3 Best Hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand – Your Daily Design Shot in Foodies Paradise

3 Best Hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand - Your Daily Design Shot in Foodies Paradise

This is your ultimate guide to the BEST Hostels in Chiang Mai. We share beautiful and safe Boutique Hostels for solo travellers – all tested by us in person!

We have spent some time in and around the city, visited endless temples. Further north, we recommend checking out the incredibly city of Pai  with all its best hostels in Pai.

We added all our top tips to a map for you, including hostels and night markets. Prepare yourself as you’re about to discover the best Chiang Mai hostels for solo-travellers and backpackers.

Looking for party hostels in Thailand? We have a detailed guide to the best party hostels in Phuket.

Our favorite hostels in Chiang Mai are:

  1. Hidden Garden Hostel - best for Solo Traveler
  2. The Common Hostel - best for Female Solo Travelers
  3. The Entaneer Poshtel - best for Couples
  4. Extra: Bodega Social Hostel - best for Party

Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.

Any questions about hostels in Chiang Mai?


Join our Facebook Group!

Ask all your questions and connect with like-minded wanderers 🔥

Did you know this mountainous city is home to over 400 hostels?! Many of them are not good – at all. We have been there! SO we literally did the leg work for you and tested them out.

In this list we only share the THREEE top ones. Because after all, you only need one great place to stay in Chiang Mai!

We have also traveled furhter north towards Laos to write a guide for you about the best hostels in Chiang Rai. For Laos, find all best hostels in Luang Prabang here.

This guide is perfect for YOU, when you…

  • are tired of crappy hostels!
  • want a social Hostel to actually meet people
  • are happy to spend $1 to $2 more for a much better experience

We’re pretty confident that solo travellers, social butterflies and party animals will be excited by this collection.

Traveling around Thailand? Since you are looking for your accommodation in the North, you are most likely also going to Bangkok and the Islands. Read here you guide to best hostels in Bangkok and the full list of all the best hostels in Thailand here.

Quick Introduction to Chiang Mai Hostels

Average price for a bed: Super cheap! Hostels in Chiang Mai are in general cheap. A bed in a dorm can be as cheap as 5€ – 15€ per night. This is a rough average to give you an idea. Prices always depend on season and holidays. Please always check exact latest rates on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Hostel Quality: If you have doubts about staying in hostels, then give it a try in this city for the first time. Together with destinations like Bangkok, Lisbon, Porto and Tokyo, this city is a hostel-travelers paradise. The quality of hostels is generally high here. Of course you can also find regular, even bad and crappy hostels.

Keep reading for separating the wheat from the chaff.

Thai Beds vs Western Beds: in Thailand you will find many hostels, hotels, guesthouses and resorts offering rooms with the so-called Thai-mattress. The Thai mattress is seriously hard and in the beginning it feels like sleeping on a rock.

If you prefer hostels with western-style mattresses, keep an eye out for that.

Leave your shoes outside: In Thai Culture shoes have to remain outside. This goes for accommodations as well as many shops and other places too.

We seriously enjoyed this, because it makes the place automatically cleaner, and it gives you a feeling of home. Just be aware that is a thing.

Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost. Usually in Thailand this is no problem.

Great Hostel Location: The Saturday and Sunday Walking street is a great place to stay near. As the name suggests, it’s closed to traffic on Weekends from 16:00 til midnight and is a wonderful option for shopping.

The Old City encompasses many of the great sights and a lot of the coolest hostels in Chiang Mai Thailand are located near here.

Read more on our section Things to know before you go.

🎁 New to Hostels? Read our guide to staying in a Hostel for the First Time here. We especially recommend reading:

The 3 Best Hostels in Chiang Mai are …

Let’s jump right into the coolest hostels in Chiang Mai.

  1. Hidden Garden Hostel – best for Solo Traveler
  2. The Common Hostel – best for Female Solo Travelers
  3. The Entaneer Poshtel – best for Couples
  4. Extra: Bodega Social Hostel - best for Party

These are our favorite hostels in Chiang Mai. We want to make your life even easier, so we put all accommodations on a map for you. We even added our own tips for favorite restaurants, things to see, and more.

We have added all hostels to the map, including our top recommendations for cafés, things to do, temples, you name it.

Overview: Best Hostels by Traveler Type

🦸 Solo Traveler: Hidden Garden Hostel
🙎‍♀️ best for Female Solo Traveler: The Common Hostel
🥳 Party Hostel:Bodega Social Hostel
👩‍❤️‍👨Couple Hostel: The Entaneer Poshtel
👨‍👩‍👦 Family Hostel: The Entaneer Poshtel
👩‍💻 For Digital Nomads: Muan Hostel
🧘 Cozy Hostel: Lullaby Hostel
📍Top Location:Hidden Garden Hostel

1. Hidden Garden Hostel

Hidden Garden Hostel is hidden paradise just a few steps from the Old City. It feels like a very luxurious place to stay, especially when backpacking. The hostel has a beautiful architecture with clean and new facilities which all make relaxing place to stay. The building is gorgeous with the courtyard pool and plants and the communal areas are lovely as well. 

The facilities and rooms were very clean. The toilets are getting cleaned multiple times a day which is good. The beds are spacious with curtains for privacy, and very clean. You get a locker and you have a shared bathroom. There is also a washing machine which is super helpful!

In the hostel they provided filtered water, tea, coffee and snacks. They also organise tours and activities.

This place is peaceful, but still social enough to meet people in the dorms and common spaces. It is not a party hostel that gets super loud at night.

We loved the small pool and garden area as well. The pool is a great plunge on a hot day!  Also – check out the rooftop for some early evening sunset vibes.

Location: This hostel is ideally located in the center of Chiang Mai, and the local night market every weekend is right in front of the hostel). The local and very popular morning fresh market is only 1-minute walk (everyday), and a super yummy street food market just across the road (every night). There is also a 24-hr convenient store (7-11) just opposite the hostel. It is only a 5-minute walk to Chiang Mai Old Town/temples/famous restaurants/cafes/bars.

The best choice in Chiang Mai for

  • Solo Traveler
Book Hidden Garden Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Hidden Garden Hostel Outside Space

Hidden Garden Hostel Dorm

Hidden Garden Hostel Room

Hidden Garden Hostel Dining Space

2. The Common Hostel

Let’s kick start with a contemporary traveller’s hub that is better than a hotel, cheaper than a hotel in Chiang Mai: The Common Hostel.

Update: HOSTEL by BED is now named The Common Hostel. It is the same hostel with the same address. This is actually a hostel adapted version of the famous BED hotels.

This is your answer to where to stay in Chiang Mai Old City.

The Common Hostel in Chiang Mai is situated in the Old Town Square close to many restaurants and bars. The backpacker area in Chiang Mai.

Find here hotel inspired modern accommodation for a fraction of the price, without losing any of the comforts.

Book The Common Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

HOSTEL by BED one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand HOSTEL by BED one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand HOSTEL by BED one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

As expected, there are dorm and private rooms available here.

But there’s a lovely twist that no doubt you’ll love…

It’s possible to sleep in a queen sized bed in both the mixed and female-only dorms!

Not only that, there are wonderful inclusions in each room including:

  • Privacy curtains
  • Reading light
  • Built-in lockers
  • Linen + towel

When you’re not relaxing on your huge bed, make time for the chill out areas.

There’s a large, open common space that is split into several thematic areas.

Relax on a bean chair and in the hammock, work comfortably at the table and chat to fellow travellers in the garden area.

The complimentary breakfast looks delicious and can be washed down nicely with a cup of tea or coffee.

Worried about drinking the water? You needn’t be as you’ll be given a free bottle of water.

Remember: save on plastic and take advantage of the free re-fill water tank.

If you prefer to cook, there is a 24hr kitchen on-site. A large number of attractions are also close by.

The Common Hostel is the coolest hostel in Chiang Mai for:

  • Female Solo-Travellers
Book The Common Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

HOSTEL by BED one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

HOSTEL by BED one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

3. The Entaneer Poshtel

Next up is a beautifully designed family run hostel named The Entaneer Poshtel.

This is one for the sociable couples and solo travellers out there, no doubt.

That’s because the staff go above and beyond to make you feel welcome, and they host a number of events to get the conversation between guests flowing.

This includes great dinner parties and live music in the bar, yet it maintains a homely, family vibe instead of matching that of a party hostel.

Book The Entaneer Poshtel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

The Entaneer Poshtel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Entaneer Poshtel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Couples will love the king size bed in the luxury private room!

Choose also from mixed dorms ranging from 10-28 beds and triple and quadruple rooms.

What’s cool about them?

  • Pod-style beds w/ privacy curtains
  • Double beds in dorms
  • Freshly made beds on our arrival + towel
  • Free WiFi

It’s the stunning design of the large, bright common areas and the spacious garden that really give this hostel the wow factor.

See if it’s possible not to drift off whilst you chill out with a movie on one of the bean bags.

The included breakfast really has to be mentioned as it isn’t the standard toast and tea. Expect smashed avo and the best fried eggs in Thailand!

Stay here and you’ll be a 2-minute walk from Chiang Mai Old Town.

The Entaneer Poshtel is a top hostel for:

  • Couples
  • Solo Travellers
Book The Entaneer Poshtel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

The Entaneer Poshtel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand The Entaneer Poshtel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the best Hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand; The Entaneer Poshtel

4. Bodega Social Hostel

Bodega Social Hostel is an amazing hostel in Chiang Mai with lots of backpackers! It offers  a good value for money, and has very nice rooms with comfortable beds with enough space and light. 

And also we have to say this – it has 18 – 35 age limit.

There is a nice sun bathing area in front of the hostel with sun beds, and a chill area around the swimming pool. They also have a bar / restaurant. Laundry service, lockers and bathrooms in each room are helpful. This is pretty clean hostel with decent facilities and friendly staff.

They have multiple plans for you: elephants, waterfalls, cooking courses… You won’t be bored a second 🙂

Good people, good vibes and a great social experience can be had here because of…

  • Pub crawls
  • Market crawls
  • Nightly drinking games
  • Waterfall + Grand Canyon tours
  • swimming pool

Message from the staff: “We go hard. Be ready for fun, loud, drunk and likely naked people”.

Our advise, stay at Bodega Hostel and have fun; but don’t tell your mom you have been here!

Location: The hostel’s prime location in the Old City provides easy access to all the major tourist attractions, such as the famous temples, night markets, and street food spots. It is located 700 m from Tha Pae Gate, around 800 m from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, 1.6 km from Three Kings Monument, and 1.3 km from Chedi Luang Temple.

This is one of the best Chiang Mai hostel for:

  • Party
Book Bodega Social Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Bodega Social Hostel Swimming Pool

Bodega Social Hostel Dorm

Fun Party Hostels in Chiang Mai

Alright, is there some cool backpacker hostels in Chiang Mai? Yes, there is!

For those of you in search of a great party atmosphere and the chance to meet like-minded party people; you’re in luck!

Out of the +500 hostels in the city, we’ve handpicked the two best party hostels in Chiang Mai:

  1. Bodega Social Hostel Chiang Mai
  2. Slumber Party Chiang Mai Old Town
  3. Stamps Backpackers

We also have a guide with more information: coolest party hostels in Chiang Mai.

1. Bodega Social Hostel Chiang Mai

The first option is our recommendation #4 – Bodega Social Hostel. You can read more about this hostel here

Book Bodega Social Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Bodega Social Hostel Pool Fun

2. Slumber Party Chiang Mai Old Town 

Slumber Party Chiang Mai Old Town aslo has 18-35 age limit. This hostel has a restaurant, and a bar. The facilities are top notch, with clean bathrooms and dorms, plus all day AC if you so desire.

It is a party hostel and they definitely provide an excellent vibe with free shot and night time activities. This is a great social hostel for meeting fellow travellers, especially for someone travelling solo. 

Book Slumber Party here

Check prices at: Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Slumber Party Chiang Mai Old Town Bar Fun

Slumber Party Chiang Mai Old Town Dorm

3. Stamps Backpackers

Stamps Backpackers distinguishes itself as a hub for the socially inclined and adventure-seekers, nestled in the heart of Chiang Mai. With a variety of accommodation options, Stamps caters to every traveler’s comfort needs. Their open invitation to join daily and nightly activities, even if you’re not staying, underlines their commitment to fostering a vibrant community atmosphere. It’s a place that pulsates with energy, ideal for those who thrive in social settings. However, they candidly advise that if you’re feeling anti-social or simply need a break from the social scene, Stamps might not be the fit for you at the moment.

The hostel prides itself on being more than just a place to sleep; it’s a launching pad for experiencing Chiang Mai’s adventures and culture. Stamps offers a full-service approach to tour arrangements, promising better deals and insider knowledge that ensure you get the most out of your excursions. Their receptionists, local experts in their own right, are always on hand to provide valuable insights into the city’s offerings. The common area, equipped with a bustling bar, serves as the heart of the hostel, where guests can share stories, plan joint adventures on the communal blackboard, and kick-start their evenings surrounded by new friends.

Stamps Backpackers is committed to enhancing the travel experience through social interaction and shared experiences. Their sleeping arrangements, from single-bed pods to shared bunk beds, offer both privacy and comfort, ensuring a restful stay amidst the social buzz. With amenities like powerful WiFi, personal power outlets, and clean, western-standard bathrooms, Stamps ensures a seamless stay. Their focus on creating a family vibe among travelers, coupled with their expert-led tours and daily group activities, makes Stamps an unparalleled choice for those looking to dive deep into the social and adventurous spirit of Chiang Mai.

Book Stamps Backpackers here

Check prices at: Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

Stamps Backpackers Common Space

Stamps Backpackers Bar

Best Chiang Mai Hostels for Solo Travellers

Hopefully, it has already become apparent that there are many, many social hostels in Chiang Mai.

If you’re travelling solo you may well be looking for the greatest hostels to meet people in Chiang Mai.

As mentioned for the top 3, the following two are our favorites for solo-backpackers:

  1. Hidden Garden Hostel – best for Solo Traveler
  2. The Common Hostel – great for female solo-travellers

Below we list again two more hostels worth a mention.

That being said, the top 3 are always our absolute favorites we recommend!

  1. The Cabin Backpackers Hostel
  2. Potae’s House
  3. Lullaby Hostel
  4. Sylvis Hostel Chiangmai

The Cabin Backpackers Hostel

First off is The Cabin Backpackers Hostel is one of the top choices– a chilled, social environment created with solo travellers in mind.

This activity-based hostel wants to include everyone with the genuine warmth and interest of the staff.

There’s an on-site bar, games and plenty of social space for mingling.

The Cabin Backpackers Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

The Cabin Backpackers Hostel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai for solo travellers

Potae’s House

If you’d prefer a low-key, quiet and intimate hostel consider staying at Potae’s House.

Potae, the owner, has so much time for her guests but will allow you the space to chill if that’s all you wish to do.

The hostel is decorated with bright colours and simple design. It’s a great choice to solo travellers in need of time to their selves, whilst staying nearby to attractions of the city.

Book Potae’s House here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Potae's House one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai for solo travellers

Lullaby Hostel

Welcome to Lullaby Hostel in Chiang Mai Old town located at a very close Thai community this place and its staff know how to make you feel right at home.

We recommend this place for solo travellers because it has a great selection of activities where you can meet and make some friends, this includes:

  • Yoga session
  • Cooking Classes

Good to know: We have a detailed guide for the best yoga retreats in Thailand

If you are travelling around Thailand and you are looking for a place where you can settle down and rest. We recommend you to join this beautiful community at the Hostel Lullaby in Chiang Mai.

Check out more freebies:

  • Breakfast & Snacks
  • Bicycle to move around
  • FREE bottle of water ( at check-in ) what a touch¡¡¡

What else can you expect at this hostel?

  • 3.5 ft. 5 STAR mattress with top pillow. Rrr¡
  • Power outlet
  • Reading lights
  • Air-con
  • Under-bed lockers
  • Towel rails
  • Duvets
  • Curtain for more privacy¡
Book Lullaby Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Lullaby Hostel in Chiang Mai, best for solo travellers. Lullaby Hostel in Chiang Mai, best for solo travellers.

Sylvis Hostel Chiangmai

Sylvis Hostel Chiangmai is the ultimate destination for party-goers and social butterflies exploring Chiang Mai. Renowned for its electric atmosphere, it serves as the perfect base for travelers eager to forge new friendships. The hostel is celebrated for organizing nightly social events, creating an infectious communal spirit.

Situated in a prime location, Sylvis Hostel provides effortless access to the city’s vibrant nightlife, ancient temples, and the renowned Sunday Walking Street Market, offering guests a deep dive into Thai culture by day and exhilarating parties by night. Guests are assured of a comfortable stay in clean, well-kept dormitories and private rooms, making it easy to recharge.

With its welcoming staff ready to share insider tips on the best local haunts, Sylvis Hostel strikes an ideal balance between festive fun and restful retreat.

Book Sylvis Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz

Sylvis Hostel Chiangmai Common Space

Sylvis Hostel Chiangmai Room

Best backpackers hostel in Chiang Mai?

We always get asked about the best hostels for backpackers in Chiang Mai, without a doubt we have stayed at  some of the best, here our top two:

  1. Gongkaew Chiangmai Home
  2. Stamps Backpackers

First of all, let us introduce you to Gongkaew Chiangmai Home.

This guest house in Chiang Mai is located in the heart of the old city area. At a walking distance to Wat Phra Sing, Wat Chedi Luang and the Sunday night market.

What can you expect at this hostel?

  • Dorms (with bucks beds)
  • Rooms (with double beds, twin beds, triple beds and family room)

All equipped with:

  • Air-con
  • Water heater
  • Cable TV

Someone said FREE!!!

Yes, freebies:

  • Free Coffee, tea, hot cho and toast all day¡
  • Free seasonal fruits from they own garden
  • Free Chiangmai city map.

This hostel in Chiang Mai offers fabulous green view, peaceful and quiet accommodations, just by 15 min from Chiangmai airport.

Ah, do not forget to check out their attractive activities:

  • Thai massage and spa
  • Trekking tour
  • Thai cooking course
  • Dinner & show with Thai northern style

Good to know: You can rent a bicycle and a van at this hostel.

Book Gonggkaew Chiangmai Home here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Backpackers Hostel in Chiang Mai. Gongkaew Chiangmai Home.

Welcome to our second recommendation, the super social Stamps Backpackers.

  • Featuring dorms with a semi-private sleeping loft with either air conditioning or a fan.
  • Beds are equipped with two power outlets
  • Backpack lockers
  • A personal reading light and
  • A private curtain

This Stamps Hostel in Chiang Mai, is a great choice for those backpackers interested in Old Town exploring plus the Buddhist temples such as Wat Chiang Man, also this place it is a 650 m away from the famous Tha Pae Gate.

Book Stamps Backpackers Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Stamps Hostel Chiang Mai, a backpackers hotel.

More gorgeous hostels worth a mention

It’s only right that we offer you even more awesome hostels in Chiang Mai when there is over 530 to choose from. That can be complicated, but does not have to. After all, you are reading this guide and we did the leg work for you.

If you are planning to stay in Chiang Mai guesthouses, I would reconsider. The hostels offer really high-quality! Among the best guesthouses in Chiang Mai you will find Monkey Toe Guesthouse.

Yet again, the 3 budget accommodations above are the ones we know are your best bet.

Here is a list of good hostels in Chiang Mai that we created with every type of traveller in mind. This list covers everything from hostels with luxury comfort to quirky design.

And guess what? Each and every hostel mentioned has an impressive rating of 9 and above – enjoy!

Seriously, if you have not found your place where to stay we are running out of options here…

Any Discounts?

You can find all our hostel discounts worldwide here. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the freshest hostel discounts directly in your inbox. We even have special discount codes we only share in the newsletter.

It is completely free to join!

How to book?

The most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. On both platforms, your credit card is 100% protected and the booking 100% confirmed.

We included some handy links to each of the recommended hostel. Just click on the hostel name. The link will lead you to check prices and availability.

Read: Step-by-Step guide on how to book with Hostelworld

We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Chiang Mai best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.

The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand, ask questions, and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app.

Download the Hostelworld App here

QR Code to Download your Hostelworld app with one scan
Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to download the Hostelworld App from the App Store - like a real Hostel Geek!

The best way to find hostels: Hostelgeeks website and Hostelworld App

Things to know about Chiang Mai (before you go!)

Alright, so we covered the question of where to stay in Chiang Mai on a budget. Now it is time to get out of the accommodation and explore the city and the surroundings.

After 2 months staying here, we know one or two things. Here you go, a bunch of great things to know before you visit. A backpackers guide to Chiang Mai:

1. Chiang Mai is safe (great for Female Solo-Travellers)

Chiang Mai is a super safe destination, same as Thailand all over actually.

It is well known for being a very safe travel spot for especially female solo-travellers.

Since there is not the overcrowded mass-tourism, you won’t find many scams here you will experience on the Thai islands for sure.

To sum it up: do not worry, this city is super safe and fun! More details here on how safe is Chiang Mai.

2. Chiang Mai is cheap

Second on this list: Chiang Mai is seriously cheap.

The North of Thailand is cheaper than the South and especially the islands. Backpackers in Chiang Mai enjoy there time in the city.

The accommodation is cheap, the food is cheap, activities are cheap. Chiang Mai is a perfect destination for a budget traveler and backpacker.

Finding a cheap hostel in Chiang Mai is not difficult at all. They range from 7€ up to 15€ per night. You can also find great guesthouses in Chiang Mai with Airbnb. A simple apartment in Chiang Mai starts from 170€ per month.

On top of that, you can eat here incredible street food for as little as 1.20$ – amazing. And you know what, we actually found the most delicious street food in Chiang Mai. Scroll down for the food tips below.

As a rule of thumb: Thailand and South East Asia is cheap until you want so-called western products. Western food like Pizza, Pasta, coffee, beer etc are not as cheap.

You can pay the same for a bottle of beer and a Pad Thai in the street. Keep this in mind!

3. Foody Paradise

If you are into food, then the North of Thailand and especially Chiang Mai is your paradise.

Here you will find the best food in the whole country.

You cannot compare the food here to most likely anything you will get on the islands.

Great spots for street food are:

  1. Chang Puak Gate (North Gate)
  2. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar (with nightlife and live music, a bit more pricey)
  3. Sunday Walking Street
  4. Maya Shopping Mall
  5. Our favorite street food (check our map below)

Many visitors, us included, join an authentic cooking class. There is different tours. For instance, some tours are only about trying food around the city (like this Street Food Market Tour), others are actual cooking classes.

Just pick the one you would enjoy most. We certainly recommend the cooking class type.

Here is a great guide to the street food in ChiangMai.

4. Things to do in Chiang Mai

There are plenty of cool activities to join during your time in Chiang Mai. Two of them are the street food tour and the cooking class.

As we mentioned many budget accommodations in Chiang Mai, you will have more money to invest in activities and food.

Here is a list of ideas that we hope you will love:

  1. Join a small, ethical tour to the Elephant Sanctuary (no riding permitted) – check our perspective on Elephant Sanctuary
  2. Go on a White Temple and Golden Triangle day trip to Chiang Rai
  3. Learn something new and join a Thai Cooking Class
  4. Have tremendous fun on the Rainforest Eco Zip Line
  5. Have a swim in the Grand Canyon
  6. Hidden gem: Wat Sri Suphan (Chiang Mai Silver Temple)
  7. Go Café Hopping in the Old Quarter
  8. Explore Inthanon National Park
  9. Loi Krathong Festival
  10. Have a drink at night at Night Bazaar ( the backpackers meeting place in Chiang Mai)
  11. Beat your friends at The Songkran festival
  12. Visit the Weekend Market in the Wua Lai Road
  13. Enjoy a full day high mountain trek
  14. Go Vintage and Boutique Shopping at Thapae East
  15. Listen to Live Music at Thapae East

5. Few things NOT to do in Chiang Mai (important)

Alright now that you have got this big list of the coolest things to do in Chiang Mai, well, here is something you should NOT do. When you travel to Thailand, you may have heard already of the Tiger Kingdom and of course the elephant tours, and other animal tours.

Thailand introduced its first animal welfare law in 2014; you see, that alone shows you the situation for animal abuse in the country.

We do not want to be a party-pooper here.

Yet, it is important to tell you the truth about the animal tours. It is up to you if you still want to have this experience or not.

This section is about animal cruelty and how you can still enjoy the Elephants and other animals without harming them.

There is a few simple rules. It is animal abuse, when…

  1. You can touch the animals in an unnatural way e.g. petting a tiger
  2. you can ride it
  3. the animal shows it was trained
  4. bad body condition
  5. too many animals living in the cage
  6. the animal is in chains

Keep reading, this is a very important section!

1. Enter The Cages At Tiger Kingdom

Entering the Tiger Kingdom sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Come on, when was the last time you can actually cuddle with a real-life tiger?

Well, there is a reason why this whole idea sounds absurd in the first place. IT IS AN ACTUAL TIGER!

NEVER NEVER NEVER go to this place and stay away from it.


The tigers are actually drugged and mistreated. The tiger babies are farmed and taken away from their group. And why should the mother tiger care anyways? She’s drugged…

So, please, stay away from any animal cruelty. Tiger Kingdom is one of the most cruel things you can do in Thailand.

2. Ride an Elephant and Elephant Shows

Another romantic idea is riding an elephant. Right? We have to confess, before traveling to Thailand, this idea sounded always amazing. Same as petting a Tiger.

But, well, the truth will chance your idea of a romantic ride on a beautiful Elephant. Peta shares 9 reasons why elephant riding is animal abuse. If interested, please read the article above.

The main reason why we urge you not to ride an elephant or visit any elephant shows is the process the elephant had to survive to get to that point. The so-called “crushing of the will”. The baby elephant will be mistreated until he gives up his spirit and just gives in to the human.

A painful process. There is brutal videos on Youtube (graphic content).

We do not embed this video here on purpose; it is seriously tough to watch.

Here is your solution: Elephant Sanctuary!

Fortunately, there is a solution to have your amazing (seriously amazing!) Elephant experience.

The Elephant Nature Park and a few more projects are actual sanctuaries. Here you can feed elephants, be close to them, and support a great cause of rescuing the animals.

Visit www.elephantnaturepark.org and Laan Kingdom Tours, offering Small group Ethical Tour.

Good to know: For visiting the elephants sanctuaries plan a whole day. The places are usually 1-2 hours outside the city center. Many sanctuaries actually pick you up at your hostel in Chiang Mai, and bring you back too.

Conclusion on this topic: Don’t support any business that exploits animals for human entertainment.

By visiting these shows or riding an elephant, you support this industry.

You can still have your experience with great foundations, so there’s no need to skip the whole activity. Please note that the actual sanctuaries may cost more.

We experienced this first hand.

6. How to get to Chiang Mai

There is basically three ways to get to Chiang Mai.

Flights to Chiang Mai:

You can simply fly to Chiang Mai. It is super easy and well-connected from Bangkok, especially. If you are planning to fly from the islands to Chiang Mai, you will need to take a connection flight most likely i Bangkok.

Check Skyscanner.com to find flight combinations to Chiang Mai the easiest way.

Here is our review on Skyscanner.com – and how to use it properly.

The Airport in Chiang Mai is actually super central.

We recommend getting an Uber or Grab from the Airport to your hostel. Many places also offer an airport pickup service. Talk to them beforehand, this is the cheapest option.


A fun way to travel the way from Bangkok is the train.

There is also a sleeper train now from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The train is a cheaper option and a great experience; hand in hand.

However, if you are tight in time, go with the flights option.


Personally, we are not big fan of buses in general.

But of course, this is a solid option here too. The bus from Krabi in the South to the North takes you a whopping 24 hours.

With Rome2Rio you can get a better idea of the different options, including prices and duration.

Good to know: We heard from fellow travelers taking a night bus from Bangkok to Krabi, they got scammed. The bus driver stopped in the middle of nowhere and told them they have to pay $30 each more or he will leave them right there. Since they had no other option, they gave in. This is obviously not the regular case.

7. The Red Buses

When wandering around town, you will see those little red buses all over the city.

They are driving around randomly and bring people from A to B.

You can just stop them like a taxi. Tell the driver where you would like to go. If he goes in your direction, just hop in.

Good to know: Make sure you ask before how much the ride will be. The price always depends on the distance. The price is always something between 1€ and 2€.

8. Renting a Scooter

We are big fans of renting scooters.

And in Chiang Mai this is easy too. Your hostel will most likely have the rental service, or at least it working with someone.

Traffic is a big hectic here.

So stay calm and drive passively. Wait for your turn and do not assume you can apply European or Western traffic rules.

Important: Please do not the guy/ girl not wearing a helmet, because “it does not look cool”. The concrete floor in Thailand is as rigid as in your home country…….

Good to know: You need a special drivers license when riding a scooter in Thailand. There is regular controls by the police. If they stop you and you do not have an international driving license, you will pay a fine.

However, do not tell them you do not have this license. Rather tell them you forgot your license in your hotel or hostel.

Last but not least: Locals and travelers like to drink at night – and then still drive their vehicle.

It is common knowledge that driving a motorbike at night in Chiangmai is kind of dangerous and not recommended due to this issue. Be aware.

9. Temples

Temples and Chiang Mai, that goes hand in hand.

You will see hundreds of them. And one is more gorgeous than the next ones.

Here is a list of our favorite temples we discovered while backpacking Chiang Mai in and around:

  1. Phra That Doi Suthep
  2. Inthakin
  3. Lok Molee
  4. Chedi LuangWat Suan Dok
  5. Phra Singh
  6. Sri Suphan (Silver Temple)
  7. Phra That Doi Kham
  8. Umong

We included all temples in the map below (that is just easier, right?!).

10. Writing the cities name

When you did your research for coming here, you may have noticed the naming of the city.

  • Chiangmai
  • Chiang Mai

No worries, it is the same city, there is no difference in this. Just so you know.

Need an eSIM Card for Chiang Mai?

Get your eSIM Card with Airalo.com instantly online. It is easy to set up and cheap! Read our review of Airalo here.

No more searching for mobile stores. Get your eSIM Card for now and enjoy it instantly after landing in your new destination.

Get your eSIM Card now

Need an eSIM Card for Chiang Mai?

Our Favorite Hostels in Chiang Mai put on a map + sights

Check out this handy map, listing all of the hostels in this article and much more!

Top sights in Chiang Mai include:

  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
  • Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan
  • Doi Suthep
  • Elephant Nature Park
  • Tiger Kingdom Thailand (read our thoughts on Tiger Kingdom here)
  • Night Bazaar
  • Bhubing Palace

(You can activate and deactivate the layers in the left sidebar. Open the map in a new tab here.)

Any questions about hostels in Chiang Mai? 🤔

Join our Facebook Group!

Ask all your questions and connect with like-minded wanderers 🔥


If you don’t know where to start your research, we share here your most asked questions.

What are the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand?

We have created this guide with our top 3 hostel in Chiang Mai as we recommend them to our family and friends

What are the best hostel in Chiang Mai for couples?

For couples with recommend The Entaneer Poshtel.

But you should also check:

Gongkaew Chiangmai Home with fantastic green view, peaceful and relax, we are sure your partner will love it.

What are the best hostels in Chiang Mai for solo travellers?

For solo travellers with also have in this guide one section for you with:

  1. The Cabin Backpackers Hostel
  2. Potae’s House

What are the best hostels in Chiang Mai Old Town?

When looking for the best hostels in Chiang Mai Old Town, these are the coolest budget places to stay:

Flights to Chiang Mai?

Flying to Chiang Mai is so easy and cheap. Nowadays, the city is very well connected with hubs like Hanoi Da Nang, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok. Getting to the island is also easy, but can be pricey in high-season.

We use Skyscanner and Omio.com to find cheap flights and good connections all over the globe.

Skyscanner has a bunch of cool features like Multi-City Trip. Instead of doing this research step-by-step, Skyscanner offers this flight planning tool.

Our Step-by-Step Guide to Skyscanner

review of Skyscanner flight searches

More (incredible) Hostels in Thailand

This guide covers all your top hostels in Chiang Mai.

We have also travelled extensively around the country, and found more incredible awesome places to stay in Thailand.

Read the full list of all the best hostels in Thailand here.

It includes best hostels in Thailand for couples, for solo-travellers, and the party travelers around us.

For more guides throughout Thailand:

And more party hostels in Thailand:

Over to you

Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!

Your question will help us to improve this Chiang Mai guide.

Last note: Our commitment

This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.

Safe travels,
The Hostelgeeks

– – –
pin it for later

3 Best Hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand - Your Daily Design Shot in Foodies Paradise

CLOSED: Brick House Hostel

Update: Our recommendation for party hostel – Brick House Hostel – has closed its doors.

Last but not least, here is the craziest party hostel in Chiang Mai: Brick House Hostel.

If you fancy a super fun hostel with an epic nightlife and pub crawl scene, then opt-in for Brick House Hostel . Expect a fun time, a big swimming pool to play volleyball, DJ set, pub crawls.

Things you should not expect is actually remembering all details of the night and a super quiet night.

Because, well, it’s one of the coolest party hostels in all Thailand.

Oxotel Hostel (Boutique Hostel)

Update: This hostel has closed. We’ve kept this content here for your information.

Located along the Saturday Walking Street is where a small chic hostel meets an artisan cafe: welcome to Oxotel Hostel in Chiang Mai.

Nestled in a typical Thai building, this is one seriously design-conscious accommodation full of life and vintage decor. This hostel is a kind of hostel-resort in landscape design.

Oxotel opened its door back in 2015 and has been renovated from top to toe.

We stayed here for 5 days; and had an amazing time!

The location is perfect since you are close to super local street food, the Silver Temple and the Saturday Market. With the red bus you are downtown in 5 minutes only.

Oxotel Hostel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Oxotel Hostel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Oxotel Hostel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Let’s take a look at the rooms:

  • 6-bed mixed dorm
  • 6-bed female dorm
  • Standard twin
  • Standard double
  • Superior double w/ balcony
  • Private caravan w/ private bathroom

Read: Hostel Room Types: what are the differences?

The budget-friendly dorms include linen, towel, reading lamp, sockets and privacy curtain.

On the ground floor, there is a stylish Artisan cafe that can rustle you up a delicious coffee and great food throughout the day.

What’s lovely is the semi-outdoor common area available on each floor for all to use.

There’s actually a lot to get excited about when it comes to Oxotel Hostel…

  • FREE toiletries + hairdryers
  • complimentary tea, coffee + breakfast for everyone
  • FREE lockers in the room (don’t forget your padlock)
  • 24-hour reception
  • Vending machines on 1st floor

Important to know: inform the hostel is you’re arrival is after 10 pm otherwise your booking will be cancelled.

The Old Town is only 1km away and it’s a 10-minute walk to the night food markets. Many would claim the location is not the best location in Chiang Mai.

But, we highly disagree! We have actually stayed here quite some while.

It is perfectly located since you are downtown in as little as 5 minutes and to the night market area in around 10 minutes. The best part however is their local area offers AMAZING street food.

In the section Things to know about Chiang Mai we share the fantastic street food near Oxotel. We are still dreaming of that foody experience….scroll down, thank us later!

Oxotel Hostel is perfect for:

  • Couples
  • Luxury for Female Solo-Travellers
  • (Hotel-Lovers that want to try a hostel for first-time)

Oxotel Hostel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Oxotel Hostel one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai, Thailand

We are 100% Independent: Some links on Hostelgeeks are so-called affiliate links. If you decide to book through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support allows us to keep producing high-quality, independent content free of influence from hostels or external advertisers. Learn more here. 🙏

✏️ Read our Editorial Guidelines

Our Favorite Travel Resources 2024

👏 Booking Hostels: Always find better deals for Hostels on Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld and Booking.com.

✈️ Cheap Flights: The first websites we always check are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

🤒 Travel Insurance Simplified: We always go either with Safetywing and Hey Mondo.

🤓 Smart Travel Tools you need to know: Find a list of our favorite travel tools.

Get your Smart Packing List (Free Printable): Knowing what to pack and what not to pack is key. Get our ultimate list of smart items to bring on your trip.

Download your Free PDF Packing List

Best Hostel Packing List