about where to stay in Chiang Mai you are ready to go and enjoy one of the greatest cities in Thailand. We described in detail all the best areas of the city and all the things to keep in mind when picking your accommodation in Chiang Mai. We know that when we visit a new city, it's very important to fully understand the differences in locations as getting the right accommodation can really make the holiday a wonderful experience.

We offered our handpicked hotel options and selected them based on a variety of factors to match the location they are in. All hotels have great reviews from tourists just like you and that's something we truly considered when recommending an establishment. We also took into account the price comparisons to suggest the best for the price, whether you are visiting Chiang Mai for a weekend or a full week.

Still need a little more planning? Check out this Chiang Mai itinerary for even more adventures.

Enjoy your stay in Ching Mai and don't forget to let us know how it went in the comments section below.

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