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Nightlife in Chiang Mai

Posted By Amy Ferguson on 23 Jul 2015
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Being a young twenty-something in a foreign country, what’s one of the fun things to do? Go out of course! Chiang Mai city is a short bus ride away from our base where we live and work, Doi Saket. Chiang Mai is a bustling hub and destination for many backpackers coming through Thailand. There are plenty of places to eat and drink to suit varied and changing tastes. You can eat traditional Thai food, delicious cheap and quick street food, and many western dishes. Beers are usually cheap at a couple of pounds or dollars, and cocktails and drink buckets can be found in many places.

So how to choose a place to go? We have some definite favourites, on and off the beaten track. Rooftop Bar is always a favourite among new volunteers. After climbing several flights of stairs, one comes out on an open rooftop where everyone sits on bamboo mats on the floor. A DJ usually spins some dub or other electronic music, and the drinks are affordable. Neon paintings adorn the walls. The floor plan makes for an intimate setting which is great in the open night air. A Shih Tzu puppy that is part blind hangs out by the DJ and is always up for belly rubs.

 A major destination is a collection of clubs surrounding the central Zoe in Yellow Corner. The place is always packed. Scores of foreigners crowd into the dance rooms and spill out onto the street. You can listen to live reggae or rock, or get down to one of the DJs playing pop songs or electronic music. There is a fantastic pizza stand with creative toppings, as well as stands with Pad Thai, kebabs, and other treats.

If you are hoping to mingle with some local Thai people, look no further than Nimmanhaemin Road. This up-and-coming area is packed with restaurants, cafes, and bars, and is a favourite among Thai university students. A personal favourite is the Warm Up Café. It is even more packed than Zoe’s. Crowds of young people literally squish by one another to visit the different stages with singers and live bands, and to suit my tastes there is a little electronic room on the side that actually has dancing room. It’s cool.

After Warmup, where to go? The club Infinity keeps the party going all night long. Here again there is a stage with music, while the entry room has couches and water fountains to chill out by.

Transportation is easy, as red “sungtaos” constantly drive through the city and operate as ride-share taxis. It is only 20 baht (less than 50p) to go almost everywhere in the city. Central Chiang Mai is also small enough that there are many areas where you can walk!

Or, if you feel like having a low key night in Doi Saket, you can walk to Green Bar, right down the street from the GapGuru House. This is a completely local place with Thais from the neighbourhood who hang out together. There is wi-fi, and they sell chicken nuggets and chips in addition to Thai dishes. The walls are green. If you go on the right night, a great local Thai named Bert will have a carrier with several of his enormous exotic snakes!

Our volunteers in Thailand like to do a variety of activities, from volunteering to sports like ziplining and rafting. But if you enjoy a little nightlife to finish off a full day, Chiang Mai is a playground with much to offer!


Amy Ferguson
Media Intern

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