Entertainment in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Restaurants

Rooftop Bar Chiang Mai, Thailand
Rooftop Bar in Chiang Mai City

Chiang Mai has an enormous array of restaurants catering to all tastes. The Ping river in the center of town is lined with places offering good food and live music.

Having said that these places do have a rather western feel to them, in particular the riverside and the Goodview restaurants. The riverside has a dinner boat that offers a tranquil alternative to the restaurant itself.

Chiang Mai Movies - Cinema

Do you like movies? Then get yourself to the Airport Plaza where they have a modern cinema showing all the latest releases. About US$ 3 per show.

Chiang Mai Pubs & Clubs

Pubs: Thailand ranks number 5 in the world for alcohol consumption and so it comes as no surprise that Chiang Mai has a wide selection of pubs and bars to choose from. Basically everywhere you go there is alcohol for sale. Since not every visitor wants to be herded into tourist bars we have listed the various style of drinking establishments and what you might find there.

Tourist bars with girls: Yeah, you get the idea. The area from the night market right up to the moat is dotted with small bars full of young ladies (and a pool table).

It's not as sordid as it sounds and nowhere near as gruesome as the Bangkok scene (no live shows). Most of the "working" girls are there of their own free will and are friendly and easygoing.

Many people frequent these bars just to have a drink and a chat, maybe practice a bit of Thai. Most have satellite TV and show live sporting events. Not the sort of place to bring the kids though.

Bars along the river. Usually of the "sit down and eat" variety. The further away from the Nawarat bridge you go the less westerners you're likely to see.

A good place to check out would be Huong Son Thalee [Thalee's House]. Food is great and the owner and her daughter sing traditional Lanna songs. The clientele is predominately local people which gives this place a really nice, authentic atmosphere

Street side watering holes. There are many. At the lower end there are battered old wooden tables selling rice wine and Chang Beer (elephant beer) to locals, usually working class males. These are everywhere and you will be made to feel very welcome should you sit down and try something.

The rice wine is a bit harsh but the Mekong whisky is okay. At the "upper" end there are a few VW camper vans fitted out to double up as a bar, some near the night market look pretty cool, almost like a cocktail bar.

Karaoke bars. Not very popular with westerners but goes down well with locals and other Asian visitors. Can be fun if you're in the mood. Sing until your heart's content in your own sound proof cubicle as oppose to standing on stage and having tomatoes pelted at you.

Generally two types: with young ladies available for company and without. There are literally hundreds of karaoke bars, particularly along new highways on the outskirts of town, although you'd have to be pretty adventurous to venture so far at night. Thais are extremely hospitable and foreigners are welcome everywhere.

Nightclubs. With Chiang Mai shutting down at midnight, nightclubs have fallen on extremely hard times. Nowadays there are only a few that can afford to stay open. Predominantly frequented by Thais and the music is deafeningly loud.

There is a "techno" scene but the excess alcohol usually leaves people slumped over tables rather than running around waving glow sticks. Bubbles Nightclub near the night bazaar is popular with tourists, there is also Red Bug, Bossy and Club G for more of a local scene. Can't really quote any more than that due to police forever raiding and closing places down.