• Planning your trip to Chiang Mai? This article helps you to decide where to stay in Chiang Mai, for both the city center and countryside of Chiang Mai.
  • Most tourist consider Chiang Mai’s Old City as the best place to stay in Chiang Mai because it’s very close to most of Chiang Mai’s tourist attractions e.g. centuries old Buddhist temples, lively night market, cafes, etc.
  • But most of Chiang Mai’s charm lies in its marvelous countryside and rural area destinations that you must include them in your Chiang Mai’s travel itinerary.
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Where you stay in Chiang Mai can make a big difference to your trip! Choosing the right place to stay is key for a great trip and can significantly enhance your travel experience.

For most tourists especially the first-time visitors, or those with a short stay, staying in the city center is a common choice. This is because it’s close to many popular tourist attractions, making it easy to explore and get around.

Being minutes away from famous landmarks, bustling markets, and yummy food sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

But there’s so much more to see beyond the busy streets and historic temples! Chiang Mai is actually Thailand’s second-biggest province, with beautiful countryside waiting to be explored.

If you have a few extra days, you should venture out to the rural areas. You can experience the peaceful life of a village, hike through stunning national parks, stay on a working farm, or breathe in the fresh mountain air. It’s in the countryside that you’ll truly discover the heart of Chiang Mai.

By splitting your stay between city and countryside, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

The city center is perfect for short stays. It puts you close to the main attractions, famous landmarks, bustling markets and delectable eateries.

While staying within the city limits is a popular choice for shorter trips, exploring outside the city can be a truly rewarding experience. You’ll discover a whole new side of Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai’s countryside offers a one-of-a-kind escape: stunning scenery, a relaxed pace, and fresh air that fills your soul.

The countryside will show you the heart of Chiang Mai, giving you an unforgettable experience you’ll treasure forever.

1. Chiang Mai City Center

For most visitors to Chiang Mai, especially those on short trips or first-time visitors, staying right in the heart of the city is a popular choice. The city center puts everything at your fingertips – just step outside your hotel and you’re ready to explore the exciting sights and enjoy the convenience of being close to everything.

Chiang Mai’s city center caters to all budgets and travel styles. You’ll find a diverse range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to boutique hotels, all within easy reach of the action.

Here’re the 3 main locations you should consider if you want to stay in Chiang Mai city center:

  1. Chiang Mai Old City
  2. Tha Phae Gate / Night Bazaar
  3. Nimman Street

Chiang Mai Old City

Chiang Mai Old City, surrounded by walls and a moat, is the oldest and most interesting part of the city. It’s the center of Chiang Mai’s history and culture, located right in the middle of the whole city.

The Old City is a great place to stay in Chiang Mai because it’s compact and easy to explore on foot and close to many tourist attractions, including the centuries old Buddhist temples, lively night market, cafes, charming shops, street food stalls, upscale restaurants, as well as the most popular night clubs in Chiang Mai.

For your accommodation choices, Chiang Mai Old City caters to every traveller, with options ranging from backpacker-friendly guesthouses to luxurious Lanna-style boutique hotels that blend modern comfort with traditional elegance.

Chiang Mai Old City is the heart of Chiang Mai. It’s easy to find on a map because it has a square shape, almost like a perfect box.

Chiang Mai Old City houses some of the most iconic temples in Thailand, like Wat Chedi Luang (picture), Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phan Tao and so on.

Recommended Hotels at Chiang Mai Old City:

The Inside House

Chala Number 6 Hotel

Thai Akara - Lanna Boutique Hotel

Siri Village Chiangmai

Tha Phae Gate / Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

At night, Chiang Mai transforms into two distinct personalities: the serene Chiang Mai Old City and the bustling Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

Tha Phae Gate / Chiang Mai Night Bazaar on the eastern edge of Chiang Mai’s Old City, is a gateway to a vibrant night scene. As darkness falls, the narrow lanes and markets around the gate come alive with energy, attracting both locals and tourists.

Here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a dazzling array of markets. Warorot Market offers a taste of northern Thai cuisine and handicrafts. Anusarn Market is a treasure trove for souvenirs and local clothing. And for a more modern shopping experience, the Kalare Night Bazaar boasts a trendy selection of goods.

Tha Phae Gate is the eastern entrance to Chiang Mai Old City. Right outside Tha Phae Gate, you’ll find the bustling Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

Staying in Tha Phae Gate area is more than just for shopping. The World-famous Muay Thai boxing stadiums are just a short walk away. If you’re looking to party, head to Loi Kroh Road, Chiang Mai’s hottest nightlife district. With its lively bars and clubs, it’s the perfect place to dance the night away.

The Tha Phae Gate area is a heaven for tourists, with a wide range of guesthouses, hotels, and hostels to suit all budgets. After a long night of exploring the markets and enjoying the nightlife, you can easily retreat to your comfortable accommodation, just a stone’s throw away.

This makes it the perfect location to experience the best of Chiang Mai’s night scene without having to worry about long taxi rides back to your hotel.

Explore the energetic buzz of the Night Bazaar, markets, and exciting nightlife options on your doorstep.

Recommended Hotels at the Night Bazaar:

Shangri-La Chiang Mai

Melia Chiang Mai

Anantara Serviced Suites

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort

dusitD2 chiang mai

Maladee Rendezvous Hotel

HERE’S A TIP. Planning a Songkran Water Festival trip to Chiang Mai? For the heart of the action, you MUST stay in Chiang Mai City Centre.

Nimman Road

If you prefer a more modern area with a hipster vibes and captivating energy, Nimmanhaemin (we call it “Nimman Road”) is the place for you.

Many visitors consider Nimman Road to be the hippest part of Chiang Mai. Nimmanhaemin offers a fascinating glimpse into a modern side of Chiang Mai, where cool vibes blend seamlessly with traditional Thai charm. It’s more than just a place to stay; it’s an immersive experience.

The walk from the Chiang Mai Old City to Nimman should take about 30-45 minutes. It’s a pleasant walk if you enjoy exploring the city on foot. Alternatively, you can easily grab a songthaew (shared taxi) for a short ride.

In addition to its vibrant atmosphere, Nimman Road is also conveniently located near many of Chiang Mai’s top attractions. Within walking distance, you’ll find trendy bars, rooftop lounge, Michelin Guide’s restaurants, the Western-style shopping center: MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Center, and One Nimman, cozy bookshops, artisanal cafes, boutiques, concept stores and many more.

Nimman Road areas offers a variety of places to stay, from stylish boutique hotels with rooftop pools to cozy guesthouses tucked away on quiet lanes. Whether you’re seeking a luxurious retreat or a budget-friendly option, you’ll find something to suit your style and budget in this vibrant neighborhood.

Nimman Road is a coffee lover’s paradise. From cozy nooks to hipster hangouts, you’ll find an array of cafés serving up artisanal brews.

Even Michelin agrees Nimman Road is delicious – with Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurants like Ginger Farm Kitchen serving up culinary delights.

Recommended Hotels in Nimmanhaemin:

U Nimman Chiang Mai

Eastin Tan Hotel

Moose Hotel Nimman

Travelodge Nimman

Peak Nimman Prestige Hotel

2. Mae Kampong Village

To fully experience Thailand, a trip to Chiang Mai’s countryside is a must. Mae Kampong Village ranks number one on our list of recommended destinations because this small countryside village is tourist-friendly and it is very easy to explore.

Located amidst the lush green rainforests of Northern Thailand, Mae Kampong Village is a hidden gem known for its natural beauty, cool climate, ecotourism activities, and traditional way of life. This charming village still keeps its old-fashioned beauty and has things tourists enjoy.

Mae Kampong Village welcomes you with its peaceful atmosphere and beautiful nature. Every moment here is like a breath of fresh air.

Mae Kampong Village is a welcoming place that’s easy to wander around. There are paths that twist and turn for walking and biking that go through the village and out into the countryside, so you can explore at your own pace.

You’ll find shops selling beautiful, locally-made crafts and souvenirs, and family-run restaurants serving fresh, regional cuisine .

For a cozy stay, choose from small bed and breakfasts or guesthouses that make you feel at home. Or, for something really special, you can stay in little houses or farm places to really feel part of the village life.

Mae Kampong Village is a welcoming place that’s easy to wander around. The village still preserve its rustic charm with visitor-friendly amenities.

Mae Kampong is known for living in harmony with nature, like this giant treehouse cafe built high up in a massive tree.

Recommended Hotels at Mae Kam Pong Village:

My Cottage Chiang Mai

The River Maekampong

The Lai Tiny House Villa

HERE’S A TIP. If you want to release sky lantern during the Loy Krathong and Yee Peng Lantern Festival you MUST avoid staying in city center because releasing lantern in the aviation safety zone of Chiang Mai airport is prohibited.

3. Hang Dong

Nestled a few miles west of Chiang Mai city, lies the district of Hang Dong. Many tourists consider Hang Dong as the best place to stay in Chiang Mai because it offers a perfect blend of convenience, serenity, modern comforts, and natural beauty of Chiang Mai.

Hang Dong boasts stunning mountain and forest views, with some accommodations offering breathtaking infinity pools overlooking this idyllic scenery, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration.

If you’re looking for a chill and scenic place near Chiang Mai, then Hang Dong is the perfect spot as it is just a quick taxi ride from the vibrant city center, but it feels like a whole different world.

Hang Dong offers a haven of tranquility, fresh air, and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local community.

Despite its tranquil setting, Hang Dong offers a variety of upscale hotels and resorts catering to discerning travellers. Savor delectable cuisine at acclaimed restaurants, some even recognized by the prestigious Michelin Guide showcasing the culinary delights prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

For those seeking adventure, Hang Dong provides convenient access to Chiang Mai’s popular attractions. Explore the thrilling Grand Canyon Water Park, embark on a nocturnal safari at the Night Safari, or immerse yourself in the beauty of the Royal Park Rajapruek’s exquisite gardens. Historical sites like Wat Umong and vibrant markets like Ban Kang Wat offer a glimpse into Chiang Mai’s rich culture and heritage.

Hang Dong promises an environment steeped in fresh air, tranquility, and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the local community.

Hang Dong is close to many exciting attractions like the Grand Canyon Water Park, The Night Safari, Royal Park Rajapruek and Wat Umong.

Recommended Hotels in Hang Dong:

North Hill City Resort

Content Villa Chiang Mai

The Deer Resort

Veranda High Resort Mgallery

Sela Chiang Mai

4. Mon Jam (Mon Cham)

Mon Jam (or Mon Cham) is a mountaintop farming community near Chiang Mai. Nestled on a peak 1,350 meters high in the Mae Rim District, Mon Jam is just a cool 40 kilometers, or about an hour’s drive, from Chiang Mai city.

Mon Jam’s true magic lies in its stunning scenery. Get ready for jaw-dropping viewpoints that showcase rolling mountains, a mesmerizing sea of mist, and vast fields bursting with colorful flowers.

Speaking of flowers, Mon Jam is a photographer’s paradise. Throughout the year, various flower gardens paint the mountainside with vibrant colors. You can stroll through these gardens, snap amazing pictures, and get lost in the beauty of nature.

With its cool climate, breathtaking views, and charming atmosphere, Mon Jam is the perfect destination to relax and reconnect with nature.

But Mon Jam isn’t just about flowers! Here, you’ll find charming strawberry gardens, a unique sheep farm, and countless beautiful spots perfect for capturing those Instagram-worthy moments.

For your stay, Mon Jam offers a variety of options to suit your style, from cozy resorts to charming homestays and even adventurous tent camping. But the real highlight? Picture yourself waking up in a mountaintop resort overlooking endless forests and farmlands. Pure magic!

And if you’re lucky enough to visit during the right season, you might witness Mon Jam’s most spectacular phenomenon: the sea of clouds. Imagine waking up to a mystical blanket of clouds enveloping the mountains – an experience that’s truly unforgettable.

Mon Jam boasts flower gardens overflowing with vibrant blooms throughout the year. Each season brings a fresh explosion of color, creating a photographer’s paradise.

The real highlight of Mon Jam is waking up to a magnificent view of the sea of clouds right from your balcony – an experience that’s truly mystical and magical.

Recommended Hotels at Mon Jam:

Baan Sky Pruek

Eden Garden Resort

Onsen @ Moncham

Phu Morinn Cafe & Camping

5. Rice Paddy Farmstay

In recent years, farmstays have blossomed into a haven for ecotourism in Chiang Mai. These homestays, restaurants, and cafes built beside lush rice fields offer a chance to truly unwind and reconnect with nature.

Imagine waking up to a breathtaking panorama of emerald rice paddies stretching as far as the eye can see. This isn’t a dream; it’s the magic of a Chiang Mai rice paddy farmstay, an experience becoming increasingly popular among Thai and international tourists alike.

Forget the boring hotel room. Imagine waking up to a mind-blowing view of emerald rice paddies stretching forever.

The period from August to November is ideal for visiting rice paddies because it’s when they are at their luscious greenest.

Many farmstays provide charming wooden bungalows or huts, where you can fall asleep under a canopy of a million stars, with the Milky Way splashed across the night sky. Lulled by the gentle symphony of nature – the rhythmic chirping of crickets, the melodic calls of birdsong, the soft rustling of rice leaves in the breeze, and the lively buzz of insects.

One of the true highlights of a farmstay is the food. You’ll be served with delicious, home-cooked meals prepared with the freshest ingredients, often picked straight from the farm itself. Experience the warmth of Thai hospitality as you indulge in village-style dishes bursting with flavor.

Farmstay isn’t just about personal indulgence. By choosing this unique accommodation, you’re supporting local communities and sustainable practices. Many farms embrace eco-friendly principles, minimizing their environmental impact. You can feel good knowing your travel choices are making a positive difference.

Delicious, home-cooked meals made with the freshest ingredients often picked straight from the farm, all served with a big helping of Thai hospitality.

The most breathtaking way to see a rice field landscape in Chiang Mai at Phusanfa Resort (Check Availability HERE).

The homestay nestled amidst rice paddies is far from light pollution. At night, you’ll be treated to a sky full of stars, including the ethereal Milky Way.

 Recommended Farmstay at Chiang Mai:

Huean Kwan Khao Resort

Monna Pabongpiang Homestay

Phusanfah Resort

Oon Valley Farm Stay

Baan Lhongkhao Chiangdao View

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