There is no shortage of places to eat or stay in Chiang Mai, especially when you consider that the city is Thailand’s third most popular tourist destination after Bangkok and Phuket. That said, when you add in the fact that Chiang Mai offers a wealth of different dining venues, you are guaranteed a good choice of where to eat or stay.
Chiang Mai is a beautiful city in Northern Thailand where you can eat, shop, and relax like a king. There are many things to do and see and the city is small enough to fit into most plans. However, with so many things to do and see in Chiang Mai, you can get easily overwhelmed. My aim is to help you find the best places to eat and stay, so you can have a relaxing, fun, and hassle-free time in Chiang Mai.
Food is a big part of a travelers experience, and its how we will be remembered in Thailand. This is an in-depth guide to food and where to eat in Chiang Mai.. Read more about chiang mai street food and let us know what you think.
I’ve visited Chiang Mai about a half-dozen times throughout the course of my travels. When I initially visited in 2008, there were just a few travel bloggers present. We’d get together every day for meals and smoothies. We’d go exploring on motorcycles. We’d want to share what we’ve learnt about Northern Thai culture. We went to all of the temples and ate everything.
There are many more temporary expats in town these days; jokes abound about the vast number of digital nomads and travel bloggers who spend their winters here. As a consequence, there are a plethora of articles available for people looking for a Chiang Mai travel guide. At the conclusion of this article, I’ve included links to a few excellent ones.
Chiang Mai, My Opinionated Guide
I keep going back to Chiang Mai because it’s a wonderful location to stay, dine, and get into a pattern that I like.
When there’s no pressure to settle down, I find that I write better. So, rather of writing a traditional narrative about the city or a servicey list of just what to eat, I decided to give my own preferences in a range of areas.
Of course, it’s mostly a “what to eat in Chiang Mai” guide, but there are a few other suggestions as well.
I limited it to the downtown center so it would be simple for you to go there even if you were just visiting for a short time.
Oct 2019 (latest update)
Chiang Mai’s best grilled guts
Tong Tem Toh, Tong Tem Toh, Tong Tem To
Soi 13, 11 Nimmanhaeiman Road, +66 53 894 701
This is the first item on the list, and if you don’t like intestines, you won’t want to hear it. Unless you don’t eat meat (in which case you get a pass), you must visit this fantastic restaurant to fill your face. Don’t let go. Collect no more than $200. DEET up, pack some food, and give it a shot.
You must get the pig curry, the tamarind leaf salad (believe me on this), and sticky rice in addition to the grilled intestines, which are only available after 6 p.m. Obviously.
Tong Tem Toh’s delectable cuisine.
Chiang Mai’s Best Burmese Food
Tam Jai Sung is now closed. This restaurant now serves Chinese and Thai cuisine rather than Burmese, according to a reader. Nong Bee’s Burmese Restaurant and Library is another alternative.
At the end of Ratchapuak Road, turn right into Sermsuk Road. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For Burmese cuisine, I know a lot of people go to the Burmese Library or The Swan, but I like the tiny Tam Jai Sung, which is next to the Kad Suan Kaew mall. The cuisine is excellent, the pricing are fair, and the proprietors are lovely. Their tea leaf salad, tamarind salad, and pork curry are all must-tries. Rice enough for the table – it never stops coming, even when you think you’ve had your fill.
Tea leaf salad is delicious, crisp, and filling.
The best place to hear live music
East Thae Pae
88 Thapae Rd., +66 81 765 5246, open 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. everyday. On Buddhist holidays, the shop is closed.
This rustic restaurant debuted just before my visit to Chiang Mai in fall 2015, and I really liked it. It offers a wide open atmosphere and affordable beverages, including poetry evenings, open mike jams, jazz solos, and much more.
Chiang Mai’s best Vietnamese cuisine
Dara Vietnamese Cuisine
We discovered it because a buddy had drove by and dined there before losing track of it. We drove in a loop until we located it, and the experience was well worth it. Although their Facebook page does not include an official location, this Chiang Mai City Life article does:
I got their phone number and called them, and they told me that if you drive along the moat from Sri Phum Corner, turn left at Chang Moi Road, about 100 meters in, and you’ll see a wicker furniture shop by the road, turn left into that little soi for another 200 meters, and the restaurant will be on your left hand side of the road. It is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you may phone ahead and make an order at +66 53 874040 if you wish to pick up meals.
Guys, that was delectable. All you have to do now is look for it.
Mrs. Pa’s Smoothie Cart has the best smoothies in Chiang Mai.
Just across from the 7-11, near the Chiang Mai (south) entrance. Mrs. Pa’s Fruit Shake is inscribed on the exterior of her red and white cart. Open everyday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., except on Sundays and when she is ill. Smoothies are 25 baht each.
Mrs. Pa was recommended to me by a friend, and I haven’t tried another smoothie in town unless she was closed. She is always a joy to see, and I just interviewed her about her aspirations and business. Bright smiles, warm embraces, and delicious smoothies She’s studied nutrition and knows what’s in season, so everything comes together nicely, but if you’re in a hurry, the “strango” (mango and strawberry) or strawberry-lime smoothies are excellent choices. If strawberries aren’t in season, don’t worry; she’ll create something delicious with whatever she has on hand.
Chiang Mai’s best hairstylist
New York is a city in the United States. New York is a city in the United States.
+66 53 215 199, 13 /2 Nimmanhaeiman Road, Soi 13. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Many ladies contacted to congratulate me for writing a full article about how I traveled to Turkey basically to get a haircut (and also to eat). Because this is a frequent topic, I wanted to mention where I had my hair cut in Chiang Mai. I’ve never had a cut that I didn’t enjoy, and the prices are fair. It’s also a good idea to have a head massage while having your hair cleaned!
In Chiang Mai, the best vegetarian cuisine can be found.
Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant in Anchan, Thailand.
Soi 10, left hand side, 2nd floor, Nimmanhaeiman Road, +66 83 581 1689
I’m somewhat obsessed with Anchan’s pumpkin curry, but I’ve never eaten a meal there that I didn’t like. It’s a great location to get away from the grilled chicken and intestines and fill up on organic vegetables, with red rice to complement the meal and big quantities.
It’s all about the pumpkin curry.
At 3 a.m., the best location to look for cuttlefish is
Outside any bar on Nimman, the cart is typically illuminated by a single spotlight and smells like dried fish from at least a block away.
Okay, so this isn’t edible, but there was a woman at the Chiang Mai Gate food market who had a pet goat and treated it like a dog, caressing and feeding it, and it was so cute that I had to add it. He was often tethered to the area behind Mrs. Pa near the moat, or sat in a cart halfway back, on his route to the smoothie shop near Smith Residence.
Chiang Mai’s best sushi
Mushashi Sushi Bar is a modern sushi bar.
+66 82 344 6635 Nimmanhaeiman Road, Soi 13
Not only is the sushi fresh and the rolls are attractively arranged, but this sushi joint also offers its own gluten-free soy sauce, something I haven’t seen before in Chiang Mai. As a celiac, I was blown away. They were also very cautious while preparing the fish for me to avoid cross-contamination. The proprietors of the establishment reside upstairs with their adorable kitties.
That is, in fact, one of their cats. He is, in fact, wearing a bowtie.
A strange coincidence: a Legal Nomads reader was renting the room above the restaurant, and I saw him many times!
The best spot for a bird to spit on you
Long-time Legal Nomads readers are aware that I have a bird issue. In addition to the bat incident in the Dominican Republic, I’ve been crapped on 14 times. As a result, I can’t leave out the city’s most bird-tastic corner: Bunrueang Rit Road, where Huaykaew Road meets the moat. There are a few trees on that corner, and they are practically trembling with birds about 5 p.m. SHAKING HANDS WITH THE BIRDS. Don’t stroll beneath those trees after dark, particularly if you have poop luck like me.
WiFi with the fastest speeds
Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center’s CAMP (“creative and meeting place”) is located on the top level (yes that is its actual name)
Moo 5, open 24.7, Maya 55, Maya 55, Maya 55, Maya 55, Maya 55,
CAMP was the only site where I could post my video of the storytelling keynote I delivered in Bangkok without it taking a few days. They have their own wifi network, which can be accessed with a pass or by purchasing food or drink at their café, as well as a fast AIS Wi-Fi network. This is the ideal option for individuals who want to submit a lot of pictures or movies.
Chiang Mai’s best Nam Tok Moo and Yam Tua Plu
To the right of Chiang Mai Ram Hospital is Ruam Jai Gai Yang.
+66 53 27 5912, Bunrueang Rit Road Open everyday from 1:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Two of my favorite side dishes to serve with grilled chicken or pork are nam tok moo (waterfall salad) and yam tua plu (wingbean salad).
A lot of tourists will order the basics for Northern Thai food: somtam and grilled pork and sticky rice. But you’re really missing out if you’re not trying these two light and bewilderingly flavorful salads to accompany your meal. Next time you eat, swap out your somtam for some nam tok moo. You won’t be sorry.
Mint, fish sauce, grilled pork, onions, so much flavor! Nam tok moo: mint, fish sauce, grilled pork, onions, so much flavor!
I found the yam tua plu by ordering nam tok moo while I was sick. The vendor, which was located on a busy Bangkok street, misinterpreted me and instead offered me this.
Yam Tua Plu is a dish made with tamarind, fish sauce, wingbeans, coconut milk, chiles, onions, and sometimes a soft cooked egg.
Chicken Biryani at its Finest
At the Chiang Mai Entrance night market, in front of the 7-11 to the left of the gate, there is a yellow-awning street card.
This biryani cart is approximately a 2-minute walk to the left of Mrs. Pa’s smoothie cart. There is a 7-11 in front of the Mrs. Pa cart, and this delicious rice can be found at the next 7-11 over (beyond the Tesco Lotus).
They also serve beef biryani and soup, but it’s the chicken that draws me in. Braised all day, tender and delicious, with a tiny bowl of broth and an excellent spicy dipping sauce. When I’m in town, I have to eat here at least three times a week. Of course, there’ll be a smoothie for dessert!
Biryani with chicken. I’m drooling as I type this.
Chiang Mai’s Best Grilled Chicken (it’s a tie)
Cherng Doi (No. 1)
Sukkame Soi is located immediately off Nimmanheiman Road on the right side as you go down the soi. Mondays are closed.
2) “Smoky Chicken” is a dish that has a smoky flavor.
Smoke rising into the sky from Soi 11, at the Sirimangkalajarn end of the alley. Open from 7 a.m. till they run out of chicken at 3 p.m.
Both of these chicken restaurants provide a crispy and smoky bird baking frenzy, respectively. The nam tok moo (waterfall salad) in Cherng Doi is excellent.
Grilled chicken is one of my favorite foods. Ever.
Chiang Mai’s Best Cat Cafe
Cat Cafe Catmosphere
Huay Kaew Road, 233/5 Open everyday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Minimum age is five years old.
There are many of cats in this town.
Cutest Dog in the World
Panda the dog is a regular at the 9th Street Cafe.
Soi 9 on Nimmanhaemin Road.
I understand that this may be controversial, since I have seen dogs riding motorcycles in Thailand, but Panda the dog captured my heart the moment I saw him.
Take a look at that expression:
Panda the puppy, in one of my favorite cafés in town, breaking hearts.
The best low-cost dessert
Rice sweets are my go-to in Chiang Mai as a celiac. In the nights, I buy mine from a small cart outside Tesco Lotus at the Chiang Mai Gate food market. He arrives about 5 p.m. Taro or black rice squares are good choices. Fabulous.
Sit down, sai oua (northern Thai sausage)
Cainito Homemade Restaurant is a family-owned and operated restaurant in Cainito
+66 89 434 9009, 21 Nimmanhaemin Soi 5
In Warorot Market, there is a well-known northern Thai sausage seller, but try Cainito’s plate for a variation that isn’t usually on the menu. Delicious food served on an open-air terrace off Nimman Road.
The best location to stay away from digital nomads and travel bloggers is here.
You can’t do it. You may want to get out of town.
The best location to observe both kinds of people is
Maya Mall’s CAMP CoWorking space. The location is shown above under “fastest WiFi.”
The best location to see the city come to a halt
Chiang Mai is a city in Thailand. Sunday strolling street in the old city that runs the length of Rachadamnoen Road and several of the adjacent alleys. At 6 p.m., the city’s speakers on each lamppost blast the national anthem, and everyone stands absolutely motionless until it ends. I felt like I was in an Improv Everywhere sketch the first time it occurred, but it soon became a minute I looked forward to, complete stillness in the middle of a busy street.
Chiang Mai’s Sunday night strolling street
Coffee with the best flavor
Ristr8to Labs is a research and development company based in the United States.
Ristr8to, which has two locations in town, offers the pour overs and cold beers that your hipster soul craves. For those who can’t take the caffeine, smaller cups are available (aka me). I’ve slowly worked my way through their menu and have liked almost everything I’ve eaten. Because of the cafés’ popularity, both of their locations are often packed. It’s best to go about 10 a.m., in between the morning and lunch rushes.
The best coffee shop in town, complete with a haircut and khao soi.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m
Soi 11 Nimmanhaeiman, +66 91 775 8405. 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
This small shop’s coffee is delicious, and they also offer some very great iced teas. But, just next door, there’s a barber who makes a delicious khao soi, and he was even willing to fry up some rice noodles for me so I could eat them in the soup instead of the usual wheat-based noodles. Very much appreciated, nicely packaged, and delicious.
Khao soi that is gluten-free friendly. MIRACLES DO OCCUR.
The best place to have your iPhone screen fixed and feed a pet squirrel at the same time.
The Kad Suan Kaew mall’s top level.
I went to put my phone in my backpack, missed, and it shattered on the ground with such force that the man who was fixing my screen had glass pieces in his thumbs. I initially went to the Apple store in Kad Suan Kaew, but they said it would take 5 weeks (no) and that I would have to ship it someplace else to be fixed (also no). So I canceled my warranty and hired a mobile mechanic to repair it right away.
Initially, he requested all of my passwords in order to test the new screen.
“No,” I said. “All I have to do now is wait here and unlock when needed.”
“As long as you take the time to feed my pet squirrel while you wait,” he said.
A fun phone repair experience with a pet squirrel and mango.
Yes, this did occur.
The most delicious khao soi soup
Mae Sai Khao Soi
Khao Soi Mae Sai, which includes a rare pork version – very excellent – is my choice for the finest tasting khao soi soup. They were even prepared to substitute rice noodles for wheat noodles, but the rice noodles were not as crispy as the barbershop version.
Chiang Mai, Ratchaphuek Road, +66 53 213 284. Only till 4 p.m. are they open.
A Brit Abroad has compiled a list of her top khao soi suggestions here.
The most effective notebooks
Buying as many 10 baht notebooks at the 7-11 as possible is one of my guilty pleasures while visiting Chiang Mai. They’re at every 7-11, and the designs are all distinct and have no rhyme or reason. Each one is fantastic. My favorite is still “unsleep sheep,” but this year’s gladiator rooster is a close second.
I use them for everything from to-do lists to speechwriting to notes. They’re fantastic.
On a night out in Chiang Mai, wherever I am, I try to return home through Prappokloa Road so that I may get a glimpse of this tree towering above Wat Chedi Luang.
Standing tall above Wat Chedi Luang, my favorite tree in Chiang Mai.
If you’re a Thai-sized farang, this is the best spot to shop.
The best spot to go for a run or a stroll in nature in Chiang Mai.
Huay Tung Tao Lake is approximately 10 kilometers outside of town.
This reservoir, located outside of Mae Rim, is a great location for a late-afternoon run or just resting at one of the bamboo shacks that dot the lake’s banks and enjoying the scenery with some snacks. If you don’t feel like bringing your own food, there are a number of eateries located near the sea. This is a lovely location.
Guides to Chiang Mai from across the web:
- Fantastic Cuisine Search, a directory of where to get amazing food, began in Bangkok and has now extended to Chiang Mai. The photographs are beautiful, and the recommendations are unusual for most guidebook fare. A project from Austin Bush – who has eaten his way around Thailand many times, and I trust his tastebuds – and Christopher Wise, the photographs are beautiful, and the recommendations are unusual for most guidebook fare. Their Chiang Mai live tree guide, in the shape of a map, is available here.
This monthly convocation of business, located adjacent to Chiang Mai’s biggest mosque and often referred to as the Muslim Market, is by far the city’s most varied. You’ll find Chinese vendors selling air-dried pork and funky pickled vegetables, Shan vendors selling seasoned rice dishes and sweets, hill tribe vendors selling unique produce, and Burmese vendors making delicious noodle dishes, in addition to Muslim world-inspired dishes and ingredients like samosas and goat meat. Even if you don’t have a kitchen, the market is worth a visit, and it’s even better for breakfast, since it’s just across the street from some of Chiang Mai’s most renowned Muslim-style khao soi restaurants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ((Mohinga, a Burmese-style noodle soup; hill tribal avocadoes; Yunnanese-Chinese-style air-dried pork and beef)) 18.786445, 99.001507 6-10am Fri Ban Haw Market () Soi 1, Thanon Charoen Prathet, Chiang Mai, Thailand ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What are the best places to stay in Chiang Mai?
I usually rent flats for a few months at a time. The Siri, Bliss, Baan Thai Apartments, and Loft Residence are also suggested for people planning to stay longer. These are all outside the Old City walls, and I’ve found that staying in the Nimmanhaemin Road neighborhood and going to the Old City only when necessary has been a lot of fun.
Travelfish offers an excellent overview of lodging in Chiang Mai that has been evaluated by its authors for short-term stays. Alana at Paper Planes Blog provides a summary of the many neighborhoods in town to assist you in deciding where to stay.
Traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand? If you’re looking for the best places to eat, stay and sightsee, here’s our guide to the best places to visit in the intriguing city.. Read more about best local food in chiang mai and let us know what you think.