First off, congrats on booking/considering a trip to Chiang Mai. If you follow us on Instagram or have read previous posts, you probably know that Chiang Mai is my favorite place on earth. The temples, the elephants, the KHAO SOI, the vibe. Theres a reason it is one of the most popular places for digital nomads to put down roots, it is simply amazing. That being said, there are endless amounts of guesthouses, Airbnb’s and hotels to stay at in Chiang Mai, so let me break it down for you a bit.

The Old City

If this is your first trip to Chiang Mai, you will probably want to stay within the walls of the Old City. Not only can you find a ton of cheap accommodations, you’ll also be smack dab in the middle of it. No matter where you stay, you won’t have an issue finding bars, restaurants, 7-11’s, markets and temples nearby.

When I was looking for places to stay on our first trip, I remember reading a blog that said you NEED to stay within that little square, and I ruled out anything outside of it. That is definitely not the case, there is a lot to see outside of the Old City!

Nimmanhaemin (Nimman)

On our last trip we stayed in the Nimman area for 7 weeks! This is a more modern, trendy area that is popular with nomads and some expats. The main reason we chose Nimman was due to the amount of affordable condos in the area. If you are planning on staying long term, book an Airbnb for a few days and walk around, ask condos if they have availability and you’ll most likely be able to book something within a couple of hours and move in at the end of the day!

There are plenty of other reasons to stay in this area. The amount of shopping, delicious restaurants, super cool coffee shops and reliable co-working spaces make this a perfect location for a lot of travelers! Also, you can get into the Old City very easily by either walking, hailing a songthaew (the red trucks), ordering a Grab (fairest price) or getting a tuk-tuk (generally overpriced).


Santitham seems to be the up-and-coming area in Chiang Mai with plenty of bars and restaurants that serve up cheap drinks and food. It is definitely less touristy than the Old City and Nimman but a great area to stay in! It is also home to my favorite spot to get khao soi, Khao Soi Mae Sai!

Khao Soi Mae Sai – 29/1 Ratchaphuek Alley, Tambon Chang Phueak, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

Night Bazaar

Photo Courtesy of Expedia

If you came to Chiang Mai to shop, this area might be right for you. The Night Bazaar opens up every night and is a bargain shopper’s paradise! Just be aware, it gets crowded! While I absolutely love coming to the Night Bazaar, I personally wouldn’t choose this area to stay in.

Relax by the Riverside

Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor

If you want a nice view and a more relaxing vacation, the Riverside is a great option. If you’re okay with missing the bustling atmosphere of the city and enjoy more peace and quiet, check out some hotels in this area.

Head out of the City

If you’re more interested in surrounding yourself with the natural beauty of Chiang Mai, head out of the city. We spent one night at the Veranda High Resort and felt like we were on a mini retreat. The hotel was beautiful, peaceful and much nicer than anything we could ever afford in the United States!

Well, I hope this article helps you narrow down which area you want to stay in! No matter where you end up, you will have an amazing time, eat delicious food and meet wonderful people!

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We are your typical American family who decided life is too short to live in one place.

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