The night life in Chiang Mai is rich and varied despite the city’s projection of charm, culture and tradition. It is the top place to be in the north of Thailand and there is everything here from beer bars and go go bars to massage parlours, discos, karaoke joins and live music.
The main zones for Chiang Mai nightlife are along Loi Kroh Road and the nearby Night Bazaar, around Thapae Gate, along Charoenrat Road (on the banks of the Ping River) and along Nimmanhemin Road to the west of the town. There is much more, of course, though these are the main areas for tourists.
Those purely interested in the sexy side of Chiang Mai need to head for Loi Kroh. There are many beer bars along here where it’s easy to rent a girl for the night for a 1,000 baht. The main bars are at the head of the street which fronts onto the moat road (south of Thapae Gate), while towards the Night Bazaar end is an entertainment centre with a similar amount of bars. The latter also comes with a ladyboy bar. More on Chiang Mai bars.
There are only three ‘proper’ go go bars in Chiang Mai, which may upset visitors from Pattaya or Bangkok. They are certainly not up to par with those of Nana Plaza or Pattaya’s Soi 6, although Foxy Lady on Thapae Soi 1 is pretty good and has many sexy ladies. Short-time prices are 1,500 baht and the bar fine, 500 baht.
Not too far from here is the Night Market, from which sois go off both sides and have beer bars and regular bars along them. Anusarn Market (behind McDonalds), for example, is home to many seafood restaurants, an Irish-style bar and massage shops. This area is quite touristy, as is the girlie bar area the other side of the road and farther north where there is a gay scene.
Tourist bars are also northeast of here and across Nawarat Bridge, where the likes of the long-running Riverside and Goodview reside. The best thing about all these places is that you can walk between them, or take a short tuk-tuk ride for 60 baht.
Backpackers, on the other hand, may want to stick to the bars along Moon Muang (within the moat) and along the adjoining Ratwithi Road, where there is a bunch of cheaper reggae-style places and one or two girlie bars.
To get to the hip, mostly student area of Nimmanhemin Road, you’ll definitely want to take a tuk-tuk as it’s a good 30 minutes on foot from Thapae Gate towards the mountain. There are many popular outdoor bars and cafés here, along with live music and some discos. This is the main up and coming area of Chiang Mai today and the Warm-up Bar is a big hit with moneyed locals and expats. More on Chiang Mai nightlife.
If you’re into freelancing prostitutes, Chiang Mai has these, too. They congregate mainly in and around Thapae Gate from around 22:00 onwards, as well as along Loi Kroh Road. The disco known as Lucky (farther north) is especially well known as a pick-up joint for after-hours bar girls and freelancers. If you pull a Thai girl (or ladyboy) here, know that they will want paying!