CHIANG MAI NIGHTLIFE

Chiang Mai Nightlife: Where Do All The Travellers Go For The BEST Party? [2024]

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Are you wondering where travellers go in Chiang Mai for the best party? This guide will cover everything from the 3/4 key areas of interest plus some hidden gems you might not have heard of. So let’s discover how you’ll enjoy the Chiang Mai nightlife.

After leaving Bangkok for Chiang Mai I was tricked into thinking Chiang Mai would be more of a spiritual retreat and I wouldn’t be partying anywhere near as hard as Khaosan Road.

THIS COULDN’T BE ANY FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Turns out Chiang Mai had a few celebrities as well 👀.

I think there’s an argument to say that Chiang Mai nightlife is even better than Bangkok or places like Phuket. Okay, I said better not crazier, maybe nightlife in Chiang Mai isn’t as crazy as Khaosan Road etc. But, my gosh, with so many places to go and so many people to interact with, it’s easy to get as I say “lost in the sauce”.

This guide has been designed to share my experiences of the Chiang Mai nightlife and to show any new visitors EXACTLY where you can go to meet locals or fellow travellers.

Without further ado, Let’s dive into Chiang Mai’s nightlife.

Chiang Mai Nightlife: The Best Bars And Clubs For Travellers

When it becomes your turn to backpack Chiang Mai you’ll usually spend between 3 to 7 days in the city. If you’re looking for a detailed Chiang Mai Itinerary make sure to check ours out!

📌 Not sure what to pack for your trip to Southeast Asia? Check out our guide here!

As you’ll be spending, at most, around a week in Chiang Mai there are limited days where you can party as you’ll have other events to attend. As a result, backpackers flock to the same bars every night of the week. Here are the 4 BEST bars and nightclubs in Chiang Mai for travellers.

Zoe In Yellow

Zoe in Yellow is without a doubt the most famous bar in northern Thailand for backpackers. The interesting part about Zoe in Yellow is that:

  1. It’s a bar itself
  2. When people refer to Zoe in Yellow, they’re referring to the whole area of bars

The area, in the old city, where Zoe in Yellow and the surrounding bars are found is by far the most popular Chiang Mai nightlife area. Busy all week with backpackers and even busier on the weekend as the locals join in.

So why is Zoe in Yellow so popular? What sort of activities can be done in Zoe’s and the surrounding bars?

  • Variety of music choices – House, EDM, R&B and so on for a full night of dancing
  • Multiple venues with beer pong
  • A Karaoke Bar – I’ve heard some interesting voices here!
  • Multiple TV screens if there is sport on
  • Pool tables in most venues
  • A few dart boards
  • A backpacker and local hotspot
  • Cheap Beer!!!

Entrance to every bar in this area is free BUT you are expected to buy a drink or 2 if you want to go inside the establishments.

When I was in Chiang Mai every bar in the area shut at midnight and the bar owners got nervous if they ran over. I’m not completely sure why this was but it was a bit of a shock on my first night out thinking jeez this is a bit early. Luckily I made some good friends who showed me the way to Spicy, the nightclub all backpackers go to once Zoe’s shuts.

With many popular bars in Chiang Mai, and this area hosting a lot of them, it’s easy to see why most travellers say the best nightlife is found at Zoe’s.

Spicy

After midnight this became the most popular club in Chiang Mai so it was essential Spicy Club was included in this guide.

Spicy is the nightclub that all travellers attend after finishing at Zoe’s. It’s easy to find and takes just 5-10 minutes when walking. You can order a Grab or Bolt but it seems pretty pointless.

Spicy is open to both foreigners and locals and can attract freelance workers so that’s just a heads-up.

Upon entry to Spicy, you’ll find what can only be described as a big commotion as you can’t gain access to the main dance floor unless you purchase a drink at the first bar. As a result, this initial bar gets really busy as people wait for their drinks and eventual stamp for entry.

The Spicy dance floor is two-tiered and from what I experienced the foreigners all went by the DJ on the upper level whereas the majority of locals all partied on the lower tiers.

Of course, you get the exception of Westerners in the Thai section and locals in the foreign section but as a whole, that is how it played out. As the night progressed and people got drunker the mixing of tiers developed which is good to see.

Spicy is open from 22:00-03:00 every night and it’s a great place to meet new people. In fact, I met the majority of my now close mates in Spicy whom I met at various points later on in my travels.

You get a mix of house, EDM and old-school classic hits at Spicy so it’s just an all-round good vibe for all backpackers.

If you’re still not finished with your partying or you just fancy a new venue, I might just have the answer for you.

Candy Nightclub

Candy can be found just a few minutes away from Spicy so you won’t need a taxi.

Candy is open from 22:00-04:00 so if you fancy an extra hour after Spicy or a change of venue I’d definitely recommend Candy.

Candy was a lesser-known club so more locals tend to enter this club than foreigners. From my experience, Candy got busy after 02:00 with beforehand being pretty quiet.

The music variety was pretty similar to Spicy but it had the odd famous Asian song which I’d never heard but the Asian women would go mad for it. 

Vibes in Candy are equally as good as Spicy it’s just not as well known. For me, this bar is the best when it comes to wanting to meet the locals. Everyone is so friendly it’s easy to have a great party and dance the night away.

The North Gate Jazz Bar

Chiang Mai, like the whole of Thailand, LOVES live music. At this funky bar, you’ll be getting cheap beers and listening to some awesome jazz music. 

This bar was just a stone’s throw from my hotel in Chiang Mai and it turned out to be the PERFECT place to have pre-drinks. 

Each night, The North Gate hosts local musicians who play some excellent Jazz music for you to enjoy. I recommended this place to all travellers I met during my time away and they always had the same feedback “That was phenomenal” so I can’t see why it would be any different for you! 

You could argue this jazz bar is a hidden gem because it’s not a well-known part of the Chiang Mai nightlife but because it was so good I HAD to include it in the core four.

Chiang Mai Nightlife: Hidden Gems

Now that the four main party venues have been discussed, it’s time to look at some hidden gems Chiang Mai has to offer. Although there are some other cool bars it’s not all party vibes…

Explore The Night Bazaar

The Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai is a key part of the Chiang Mai nightlife. It’s a bustling night market that comes alive after sunset.

Spanning several blocks, it showcases an array of goods, from traditional crafts and textiles to modern trinkets. Stalls feature delicious street food, tempting you with Thai delicacies. 

The atmosphere is electric, with street performers and musicians adding to the lively surroundings. Whether you seek unique souvenirs or an immersive cultural experience, the Night Bazaar provides an enchanting blend of tradition and contemporary allure, making it a must-visit attraction in Chiang Mai.

Infinity Club

Located near the night bazaar, the Infinity Club is situated in the heart of the city. The club caters to a diverse crowd, featuring live music, DJ performances, and themed parties.

With a spacious dance floor and chic interior, it provides an immersive experience for travellers seeking a lively night out. Renowned for its energetic atmosphere, the Infinity Club has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

I personally didn’t visit the Infinity Club but I saw it from the outside and it looks like a higher-end party destination. From what I’ve heard it will offer you a unique nightlife experience compared to what’s already been discussed.

Nimman Road (Nimmanhaemin Road)

If you fancy something a little bit different to your usual night out at Zoe’s then Nimman Road is the place to be. As well as hosting the Infinity Club seen above, Nimman Road hosts a plethora of other bars and pubs which come to life, offering an array of entertainment options. 

Some popular venues include: 

  • Warmup Cafe Chiang Mai
  • Beer Lab Chiang Mai
  • Mix Nimmanhaemin
  • Rush Bar

The nightlife scene is popular here with the youthful Thai locals, with trendy bars, you can come for dinner or drinks and enjoy live music. 

If you’re looking for a fun night and something different from the norm give Nimman Road a go!

Rise Rooftop Bar

The Rise Rooftop Bar in Chiang Mai is for the individual who wants to have an upper-class, sophisticated evening.

Found atop the Akyra Manor Hotel this bar offers stunning views of the city, coupled with a chic atmosphere creating an enchanting setting.

The bar offers a meticulously curated menu of cocktails and wines coupled with an excellent food selection. Its contemporary design, complemented by comfortable seating, makes it an ideal venue for socializing or enjoying a relaxing evening. 

Muay Thai Fight

Making a change from live music venues and nightclubs you can go and watch a Muay Thai fight.

To witness the electrifying matches, head to Thapae Boxing Stadium, a prominent venue showcasing top-tier bouts regularly. Additionally, Kalare Night Bazaar hosts Muay Thai events.

Watching a Muay Thai fight is a unique but brutal experience. I watched multiple fights in Koh Samui and best believe I’ll be watching many more when I can.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Chiang Mai?

The two primary seasons are the dry season (from November to April) and the rainy season (from May to October). Each season has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s essential to consider the burning season, often associated with air quality issues due to agricultural activities.

The best months for me are between November and February. During the dry season, from November to February, Chiang Mai enjoys cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels, making it an ideal time to visit.

The weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are more comfortable to take part in. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still gonna sweat but it’s not unbearable.

The worst months are between March and April (Burning Season) and May and October (rainy season).

The burning season typically occurs from late February to April when farmers engage in crop burning, leading to increased air pollution. On the other hand, during the rainy season, it can be hard to find things to do in Chiang Mai if there is non-stop heavy rainfall.

I spent time in Chiang Mai in January and April and I can safely say January was significantly better for daytime activities especially if you’re trying to see the beautiful landscapes of northern Thailand. 

Final Thoughts

So there we have it your Chiang Mai nightlife guide.

Discovering where the best Chiang Mai nightlife is easy once you get a bit of experience. Overall the majority of travellers will stick to Zoe’s and Spicy and that’s it.

So if you don’t want to “stick to the norm” then give some of the hidden gems a go.

Or

If you’re into this sort of thing.

Check out a Go Go bar 👀.