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Chiang Mai

Eat and meet

Introduction

  • An introduction to North Thai cuisine
    4.5 stars

    Lots to try

    Opinions vary somewhat over just how delicious Lao, Burmese, Khmer or even Vietnamese food is, yet when it comes to Thai cuisine you’ll rarely hear a bad word said by any visitor. Everyone loves the varied, often fiery, yet still somehow delicate and sophisticated Thai dishes. One of the added ... read more

Thai

  • Khao Soi Khun Yai
    4.5 stars

    Our favourite in Chiang Mai

    Between the temples of Wat Monthian and Wat Kuan Kama, Chiang Mai

    One of Chiang Mai’s most famous contributions to Thai cuisine is khao soi, (or soy), noodle soup. The classic version combines two noodle varieties: flat wheat noodles, (tagliatelli-ish in form) and deep-fried crispy noodles, in a spicy coconut chicken curry. The soup is served with a slice of ... read more

  • Roomjai Kai Yang restaurant
    4.5 stars

    A Chiang Mai institution

    around 100m from Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, next to a 7-Eleven on Boonrueang Rd.

    The Roomjai Kai Yang restaurant is a Chiang Mai institution and certainly our favourite Isaan (northeastern Thai/Lao) spot in town. It’s not haute cuisine but rather simple, rustic dishes with plenty of intense flavours from the liberal use of herbs and spices. This is the spot for spicy salads ... read more

  • Eating at Chiang Mai's Sunday walking street
    4 stars

    Plenty of choice

    Ratchadamnoen Road

    The excellent walking street market that sets up in Chiang Mai late Sunday afternoons along Ratchadamnoen Road serves up some fantastic food, especially local specialties. You might not sit down for a full blown Thai banquet but it’s certainly a paradise for snackers. Here’s a selection of what ... read more

  • Mit Mai Tree, Lake Rama 9
    4 stars

    Dine under the stars

    Lake Rama 9, 5km north of Chiang Mai on Route 107

    Lake Rama IX is so close to Chiang Mai that it’s one of our favourite end-of-day getaways to catch the sunset over the mountains and mark the end of another day of exploring and travel writing with a beer. Need we say more? Since there is no beach lounging to be had around Chiang Mai, Thais ... read more

  • Tam Jai Sung
    4 stars

    Delicious and affordable

    Sermsuk Rd (off Ratchapuak Rd), Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai’s Tam Jai Sung is an unassuming restaurant serving up a short but sweet collection of Burmese curries, salads and soups, Shan dishes and Thai classics at affordable prices. Simple but sweet. One slight problem with the menu is that it isn’t at all clear which are which, especially ... read more

  • Intawarorot street food
    4 stars

    Great street food options

    Intawarorot Rd, Chiang Mai

    Looking for some great street food in Chiang Mai? The short section of Intawarorot Road, near the Three Kings Monument between Chaban and Phrapokklao Roads and opposite the City Arts and Cultural Centre, is little frequented by visitors to Chiang Mai but very well known among residents for its ... read more

  • Huay Tung Tao
    4 stars

    An out of town option

    Foot of Doi Suthep, off the Mae Rim/Canal Road

    It’s true that you’ll need to hire or rent transport to get out there but we reckon the stunning setting, well-prepared and very reasonably priced classic Thai cuisine and a chance to splash about in the scenic lake afterwards make a trip to Chiang Mai’s Huay Tung Tao well worth it. Here are ... read more

  • Khun Mor's
    4 stars

    Great choice for authentic northern Thai

    Western end of Nimmanhemin Soi 17 (near Nimmanhemin Rd itself)
    T: Western end of Nimmanhemin Soi 17 (near Nimmanhemi

    Khun Mor’s might not be the trendiest eatery of Chiang Mai’s chic Nimmanhemin district but they do clearly prioritise food quality over fancy decor. No gimmicky fusion dishes or quirky Thai versions of Western dishes for Nimman’ yuppies with more money than tastebuds; this is well prepared ... read more

  • Organic Vegetable
    4 stars

    Otherwise known as O-Veg

    Nimmanhaemin Soi 13 (then just down the alley to the right of 7-eleven)

    Organic Vegetables may not boast luscious gardens, or a lake, or an exquisite wine menu, but you will find some of the tastiest, most reliable street food Chiang Mai has to offer. And while it will satisfy vegetarians, meat eaters will find dishes here to happily devour as well. Simple. And good. ... read more

  • Chang Puak Gate night market
    4 stars

    One of the best food markets in town

    Chang Puak Gate

    As we all know some of the best Thai food can be found in markets and street stalls. In Chiang Mai, the night market at Prathu Chang Puak or Chang Puak Gate market, is one of the best food markets we know of in town. It’s located on the exterior side of the northern moat road, Sri Chum Road, ... read more

  • Kao Soy Nimman
    4 stars

    Chiang Mai's best khao soi?

    Nimmanhemin Soi 7
    T: (053) 894 881

    On our ongoing search for Chiang Mai’s best khao soi we checked out a new spot on fashionable Nimmanhemin’s Soi 7 with the promising name of Kao Soy Nimman.Spellings may vary but it’s a standard — signature really — north Thai and Chiang Mai dish; both soft and crispy wheat noodles in a ... read more

  • Nan Talam
    4 stars

    Best khao man gai in Chiang Mai

    Srimankhalajan Rd, Chiang mai

    Khao man gai, the Thai variant of the original Hainanese chicken rice, is hugely popular in Thailand and found just about anywhere you go in the kingdom. Known in China as wenchan chicken it was brought to Southeast Asia by Hainanese merchants and sailors, so presumably spread out from ports ... read more

  • Late night eats in Chiang Mai
    3.5 stars

    More options for night owls

    Across the city

    One thing leads to the other and all of a sudden it’s 04:30 in the morning in Chiang Mai. The last thing you ate was an inadequate custard concoction from 7-Eleven purchased to soften the blow from those five wine glasses you inhaled at Why Not’s infamous wine buffet. This is exactly why not, ... read more

  • Chiang Mai late-night market eats
    3.5 stars

    Munchies

    Across the city

    Chiang Mai has phenomenal late night street food. One of the best places to head for a fail-safe midnight meal is one of the markets. Not all markets are created equal, however, so here’s a rundown of just a couple of our favourite late-night spots. A comforting sight at 03:30. We’ve already ... read more

  • Tops food hall
    3.5 stars

    Cheap, clean, fast

    Central Huay Kaew shopping mall

    Tops supermarket’s food hall at Chiang Mai’s Huay Kaew mall has had a bit of a makeover recently and while you still might not go there for the ambiance or decor — think canteen-esque — it’s a great spot to taste some cheap, varied and well-prepared local specialties. Here’s what you ... read more

  • The Food Factory
    3 stars

    An imaginative food hall

    Huay Kaew Central outlet

    The Food Factory is a food hall located in the Huay Kaew branch of Central shopping mall — but possessing a slightly more imaginative name than you might expect for Central. Now the food offerings aren’t frankly the most imaginative, but it does have several advantages: cheap prices, bilingual ... read more

Cafe

  • The Tea Tree Cafe
    4 stars

    Food and fun

    181 Moon Muang soi 6 (across Somphet Market, go up the multi-coloured stairs)
    T: (082) 339 4722

    Head to The Tea Tree Cafe if looking for some good tea and an afternoon of hanging out, reading, improvised music and meeting fellow like-minded travellers. The Tea Tree was inspired in a moment of desperation, born from owner Laura’s urgent craving for good chai masala and a place to relax in ... read more

  • Coffee in Chiang Mai
    4 stars

    An overview

    Any visitor to Chiang Mai, or for that matter pretty much anywhere in Northern Thailand, will be struck by the preponderance of coffee shops; they are simply everywhere and, a few international chains excepted, provide cheap and excellent quality coffee. Here’s a rundown on the local brew up here ... read more

  • Siam Celadon
    4 stars

    Stunning building, great tea

    158 Tha Pae Rd, Chiang Mai
    T: (053) 234 518;(053) 234 519

    We’re not specifically targeting the blue-rinse brigade, but since we regularly review the more interesting coffee shops in Chiang Mai why not a tea shop for a change? And the excellent Siam Celadon is certainly one of Chiang Mai’s finest. So for the low down on Earl Grey and cucumber ... read more

  • Asama Cafe
    3.5 stars

    Coffee and a view

    122/128 Moo 6 Klong Cholpratarn, Chiang Mai
    T: (081) 530 5388

    Among the impressive homes of residential compound Lakeland hides Asama Cafe, one of Chiang Mai’s best places for a great cup of coffee as well as a little-known place to catch up on emails while you’re on the road. Frangipanis, a canal, lily pads, a view of the mountains, WiFi and coffee. ... read more

  • Vigie Sist Cafe
    3.5 stars

    The cutest looking coffee shop in Chiang Mai?

    200/3 Ratpakinai, Sri Phum, Chiang Mai
    T: (08) 1671 2113

    Chiang Mai has loads of cafes; the local brew is excellent, the accompanying bakeries are good and nearly all come with free WiFi and pleasant seating areas. But when we came come across this interesting variation on a coffee shop theme the other day — a piano bar coffee shop — we thought it ... read more

International

  • Amrita Garden
    4 stars

    Get healthy

    Soi 5, Samlan Rd, Chiang Mai
    T: (086) 053 9342

    Tucked away amid the bustle of Chiang Mai’s old city is Amrita Garden, which acts as coffee shop, macrobiotic restaurant, guesthouse, health food haven and fashion retailer. We take our hats off to owner Makiko, because Amrita Garden does each of those things well. Sample macrobiotic lunch. Far ... read more

  • Dee's English Fish n' Chips and BBQ
    4 stars

    The real deal

    Always on the move, Downtown area

    Dee’s English Fish n’ Chips and BBQ is a mobile food cart that zips around Chiang Mai selling delectable and cheap fish and chips made to an old English recipe; for a quintessentially British/Thai experience, buy a plate and eat roadside. Much like Pavlov’s dog, this sight is enough to start ... read more

  • Free Bird Cafe
    4 stars

    Great veggie fare for a good cause

    Opposite the start of Ratpakinai Rd on the north side of the moat, Chiang Mai

    If you want to try eating something a bit different in Chiang Mai, we strongly recommend Free Bird Cafe, a vegetarian Shan food restaurant, where there really are no meat or fish options, and profits go to a good cause as well. Free Bird Cafe. Dreadlocks not compulsory. Free Bird Cafe does ... read more

  • Pom Pui
    4 stars

    Affordable and hearty

    24/1 Moonmuang Soi 2
    T: (053) 278 209

    The vast majority of visitors and expats appreciate the delights of Thai cuisine (which incidentally can help with life’s trials and tribulations) but every now and then most people are going to fancy a change from street and market food. Now while Thais will happily eat rice at least three times ... read more

  • Blue Diamond
    4 stars

    Perhaps the best Western breakfast spot in town

    Moonmuang Soi 9, Chiang Mai

    The Blue Diamond health-food cafe in Chiang Mai‘s old town is hugely popular with expats, locals and tourists and has a reputation for being perhaps the best Western breakfast spot in town. It is actually open all day — 07:00 to 21:00 — so it’s a lunch, afternoon tea or dinner option as ... read more

  • La Terrace
    4 stars

    A firm family fave for special occasions

    59/5 Loi Kroh Rd
    T: (083) 762 6065

    So with Huay Tung Tao being our recommended Sunday afternoon spot, and Grandma’s khao soi‘ our default lunchtime eatery, this French restaurant logs in as a firm family fave for birthday evenings and special occasions. Not that La Terrace is at all expensive (but you know … a Travelfish.org ... read more

Groceries

  • Kasem
    4 stars

    Famous groceries

    Ratchawong Rd in the Worawot area

    Anybody residing in or spending any length of time in Chiang Mai will know of the famous Kasem store, a genuine Chiang Mai city institution. It’s an old-fashioned style, family-run grocery store rather than supermarket as per Bangkok’s glitzy offers or Chiang Mai’s own Rimping supermarket ... read more

  • Doi Kham Shop
    3.5 stars

    Doi Kham Royal Project's retail outlet

    Suthep Road past Suan Dok hospital

    A few people had recommended the Doi Kham shop to me and it sounded interesting, but could I find it? Could I (deleted)! In my defense when I did eventually stumble upon it, it looked like this: The Doi Kham 'shop'. That is, it looked just like a small, unassuming government office not ... read more

Bars and nightlife

  • Northgate Jazz Co-Op
    4 stars

    Music with heart

    91/1-2 Sri Poom Rd, across from Chang Phuek Gate on the inside of the moat

    Northgate Jazz Co-Op is one of Chiang Mai’s premier venues for life music, and digging beneath its surface reveals a place rich in history crafted, above all, for the love of music. Early on a Tuesday and it’s already crowded. Nearly seven years ago, saxophonist Opor approached percussionist ... read more

  • CNX Bar
    4 stars

    Rooftop relaxation

    Intrawarorot Rd, just north of Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai

    Seeking out a rooftop bar in Chiang Mai leads most tourists and expats to THC Rooftop Bar by Thapae Gate, but if you’re looking to avoid the sometimes seedy, neon rasta vibe, head to close by for an altogether more pleasant evening. You haven’t made it all the way up to the rooftop, and ... read more

  • Beer Republic
    4 stars

    Real European drafts

    At the junction in the middle of Nimmanhemin Soi 11.
    T: (081) 531 4765;(081) 531 9161

    Chiang Mai’s unpretentious Beer Republic is a specialist beer bar with an astonishing array of foreign beers and ciders on tap — at last count we got to at least 15 — at reasonable prices considering how far they’ve come. Says so on the door! Chiang Mai’s night life is very broadly ... read more

  • Clubbing
    3.5 stars

    More chilled than Bangkok

    Chiang Mai is far from a party destination, but the town is still home to plenty of clubs, with the vibe here less snooty and more low-key than in many of their Bangkok counterparts. Here’s the lowdown on where we’d recommend heading. Zoe in Yellow at its best. ZOE in Yellow This is ... read more

  • Archer's Bar & Restaurant

    A little of everything

    133/4 Ratchapakanai Road in the old city
    T: (083) 637 7621

    It’s a bit of everything, really, Chiang Mai’s Archer’s Bar and Restaurant: pub, bar, coffee-shop, Thai eatery and Western restaurant. There are plenty such establishments around on the Chiang Mai restaurant scene, but we’ve singled out Archer’s because, unusually, they actually succeed ... read more



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