Chiang Rai has some very good choices in all price ranges with a particularly fine selection of budget and flash-packer options. There is a concentration of budget spots on and around Jedyod Road and a great series of mid-range options on Jedyod’s prolongation, Soi Sunpanad. There are also a couple of large hotels – Wiang Inn and Wangcome – down Phaholyothin but otherwise guesthouses and hotels are rather randomly scattered across town so it is useful to have an idea of exactly where you’re going before you arrive. No doubt to encourage visitors to stay longer many places offer bicycle and motorbike hire and provide maps and information and unless you are in a desperate hurry, we would recommend allowing at least two or three nights in the city.
Good organisation, cleanliness and comfort, fine value for money and a good location make the relatively new Mercy Hostel a very welcome addition to Chiang Rai’s budget accommodation range. It is something of a demonstration in how to set up and run a successful new guesthouse too. Find a central but quiet location; construct a bunch of neat tidy and cheap backpacker rooms, throw in a few... Read our full review of Mercy Hostel.
Another in the series of, hard to find but worth seeking out Chiang Rai guesthouses, the Akha River House is not a place you’d stumble upon by accident but it is starting to build a good reputation and can get very busy during high season. You’ll need to head down to the new Kok bridge – a continuation of Rattana Khet Road – but instead of going over the bridge take the side road heading... Read our full review of Akha River House.
Tucked down Soi Sunpanad, off Phaholyothin, but hard to miss with a vivid green paint job is the very good Baan Baramee. With a convivial atmosphere and friendly staff plus a cosy downstairs seating area, it’s a welcoming little spot. Behind the small cafe, where you can consume your complimentary breakfast, and the information and reception desk is a two storey block with a selection of comfy,... Read our full review of Baan Baramee.
Located on a narrow lane to the east of Highway 1, Baan Soontree is a good option for flashpackers and families seeking a small resort-type place with a pool. Rooms come in detached wooden cabins and two-floor concrete buildings set close together on either side of a small swimming pool. There's also a surprisingly well-equipped fitness centre and dining area where complimentary buffet... Read our full review of Baan Soontree Resort.
The pseudo Lanna-style Ben Guesthouse has an impressive exterior and a clean, well cared for interior and, despite a somewhat eccentric location, represents very good all round value for money. The high point is their splendid garden and recently added pool, giving the place an upmarket resort feel while charging only upper backpacker, or lower flashpacker, rates. Forming a U-shape around... Read our full review of Ben Guesthouse.
This is a lovely little guesthouse but not an easy one to find. When we queried the owner as to why he didn’t put up a sign or two, (after having spent an hour trying to locate it) he replied, well we don’t get any new guests anyway – only old ones who know it already. Fair enough in a lateral sort of way but it is worth seeking out and is only really around ten minutes’ walk from the... Read our full review of Chat House.
Rinlada House is a cute spot towards the end of Soi Sunpanad; a little street leading off Phaholyothin from the corner with the Muang Thong Restaurant. It contains a series of interesting accommodation options in a motel style, with car parking in front of a two storey block of rooms but you need to imagine a motel designed by your granny. There’s a gravel yard rimmed with well pruned shrubs... Read our full review of Rinlada House.
The Diamond Park Inn is a small, generic style hotel with clean, comfortable rooms at good rates and a location not too far from the centre of town, all up making for a very useful Plan B. It’s set down Phaholyothin Road, as it leads south from the centre, but is situated back a distance from the main road, ensuring traffic noise isn’t an issue. Rooms come with tiled floors and simple decor... Read our full review of Diamond Park Inn.
A new entry down the southern stretch of Phaholyothin, but only a 10 minute walk from the centre, is the interesting Happynest Hostel. Fortunately their aesthetic sense is better than their puns and the hostel, with a white exterior, goes for that popular kind of cosy, industrial chic of bare breeze blocks combined with designer cushions, rattan furniture and strategically placed pot plants. In... Read our full review of Happynest Hostel.
Jansom House may look more like an apartment block from the exterior but the rooms do come with air-con, fridge, cable TV and king-sized bed, so for the price, it is very good value. There’s no decoration and only some basic furniture but the beds are comfortable enough and showers piping hot. The WiFi router is in reception so the signal gets weaker as you go up but then rooms get brighter.... Read our full review of Jansom House.
The Laluna is a great mid range resort in Chiang Rai and one that would be a good choice for anyone with a few baht to spare but, with its delightful pool and gardens, a particularly recommended option if you’ve got kids in tow. It is slightly out of town; located down a residential street close to the old airport, though not impractically so since a mere 60 baht tuk-tuk tide or a 20 minute... Read our full review of Laluna Hotel and Resort.
Lek House is an odd little spot but friendly, with a good location, bar, restaurant, coffee shop and pool all squeezed into a tiny area alongside their rooms. We're not totally convinced by the bright purple paint scheme but the whole place does have more of a cosy than a cramped feel. Their location aside what we assume is a remaining stretch of the old city moat, creates a certain distance... Read our full review of Lek House.
There are several of these large, three star-ish, mid-range hotels in Chiang Rai and whilst we’re sure some of the others are equally good we’ve included Wiang Inn due to its central location. From the same era as the Wangcome Hotel -- the two do look very similar and were obviously built around the same time by the same architect -- but Wiang Inn has slightly better maintained rooms of the... Read our full review of Wiang Inn Hotel.
There’s a few options in Chiang Rai’s high end these days; the Dusit, Meridian and the Legend though the latter does have the advantage of having a river bank location while being close to the town centre too. A walk would probably take you 15-20 minutes but the resort does provide shuttle buses to the Night Bazaar and has bicycles for rent. Mind you bicycles are 50 baht and hour or 300 per... Read our full review of The Legend Resort and Spa .