Chiang Mai, one of my personal favourites for partying, particularly during Songkran!
Songkran, if you haven’t done it already, is the Thai New Year. It is a lot of fun and the biggest celebrated festival in Thailand. It originates here in Chiang Mai and is held on the 13th- 15th April. Songkran is also the longest and most anticipated public holiday in Thailand. It is a popular time for the Thais, they often use this time to return to their home towns to see family and friends.
Outside of the famous Songkran festival, the city offers a broad scope of drinking and dancing options. For the most part, though, live music venues are the most popular. Riverside drinking is also a popular pastime, with locals and visitors settling down by the Ping River with a chilled drink and some good company, while the live band entertain with classic blues, jazz and rock tunes – a hallmark of any Chiang Mai visit.
The Nimman Road area has emerged as a popular haunt with the city’s younger set. In particular, the Monkey Club that has live music and great food. Within the walled city there is a multitude of backpacker and hotel bars that cater to a range of budgets, from the cheap and cheerful to boutique-chic. As with the rest of Thailand there is quite a high concentration of reggae bars where cheap beer, cushion-laden floors and chilled-out beats make for a laid-back evening.
Best Bars and Clubs in Chiang Mai
We spent almost 4 weeks in Chiang Mai. Overstayed our visa and got into a little trouble but it was well worth it! The party life isn’t as lively outside of Songkran, but there is still a lot do to. If you love live music, you will be in heaven. Live music venues have the monopoly here. The downside is there is not so many late-night clubs to dance till the early hours of the morning. Outside of Songkran, we found that most clubs had a 1am curfew.
Boon Yoo Market (also called Soi reggae)
We spent many evenings here, particularly during Songkran when the party was out of this world. Think of 10,000 drunken people all with water guns and water sprinklers all turned on for most of the evening! The nightlife in the old city is scattered in various locations, but this is definitely the place to be if you want to party. There are a nice collection of bars including Zoe in Yellow, which is easily the most popular bar in the area.
Infinity Club – Chiang Mai
Infinity Club Chiang Mai is a large nightclub playing a mix of electronic, dance and house music. It is located between Nimmanhaemin Road and Chiang Mai University. It is also walking distance to other nightclubs such as Tawandang and Warm Up Café. Infinity is open every evening from 18:00 and is one of the main hangouts for international expats and tourists. Lots of Thais also go to party there on the weekends. It starts to get busy around 21:00 and, while it officially closes at midnight, sometimes it stays open to as late as 02:00.
Location: Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 6, Nimman
Facebook Page: Infinityclub.chaingmai
THC Rooftop Bar – Chiang Mai
THC Rooftop bar is the original rooftop bar in Chiang Mai offering views of Chiang Mai’s old city and Doi Suthep Mountain. While the THC rooftop bar is not the only rooftop bar in the city, it remains popular with backpackers and younger tourists. The THC stands for the chemical in marijuana that produces the drug’s effects but at the THC Rooftop Bar there are no drugs available, only alcohol, fruit smoothies and some Thai food dishes. The name is used to suggest that the bar is a reggae bar and the music ranges from reggae to dance, trance and even drum’n’bass all in one night. It’s certainly loud and boisterous all night long, with mostly backpacker clientele who are very friendly and in the mood to dance.
The THC rooftop bar is just outside the city moat and Thapae gate, a few doors down from McDonald’s. The entrance is hard to locate as it is just an empty shop with impressive graffiti showing the way to the Rooftop Bar. There is a relaxed atmosphere and customers always talk to people other tables. The THC Rooftop Bar is also a good place to dance. It has a small dance floor that´s open all night.
The Monkey Club – Chiang Mai
The Monkey Club is a trendy place in Nimmanhaeman that feels like a posh restaurant in a resort town in California. You can come for dinner or drinks and enjoy live music in two rooms.
Best Pub Crawl in Chiang Mai
Possibly one of our favourite evenings in Chiang Mai. The Slumber Party team know how to throw a good pub crawl. The pub crawl is every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (we recommend the Friday) and costs 400 Baht. It includes a bucket full of alcohol, pub crawl shirt, transportation to each location and free shots at each bar.
The night starts at the Slumber Party Hostel with drinking games. (Tip from us – if you´re on a tight budget, stay at one of the many Air BnBs nearby at a fraction of the cost of Slumber Party – the pub crawl is for everyone, not just guests of the hostel) The first location is the aptly named Baa(n) Dinn Cocktail Bar (“baan din” means “earth house” or “clay house“). It’s a charming, little bar close to the Thapae Gate with awesome cocktails. Next stop is Noem Est Omen, previously known as Rasta Bar. Here there is live music and a place to compete in the famous shot gun game. Last is Zoe in Yellow, which is the number 1 party venue in Chiang Mai. We stayed here for an hour, and then made our own way to Spicy. This club requires a 100 Baht entry free, but is well worth it and you also get a free beer!
Best Party Hostels in Chiang Mai
Best Party Hostel in Chiang Mai – Slumber Party!
If it´s to party till early hours of the morning with Chiang Mai´s number one party hostel, then without a doubt you want to be at Slumber Party Chiang Mai! This is also where the famous pub crawl starts! We stayed here Thursday to Sunday partying 24/7 for 3 weeks in a raw. The party scene here is incredible and staff are always there to make sure everyone participates!
Most Modern Hostel in Chiang Mai – D-Well
D-Well hostel is one of the best hostels we have ever stayed in globally. If its pure party you are looking for, then Slumber Party is definitely for you. If you’re looking for a more relaxed backpacker hostel, D-Well ticks every box. It is situated close to all tourist attractions, the dorms are fantastic and the atmosphere is awesome. We stayed here during the week and highly recommend it!
Getting to and from Chiang Mai
We came from Bangkok to Chiang Mai via the VIP night bus. We can highly recommend it as we were able to sleep the whole journey. The coach picked us up at 9:00pm in Bangkok and we arrived in Chiang Mai for 6:30am.
Our next destination is Laos – we decided to take another night bus to Vang Vieng.