The Best Eco-Friendly Hotels and Stays in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mais Four Seasons Resort blends luxury living with glimpses into local tradition
Chiang Mai's Four Season's Resort blends luxury living with glimpses into local tradition | Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai / Expedia.com
Leslie Finlay

From plastic-free pledges to turtle conservation projects, these Thai eco lodges and hotels offer heartfelt hospitality that puts the environment first in northern Thailand.

Bangkok’s laidback sister city to the north has all the trimmings of cosmopolitan city life, channeled through a seriously nature-based ethos inspired by the beauty of the surrounding region. As the unofficial national capital of wellness, healthy cuisine and conservation stewardship, it’s no small wonder Chiang Mai rules the roost for eco-minded accommodation. Jump into the earthy northern Thailand vibe with a stay at one of these eco-friendly lodgings and hotels in Chiang Mai.

1. 137 Pillars House

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

The 137 Pillars House sits in landscaped gardens amongst the lush rainforest of northern Thailand.
Courtesy of 137 Pillars House / Expedia.com

Built in the 19th century as the headquarters of the Borneo Company Limited – a colonial-era trading firm – this Lanna-style teak-wood building was transformed into a hotel in 2011. Amid the neatly manicured lawns and towering coconut trees, they’ve tried to make this peaceful retreat as sustainable as possible: live plant walls by the pool to cool it down naturally; locally sourced, seasonal food, some grown on-site; energy-efficient lighting. Yet throughout the 30 palatial suites, with their high ceilings, large windows and expansive super-king beds, a sense of luxury pervades. Elsewhere, a well-stocked library, a full-service spa and a slew of history-focused tours ups the indulgence further still.

2. Rachamankha

Boutique Hotel, Eco Hotel

The still pool at Rachamankha is bordered by terracotta tiles and the hotel building can be seen shrouded in trees at the far end.
Courtesy of Rachamankha / Expedia.com

Designed by celebrated Thai architect Ong-ard Satrabhandhu, this hotel takes its inspiration from centuries-old Chinese dwellings while paying homage to the tropical climate and building practices of Northern Thailand. Buildings are cool and energy-efficient, solar-powered lighting is deployed, natural teak abounds and walls are made using the tried-and-tested technique of Chiang Mai temples since the 13th century. Better still, all staff members are local and the hotel supports temples and schools in the area.

3. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Resort, Chain Hotel

A luxurious hotel suite with outdoor lounge and dining terrace overlooks the grounds of the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort.
Courtesy of Anantara Chiang Mai Resort / Expedia.com

Along the banks of the Mae Ping River, this modern resort in Chiang Mai blends old-world charm with contemporary comfort. The Anantara group behind it comes with a certified sustainability programme: supporting turtle and elephant conservation in Thailand, aiming to slice energy consumption by 10% each year, reducing, reusing and recycling waste and much more besides. Guilt removed, this particular address has one- to three-day wellness programmes for those seeking a reboot that includes pampering spa treatments, nourishing meals and invigorating yoga sessions. After something more low-key? Kick back with a cocktail at the hotel’s swimming pool overlooking the river.

4. Rainforest Chiangmai Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Eco Hotel

The outdoor pool area and exterior of the Rainforest Chiangmai Hotel.
Courtesy of Rainforest Chiangmai Hotel / Expedia.com

This cosy boutique hotel in Chiang Mai is located 10 minutes away from the city centre, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature and hear the birds chirping without being too far from the action. Within the hotel’s three wings are 86 rooms and two restaurants, plus two large outdoor pools terraced into its grounds and massages on tap for when you’ve ticked off one too many temples in this mountainous Thai city.

5. Akyra Manor Chiang Mai

Hotel, Apartment

A hotel suite with glass-walled bathing area with a large round tub at the Akyra Manor, Chiang Mai.
Courtesy of Akyra Manor Chiang Mai / Expedia.com

Located in the artistic quarter of Chiang Mai, along buzzy ‘coffee street’ Nimmanhaemin Soi 9, this hotel is within walking distance of cafes, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. As part of its commitment to the local community, artwork from Chiang Mai creatives is featured in its sleek wood-and-glass interiors. The company behind it has also made a plastic-free pledge, with paper bags and stainless-steel straws used instead, whilst woven shoppers are offered for free to guests heading out to explore the boutiques of Chiang Mai. On return, make time for Thai-Italian fusion dishes at Italics restaurant and cocktails at the sunset-ready Rise rooftop bar.

6. Eco Resort Chiang Mai

Boutique Hotel, Eco Hotel, Budget Hotel

A breakfast buffet is served in the wood-framed dining hall at the Eco Resort, Chiang Mai.
Courtesy of Eco Resort Chiang Mai / Expedia.com

This city-side paradise was founded decades ago by a local farmer and his wife, the teak design is traditional in style with sustainable farming and gardening practices at the forefront of things. Today, the property has evolved into a gorgeous resort operating 67 air-conditioned units appealing to all tastes, from low-budget shared spaces to private, en suite rooms. The rooms frame a swimming pool set within a lush garden, while the on-site restaurant peaks into the property’s treasured past, set within the sturdy, generations-old barn house.

7. BMP Farmhouse

Eco-Lodge

A balcony wrapping around a building nestled in thinks tropical rainforest at the BMP Farmhouse.
Courtesy of BMP Farmhouse / Booking.com

A family-owned farm operating for more than 20 years, BMP Farmhouse offers modest at their Thai eco lodge rooms for guests eager to help the owners rehabilitate rescued elephants through its Elephant Care Project. The project provides food, nurturing, medical treatment, and lots of love to elephants rescued from exploitative conditions, whilst guests learn how to interact with Thailand’s sacred animal, helping them to adapt to their new environment. Options are available for arranging longer-term volunteer opportunities.

8. Rabeang Pasak Treehouse Resort

Treehouse

`s guest suite is built into a tree and raised above the ground at the Rabeang Pasak Treehouse Resort.
Courtesy of Rabeang Pasak Treehouse Resort / Hotels.com

Take refuge in a teak forest treehouse among the faint buzzing of crickets at this resort 70km (43mi) outside of Chiang Mai, the treehouse cottages offer instant access to incredible nature whilst the very architecture of the property encourages a different kind of relationship to the natural environment, built on an ethos of sustainability and conscious living.

9. Karen Eco Lodge

Eco-Lodge

Rows of fresh green vegetation fill the field in front of the Karen Eco Lodge.
Courtesy of Karen Eco Lodge / Expedia.com

Situated in the lush Chiang Mai hillside, this resort was designed to preserve the natural resources within and around the property and to offer an accommodation option that ensures minimal negative impact on the environment. This eco lodge in Thailand boasts 35 modest, Thai-style rooms and organises a huge variety of eco-focused experiences to enjoy the surrounding environment in a wholly sustainable way. Try out their bamboo rafting tour along the Mae Win river, visit local Karen villages along a trekking route, learn about the traditional rice production processes of the region and play with elephants at the nearby rescue sanctuary.

10. Earth Home Thailand

Eco Hotel

Illustrations of cockerels and a fruit tree adorn the adobe wall of a lobby area at this Chiang Mai hotel.
© Gioia Emidi

Nine hand-built private adobe houses and a larger dormitory are available for dreamy nights on this sustainably managed property in the sleepy village of Baan Maejo. Today, Earth Home is one of the main learning centers in the country promoting sustainable living and guests can take advantage of all the on-site workshops like natural building, permaculture gardening and wellness courses. The on-site cafe and restaurant is supplied with organic delights from the property’s permaculture gardens, cooked to perfection by the Earth Home chefs.

11. Kaysorn Residence

Eco Hotel

A large hotel room at Kaysorn Residence.
Courtesy of Kaysorn Residence / Expedia.com

This bright property right in the center of Chiang Mai offers convenience for discerning travelers. Close to Siri Wattana Market, nearly all of Chiang Mai’s top attractions are just a bicycle ride away. Sustainability is woven into every aspect of the hotel’s operation, from including reusable bags on your room key so you’ve always got one handy to offering free water refills throughout the property (and reusable bottles available for use if you don’t have your own), there is also a well-managed recycling program explained to guests on arrival.

12. Om Waters

Boutique Hotel, Camping, Eco-Lodge

Floating huts on the water with dense forest seen in the background at Om Waters.
© Om Waters

Why stay near the water when you can snooze directly on it? These floating homes are accessible by taxi boat only and the open-air sleeping spaces are arranged across several levels – the ‘lakefront berths’ and suite, a second-floor dorm and two private upper platforms with panoramic views. Guests share a kitchen and bathroom facilities, whilst the hotel offers free access to kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, inner tubes and an activities deck with yoga mats, cushions and hammocks. Almost everything is run by solar power and wi-fi is limited, encouraging a full digital detox.

13. Howie’s Homestay

Eco Hotel, Resort

The pool area and raised covered deck on pillars at Howies Homestay, Chiang Mai,
© Hotels.com

Sitting atop an expanse of tropical water gardens and winding streams, in spite of its modest name, Howie’s Homestay is an exercise in luxury and stunning design. The property is dotted with a collection of pavilions constructed with gold teak, a naturally insect-repelling wood that is reclaimed and recycled from old buildings. Green energy concepts are visible throughout the property, itself incredibly rich with tropical plant life, ensuring a truly sustainable experience.

14. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Resort, Eco Hotel

A large hotel suit with private lounge terrace overlooking the rainforest at the Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai.
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai / Expedia.com

Set within lush green rice fields, the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai delivers fully on its brand name, evoking ultimate luxury and design. From morning monk offerings to expansive nature trails and free Thai language lessons, culture and sustainability are highlighted across guest offerings. Channeling this ethos into operations, the resort’s three restaurants source a large portion of their produce from the Royal Project, an initiative designed by the late King Bhumibol, which promotes organic and sustainable farming while supporting rural communities.

Travel through Thailand on an eco-adventure with our guide to Bangkok’s top eco hotels and lodgings – bookable on Culture Trip.

Vanessa Tai contributed additional reporting to this article.

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