This is the definitive guide to the best spots in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Please leave any of your own tips in the comments section below. This will be an ongoing project so please come back for updates.
Best Pad Thai
#1. Pad Thai Mustache Style
#1. Maya Mall
You can start your mornings with breakfast in the food court on the bottom floor, move up to CAMP co working space to get some work done, catch a movie in the theater right next to it, then grab dinner at Duke's. Before going home, get your groceries done at the Rimping grocery store downstairs. There's even a gym!
Other favorite spots here are the AIS store, Fuji restaurant, and Wrapmaster restaurant.
#2. Central Kad Suan Kaew Mall
The Tops market in the bottom floor is my favorite place to get groceries. Next to it are a number of pharmacies for all your medicine needs. The first floor has all the optical stores where you can get your refill of contacts. There's a Sportworld on the 2nd floor for athletic shoes and sports gear. My 2nd favorite gym is located just behind the mall. If you're there on cheat day, Mister Donut has deceptively good donuts. There are plenty of ATM's, a money exchange at Bangkok Bank, as well as all the other bank offices are open Saturday and Sunday. There's even a bowling alley if you can find it!
Best Protein Store
#1. Sandy Health Shop
When I bought mine, the price was 2000 THB after a holiday discount, which is actually quite close to what you would pay in the USA from Amazon ($58.00 USD). They have a number of frequent buyer card promotions and other seasonal discounts as well, so ask them about those. Located in the CHOC shopping center, just south of the moat close to Airport Plaza.
#2. Go Gym Protein Shop
#1. Go Gym
A few things to note though. It's an open air gym but with a roof covering, so there's no AC. I don't mind since I like working up a sweat anyways but some might not be able to stand the heat.
#2. Harris Gym
Best Apartment Complex/Condo
#1. Baan Thai
Rent starts at 6500 baht for a full serviced room which includes 3 times a month cleaning. Deposit is 2 months rent but is returned when you check out.
The staff are at the front office 7 days a week if you need anything. Security on site daily. This place is very well run.
#2. PT Residence
Best Scooter Rental
#1. Red Ride Bike Rentals
#2. Mango Bikes Rental
Best Internet and Mobile Data Provider
Took me awhile to figure out these codes so I'll save you some time!
The code to dial from your phone to figure out your data balance: *121*3#
Voice and account balance: *121#
Another bonus of using AIS is you get an AIS Super Wifi password which gives you access to CAMP, the huge co-working space on the 5th floor near the movie theater. The password is also good for numerous places around town wherever you see the AIS Super Wifi sign.
#1. No Name Super Local Barber
Best Vietnamese Restaurant
#1. Pho Anh
Best Grilled Chicken
#1. Cherng Doi
#1. Salsa Kitchen
#1. Cheevit Cheeva
#1. Salad Terrace
#2. Salad Concept
Best Movie Theater
#1. Major Cineplex Central Festival - IMAX and 3D
#1. Lazy Elephant
For breakfast, my recommendations are the breakfast burrito, the egg, sausage & cheese sliders on fresh baked biscuits and the delicious blueberry, banana pancakes. After breakfast, follow my strategy of getting a take away order so you're set up for lunch. I recommend the grilled tuna melt sandwich with homemade tomato soup and pickle. Crispy sour dough bread grilled to perfection on the outside and soft, melted cheddar cheese and tuna on the inside.
Sean makes the tortillas from scratch, the pancake batter also from scratch, sources all the fresh fruit from local markets each day and the sausage patties are his own recipe as well. It's a family business there so Sean's wife Au provides the excellent service and their son Lanta will let you play with his superhero action figures. ;)
They open at 8am with a 10% discount from 8a - 9a for the early birds. Fast free wifi available as well. American sized portions meaning nice and hearty so you will leave full. So to sum it all up, when you're craving delicious food, all made from scratch and served with friendly service, head to the Lazy Elephant and say hi to me as I'll probably be at the next table.
#2. Rustic & Blue
#3. Honorable Mention - Smoothie Blues
#1. Beast Burger
#2. Solhy Food Truck
#1. CAMP (Creative and Meeting Place) Co-working space
Best Food Market
#1. Kad Na Mor (Chiang Mai University Nightly Market)
#2. Ploen Ruedee Night Market - International Food Court
There is usually live music and plenty of seating. I recommend the Burger Box as their burgers are quite filling and very affordable.
Best Bar & Club
#1. Zoe's in Yellow
Because of local laws in effect, they close promptly at midnight so the best time to show up is around 10:30p when it's already starting to get busy.
#2. Warm Up Cafe
Best Day Trip
#1. Huay Tung Tao Lake
Best Thai Food
#2. Cafe de Nimman
Best American Comfort Food
#1. Chez Marco
Best Tea House
#1. Vieng Joom On Teahouse
#1. Chuen Juice
#1. Shewitkhontammada Coffee House
Just allow some extra time when texting your friend to meet you. Auto-correct's not gonna help you with this one.
"Hey, let's meet at Shewitkhontammada! It's just one block off of Siri Mangkalajarn!"