A mix of options
We could almost sub-title this ‘Reclaiming Loi Kroh‘, as usually the mention of this well-known Chiang Mai road tends to bring many locals out in shudders and expats in sniggers. Yes, one small section of the road is, shall we say, sleazy, but the rest of the street is home to some excellent eateries, lively bars and cafes and plenty of totally un-dodgy massage parlours, as well as being the focal point of the famous Chiang Mai night bazaar.
Loi Kroh Road cuts through the heart of east Chiang Mai, running between the east side of the moat, Kotchasarn Road, crossing over Khamphang Din and Chiang Klan Roads before emerging onto Charoen Prathet on the riverside opposite the old metal bridge. (See map.) It’s a fairly long street with variously themed sections and as we mentioned contains some of the city’s liveliest night-life areas.
The eastern end of Loi Kroh is home to some of Chiang Mai’s sleazier bars though it’s tame compared to many other towns in the kingdom. It can be a good spot to meet people, so don’t necessarily write them off. Some of these bars have live music such as Carousel Bar (next to 7-eleven), a friendly spot and certainly one of the least sleazy on this stretch.
Heading east is the eclectic central section, which includes several pavement massage spots, a selection of bars and some good restaurants as well as popular Raming Lodge. Recommended watering holes along this section are English pub-style Olde Bell which has some great pub grub on offer as well as occasional free barbies, the sports orientated and friendly Number 1 bar, (popular with expats and visitors and located just down Soi 1), and Chiang Mai Saloon for good cocktails, burgers, Tex-Mex and more.
Also of note — if you like that sort of thing — before reaching the night bazaar is the Ringside beer bar complex on the right next to Khampeang Din Road, which features twice-weekly Thai boxing bouts as well as regular ladyboy dance spectacles. Last time we went they were charging a rather steep 400 baht to watch some pretty contrived boxing — the dance show was more fun.
Past this and you’re reaching Loi Kroh’s busiest section, around the junction with Chiang Khlan Road which forms the apex of Chiang Mai’s famous night bazaar. Turning right will take you to the Anusarn Market area with its eateries and outdoor stalls while left leads you to the three-storey Chiang Mai Plaza, which sells mostly handicrafts, and the popular Galar Food Centre. This area also houses Western chains like Starbucks and Burger King and is the location of several of downtown’s larger hotels such as Imperial Mae Ping. Finally a short section between Chiang Khlan and Charoen Prathet houses more bars including sports-orientated Red Lion Pub and even a German beerhouse.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 31st January, 2015.