The old Maesai Guesthouse, along with such standards as Mae Salong’s Shin Sane and the Chiang Saen Guesthouse is a classic of the Chiang Rai loop and it’s good to see this, friendly, family-run establishment still going after some 30 years.
Yes, the location is slightly awkward, with a kilometre walk down a dark lane to get there, but the riverbank situation and tranquil garden makes it worthwhile.
A little seating and cafe area on a slightly ropey wooden and bamboo deck overlooks the Sai River, and a variety of wooden and brick chalets are strewn throughout a hillside garden. Bamboo-lined interiors are simple but kept clean and comfortable and all come with attached hot showers, fans and balconies. Some are newer than others, some have better views than others, and some have more spacious balconies than others -- so ask if you can poke around and see what’s available. There is only 100 baht either way price difference.
Things are quiet up here these days and, like many of these iconic old guesthouses, it’s seen better days, but rooms are pleasant enough and good value, the owners friendly and helpful and its location is second to none in town. Plenty of, slightly faded, information is posted up on the walls along with a map of the area, and free WiFi is boomed throughout. You certainly get the impression that not much has changed here (well, apart from the WiFi), in 30 years -- but that’s part of the charm.
To get here, take the left turn by the bridge and follow the covered market road, Sailomjoy. Keep following this riverside road past the old abandoned Mae Sai Riverside, and you’ll see a steep driveway on the right leading down to Maesai Guesthouse.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 11th October, 2015.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Bungalow fan private bathroom, low season: 300 baht, high season 300 baht. Notes: Large bungalow 400 baht. Riverview 500 baht.