A perfect Thai night: eating a good typical meal, while watching the delicate music and folk dancing.
For less than we pay sometimes for a common meal in a pretentious western restaurant, this is something not to miss.
There are many alternatives, with pickup in all the hotels.
An evening happening with two parts. First program include professional Thai folk dance and a northern khantoke dinner. After dinner walk a short distance to watch not so professional folk dance (picture).
This complex is located near the Night Bazaar and features around thirty bars with pool tables that come with hostesses and loud music. There is a Thai boxing ring and there was a bout going on when I was there but it just felt like it was being staged for the westerners looking on and, indeed, a couple of guys came around with a box asking for money after the bout had finished. There's also a ladyboy cabaret here as well. A place to enjoy alternative Thai culture, if you'll excuse the euphemism. Not for the family!
Riverside is a schizophrenic beast ... you can start with a most romantic quiet dinner at a riverside table, under dim lanterns, watching the boats idle by. A piano tinkles away in the background. Then an acoustic duo might serenade. Then the crowd starts to filter in, and all the tables get busier and noisier. Then, by the time dinner's over, you realise that the place is jam packed and the first of the live bands is cranking away inside by 9:30pm
Suddenly, it's sardine conditions, with a mixture of farangs and Thais squished into the narrow downstairs section, bopping away to usually great party bands till 1am nightly.
Downside, sometimes hard to get through the crowd to get a drink.
See also my tip on the Riverside's nightly Wine and Dine cruise.
Dress Code: Smart casual is fine.
Warm Up has built a reputation in its 10 years as one of the great nightclubs of Chiang Mai for out and out fun.
It mainly attracts students from nearby Chiang Mai University and early 20-somethings looking to let down their hair. And, boy, do they ever!
Outside, a small band plays to the chilling crowd enjoying drinks at tables and chairs in the open-sided area. A great little bar for spirits and cocktails.
But, go through the glass doors at the far end, and you'll find the place going off. Live music, especially playing infectious Thai pop stuff, gets the crowd going. Most are standing at tables, with buckets of Thai whiskey and ice, bopping a bit. Not much of a dance floor or mosh pit per se. Most nights its shoulder to shoulder busy, but if you're lucky, you can rest your drinks on a counter space near the back, or even find a chair/lounge.
Very local, but more and more farangs are finding their way here to meet the locals and try their luck.
Dress Code: Pretty casual, but the ladies like to primp and preen themselves usually, so suggest make an effort if you're looking to impress.
Monkey Bar is a very local Thai nightclub ... you might only see a couple of farangs there on an average night. You're welcome of course, it's just that it's not a backpacker/tourist hang. Rather it's for local students, middle/upper crowd with a bit of style.
Cool big open-feel area has a band in one corner, but not so loud you can't kick back on the comfy chairs and couches and have a great conversation. Dozens of tables, great for people watching.
Later, you might want to ramp up the vibe a bit -- just go inside where there's ANOTHER band playing, louder and rockier. Not much in the way of dancing, but people swaying along.
Voted one of the hippest most happening clubs in CM, Monkey Bar often has visiting DJs and Bands, so well established on the music circuit. Open daily 6 pm - 1 am.
Dress Code: Up to you, but suggest something smarter to fit in with the crowd. Most locals are dressed pretty sharply.
Chiang Mai is slightly different than the beachside resorts ... while there are pockets of girlie bars along Loy Kroh there is not much of an A GO GO scene here. In fact really only 3: Foxy Lady, Spotlight and Star Xix (sic).
Foxy Lady for most is the best in terms of decor and ladies. Fairly small, with bar seats around the stage, a second tier of tables and seats behind, and some lounging areas against the back wall.
As Go Go bars go, it's good clean fun: no nudity, lots of laughs, and totally forgettable music. If you want to go as a couple, no problem, women welcome too.
Drinks: beers around 100-125 baht, spirits about 125 and up.
Bar fine: 500.
Dress Code: Whatever.
The Latin Club is quite new on the Chiang Mai nightlife scene, and attracts the hi-so of locals and a few expatriates too.
Very flashy with mirror balls, black shiny floor, and comfy sofas around the walls to hang out on. Huge variety of music, sometimes even verging on the shlocky western stuff, but all the staples are there on an average night: salsa, cha cha, tango, rock 'n roll, etc to strut your stuff.
You can get lessons on the run if you're not so confident, and some of the resident team (male and female) will dance with you for 500 baht for the evening.
Age range seems to be early 30s to over 70 in the case of one lady regular!
Drinks can be expensive; average bottle of wine runs you around 1000 baht.
Dress Code: Dress the part for effect, but not compulsory. Some turn up in jeans and tees.
A casual bar frequented by locals, tourists and expats.
The draw here is the nightly jazz sessions which kick off around 9:30pm. Pot luck in terms of who's playing ... but usually the line up consists of a cosmopolitan mixture of someone on keyboards, a vocalist, a trumpeter, someone on bongos, bass, drums. With a few people who jump in and out as guest performers.
Tuesday nights is Open Mic nights
Dress Code: Casual crowd in every respect: many turn up in shorts and singlets.
Khan Asa is a cool place to hang out with local middle/upper class Thais and some of their western friends. Pretty trendy but fun loving crowd.
Many come for the jazz evenings which are staged from time to time with special themes and good line-ups of local musicians.
Small cafe, opened up to the street, and pretty cozy inside.
Dress Code: Smart casual is more than fine.
This is a very trendy bar/nightclub among the local students. So the people are young there. However they have good live music from pop to jazz and the atmosphere is good. They have a very nice big and comfy outside area as well. Good place to go and have a drink.
Its open daily from 6 to 1.
Dress Code: Nothing special needed.
There are several establishments that put on elaborate traditional Thai dancing in conjunction with dinner. It's the Thai equivalent of a dinner theater. I went to one years ago which was in a private restaurant setting and was delighted. More recently, we attended one arranged by the travel agent in our hotel and it was a bit disappointing. Probably because I had seen years before how it is done properly. In the private setting, the focus was on culture and enlightenment. The more recent one was more closely akin to a Japanese beer brawl. The audience was far too large and full of drunk Japanese businessmen who continually interrupted the show trying to dance with the ladies. The audience was so large that one could not see or hear much of the theater. The food was passable, at best. Probably still enjoyable, but one of the biggest disappointments of our most recent trip. Stick with the small theaters in the restaurants. Possibly a bit more pricy, but well worth it.
Dress Code: The Thai dancing theates would be as you would normally dress for dinner in Thailand. The mass-produced beer brawls, wear something you don't mind getting beer spilled on.
Kwanjira Therapy is opened by Peter Chong from Singapore.
His massage shop is very popular and the rates are very reasonable.
This is the only shop that provide foot soak. Their staff are all certified and very professional.
The shop is located at The Peak Night Bazzar at Changklan Rd.
THB60 - for 30 mins of foot massage
THB60 - for 30 mins of back, shoulder, head and arm massage
THB150 - for 1hr of Thai Massage
After a long day of sightseeing and shopping at the night bazzar, pamper yourself with very affordable massage.
Send my regards to Peter and tell him you are from Virtual Tourist when you are there ;p
We thought it was hilarious when we spotted the rows of people around the nightmarket area getting foot massages. There was quite a production!! They seemed to be enjoying it but I had to wonder on how sanitary it ws....a little too earthy for my tastes!!
Almost everyone knows of the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai along Chang Klang Road but few visitors ever experience Chiang Mai’s unique walking markets on the weekends. These markets on Wualai Road on Saturday and Rajdumnern Road on Sunday are much different than the Night Bazaar.
While the Night Bazaar has it’s flashing neon signs advertising the western food chains and merchandise, crowded narrow walkways crammed with hawkers and tourists, the Weekend Bazaars offer a more relaxing experience. Large wide avenues are blocked off from vehicle traffic at 4 PM until 11 PM. Talented craft persons and northern Thai fresh food vendors politely sell they wares along the sidewalks and on colorful temple grounds.
Both weekend walking markets are excellent however each is different in the types of wares sold, atmosphere and experiences.
The Saturday Bazaar on Wualai Road begins at Rajchiangsean road up to Tipanet Road. This is the old city silver-making district and even today you can still hear the tapping of hammers as the silversmiths sculpture beautiful designs on bowls, cups, bracelets, rings and wall murals. You can watch them make their beautiful creations as they sit on the street in front of their shops.
There are several silver shops on Wualai Road so look at all of them before deciding on a purchase. Bargaining is welcomed and half of the funs of shopping so don’t settle on a fixed price. There are plenty of food and drink vendors along the street and small restaurants where you can take a rest and take in the surroundings so no need to rush.
The Sunday Bazaar on Rajdumnern Road begins at Thapae Gate and ends at the city police station about 6 bocks west. About half way up, at Prapokklao Road, the Bazaar continues south past Wat Chedi Luang for another block and north to the 3 kings statue and the old Provincial Hall, which is now the Chiang Mai City Museum.
Dress Code: A stage is set up on the grounds of the museum where northern Thai musicians and dancers in traditional costumes give live performances starting around 7 PM.
Rajdumnern Road seams to have one temple after another. The temple grounds are where almost all the food stalls are set up. Here they have tables and chairs where you can sit and have everything from French Fries to Papaya Salad, soups and grilled Thai dishes. Lots of different foods and deserts you probably have never seen before are available. Soft Thai music is usually played on the temple sound system to add to the eating experience.
Both Bazaars are lots of fun and several hours can be spent here enjoying the culture, food, people and atmosphere. Unlike the Night Bazaar with its copied brand products, fake jewelry and handicrafts made in China or Burma both weekend markets have real handcraft persons selling their goods. Excellent northern Thai food and snacks made fresh by local and country folks, most not found in restaurants, such as “Miengkom” and “Caosoi” have to be tried.
The real fun is not the shopping but the ambience. Every block has traditional Thai Music being played by elders and children. The rich colors of the surrounding temples, the smell of garlic, grilled fish, sausages and chilies being cooked and roasted. People are eating smiling and just having a good time. Oh, one more thing. Get your snack and cold drink and take it to one of the many foot massage operations set up on the sidewalk. Sit back in the comfortable cushioned reclining chair and just watch, listen and take it all in. Wow what a great experience.
Stunning boutique hotel hotel with a Zen-Thai Temple charm. The hotel has open, frangipani scented...more
Everything you would expect from a Mandarin Oriental plus the really spectacular design. Two...more
Perfect - hotel, people, service, food, room EVERYTHING, highly recommend - LOCATION LOCATION...more