Where to Stay in Chiang Mai (Local Guide) | 5 TOP Areas!

Statue of a standing monk draped in orange cloth in front of the golden stupa at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a popular accommodation area in Chiang Mai.

Looking for where to stay in Chiang Mai? I’m your gal when it comes to planning a trip to this lovely northern Thailand city! 

I lived in Chiang Mai for more than a year when I started being a digital nomad, and since then I keep coming back to the city every year. During my time here, I got the chance to really know the areas, especially the ones suitable for tourists! 

The best place to stay in Chiang Mai for tourists is the Old City. Here, you will find many cultural things to do and enjoy eclectic markets, restaurants, and cafes!

Read this post to get an overview of the BEST neighborhoods for all types of travelers. 

I also went ahead and compared pretty much all accommodation in the city and hand-picked the ones with the best reviews for you. So you now can choose one that fits your budget in literally a couple of seconds!

My Chiang Mai experience:

  • Duration: about 1,5 years in total (last trip was in )
  • Last trip: Nov 2023 for 1 month
  • Where I stayed: Nimmanhaemin (Nimman)

If you’re in a hurry…

These are the best hotels in the Old Town of Chiang Mai:


Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:


Which area should you choose?

Here is a map of all the areas in Chiang Mai I will be talking about in this post:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with key districts such as the Old City, Nimmanhaemin, Santitham, Night Bazaar, and Riverside, each color-coded and numbered for easy reference.

Here is my list of personalized recommendations, broken down by budget and interests:

  • Top area in Chiang Mai for the first timeOld City
  • Best area in Chiang Mai for shoppingNight Bazaar
  • The trendiest area for nightlifeNimmanhaemin
  • Top place in Chiang Mai for familiesRiverside
  • Best neighborhood to stay on a budgetSantitham

1. Old City – where to stay in Chiang Mai for the first time

The remains of the ancient Wat Chedi Luang with a massive chedi in a state of graceful ruin, standing tall against a blue sky in Chiang Mai's Old City.

This walled neighborhood is the cultural heart of Chiang Mai, and it is the most popular area to stay in Chiang Mai! The Old Town is easily spottable because it’s an (almost) perfect square surrounded by a moat.

The Old Town of Chiang Mai is where most of the attractions are. From temples and museums to countless restaurants and eclectic cafes and markets, there’s always something to see or do. 

Notable attractions include the Tha Phae Gate, Wat Phra Temple, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Chiang. You can buy tickets for them on-site! You can also see the remnants of the ancient Old City walls throughout the neighborhood for free!

A fun thing about Chiang Mai is that the Old Town is actually surrounded by a real moat to this day!

It’s great for walking, especially in markets like the Sunday Walking Street, where you can find local crafts, food and souvenirs! 

The Old Town isn’t all about sightseeing, though! Zoe in Yellow is pretty much the only notable place in town that is open late at night. It is an outdoor bar combined with a disco – worth visiting if you want to dance the night away. 

A collage of three photos of hotels to stay in Old City, Chiang Mai: a modern, spacious bedroom with a large bed and seating area, a social hostel lounge with a wall mural and guests relaxing, and an inviting hotel pool surrounded by traditional Thai architecture and lush greenery.

Luxury (US$120 and up)

  • Tamarind Village Chiang Mai – this fantastic 4-star hotel is a great upscale choice. They offer the most charming suites and have highly-trained therapists on board for heavenly massages and spa treatments.
  • Phra Singh Village – this 4-star hotel in Chiang Mai awaits with friendly staff and amazing facilities such as a fitness center, a spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and the cutest exterior! 

Mid-range (from US$50 – US$120)

  • Jomkitti Boutique Hotel – great value-for-money boutique hotel! They offer free bikes, airport transfer, and have a cute patio where you can work or have breakfast.
  • BED Phrasingh – this 3-star hotel in the Old City offers excellent service for its price! They have free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping, luggage storage, an outdoor pool, and a lovely garden where you can relax.

Budget (up to US$50)

  • Green Sleep Hostel – a beautiful hostel in Chiang Mai with a central location right in the heart of the Old City! It has comfortable rooms, bike rental (yay!), Wi-Fi in your room, and more! 
  • The Common Hostel – a cozy and simple hostel great for backpackers! Choose from bunk beds and enjoy the free Wi-Fi, laundromat, and shared kitchen!

2. Nimman (Nimmanhemin) – trendiest place to stay for nightlife

A charming European-style square with a clock tower, warmly lit bistros, and festoon lighting, giving a cozy ambiance in a modern Chiang Mai community.

Nimmanhaemin (or “Nimman” for short) is my favorite area in Chiang Mai and the place where I lived and stay each time I come back to the city.

Chiang Mai is a trendy and modern neighborhood, popular among young locals, expats and tourists alike. It’s known for its vibrant cafe culture, with numerous coffee shops, chic bars, and a variety of restaurants offering both Thai and international cuisine.

The area is known as “Coffee Street,” so you can expect many cafes! You’ll find a huge number of amazing restaurants as well, including Tong Tem Toh, which serves THE best spicy curries and fried pork small intestine, which sounds weird but people love it!

Nimmanhaemin is named after the city’s oldest family! The area was once home to residential dwellings and a quiet local scene, but now it’s a thriving area full of antique shops, nightlife, and hip cafés!

Shopaholics can have a blast at the MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Center, so this area is great for all interests and it is about 15 min by car from the city center. 

Another relatively newly opened spot is One Nimman – it is just 3 min walking from Maya mall and it is a more hipster place with beautiful decorations and a super nice food court!

And except for all the yummy stuff, this neighborhood is a digital nomad heaven, you’ll see people with laptops everywhere, be it in a nice cafe or in a state of the art coworking.

A collage of three photos of hotels to stay in Nimman (Nimmanhemin), Chiang Mai: the modern exterior of a hotel bathed in sunlight, a whimsical, brightly colored bedroom with a bohemian vibe, and a view of a tranquil hotel pool area with umbrellas

Luxury (US$120 and up)

  • Kantary Hills Hotel – a gorgeous 5-star hotel with modern, cozy rooms, beautiful furniture, and a delicious breakfast served each morning. Plus, you’ll find many cool places and restaurants within walking distance!
  • U Nimman Chiang Mai – one of the highest-rated hotels for couples, U Nimman has it all! 2 swimming pools, a fabulous sun terrace, a fitness center, a sauna, and family suites. Rooms have modern furnishings, and some come with a bathtub overlooking the outdoors!

Mid-range (US$50 – US$120)

  • BED Nimman – a 3-star hotel with a great outdoor swimming pool, a sun deck, free Wi-Fi, a garden, beautiful rooms with air conditioning, and a great location close to restaurants and trendy cafes!
  • Sanae’ Hotel Chiang Mai – amazing 4-star hotel with free Wi-Fi and daily housekeeping. Simple yet clean and spacious rooms with air conditioning, also featuring a pool and a garden.

Budget (up to US$50)

  • Like a Local Apartment – the cutest accommodation with plenty of natural light, family rooms, and a fully-equipped kitchen. An outdoor swimming pool is available too!
  • Arbor’s House – a home with an inner courtyard view, a traditional Thai interior, and hammock beds. The location is walkable yet quiet, perfect for a good night’s sleep.

3. Night Bazaar – best area in Chiang Mai for shopping

A bustling evening street market in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with vendors under colorful umbrellas, vibrant neon signs in Thai script, and a blur of motion from passing scooters

The Night Bazaar is situated close to the Old City and it’s among the best places to stay for unique shopping opportunities!

The Bazaar is mainly known for its handicrafts and portrait paintings. You can also find jewelry, toys, clothing, and all kinds of souvenirs. 

The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar operates every evening, usually starting around 6 pm, and running until midnight, though some vendors may stay open until the early morning.

The night bazaar in Chiang Mai can be visited every single day!

Whatever interests or hobbies you may have, you’ll dig out something to remember your trip by!

All the best restaurants in the area are located on the Loi Kroh Road. Lemongrass Thai Cuisine is an excellent place to grab a bite. The food is AMAZING and portions are huge!!

Luxury (US$150 and up)

  • Chiang Mai Old Town Hotel – a 5-star resort with an outdoor swimming pool, free bikes, and a lovely garden. Various breakfast options are available. Rooms have luxury furnishings and decor. 
  • The Inside House – a couple’s favorite luxury destination in Chiang Mai with stunning fairytale-like architecture and interior. Pool suites are available, too!
A collage of three photos of hotels to stay in Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai: a corner room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of the city, a comfortable twin bedroom with soft lighting and warm tones, and a luxurious hotel lobby with elegant decor and plush seating areas

Mid-range (US$50 – US$150)

  • Rimping Village – the service is on point, and the rooms are spotless! The location is among its best advantages, as it’s within walking distance from the Night Bazaar. 
  • Chedi Home Chiang Mai – this Chiang Mai hotel in the Night Bazaar area has free parking, a great location outside the Old City, an on-site restaurant, and a fitness center.

Budget (up to US$50)

  • Chaiyee Coffee – a lovely hostel in the heart of the district with an on-site restaurant, rooms with AC, and shared bathrooms. You can also play darts and rent a bike.
  • Boonnark Bed Night Bazaar – a cool option right next to the Bazaar! It’s a cozy homestay with a vibrant, local feel, and the owner will give you all kinds of tips and tricks about the area!

4. Riverside – where to stay in Chiang Mai with family

A serene riverside in Chiang Mai, with calm waters reflecting the lush greenery and clear blue skies, epitomizing a peaceful retreat.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, the Chiang Mai Riverside is it!

This area is located right next to the Mae Ping River (you can expect a beautiful view from your hotel window!), and it’s a great choice for laid-back travelers and families.

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival takes place here, at Nawarat Bridge! This is an annual event around November when they release thousands of lanterns in the sky!

You’ll find beautiful streets full of old, authentic charm, a calm atmosphere, and many hotel options! 

Numerous markets are also available (Thailand is full of those!), so you can always shop for fresh produce for the family in case you choose an apartment stay! 

A collage of three photos of hotels to stay in Riverside, Chiang Mai: a serene infinity pool lined with sun loungers and umbrellas, a cozy, well-lit room with a comfortable bed and modern amenities, and an elegant hotel lobby with traditional Thai decor and welcoming staff in cultural attire

Luxury (US$120 and up)

  • Empress Premier Hotel Chiang Mai – a popular choice among tourists with spacious rooms and wooden flooring, 2 pools, and a rooftop terrace! The breakfast has a 4-course menu!
  • Anantara Chiang Mai Resort – one of the best 5-star luxury hotels close to the Ping River! Perfect for laid-back travelers who like to spoil themselves with delicious dining options and swimming during vacation!

Mid-range (US$40 – US$120)

  • The Empress Hotel – this accommodation is decorated in an authentic Thai style and has an excellent location with easy access to all the attractions in the city. They have a sauna, a fitness center, and a nice garden!
  • CHU Hotel Chiangmai – this 3-star hotel in Chiang Mai has different types of rooms, all super nicely decorated, clean, and with air conditioning! They also have free Wi-Fi, housekeeping, complimentary tea and coffee, and a welcome drink!

Budget (up to US$40)

  • Chirin Home – this comfortable hotel has an outdoor pool (pretty fly for a 2-star hotel) and even a terrace and bar! There are also board games on-site, so you can have some fun with the whole family. 
  • Saithong House – a lovely budget stay with 2 on-site restaurants and a relaxing garden. The staff is super friendly and will help accommodate whatever special needs you have!

5. Santitham – where to stay on budget

A striking view of a white and gold ornate temple in Chiang Mai, showcasing intricate architectural details against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

Located just North of the Old City and Nimman, Santitham is a trendy district away from the crowds but still near the main sights and nightlife.

The Siri-Wattana Market (otherwise known as Tha-Nin Market) in Santitham is every foodie’s dream, with all kinds of fresh produce, meats, and tasty street food for days!

You’ll also find the Wat Santitham Temple here, which is a gorgeous hidden gem many people don’t know about, so it’s a lovely place to walk around and enjoy the calm!

The growing popularity of the district has yet to affect the prices, meaning that staying here is more affordable than in the city center. 

A collage of three photos of hotels to stay in Santitham, Chiang Mai: a minimalist bedroom featuring a large bookshelf behind the bed, a tropical pool setting with lush palms, and the white facade of a European-style hotel building with contrasting dark shutters

Luxury (US$70 and up)

Since there’s only one luxury hotel in this area, I recommend you check out my blog post for inspiration about luxury hotels in Chiang Mai and other places in Thailand.

  • Bella Nara Hotel Chiang Mai – as the only luxury option in Santitham, this 5-star hotel is beautiful, clean, and comes with spacious rooms. You can use the pool, the gym, and the sauna to relax after a day of sightseeing. Breakfast is available for a reasonable price.

Mid-range (US$40 – US$70)

  • The Opium Chiang Mai – exceptional value for money in a small tropical oasis in the heart of the district. Rooms either have a modern or a traditional hill tribe decor. A wellness center and an outdoor swimming pool are available on the premises.
  • Glory Boutique Suites – enjoy luxury treatment in Santitham’s boutique hotel for the mid-range price! A rooftop pool, a garden, a private bathroom, and even car rental services are available. 

Budget (up to US$40)

  • POR Santitham Chiang Mai – a 3-star hotel with the most scenic lighting around the swimming pool for ultimate relaxation. They have rooms with garden views. The stay includes various breakfast types.
  • Amaka Bed and Breakfast – ridiculously low-priced and well-kept, Amka B&B is a backpacker’s dream stay! Enjoy mountain views, various types of breakfast, and an indoor play area for all ages! 

Best apartments in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A relaxing bamboo hut balcony with a hanging egg chair, overlooking a breathtaking mountainous landscape at sunset in Chiang Mai.

If you would rather spend your nights in the city in a cozy apartment to feel at home, I got you! I have compared all the TOP apartments and selected 3 fabulous choices!

  • Luxury: The Golden Wells Residence – this 3-star accommodation in Chiang Mai combines luxury treatment with the coziness of having your own space. Top features include a central location near the Night Bazaar, airport transfers, restaurant on-site, yummy breakfast, and more!
  • Mid-range: Glory Boutique Suites Condo – for those looking for a mid-range boutique hotel in Chiang Mai, you’re in luck! This fab apartment is located near the Night Bazaar. Its biggest advantages include a spacious and clean space, free Wi-Fi, and a lovely kitchen! 
  • Budget: The Grand Wipanan Residence – this cozy homestay in Chiang Mai is located in the north of the Old City, really close to the Night Bazaar, the ideal area for young people (and party people as well). They have rooms with city views and an indoor pool.
👑 Luxury price:US$150
💵 Mid-range:US$80
🛏️ Budget:US$40
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:The Inside House
🧳 Mid-range hotel:BED Phrasingh
👛 Best budget hotel:Green Sleep Hostel

BONUS 1: Top mountain side hotels in Chiang Mai

The writer of the post, Yulia Saf, smiling joyfully, seated on a wooden ledge with a faint rainbow in the mist behind her, surrounded by the lush greenery of a Chiang Mai forest.

Northern Thailand is a mountainous region home to numerous national parks and beautiful nature. If you’re staying in Chiang Mai and want a quick weekend getaway, visiting the mountainside is a great idea!

I’ve hand-picked 3 guest-favorite hotels for all budgets so you don’t have to:

  • Luxury: Onsen at Moncham – one of the most iconic luxury hotels in the mountains with themed activities at night. The wooden interior perfectly matches the surroundings and gives off a soothing vibe. Some rooms even have mountain views!
  • Mid-range: Chai Lai Orchid – ideal stay for animal lovers as they keep elephants on the property! You can even feed them from your balcony in the mornings. Serene location with mesmerizing views and an excellent breakfast.
  • Budget: Monoceros Resort – an affordable resort yet packed with amenities, perfect for a peaceful night in the mountains. They have an outdoor swimming pool and can organize free airport shuttles! You can also meditate in the serene tropical garden.

BONUS 2: Unique stays in Chiang Mai

Lush hillside in Chiang Mai blooming with vibrant pink cherry blossoms, complemented by patches of yellow and green foliage, with a quaint wooden hut nestled amongst the vivid colors under a clear blue sky.

If you feel like having a truly authentic Chiang Mai experience, check out the 3 options below, from farm stays to gorgeous villas!

  • Buri Gallery House – a dreamy resort with lush vegetation and an outdoor swimming pool, a library, a garden restaurant serving meals and herbal drinks, and an on-site souvenir shop selling handmade goods from local communities! A uniquely calming hotel that you will leave feeling rejuvenated!
  • Amata Lanna Village – a spectacular resort in traditional style with wooden hand-carved panels, in-suite jacuzzis, and an outdoor pool. Architecture makes this place unique and will make you feel like you’re visiting a 19th-century royal villa in Thailand.
  • Ruanmata Homestay – the most highly-rated homestay option in the very heart of Chiang Mai! Stay in a private home on a budget and have the most authentic Thailand experience by living like a local. The staff is super friendly and will arrange different types of breakfast for you every morning so you can taste all the local dishes!

FAQs about where to stay in Chiang Mai

An inviting outdoor night market scene in Chiang Mai, with a canopy of colorful umbrellas and string lights, communal seating on repurposed colorful barrels, and various food stalls

📍 What is the best part to stay in Chiang Mai?

The Old City! Here, you have the highest concentration of temples, hotels, restaurants, and cafes! Tamarind Village Chiang Mai and Green Sleep Hostel are excellent accommodation options in the Old Town!

📅 How many days are enough in Chiang Mai?

4 days is enough to explore every corner of this city! If you stay in a central location, like the Old City, you’ll find this is more than enough time to explore all the biggest attractions!

🚶‍♀️ Is Chiang Mai a walkable city?

Yes! Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most walkable cities. In case you are visiting places outside Chiang Mai, I recommend renting a car

🖥️ Where do digital nomads stay in Chiang Mai?

Digital nomads usually stay in Nimmanhaemin! It’s a place full of young people and cafés where you can work! BED Nimman is a great adult-only mid-range hotel with amenities suitable for remote workers.

🌞 What are the best months to visit Chiang Mai?

November to February are the best months to visit Chiang Mai! The weather is ideal, and it’s just cool enough, so it feels pleasant to spend time outdoors.

🚶 What is the famous Walking Street in Chiang Mai?

Tha Phae Road, just east of the Old Town’s Tha Phae Gate! It’s the most iconic place to immerse in the local culture and history. Ban Chang Tong is a lovely accommodation beside this street if you want to make the most of your stay!

🤔 Is Chiang Mai or Bangkok better?

Both cities are worth the stop! Bangkok is among the most vibrant cities in the world with crazy nightlife, while Chiang Mai is a great place to get to know the true Thailand. Bangkok naturally has a more diverse accommodation offer (check the best deals here).

❓ Should I stay in Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai?

It depends on your travel preferences! Chiang Rai has a more low-key ambiance and is better suited for travelers seeking peace and relaxation. Chiang Mai offers more possibilities for sightseeing.

🚕 How much is the taxi from Chiang Mai Airport to the City Center?

Most of the 3 taxi companies will charge from US$4 to US$6 per ride from the airport to the city center. The exact price can vary depending on the specific location. Note that Uber doesn’t operate in the city. They do have Bolt and Grab, though!

Conclusion

The writer of the post, Yulia Saf, holding flowers stands in front of a richly decorated float featuring traditional Thai figures, participating in a night parade, with the ambient glow

This was my ULTIMATE guide on where to stay in Chiang Mai! I have described 5 top areas in the city, followed by hotel recommendations for each. 

I hope my insights helped you find the best place to stay in this picturesque city! 

In case you are still indecisive, here are my top 2 choices:

  • The Inside House – a 5-star resort featuring incredible suites with private pools and a dreamy yard in the center of all the action
  • Sanae’ Hotel Chiang Mai – a fantastic 4-star hotel with spacious rooms (with a view!) less than 10 minutes from the city’s temples

Chiang Mai is a beautiful destination travelers visit throughout the year, so booking in advance will make your life easier! 

For extra help when planning your vacation, I recommend my adventurous things to do in Chiang Mai post! You can also find all my articles about Thailand here for even more inspiration!

As usual, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below, and if you have any other suggestions, let me know!

Enjoy Thailand!

Yulia


Pin it for later!

chiang mai hotels

Pin it for later!

chiang mai hotels

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this page might be affiliate links, which means that at absolutely no extra cost for you we will earn a small commission for a sale generated through the website. We only recommend the things we actually use ourselves and never accept useless sponsored crap. Thank you so much for supporting this project!

6 Comments

  1. Seeta 30.10.2023 at 16:47
    • Yulia Saf 31.10.2023 at 04:51
  2. Mike 10.10.2022 at 14:07
    • Yulia 11.10.2022 at 08:28
  3. Henry P 04.03.2021 at 01:11
    • Yulia MissTourist 07.03.2021 at 15:44

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow @misstourist on Instagram!