The options seem endless when looking for watering holes in Chiang Mai. So much choice throws up one major issue: how can you discover the best ones without having to suffer through the misses? Chiang Mai has some of the most lively and entertaining bars you’ll ever visit, but finding them without having to stumble into too many run-of-the-mill backpacker joints can be a bit of a struggle. To help you out, we’ve asked our local insiders for their best Chiang Mai bar picks. All that’s left for you to do is to inspect them over a tipple or two.
Boasting impressive panoramic views over the city and Doi Suthep mountain, it doesn’t get much better than this. With an excellent selection of local craft beers and an atmospherically lit swimming pool in which to dip your toes on a warm evening, Woods Bar Rooftop ticks all our boxes. It is located on the 12th floor of the Prestige Hotel Chiang Mai and attracts a relaxed crowd of both travellers and locals looking for a laid-back alternative to some of the city’s louder bars. Watching the sun go down while lounging in the swimming pool and sipping something locally brewed is a memorable moment indeed. Recommended by local insider Supawat Kadseesai
Do you want to drink in a hidden forest full of terracotta statues and bas-reliefs? Of course you do. The decor at the FACES Gallery & Gastro Bar is simply stunning – a menagerie of palms and rainforest plants surrounds you as you drink and dine. From the jungle-ruin-esque exterior to the traditional Thai sculpture, be prepared to be blown away. The food is nice enough, but it’s sipping sundowners in magical surroundings that’s the main draw here. Recommended by local insider Mattia Miani
Classy nightlife spot Caravan is a fairly recent addition to Chiang Mai’s bar scene, but that hasn’t stopped it turning heads. Softly lit, stylishly fitted rooms ooze charm and sophistication, as do its high-end selection of spirits and thoroughly Instagrammable cocktail creations. Whiskey fans in particular will be taken with the choice of international options on offer. Caravan Bar is open from 5pm until 1am and is the perfect place for whiling away the hours conversing with friends on the (very comfy) couches or for post-dinner drinks with your date. Recommended by local insider Troi Williams
Eye-catching cocktails and top-shelf liquors are the order of the day at Drinksmith & Co, where a team of talented mixologists whip up creations of rare spirits, hand-chiselled ice and delicate garnishes to the delight of the city’s punters. The bar has something of an eclectic 19th-century study feel about it – think dusty bookshelves, miscellaneous pieces of old artwork and candlelight, which only adds to the atmosphere. It’s an exceedingly pleasant place in which to spend time – a dangerous thing indeed given the quality of the cocktails and just how many of them you’ll want to try. Recommended by local insider Troi Williams
The Corner Bistro is a fun American bar in the city’s increasingly trendy Santitham neighbourhood. It attracts a diverse crowd – immigrants looking for a taste of home, travellers experiencing the city for the first time and locals drawn to its fusion menu of US classics and Asian staples. There’s a real community vibe going on here, with regular performances from local DJs, musicians and stand-up comedians, plus plenty of themed nights and a pub quiz. Overall, there’s plenty to keep you entertained here, and definitely enough variety to keep you coming back. Recommended by local insider Troi Williams
Halloween fans rejoice! No longer does your celebration need to be confined to one night of the year, thanks to the horror-themed Castle Ghosthouse. This really is a Thailand first. There’s a range of spooky cocktails to discover at the bar, but the fun doesn’t stop there. There’s a ghost house, which you’ll have to escape while being scared witless by a succession of ghosts and ghouls and a rage room, in which you’re given a baseball bat and allowed to break things. It’s a spectacularly spooky way to start your night – pre-drinks don’t get madder than this. Recommended by local insider Troi Williams
Ambient lighting, attentive staff and a reasonably priced bar menu make CNX one of the go-to rooftop bars in what’s becoming a relatively crowded field in the city. Expect the usual range of street-food options to nibble on as you sip crisp, cold lagers, plus a couple of unusual dishes that adventurous eaters will love. It’s down-to-earth, super friendly and as popular with locals as with travellers. Grab a beer, order some snacks and watch the world go by. Recommended by local insider Supawat Kadseesai
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.