Chiang Mai Nightlife; Bars & Girls
By Aran (from the UK)
The Chiang Mai nightlife scene offers all the usual delights that you find in the other parts of Thailand that are home to a sizable expat community i.e. lots of bars, girls, clubs, international food and so on.
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I know some people who have been living here since the 1980s and though opinions on how the city is changing vary enormously, few would dispute that Chang Mai nightlife is only getting better and better.
I have to confess, I have always been unimpressed by Bangkok. Though no one in their right mind could ever claim that the Bangkok nightlife scene isn’t anything other than amazing, especially when it comes to girls, the city itself never had much appeal to me.
After about a week of going out there on my first visit to Thailand, I decided to head north to the city that everyone had such good things to say about, Chiang Mai. From the moment I stepped off the train, I never looked back. Chiang Mai has a really great relaxed feel that few other cities of its size have. This is probably why it has attracted so many people, including freelance tech specialists, who seem to be everywhere these days.
It is really nice to be able to walk around parts of the city and feel like it is a Sunday afternoon in the country back home. But don’t let this fool you, Chiang Mai is a city that has plenty of things going on, day and night. Over the last decade or so I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in traffic levels in some parts of the city, and with it, a steady increase in the pace of life.
Chiang Mai Nightlife Options
Though obviously not as crazy or big as Bangkok, the Chiang Mai nightlife doesn’t disappoint. It caters to just about every desire, from a good night out with friends to getting a nice little hottie or two for a one night stand. If you are planning a trip soon, here is the lowdown on how to make the most of it.
A relaxed night out on the riverfront
Whenever I want to have a nice but quiet night out with friends or a date, I usually head to the riverfront. It is probably the best setting to sit and drink. The area is crammed with really cool expat run bars and live music venues that really leave you spoiled for choice. Thanks to the large expat community you also get some really good musicians playing here on a regular basis. I love to listen to live blues and jazz and have to say I’ve been really impressed over the years at the standard of music here.
The Nimmanhaemin Road area is also a really nice spot to enjoy yourself too, particularly in the area in and around Chonpratan Rd. I usually head down here for a drink or two after work as there are a few really nice bars that are all within arm’s reach of each other. This area seems to have a big pull for the younger crowd, including backpackers, probably due to it’s the mix of live music and cheap drinks.
Both of these areas are really nice and safe. You won’t get hassled by working girls or hustlers who seem to avoid the area completely. Another good bet is to hit one of the city’s sky bars that are usually located on top of the more expensive hotels. Drinks are expensive but these places are really chilled and you do get to see some really stunning sunsets too.
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Chiang Mai nightclubs
What I like about the nightclubs in Chiang Mai is that they don’t get too overcrowded. Most of the clubs I have been to always seem to have a good fun vibe even if they are a little empty. Generally, the clubs fill up around midnight, which is the best time to arrive. Don’t expect to see any international DJs in any of them but there is enough choice to find one with the kind of music you like.
The nice thing about this aspect of the Chiang Mai nightlife scene is that entry and drink prices are relatively cheap. At these prices, I don’t feel so bad about going in a club for a drink to check out the girls and leaving if I don’t see anything I like.
In my experience, clubs are definitely the best place to go if you want to meet young Thai girls in Chiang Mai. Though dating sites are a sure bet in Thailand, you still need to meet the girl for dinner or drinks to get a chance of a hook-up. As a western male, the odds are heavily stacked in your favour in Thailand anyway, so provided you make sure to talk to lots of girls in the club, you have a very good chance of going home with one.
If you dress the part and don’t turn up in the regular shorts and t-shirt that most other foreigners always seem to, you will find girls will sometimes approach you in the clubs. Sometimes these will be pay for pleasure girls, but I have had many shy country girls come stand next to me waiting for me to start a conversation. Not once when this has happened have I failed to take the girl home with me.
Nights out pleasure seeking
Thailand has gained a deserved reputation as a place that just about any western man can go to get a beautiful girl. The real challenge here is how to stick to just one, truth be told.
The Chiang Mai nightlife scene is fuelled by beautiful young Thai girls who come in from the countryside to find work. Some girls choose to work in the hotels and bars as waitresses, while others just go straight into the P4P scene where the big bucks are.
In keeping with the scene in the rest of the country, the city has a selection of go-go bars, KTV/Karaoke bars (be careful with these – see below for details), massage parlours and a host of other places where men can get girls.
Go Go Bars
There are plenty of go-go bars spread out all over the city. You won’t find them lined up in long streets like in Pattaya. If you are new in town the best way to find them is just to take a taxi. Tuk tuks are still really cheap in Thailand so, even if you decide to drive about for a bit to find the best one, it won't cost you that much.
Go-go Bars are probably the most expensive places to buy drinks for obvious reasons. When you go in the girls will always give you lots of attention as they want you to buy them drinks. Girl drinks are more expensive and if you decide you want to take a girl home, you will need to pay her bar fine first. Always ask prices before you drink or do anything.
Personally, when I am looking for a one night stand, I like to head to the area around Loi Kroh Road, which is where lots of the girlie bars are located. These bars are cheaper and much busier than the go-go bars, so the atmosphere feels much livelier. I like Thai bar girls because if you are out on your own, for around double the cost of a normal drink, you can get a girl to keep you company or play pool with you.
My first experience of the Chiang Mai nightlife was spent in one of these girl bars with a really fun and sexy girl from near the border with Laos. We had a really great evening that only cost me 4 extra drinks. I took her number and when I messaged her the next day, she came straight over to my place.
The nice thing with most of the girls down here is that if you do find one you like, you can just pay her bar-fine and take her home. Bar-fines here are also lower than in the go-go bars.
And finally, the KTV and massage parlours
While you can actually go to the KTV to just sing, from what I have seen they are mostly used by East Asian guys to get girls. There are loads dotted around the city and as with the go-go bars, the girls seem to get more beautiful the more expensive they are.
You need to be very wary of these KTV venues, it is not uncommon for a girl to come sit with you and start ordering drinks as though she is a customer – she isn’t, and you will end up paying a hefty bar bill!
Massage parlours are another famous feature in Thailand. The Thai massage is really amazing for helping to relieve muscle pain and relax your mind. Most massage places offer extra services such as happy endings and sex. In all the places I’ve ever been, they will discreetly let you know beforehand what’s on offer so you can decide what you want.
After trying out plenty of different places, I have to say that my favourite is by far the soapy massage parlour. Here some stunning Thai girl will wash and massage you before letting you have your way with her. Soapy massage parlours are definitely one of the most pleasurable ways I’ve found to enjoy the Chiang Mai nightlife scene, I must say.