Where to stay in Chiang Mai: best areas guide

written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 19.02.2024

Discovering Chiang Mai's treasures begins with strategically choosing a place to stay. Read our in-depth guide on where to stay in Chiang Mai to find the best neighbourhoods and accommodation options to suit your tastes and preferences.

Which place is the best to stay in Chiang Mai?

When deciding where to stay in Chiang Mai, your choice of location can greatly enhance your experience. For history and culture buffs, the Old Town, surrounded by ancient walls and moats, offers a deep dive into the region's rich heritage. 

If you lean towards modern charm, Nimmanhaemin Road, known for its trendy cafes, art scene and youthful atmosphere, is the place to go. 

Looking for tranquillity? Chiang Mai's Riverside neighbourhood offers serene views and peaceful seclusion, while North Mae Rim offers lush greenery and outdoor adventure. 

Combining traditional serenity with modern amenities, each area of Chiang Mai brings its unique flavour, ensuring your stay — whether relaxing or exploratory — will be simply unforgettable.

While planning your trip, check out our guide to the best things to do in Chiang Mai.

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Shutterstock

Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand. © Shutterstock

Old City: best area for first-time visitors

Surrounded by ancient walls and moats, the Old City is the perfect place for first-time visitors to Chiang Mai. It is home to famous temples such as Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh, offering a rich cultural experience.

The neighbourhood's walkable streets are filled with markets, quaint cafes and local eateries, making it a convenient and picturesque base from which to explore Chiang Mai's history and culture.

Where to stay in the Old City:

  • Aksara Heritage: Well set in Chiang Mai, Aksara Heritage -SHA Extra Plus provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, free private parking and room service.
  • Vieng Mantra Hotel: Vieng Mantra Hotel offers boutique accommodation in Chiang Mai, a 5-minute walk to Thapae Gate. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and a restaurant.
  • Villa Thai Orchid: Villa Thai Orchid (adult only), a property with a garden, is located in Chiang Mai, 300 metres from Chedi Luang Temple, 700 metres from Chiang Mai Gate, as well as 1.2 km from Wat Phra Singh.

Check out more accommodation options in the Old City.

Traditional Hmong hill tribe building exterior, Chiang Mai province, Thailand © Shutterstock

Traditional Hmong hill tribe building exterior, Chiang Mai province, Thailand © Shutterstock

Nimmanhaemin: where to stay in Chiang Mai for nightlife

Nimmanhaemin, often referred to as "Nimman", is the trendy heart of Chiang Mai's nightlife and cafes. Hip bars, live music venues, trendy boutiques and many restaurants are centred here. 

This neighbourhood attracts a lively crowd, especially in the evenings, making it an ideal destination for those who enjoy vibrant nightlife and a modern urban vibe.

Where to stay in the Nimmanhaemin:

  • Hotel Sensai Nimman Chiang Mai: Set in Chiang Mai, 1.6 km from Wat Phra Singh, Hotel Sensai Nimman Chiang Mai offers accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a restaurant and a bar.
  • Verbena Chiangmai: Verbena Chiangmai offers accommodation with a garden, free private parking and a terrace.
  • The Craft Nimman: Every room at this hotel is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some rooms feature views of the mountain or city.

Find more accommodation options in Nimmanhaemin.

Night Bazaar: best place for shopping & street food

Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, the Night Bazaar district is a shopper's and food lover's paradise. Every evening, the streets come alive with endless stalls selling handicrafts, clothes and souvenirs. 

The area is also renowned for its delicious street food, offering a wide range of Thai and international dishes, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to indulge in shopping and gastronomic delights.

Where to stay near the Night Bazaar:

  • Nap in Chiangmai: Situated a 1-minute walk from Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar, Nap in Chiangmai offers modern rooms and free WiFi throughout. There is a 24-hour convenience store on-site and the Sunday Walking Street is an 8-minute drive away.
  • Ama's House Luxury Boutique Hotel: Located 300 metres from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Ama's House Luxury Boutique Hotel provides accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness centre and a bar.
  • Melia Chiang Mai: Set 400 metres from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Melia Chiang Mai offers accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness centre and a restaurant.

Check out more accommodation options near the Night Bazaar.

Chiang Mai food © Shutterstock

Chiang Mai food © Shutterstock

Riverside: where to stay in Chiang Mai for families & luxury

Chiang Mai's Riverside district, with its tranquil location along the Ping River, is ideal for families and those seeking luxury. The upscale hotels and boutiques offer stunning river views and a tranquil atmosphere. 

It's a little quieter than the city centre, but still close enough to enjoy the sights of Chiang Mai. The area is also known for fine dining restaurants and picturesque riverside cafes.

Where to stay in Riverside:

  • Rimping Village: A 10-minute walk from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and Wat Gate Temple, Rimping Village offers comfortable accommodation with free Wi-Fi and free parking. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace, and a tour desk.
  • Hongkhao Village: Hongkhao Villa offers a Lanna-style boutique resort close to the Mae Ping River. With its hotel name translating to 'white swan' the property features different tones of white and genuine teak furnishings.
  • Maladee Rendezvous Hotel Chiang Mai: Located less than 1 km from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Maladee Rendezvous Hotel provides accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness centre and a terrace.

Find more accommodation options in Riverside.

Santitham: the best area to stay on a budget

Santitham, just north of the Old Town, is a hidden gem for budget travellers. It is a less touristy neighbourhood offering a more authentic local experience with affordable accommodation options ranging from guesthouses to budget hotels. 

The area boasts a variety of cheap eateries and local markets, making it an ideal destination for travellers looking to experience Chiang Mai without breaking the bank.

Looking for a budget-friendly destination? Read our guide to the best budget destinations around the world.

Inthanon Temple Chiang Mai © Shutterstock

Inthanon Temple Chiang Mai © Shutterstock

Mae Rim: a green area close to Chiang Mai

Mae Rim is a tranquil, green neighbourhood located within Chiang Mai city. Known for its lush landscapes and cool climate, it is a great destination for nature lovers. 

Activities in Mae Rim include waterfalls, Mae Sa Elephant Camp and botanical gardens. Accommodation here is more resort-like, ideal for those seeking tranquillity and natural beauty near Chiang Mai.

Where to stay in Mae Rim:

  • Sukantara Cascade Resort and Spa: Sukantara Cascade Resort and Spa is located 1 km from Tard Mok Waterfall. It offers air-conditioned cottages with a balcony and features a spa, pool and tour desk.
  • Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort: Located high up in the hills and surrounded by tropical greenery, Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort offers an outdoor swimming pool, a luxurious spa and a restaurant with stunning views.
  • Country Retreat: Situated in the sleepy farming village of Huai Sai in Mae Rim, Country Retreat offers bungalows and an outdoor pool. It is 20 km from the centre of Chiang Mai city and free WiFi is available throughout.

Find more accommodation options in Mae Rim.

Types of accommodation in Chiang Mai

Charming Chiang Mai has a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveller's preference. 

That's the case whether you're drawn to the luxury of hotels, the eco appeal of lodges, the opulence of resorts, the convenience of serviced apartments, the homeliness of guesthouses, or the budget-friendly vibe of hostels.

Hotels

Chiang Mai's hotels are a haven of comfort and luxury, combining the elegance of Thai design with modern amenities. Expect spacious rooms, fine dining options, and lush gardens or pool areas. 

Personalised services such as spa treatments, guided tours, and concierge assistance can also enhance your stay, making it a top choice for those who seek a blend of luxury, comfort, and cultural immersion in the heart of Thailand.

Our selection of the best hotels in Chiang Mai:

  • Pingviman Hotel: Boasting an outdoor pool, Pingviman Hotel offers Thai-style rooms in Chiang Mai. Facilities at this hotel include a business centre, fitness and laundry services. There is also a tour desk and business facilities.
  • El Barrio Lanna: Ideally set in the centre of Chiang Mai, El Barrio Lanna features air-conditioned rooms, free private parking and room service. Each accommodation at the 4-star hotel has city views, and guests can enjoy access to an outdoor swimming pool and to a restaurant.
  • Phor Liang Meun Terracotta Arts: Set 100 metres from Chiang Mai Gate, Phor Liang Meun Terracotta Arts offers accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a restaurant.

Resorts

Resorts in Chiang Mai are synonymous with luxury, set against a backdrop of lush countryside or riverside. They offer many amenities such as infinity pools, spa services and gourmet restaurants. 

Many resorts also offer cultural activities such as Thai cooking classes and yoga classes, making them the perfect combination of relaxation, luxury and cultural enrichment.

Our selection of the best resorts in Chiang Mai:

  • Viangluang Resort: Viangluang Resort features an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, a terrace and a restaurant in Chiang Mai. Conveniently set in the Phra Sing district, this resort features a bar, as well as a hot tub.
  • Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort: Conveniently located not far from Chiang Mai Old Town, Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort offers spacious rooms fitted with wooden furniture. The outdoor swimming pool is perfectly designed for indulgent relaxation. 
  • RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort: Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort boasts well-appointed rooms and beautiful views of Chiang Mai’s Mae Ping River. It features 3 dining options, a spa, and an infinity pool.

Hostels

Hostels in Chiang Mai are aimed at backpackers and budget travellers, and offer not only a place to stay but also a chance to socialise and meet fellow travellers. Hostels have everything from regular dorm-style rooms to private rooms with amenities. 

Common areas, shared kitchens and organised activities such as group excursions or cooking workshops contribute to a community atmosphere, making hostels a vibrant and economical choice for young travellers and those looking to make new friends.

Our selection of the best hostels in Chiang Mai:

  • Green Sleep Hostel: Well situated in the centre of Chiang Mai, Green Sleep Hostel offers air-conditioned rooms, a shared lounge and free WiFi.
  • Sherloft Home & Hostel: Located in a convenient area of Chiang Mai Old City, Sherloft Home & Hostel offers accommodation set within walking distance to several famous areas, restaurants and massage parlours.
  • Hostel One Art and Gallery: This property is situated a short distance from attractions such as Three Kings Monument, Chang Puak Market, and Chang Puak Gate. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen, a shared lounge and organising tours for guests.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses in Chiang Mai provide a more intimate and authentic experience. Often family-run, these establishments offer a glimpse into the local way of life. 

Rooms are typically comfortable and adorned with Thai decor, and the owners often go out of their way to make guests feel welcome, offering insights into local attractions and Thai culture. 

This type of accommodation is perfect for travellers seeking a personal touch and a homely atmosphere.

Our selection of the best guesthouses in Chiang Mai:

  • Kittawan Home&Gallery: Featuring a garden, Kittawan Home&Gallery is a sustainable guest house located in Chiang Mai, 1.8 km from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
  • All in 1 Guesthouse: Just a 5-minute walk from Thapae Gate and Chiang Mai’s Sunday Market, All in 1 Guesthouse offers comfortable guest rooms with en suite bathrooms and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
  • Inn Oon Villa: Located in the city centre and just 400 metres from Chedi Luang Temple, Inn Oon Chiang Mai Home offers cosy accommodation. It is only 700 metres from Chiang Mai's famous Sunday Walking Street and Wat Phra Singh.
Wat phra that doi suthep temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand © Shutterstock

Wat phra that doi suthep temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand © Shutterstock

Planning your trip to Chiang Mai

Want to skip the hours it takes to plan a trip? Our tailor-made trip service allows you to enjoy Chiang Mai without the hassle of planning. 

All our itineraries are created by local Thailand travel experts and can be tailored to your specific needs. We take care of all the details — from where to stay in Chiang Mai, to how to get there.

  • Chiang Mai Sustainable Trails (5 days): Chiang Mai offers a break from the humidity of Bangkok. Considered the country's cultural heart, visitors come here for nature, beautiful Lanna-style temples, museums and the infamous night bazaar.
  • Chiang Mai Safari Adventure (5 days): The perfect trip for some family fun and adventure, lovely Chiang Mai with its lush valleys and national parks ticks all the boxes. Expect majestic cliff-top temples, sprawling national parks and exciting safari adventures.
  • Unique Thailand (12 days): Discover the hidden treasures of Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. A unique multi-centre trip around Thailand, this is the perfect package for those seeking adventure, culture and an off-the-beaten-track experience.

Browse more Thailand itineraries.

Olga Sitnitsa

written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 19.02.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Ready to travel and discover
Thailand?

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍