Where to Stay in Chiang Mai for Food Lovers

Chiang Mai, once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom in Thailand, is one of the most visited cities in Thailand.

With its ideal setting near the mountains, a vibrant Old City with many temples, and a unique food scene, Chiang Mai has a lot to offer.

Having spent extended amounts of time in Chiang Mai, we love the city for a number of reasons. The amazing Northern Thai food is simply delectable. And, the cultural scene and ability to get around easily outdoors makes it very convenient.

As you plan for your food quest to explore the local flavors, you will want to know where to stay in Chiang Mai, especially for local food.

Here is our list of recommended hostels, hotels, and apartment-hotels. All are conveniently located and close to some of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai.

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Finding a Neighborhood Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is organized around the Old City, in the center of town.

If you go west, you will find Nimman, the most trendy neighborhood, popular with tourists and expats.

Further west, you’ll reach Chiang Mai University, a local neighborhood with a bustling student community.

Heading east, you will find the Chinese neighborhood with Warorot Market, the largest in Chiang Mai, bordered by the Ping River.

Each neighborhood has its own distinct food scene, catering to the local community.

Authentic Food Quest Tip: For a wonderful introduction to the local Chiang Mai food, we recommend taking a Northern Flavors Chiang Mai Food Tour. We took this tour and enjoyed a wonderful evening with a local guide exploring various local neighborhoods and sampling Chiang Mai or Northern Thai food. A truly exciting way to discover the food in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai Old Town Neighborhood

The Old City is also referred to as the city “inside the moat”, which surrounds the limits of the Old City.

The moat is square shaped with each side about 2km (~1.3 miles) in length making it easy to walk anywhere inside the Old City.

Staying in the Old City is the perfect place to visit the main cultural sites and temples in Chiang Mai.

It is also the best area to stay in Chiang Mai, especially if you are only visiting the city for a short stay.

When it comes to the food scene, the Old City is the most convenient location to explore some of the best local markets in Chiang Mai.

There are also great options for local restaurants and a bustling street food scene.

For that reason, it is the most visited area in Chiang Mai with a lot of tourists and places that cater to foreigners.

That said, you can still find pockets of quiet areas, just a few steps away from bustling areas.

You will find many accommodations styles from hostels to boutique hotels. The following are our recommendations for where to stay in Chiang Mai in the Old City.

Moat around the Old City Finding Where to Stay in Chiang Mai Authentic Food QuestThe moat surrounding Chiang Mai Old City

Best Places to Stay in Chiang Mai in the Old City

Budget-Friendly Options 

For a budget-friendly place, we recommend Hostel by Bed.

This clean and airy hostel is ideally located on the northwest side of the Old City.

If you aren’t into the shared dormitory-style, they do provide private bedrooms with private bathrooms. They also have nice perks like free coffee and water.

Hostel by Bed is walking distance from Chang Phueak night market where you can find some of the best street food in Chiang Mai.

For where to stay in Chiang Mai, Hostel by Bed is close to one of our recommended Khao Soi places in Chiang Mai, Khao Soi Khun Yai.

Prices start at $13 a night for a shared dormitory room

See more prices, read reviews or to find similar hostels check: Booking.com | Agoda

Mid Range Accommodations Options

For mid-range budget accommodations, the Sila Boutique Hotel Bed & Breakfast is a quaint boutique hotel with only 9 rooms.

It is located in the heart of Chiang Mai, opposite to Wat Phra Singh, a must visit temple.

This hotel offers a great selection at breakfast with great coffee. And, if you are a coffee connoisseur, you be sure to visit Akha Ama, one of the best coffee shops in Chiang Mai, which is close by.

You are also not far from Khao Soi Arak and Huen Phen, two of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai we recommend.

Prices start at $50 for a double room

See prices, read reviews or to find similar boutique hotels, check: Booking.com | Agoda

RELATED: Read our article 15 Best Chiang Mai Food To Have

 

Luxury Accommodation Options

For luxury hotels consider Villa Klang Wiang, a respite from the bustling streets of Chiang Mai’s Old City.

With a wonderful breakfast, a lovely garden, a fitness center, and swimming pool, it is the perfect place to relax after sightseeing.

Villa Klang Wiang is conveniently located near South Gate, where you can find great street food and the lively Saturday night market.

See prices, read reviews or to find similar boutique hotels, check: Booking.com | Agoda

Wat Phra Singh on the west side of Chiang Mai Old City one of the Best Place to Stay in Chiang Mai Authentic Food QuestWat Phra Singh one of the most venerated temples in Chiang Mai

Nimman – Chiang Mai Trendy Neighborhood

Nimman is a trendy and popular neighborhood and a great option if looking for modern and convenient living in Chiang Mai.

You’ll find a variety of solid options for both Thai and non-Thai restaurants. This area is also a great place to find apartment-hotels with furnished kitchens.

There is a weekly organic market every Sunday and one of our favorite markets Ton Panyom is on the Southside of Nimman.

One unique characteristic of Nimman is that it is one of the most popular hubs for digital nomads.

As a result, you’ll find many excellent coffee shops and great co-working spaces.

For where to stay in Chiang Mai with convenience and ease to get around, Nimman is one of the best neighborhoods. 

One Market In Nimman One of the best places to stay in Chiang Mai Authentic Food QuestOne Market in Nimman, a high-end food court

Best Places to Stay in Chiang Mai Nimman

Budget-Friendly Options

For a budget-friendly option, Chill Chill at Nimman is great apartment-hotel, conveniently located next to Nong Bee’s our favorite Burmese restaurant in Chiang Mai.

The apartments are fully furnished with a kitchenette and balcony.

Prices start at $26 for the entire apartment

See prices, read reviews or to find similar luxury hotels, check: Booking.com

Mid Range Options

Stay in Style at Nimman R201 is a cozy one bedroom apartment located in the heart of Nimman. It offers the convenience of a home away from home.

Fully furnished, including a kitchen equipped for your stay, you will regret not to stay longer.

Located in the heart of Nimman, you are walking distance to massage parlors, convenience stores, and restaurants.

Additionally, the location is only a  few minutes walking distance from MAYA Mall, a shopping and food center where you can find many decent food options in one place.

Prices start at $75 for the entire apartment

See prices, read reviews or to find similar luxury hotels, check: Booking.com

Ristr8to coffee shop in Nimman one of the best place to stay in Chiang Mai by Authentic Food QuestRistr8to Coffee, one of the many great coffee shops in Nimman

Luxury Accommodation Options

For a luxury hotel, choose At Niman a quirky and stylish boutique hotel offering contemporary rooms. Their breakfast is copious and delicious.

It is also located in a quieter part of Nimman where you can enjoy relaxing after a busy day of sightseeing.

Prices start at $110 for a double room

See prices, read reviews or to find similar luxury hotels, check: Agoda

Chang Phueak – Chiang Mai Neighborhood To Live Like A Local

If you’re looking for a local neighborhood and live like a Chiang Mai local, then Chang Phueak is a great area to stay.

Chang Phueak is on the northern side of town. It is a large district that goes from the steps of the mountain below the beautiful temple Doi Suthep on the northwest side to the Ping River on the east side.

In Chang Phueak, you will find some great local eateries, street food, and local markets.

The area is located within easy reach to the Old City and Niman neighborhoods, either by foot or using the local transportation Songthaew or red truck.

Doi Suthep Chiang Mai Authentic Food QuestHike up to Doi Suthep and enjoy breathtaking views of the temple and Chiang Mai

Best Places to Stay in Chiang Mai Local Neighborhood Chang Phueak

Budget-Friendly Options

Pyur Otel is a quiet and quaint hotel that serves free breakfast in a funky coffee shop open all day long. This budget hotel offers nicely decorated bedrooms as well as a neat dormitory.

It is conveniently located to two of our favorite local restaurants Khao Soi Mae Sai and Huen Muan Jai.

Read more about the Chiang Mai Northern Thai restaurants we recommend.

Prices start at $23 for a double-room

See prices, read reviews or to find similar luxury hotels, check: Agoda

Mid Range Options

Santitham Guest House is a lovely and relaxing guest house set in nature with vegetation and running water on the property giving it a unique character.

This mid-range accommodation is located on the north side of town, walking distance from Siriwatana market one of the best local markets in town.

You are also close by Akha Ama coffee one of our favorite coffee shops.

Santitham Guest House is about a 1.6km or a mile away from the Old City, which can be covered on foot or by taking take a Songthaew to get you anywhere in the city.

Prices start at $49 for a double-room.

See prices, read reviews or to find similar luxury hotels, check: Booking.com | Agoda

Luxury Accommodation Options

The luxury hotel of choice in Chang Phueak is Sireeampan Boutique Resort and Spa. This is a great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

With a Spa and Wellness Center as well as an outdoor pool at the resort, you are in for a treat.

Breakfast can be served anywhere you want on the premises and a Thai restaurant offering local foods can satisfy your hunger at any time of the day.

This resort is walking distance from local food markets and local restaurants serving our favorites Chiang Mai food in Chang Phueak.

A shuttle service is provided to go anywhere in the city as well as from and to the airport.

Prices start at $189 for a double-room

See prices, read reviews or to find similar luxury hotels, check: Booking.comAgoda

Chang Phueak Local Market Chiang Mai Authentic Food QuestLocal market in Chang Phueak
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In Summary

Chiang Mai is a great city to visit or stay for an extended period of time. There is plenty to do with something for everyone, and an amazing local food scene.

With these neighborhood recommendations and where to stay in Chiang Mai, you are all set for your Chiang Mai food quest.

Enjoy the delectable local food scene at any of the recommended neighborhoods.

For where to stay in Chiang Mai, which one of these neighborhoods interests you the most? Please let us know in the comments below.

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22 comments

  1. We have been to Thailand thrice but still, Chiang Mai is pending on our list. Your post explains everything well from pricing to nearby spots and we are surely going to consider your advice before booking a place for us. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Chiang Mai was also one of my favorite cities in Thailand – whereby I must say that I stayed mainly in the old town. Loved the temples and, of course, the food. South of the old part is this cultural center where you can experience a traditional Thai feast sitting on cushions on the floor, eating a fantastic meal while dancers – who obviously ate much less than you…. – entertain you with classic Thai dances.

    Reply
  3. This is a great guide for Chiang Mai neighborhoods. I’m really glad to see prices as well, not only recommendations. Since I’ve never been there it’s good to know what I should expect to pay for a room.

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  4. I had no idea there were so many neighborhoods and lodging choices in Chiang-Mai. Great tips for every travel style. I’d love to live like a local – if even for a few nights and be close to great eating. You must have spent a lot of time there to know the city so well. Bookmarking for the future!

    Reply
    • Perfect Elaine. Yes, we have spent quite a bit of time in Chiang Mai and love it. Affordable lodging, great food, amazing people and lots to do. Does not get much better than that 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  5. Ahhh I now really want to go back to Thailand. I didn’t make it up to Chiang Mai so will be referencing this when I get to go back. I want to go to all the coffee shops and live my best digital nomad life. And definitely all about the food tour! Great recommendations

    Reply
  6. You have provided a great selection of all kinds of options for places to stay in Chiang Mai. We do love staying in the old part of cities. Even if it is “inside the moat”. We love local markets so this would be great for us. A luxury hotel with a garden and swimming pool is ideal. So we would definitely looking into Villa Klang Wiang. But maybe if we visited for a longer time, we might want to stay in a more local spot.

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    • Thanks Linda, so glad you liked the selection of hotels offered. The Old City is a great central location and Villa Klang Wiang is a great option. Something to keep in mind for your next Chiang Mai trip 🙂

      Reply
  7. Wow what a wonderful trip. I’ve always wanted to visit Chiang Mai because there’s so many amazing places to visit but now I will also look forward to their food. I can’t wait to travel soon.

    Reply
  8. I have never been to Thailand, but I eat from a local Thai restaurant pretty regularly. I love the food, and the people are always very nice there. You’ve given me a few ideas on new things I want to try.

    Reply

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