The Best Backpacker Hostels to Book in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai | © Dennis Javis/Flickr
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai | © Dennis Javis/Flickr
Photo of Alexis James
28 September 2021

In contrast to frenetic Bangkok, Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, takes its foot off the pedal. Traditional Thai meditation, massage and cooking reign supreme here, which you can enjoy in leafy, atmospheric surroundings home to towering historic wats and long-established hill tribes. For places to stay, most of the top budget-friendly hostels are within the walls of the Old City. Here’s our pick – bookable with Culture Trip.

Bunk Boutique Hostel Chiangmai

4.3/5 (17 Reviews)
Bunk Boutique Hotel_55dd553e
Courtesy of Bunk Boutique Hostel Chiangmai / Expedia

The guitar available to guests is one of many quirky offerings from this endearing hostel on Ratchaphruek Road. If you don’t have the obligatory rendition of Wonderwall in your repertoire, you can instead grab your fill of the complimentary coffee, tea and snacks. Other handy freebies include parking, toiletries and a towel to use for the duration of your stay. Also, the friendly staff here can arrange airport transfers, day trips and motorbike rental. All in all, it’s an absolute steal of a deal.

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Green Tiger House

Hostel, Hotel
4.8/5 (272 Reviews)
Green Tigere House_3f506141
Courtesy of Green Tiger House / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $54 per night

The first plant-based hotel in Chiang Mai is near the north gate of the moated Old City. The ancient location belies Green Tiger’s modern sustainable practices, which include solar-heated showers, refillable shampoo bottles, energy-saving lights and a menu of locally sourced vegan cuisine. The massaman curry served with organic rice packs a punch, while Western dishes include sandwiches and pasta. A neat touch is the ground-floor shower provided for early arrivals, a veritable lifesaver if you’ve made the trip aboard a stuffy overnight bus.

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Santitham Guest House

Walking in the tropical forest - Krabi - Thailand
© Andreea Dragomir / Alamy Stock Photo

Lurking among palm trees that create a shock of swaying green, this guesthouse north of the city is a tranquil treat to hang out in for a few days. Find a good book and relax on the outdoor swing chair, or feed the multicoloured koi to the sound of the running waterfall in the patio pond. The spacious rooms exude a signature Northern Thai style, with teak furniture, deep red decor and hardwood floors. Bike rental and gym use are free for all guests.

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Cassette Hostel

Budget Hotel
4/5 (2 Reviews)
Cassette Hostel_75b24fda
Courtesy of Cassette Hostel / Expedia

This friendly hostel is west of the Old City, a mere four-minute walk from Wat Phra Singh, a 14th-century Buddhist temple. The hostel’s two balconies deliver great views, and with red bar stools, they’re a prime spot to sit and chat with fellow backpackers. A well-stocked beer fridge, cafe menu and trinket-laden lounge area make it even easier to make new friends, but if it’s privacy you’re after, a twin room is available alongside the mixed-dorm options.

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Green Sleep Hostel

4.7/5 (12 Reviews)
Green Sleep Hostel_8a1c5e93
Courtesy of Green Sleep Hostel / Expedia

This breezy hostel in the Si Phum district taps into the laid-back demeanour of the Old City, with its bright white walls covered with quaint drawings of plants, caricatures and quotes. The intricate hand-drawn map of Chiang Mai in the dining room is particularly impressive, allowing you to plot your day’s stroll while tucking into a complimentary breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and pastries. A variety of room options include 10-bed mixed and six-bed female-only dorms.

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  • Hostel Lullaby

    4.7/5 (11 Reviews)
    Hostel Lullaby_f470d3ae
    Courtesy of Hostel Lullaby / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $22 per night

    The white bunk beds and white walls give these six-bed dorm rooms something of a funky space-station vibe. So, too, does the neat use of space, with each bed featuring night lights, an under-bed locker and privacy curtains. There’s lots of colour elsewhere in the hostel, especially in the living room, where the round rattan tables and vibrant seat cushions encourage communal gatherings. The hostel even organises free cooking and yoga classes for guests.

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    60 Blue House

    4.6/5 (10 Reviews)
    60 Blue House_158624dd
    Courtesy of 60 Blue House / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $13 per night

    With two children of their own, the owners of this colourful guesthouse run a family-friendly set-up, with two rooms tailored to those arriving with younger guests. The family studio and the standard family room are equipped with a kitchenette and a range of kids’ toys and books. For the older crowd, the cafe serves Thai beers – Leo, Singha and Chang – along with cups of arabica coffee grown in the hills of Chiang Mai.

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    Suneta Hostel Chiang Mai

    4.7/5 (29 Reviews)
    Suneta Hostel_a93cf2cd
    Courtesy of Suneta Hostel Chiang Mai / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $23 per night

    There’s a high-class feel about this elegantly furnished hostel, with its wood-panelled floors, exposed brick walls and red leather studded sofas. You’re also bound to appreciate the location, with some pretty cool views of Wat Saen Fang; it’s also an easy walk to the famed Pae Sunday Walking Street Market. Illuminated by fairy lights, the balcony is a great place to enjoy a cold beer on sultry evenings, and during rainy-season downpours, enjoy the PlayStation, dartboard and Netflix subscription.

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    This is a rewrite of an article originally by Iona Proebst.

    These recommendations were updated on September 28, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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