Chiang Mai Nightlife
Chiang Mai nightlife is focused on three main areas: travellers gathering at the bars around Thanon Moon Muang and Thanon Ratvithi in the old city; locals preferring the scene on Thanon Nimmanhemin; and everyone coming together at the music venues along the River Ping. Chiang Mai has live music everywhere, from restaurants and bars to clubs and hotels, while the city's gay scene is centred on the sois (side streets) off Thanon Chotana.
Citylife (www.chiangmainews.com) heads up the free magazines with information on local events and culture in Chiang Mai. Most can be found in hotel lobbies as well as cafés and restaurants geared toward travellers. Useful websites include One Stop Chiang Mai (www.1stopchiangmai.com) and Chiang Mai Mail (www.chiangmai-mail.com).
Bars in Chiang Mai
Ansuarn Market Ladyboy Show
Head to Ansuarn Market at the Night Bazaar on Thanon Chang Khlan for a clever cabaret performed by lady boys. Thailand's version of a drag show, the cabaret is filled with glittery sets, bright lights, sparkling costumes, fake eyelashes, questionable lip syncing and sexual innuendoes. The show, set in a bar at the back of the market, usually starts around 2200, but if you're there earlier you'll see the performers already dressed up at the market entrance enticing visitors to watch.Address: Chang Khlan, Thanon Chang Khlan, Chiang Mai, 50100
In Thailand, visitors can end up drinking a lot of watery lager or local whiskey, but at Beer Republic, in the happening Nimmanhaemin area, they offer over 15 international beers on tap with an emphasis on Belgian and German brews. Food here is an eclectic mix of Thai dishes, pasta, salads and beer house staples like sausages and burgers. If you're staying in Chiang Mai for a while, look into becoming a member of their Chiang Mai Beer Club.Address: Nimmanhaemin, Thanon Nimmamhaemin Soi 11, Chiang Mai, 50200
Telephone: +66 53 216 568.
Zoe in Yellow
Though Zoe in Yellow is a specific bar, it's also the name often used for the busy corner of drinking holes at Thanon Ratvithi and Thanon Rachapakhinai. Located close to the city's cheapest guesthouses and hostels, the area is party central for young expats and locals as well as the backpacker bunch. While there's often live music earlier in the evening, especially at the nearby reggae bars, by the end of the night it's one big dance party with DJs and thumping bass.Address: Sriphum, 40/12 Thanon Rativithi, Chiang Mai, 50100
Telephone: +66 84 222 9388.
Clubs in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai’s trendiest club, Infinity, is located off Thanon Nimmanhaemin. There are a few indoor and outdoor areas, including a stage and large dancefloor, with DJs and live music (mainly Thai bands) providing the entertainment. If you want to dance, this is one of the best places to do it, although the Thais are likely to simply stand around and look cool.Address: Nimmanhaemin, 40 Thanon Nimmanhaemin Soi 6, Chiang Mai,
Telephone: +66 53 400 676.
A new addition to the club scene and set in the basement of the Duangtawan Hotel, this sleek and spacious club plays electronic, house and tech house, and is packed every weekend with young and trendy folk.Address: Tambon Chang Khlan, 132 Loi Kroh Road, Chiang Mai,
Telephone: +66 61 090 5000.
Warm Up Cafe
One of Chiang Mai's most popular night-time haunts, there's always something going on at Warm Up Cafe. The venue is a bar, restaurant, club and live music spot with several different sections to choose from. So whether you want to dance inside to a DJ or watch a Thai ska band outdoors, travellers will mingle with college students and the wealthy and trendy of Chiang Mai. There's often the odd Thai celebrity up from Bangkok too.Address: Nimmanhaemin, 40 Thanon Nimmanhaemin, Chiang Mai, 50200
Telephone: +66 53 400 676.
Live music in Chiang Mai
Boy Blues Bar
Set in a mezzanine area above the Kalare night bazaar, this popular bar showcases really good blues and rock music - even if it's not your thing, you'll be impressed. The house band is fronted by the charismatic Boy, an accomplished guitarist himself, and often features guest musicians - both Thai and foreign. Monday nights is open mic/jam session night.Address: , Soi 6, Changklan Rd (in the Kalare Night Bazaar), Chiang Mai,
North Gate Jazz Co-Op
Though there's live music each evening, the Tuesday night jam sessions at North Gate Jazz Co-Op draw some of the biggest crowds with patrons spilling into the street trying to soak up the sounds. There's something about the live music here that brings all groups together and here you'll find travellers and expats mixing with locals of all ages – not something you see at other bars. The music usually starts between 2100-2200 but come earlier to snag a seat.Address: , 95/1-2 Thanon Sriphum, Chiang Mai, 50200
Telephone: +66 81 765 5246.
This non-profit gallery highlights local and international talent in its rotating exhibitions while also hosting weekly live music, workshops, film events and more. The Thursday evening open mic night is popular with Chiang Mai's expat crowd and a good way to get off the beaten tourist track and enjoy a glass of wine with some tunes. The brave can take to the stage. Proceeds help to support the local arts community.Address: Nimmanhaemin, 5 Sirimankalajarn Soi 5, Chiang Mai, 50200
Telephone: +66 53 894 955.