As Thailand’s “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai attracts visitors with its world-renowned cuisine, tranquil and hip city life, incredible scenery and wildlife, and so many opportunities for the intrepid traveller. Ditch the run-of-the-mill hotel or homestay and complement Chiang Mai’s unique vibe by checking out one of these incredible Airbnbs.
For those crafting their Thailand travel itineraries, Chiang Mai has become almost synonymous with its many elephant sanctuaries and rescue centres. Chai Lai Orchid is a local social business that works to promote sustainable tourism and kindness to elephants, and maintains this gorgeous eco-lodge to enable travellers to enjoy their holiday among elephants from check-in onwards! The organisation offers housing for any preference or budget – from simple, no-frills jungle bungalows to this beautiful teakwood room along the Mae Wang River and elephant path. Guests can spend their days playing with the elephants, or taking advantage of all the activities the grounds have to offer, like bamboo rafting, trekking to secret waterfalls, visiting Hill Tribe villages, and expansive star-gazing uninterrupted by city lights. The centre cares for 11 elephants rescued from work camps or harmful tourist shows – including four babies – and the organisation is also a partner of Daughters Rising, which provides a safe haven for women at risk of trafficking to live and work.
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, and the facility offers free access to kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, inner tubes, and an activities deck with yoga mats, cushions, and hammocks. Almost everything is run by solar power and WiFi is limited, encouraging a full digital detox.
Get truly back to nature – without the hassles of conventional camping – and cosy up in one of these spacious, private tents stocked with all amenities. Built on raised platforms to keep out the elements and critters, these minimalistic gazeboes are nestled among rice fields and a quiet river, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The surrounding “campgrounds” also have spaces for outdoor barbecuing and on-site breakfast is truly farm-to-table, channeling the owners’ overall sustainability mindset. Guests can gather fresh salad from the organic farm, choose eggs from the chicken coop, and pick mushrooms from the mushroom house.
Go on, fulfill one of your childhood dreams and check into this incredible, fully domesticated treehouse. Located in an ancient teakwood forest outside of Chiang Mai, the property is owned and managed by a retired architect, and includes six unique cottage-style treehouses and two larger family treehouses to accommodate parties of any size. Its remote location puts you firmly off the trodden tourist track, allowing you to immerse yourself in the true Northern Thai culture of the nearby village, which has a population of just 400 people. Also nearby are waterfalls, a bat cave, many hiking trails, sunset viewpoints, and the Mae Kuang Dam. While not easily accessible, the owner arranges all transportation prior to your arrival for a no-stress guarantee.
If you’re obsessed with all things green but want all the comforts and amenities of home, look no further than Green Please Cottage. This beautiful and private space is just 20 minutes from the Old Town, meaning guests can enjoy the tranquility of the outskirts while having easy access to all the top Chiang Mai attractions. The property includes a lush garden, a glass-house working space, outdoor seating shaded by ancient trees, and an organic veggie farm used by the on-site café in its tasty farm-to-table goodies. Guests are free to use the café’s full kitchen or can have a grill or barbecue set up in the garden.
This tropical rainforest estate promises complete privacy and amenities far beyond the standard package typical of luxury accommodation. Featuring four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, the residence comfortably sleeps eight guests while providing so many unique spaces that guests can easily find their own personal retreats within the property itself. Aside from the colonial-style residence, there’s the Chandra artist’s residence, meditation temple, stocked library, and private pool area. The owners offer guests additional service options like private drivers or personal chefs, bicycle rental, laundry service, on-site massage and spa services, yoga and pilates training, and daily cleaning.
Located in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old City, this chalet offers private comfort with the ultimate convenience to explore everything the area has to see and do, like Wat Phra Singh or the famous Chiang Mai street markets. The design is reminiscent of traditional teak-style homes, but with an artistic and modern touch.
This active art studio oozes modern style decorated with recycled materials, paintings, and sculptures throughout. The condo itself is like a living work of art, but with all the amenities of cosy city living. It’s also easily accessible, making it extra convenient for travellers eager to experience urban Chiang Mai, or want a central jump-off point to explore all of the city’s nearby attractions.
This incredible penthouse duplex ensures guests after the convenience of a central location won’t need to sacrifice stunning scenery. With three bedrooms and four bathrooms, guests can expect complete modernity in the centre of this ageless city, complete with a private rooftop terrace offering 360-degree panoramic views over Chiang Mai and the distant mountains. The condo is spacious and evokes a minimalistic ambiance, its style focusing on architectural qualities like vaulted ceilings and loads of bright, natural light.