As digital nomads Ed and I have been moving around a lot the past year, but Chiang Mai has truly stolen our hearts. I thought it was about time I did a roundup post of all my favourite places to eat and things to do. Whether you’re staying a week or a month there’ll be something here for you.
Of course my main area of expertise is thrifting so check out my Top Second Hand Shopping Spots blog post.
The best burger places are indisputably Beast Burger and the much lesser known Echo Cafe. Beast Burger is a food truck so only there in the evenings until they sell out, but Like Life is open all day. Both do fantastic western burgers for under a fiver.
Echo Cafe – Nimmanahaeminda (aka Nimman) Road Lane 5 (aka Soi 5) just off Sirimangkalajarn Road
Beast Burger – parks up at approx Soi 13 on Nimman
For Mexican everyone loves Salsa Kitchen – their burritos are the best I’ve ever had and although meals cost about £10 you can easily share one between two as the portions are really generous.
Salsa Kitchen – 26/4 Huai Kaew Road
For breakfast/brunch we love Smoothie Blues which has an absurdly long menu of eggs, pancakes, cereals and of course smoothies.
Smoothie Blues – 32/8 Nimmanhamin Soi 6 CornerRd
Another regular is Salad Concept where you design your own mix of toppings – for the first time in my life I’ve actually enjoyed, and been full from, a salad.
Salad Concept – 49/9-10 (soi 13) Nimmanhaemin Road
Finally, our own personal daily (or twice daily) routine always involved frozen yoghurt. I admit it – we have an addiction. Our favourite is the stall on the basement floor of Maya Mall. It’s not cheap in Thai money, but when you’re on a British salary it’s a luxury you can easily afford. Live a little!
VAVA Frozen Yoghurt – Rachadamnoen Road | Thapae Gate, (or basement of Maya Mall)
The Crossfit centre is one of the best we’ve been to around the world. Is open air and really well kitted out, plus the training is western and really top notch. The community is really welcoming and you’ll soon learn to love the sauna heat when your flexibility rockets.
If you’re more of a traditional gym person most people join Harris Fitness Centre in the Lotus hotel. It’s only £20 a month and the classes are pretty good – with the hip hop class being outstanding.
If you’re an animal person go for the Catmosphere Cat Cafe rather than the zoo or the Tiger “sanctuary”. You’ll get to be up close and personal and take as many adorable selfies as your phone can handle.
Our number one entertainment go to has to be Central Festival Mall. The arcade is a brilliant way to while away an hour (and costs next to nothing compared to British ones), and there’s also an ice rink, and incredibly high quality cinema and IMAX – all dirt cheap of course. But top of our list in the mall has to be the Hajime robot restaurant. It’s a fixed fee with unlimited food that you cook on a hot plate on your table (which is ridiculously delicious) and actual robots serve you (while dancing to Gangnam Style). If you want to have the most hilarious and snapchat-able dinner of your life then this has to be it.
We really enjoyed the Royal Park (check out my full review here) for a fun, beautiful and bargain day out.
If you’re going to Doi Suthep (the main tourist attraction – a temple on top of the mountain) I’d recommend getting a red bus up (communal taxis) and then hiking back down. The trail is easy to follow and a nice change from the city.
Finally, my specialist area – shopping! I did a blog post all about the best places to thrift in Chiang Mai, so definitely check that out. However, if you’re looking to buy new then Maya Mall and Central Festival Mall are both great for Asian cosmetics, electronics and ‘normal’ shops like Topshop or M&S.
So, that should be enough to keep you busy for a while!! If you’d like more blog posts on Chiang Mai, like where to live or insider tips comment below to let me know.
Thanks for reading!