When asked about recommended guesthouses or hotels in Chiang Rai, I often couldn’t provide a good suggestion. Because typically, one doesn’t often stay in a hotel in their own town.
Now I can finally provide a well-founded answer, as I have looked into pleasant overnight stay options in the city. The outcome are 9 recommendations in different price ranges and various parts of the city, along with 2 extras.
1 up to 500 Baht
2 from 500 to 1000 Baht
3 from 1000 to 1800 Baht
4 from 1800 to 2500 Baht
5 over 2500 Baht
The mentioned prices can change depending on the travel season and developments. It’s best to check the prices for your travel period on one of the booking platforms I’ve linked to, in order to get an overview.
There are more hotel booking websites than Booking.com and Agoda. However, on one hand, these two offer excellent filtering options, and on the other hand, I have had good experiences with both of them.
Booking Chiang Rai Hotels
Like many other travelers, I also love to go with the flow. To see where I like it best and then stay there as long as I want, until I feel like moving on again. That’s how I would prefer to book the right hotels or guesthouses as well. But unfortunately, the best ones are already booked during the peak season by the time I get there.
One of my favorites in Chiang Rai is very early fully booked for December. I would have loved to spend a few days there. If it’s booked: mai pen rai. No worries, there are other very lovely alternatives. Or I could choose to pre-book so I don’t miss out on it.
I liked two modern-looking hostels that are clearly oriented towards a young audience. Both of them also offer twin rooms or family rooms, and I can easily imagine staying at either of them if I want to easily connect with other travelers.
Baan Mai Kradan Hostel
The Baan Mai Kradan Hostel exudes a welcoming atmosphere with its “front yard” featuring a massive tree. Comfortable seating, wall art, and plenty of information await travelers on the ground floor. Upstairs, you’ll find eight-bed dormitories and family rooms starting from 280 Baht per person. The women’s dorm could be suitable for solo female travelers. The hostel is just a few minutes’ walk from the Saturday Walking Street. Price category: 1.
Bed Friends Poshtel
From the outside, the Bed Friends appears brand new. The modern facade cleverly conceals the fact that two houses were renovated and transformed into a hostel here. The location is fantastic: it’s a mere 5-minute walk to the bus station, with the Night Bazaar just 100 meters further down, and around the corner, you’ll find the pubs and restaurants of Jetyod Road. The rooftop bar is advertised to feature live music, but it’s closed during the rainy season. Unfortunately, I couldn’t assess the view or try out the drinks. The prices vary based on room type, starting at 340 Baht. Pricing category: Tier 1.
Nightlife at the Jetyod-Road
Keyword: Jetyod Road. This place comes alive in the evenings. The Reggae Bar (complete with “No Woman No Cry”), the adjacent cannabis shop, as well as the classy Tamarind (a music bar and restaurant), and the Cat Bar are all essential stops. The latter two feature live music. Of course, good food is also available, like at Siam Corner (Thai), La Gatta (Italian), or Heaven Burger (guess what it serves). All of this is spiced up with a few massage shops and some slightly shady bars.
In this street around Wat Jetyod, you’ll also find two truly pleasant guesthouses. By the way, it’s only a 7-minute walk from here to the Night Bazaar.
Baan Jaru Bed & Breakfast
The lovely Baan Jaru offers only a few, meticulously designed rooms. The garden is as well-maintained as the comfortable rooms. The owners are very friendly and speak English well. Baan Jaru is so popular that booking early is a must. Especially during the peak season of December and January, the rooms are often booked months in advance. Price category: Mid-range.
The Kanlaya is situated just 100 meters from the Clock Tower, right in the heart of the city. This guesthouse boasts only 9 rooms and is managed by a very friendly English-speaking owner. The rooms are clean and spacious enough to provide comfort. Booking well in advance is essential here too, especially during the peak season. Pricing category: Tier 2.
Bann Tawan Hostel & Spa
“The location is good, not too loud, but within walking distance of many things. Friendly staff. Price-performance ratio is fitting.” This description fits perfectly for Bann Tawan, where I have also stayed before. Only on Saturday evening, when the Walking Street takes place, or during the Flower-Fair in the park opposite, it’s not as quiet here. But then again, you’re right in the middle of it all. Currently available at a very reasonable price starting from 570 Baht. Price category 2.”
Not quite as central, but larger and located in a very quiet area:
Slightly outside the city center, you’ll find the larger Ben’s Guesthouse. They offer rooms in three price categories starting from 450 Baht. What’s more, they even have a pool. The property is spacious and well-maintained, featuring a central Teakhouse that was constructed first. The owners are proficient in English. Pricing categories 1 and 2.
Chiang Rai Hotels
If there are no more available rooms in the small guesthouses, fortunately, there are still beautiful hotels as an alternative.
Moon and Sun Hotel
A particularly budget-friendly option is the Moon and Sun Hotel, located in an alley with huge old trees, very close to a gallery in an old villa. The rooms are rather small, but offer an excellent value for the price. The three price categories start at under 500 Baht. Price category 1-2.
One of the most exquisite hotels in the city is Le Patta. It boasts comfort, style, and spaciousness, all set within a central location. The beautiful pool and well-equipped gym contribute just as much to the pleasurable vacation experience as the airport shuttle and exceptional breakfast. The location is almost perfect, situated near attractions like the Night Bazaar, Clock Tower, Saturday Walking Street, and more. However, it’s worth noting that the immediate neighborhood of the hotel isn’t as charming as the hotel itself, which truly stands out. This property falls within the pricing range of Tier 4-5.
In the opposite direction from the Clock Tower, you’ll find the newly established Sann. It’s not only popular due to its central location but also because of its excellent value for money. Amenities like a pool, breakfast, air conditioning, refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, and more are all included. Pricing category: Tier 3-4.
In all guesthouses and hotels, the rooms are equipped with air conditioning (AirCon), a refrigerator, and partially a TV. The operators are helpful in organizing trips and always have tips about special attractions in Chiang Rai ready.
Pure Luxury in Chiang Rai
For those seeking something special, you should take a look at these two hotels right on the Mae Kok.
Le Méridien by Marriott
Le Méridien: The property is spacious, expansive, and a visual delight. The lobby is enormous and pleasantly air-conditioned. The garden extending to the river is a dream for warm tropical evenings. Three restaurants offer European and local cuisine. Price category 5.
Legendary – from the 52-square-meter suite (available with a Genius discount starting at 1800 Baht) to the private garden villa with its own pool for over 350 Euros per night, there’s everything here that one would love to afford. The stylish luxury of the garden terrace, the Lanna-style architecture, and the infinity pool make the stay unforgettable. A complimentary shuttle service on weekends to the Walking Street and Night Bazaar completes the picture. Price category 4-5.
In this time after Covid, there are still bargains, the best accommodations at affordable prices. Smart individuals book early because otherwise, the finest opportunities are gone.
Getting to Chiang Rai
The destination Chiang Rai is on the way to Laos for most travelers. But both the city and the province offer many destinations worth seeing.
You can usually get to Chiang Rai by plane or by Green Bus from Chiang Mai. There are also bus connections to Chiang Rai from Bangkok or other cities in Thailand.