Ma Guesthouse

Ma Guesthouse

Like staying at your Chiang Mai granny’s place

More on Chiang Mai

Inconspicuous Ma Guesthouse, hidden away above a hair salon, might not look much from the outside but inside it’s a real budget star.

Travelfish says:

Set at the southern end of Samlarn Road, this tiny guesthouse with only eight rooms is almost homestay style and, at the risk of sounding corny, a bit like staying at Nan's place. (Though to be fair to owner Ma, a very young and sprightly granny.) Downstairs is a smart looking salon, also run by Ma, who promises a cheap haircut to any of her guests. Above, rooms are split between the first and second floors of the pale green and bright yellow building.

Another Travelfish self-portrait (and a smart room!) : Mark Ord.
Another Travelfish self-portrait (and a smart room!) Photo: Mark Ord

Rooms are a varied collection with some coming with bathrooms, others with balconies and others still with sliding glass doors for entrances. Two have a connecting door to convert into a family suite. Across the board they’re all delightfully and carefully decorated with an impressive attention to detail. Quirky springs to mind and there’s plenty of clutter around but the yellow walls, powder blue bed linen, wooden panels, wrought iron frills, solid furniture and Ma’s bits and bobs combine to make a harmonious whole. What’s more the whole affair is spotless—you could eat off the floor—and immaculate sheets, soft quilts and carefully folded towels wouldn’t be out of place in a far more expensive hotel.

A couple of balconies have been converted to funky Bali-style bathrooms complete with pebbles and Ma has plans to add a more but there’s a communal bathroom on each floor, serving only two or three rooms. Bathrooms are also spotless and likewise quirkily decorated.

Rooms are bright. : Mark Ord.
Rooms are bright. Photo: Mark Ord

Aside from the rooms, and of course bubbly Ma herself, the star of the show is undoubtedly a brilliant first floor balcony out front. A wooden counter allows you to sip a beer or coffee and look down on the road’s action while there’s an eclectic collection of benches and sofas, plenty of pot plants, Isaan cushions, a pile of used books, and ceramics and pottery in glass cases.

Guests can avail themselves of the all-day free tea, coffee, drinking water, toast and jam, fruit and mango and sticky rice (in season) which again puts many upmarket resorts to shame. Oh and breakfast is included, and if that’s not enough, you can have a free airport transfer to boot.

Well kept bathroom. : Mark Ord.
Well kept bathroom. Photo: Mark Ord

The location is fine and you’re roughly equidistant from the Saturday and Sunday markets. Prices are exceptional for what you get and there are also long stay and low season discounts. Not only is this a top choice in the budget department but we’d consider it over many flashpacker options as well. Commendable!

Contact details for Ma Guesthouse

Address: 78/1 Samlarn Rd, Phra Singh
T: (053) 814 735; (081) 603 4608;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º58'53.97" E, 18º46'58.89" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B

Room rates

What we were quoted as a walk-in.

Dbl air-con share bathroom 500 baht 600 baht
Dbl air-con private bathroom 600 baht 700 baht

Reviewed by

Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.

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