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Chiang Mai's moat at night time.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Thailand > Northern > Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Nightlife & Entertainment

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Bars and Pubs

Chiang Mai's nightlife scene is the most happening in the North, although still a far cry from Bangkok's hot spots, this guide will show where you can hangout, meet some of the most beautiful girls in Thailand, get outrageous or do whatever takes your fancy. There are discos, karaoke bars, and live music everywhere. The busiest nightlife zones are near Tapae Gate, Loi Kroh Road and along Charoenrat Road on the eastern bank of the Ping River.

Many, but by no means all of Chiang Mai's tourist oriented bars and pubs are located along Loi Kroh Road where in addition to the street bars, a large Beer Bar Centre can be found at the Night Bazaar end of Loi Kroh. Here you will find around 30 bars ranging from sports bars that feature big screens to view your favourite sports and play pool, to Pattaya-style girlie "beer bars", to even bars staffed exclusively by kathoeys (ladyboys), the choice is yours. The centre also features a Muay Thai boxing ring that has exhibition bouts for free or a voluntary donation and on Thursdays real competition boxing that requires a small entrance fee unless your bar has provided you with complimentary viewing. And for extra fun, the ocaasional westerner tries his hands/feet/knees/elbows - usually with hilarious results.

Also take a stroll along Moon Muang Road and its side sois. Here you can find small expat hangouts, go-go bars and sports bars. Most have pool tables and hostesses, along with music videos or various TV sports programs. Be aware despite their charm and friendliness, the pressure to purchase lady drinks can end up with a very surprising "check bin" (tab) at the end of the night.

There are also some bars with a different, more chill-out atmosphere.

West of the city center, the area around Nimmanhaemin Road is a popular hangout for younger Thais, perhaps due to its proximity to Chiang Mai University. The pubs, as they are called here, tend to straddle a fine line between bar, restaurant and nightclub, and feature loud music interspersed with live bands fronted by musicians who are most likely hitting the books in the daytime. Tourists looking for something racier are better off staying in the east side of town. Little English is spoken in this part of town - however, little doesn't mean none, and the staff of many bars, being students, still can understand what do you want, or even sometimes can speak reasonably well.

Many smaller (usually no live music, but have TV, generally with football or some other sports) roadside Thai bars around this area, but outside of more up-market Nimmanhaemin Rd., being cheap (50 to 65 for big Chang or Leo is common), often have a discount if you buy 3 bottles of their favourite beer at once, with price of 129, 119 or even 109 baht for all three. The posters about those "promotions", if any, are in Thai language only - if you can't read, look for the numbers mentioned above, and, if in doubt, ask the staff. Often (if they can speak enough English) the staff will tell you about this offer themselves, if they have one. Expats sometimes can be seen in those small bars, but generally most of the customers are Thais.

Live Music

The area along the east bank of the Mae Ping River on Charoenrat Road is famous for jazz, rock, pop, Thai and country and western live music, along with restaurants serving Thai, western, and Chinese food. Coming from the center of the city, just walk from the night bazaar across the Narawatt Bridge, from where all the restaurants can be seen along the river on the left.

Most bands in Chiang Mai play for about an hour, and then move on to do the same at another restaurant or pub, so don't be surprised to see the same band twice if you switch venues.


Hot Shots

Hot Shots is at Pornping Tower Hotel - a 'Thai' place with live music most nights, reasonable drink prices and no cover charge for foreigners or locals.


Discover is located opposite Kad Suan Kaew shopping centre and Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel. Is a small club with live band, DJ and huge screens showing music videos, good for drinking nights and letting loose. Bring ID/passport as they can be strict with entry especially on weekend nights.


Spicy is a hectic after hours place with good drinks, dancing and lots of girls looking to party - be warned, they almost always ask for money. Also be warned of the washroom staff who will provide you with an invigorating massage whilst you are washing your hands or worse when you are at the urinal and then ask for a tip. A place for farang men to pick up prostitutes.


Mandalay has a younger Thai crowd. Foreigners pay a cover charge - which locals don't. The manager doesn't seek Western tourist business, but if you don't mind dual pricing, this is a great insight into the world of young Thais at play!

Gay Clubs

Chiang Mai is a popular destination for gay tourists and many gay people have retired here.

Places to Go Out in Chiang Mai

Cinema Chiang Mai Vista Cinema
in Chiang Mai
Cinema Major Cineplex
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Café @.ju Coffee
Run by 'Oil', this little place has excellent espresso-based drinks, free WIFI or ten minutes on the computer with your coffee. Very modern design; seating in the front is open to the air while the back is air conditioned. Oil herself speaks excellent English an... more
in Chiang Mai
Café Wawee Coffee
Many locations around the city. Looks much like a Starbucks, but nice mugs if you drink it there. Inside is well air-conditioned, outside is under a canopy (they mist water in the heat of the afternoon). The staff are all kids and pride themselves on their ... more
in Chiang Mai
Café Bitter Swee
The noisy location is made up for by the excellent espresso. Internet is free, and the 'fishbowl' inside is both air conditioned and sound proofed against the rush of traffic.
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Bar So Cool
With cheap prices and, as the name suggests, a very cool atmosphere, this bar is sure to satisfy. The decor is excellent and the beers are as cold as they get.
in Chiang Mai
Bar 2gether Bar
Very reasonable prices 20-30% less than others in the Loi Kroh neighbourhood, and no pushy "Lady Drink" ripoffs here. Your hostess is the very charming Mai, free pool table but don't expect an easy game if Mai is playing. Great music and interesting mi... more
in Chiang Mai
Bar Crank Tavern
Crank Tavern is a beautifully recycled wood-furnished bar with free Internet, great tunes and friendly staff. Now with what are becoming known as the best pub meals in Chiang Mai, it's a great place to have a meal and spend a relaxing evening.
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Bar Half Moon Pub
Sports bar with many regulars and tourists. Darts & pool area, big TV, really nice international cuisine, especially the burgers but also good Thai & Indian dishes. Excellent (can be loud) music, friendly atmosphere and beautiful women.
in Chiang Mai
Bar Kat Bar
Hosted by the feisty and effervescent Jane who always has a great selection of music of your choice played as loud as you like, together with free pool and a wonderful group of really friendly girls to ease your shyness. Always a great favourite as it does not h... more
in Chiang Mai
These are just 10 of 32 Places to Go Out in Chiang Mai. Show more.

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