Chiang Mai nightlife can be whatever you want it to be, the city offers a broad scope of drinking and dancing options but for the most part, live music venues have the monopoly. Riverside drinking is a popular past time where residents and visitors settle down by the Ping River with a chilled drink and some good company, while the live band entertain with classic blues, jazz and rock tunes – a hallmark of any Chiang Mai visit.
The Nimmanheimin Road area has emerged as a popular haunt with the city’s younger set, in particular, the Monkey club where live music and great food go hand in hand. Within the walled city, there is a multitude of backpacker and hotel bars that cater to a range of budgets, from the cheap and cheerful to boutique-chic. As with the rest of Thailand, there is quite a high concentration of reggae bars where cheap beer, cushion laden floors and chilled out beats make for a laid-back evening.
The recently opened Sala Lanna hotel, set on the pretty banks of the Ping River, is one of the most impressive openings of late in Chiang Mai. There’s much to love here, such as the rustic Lanna décor throughout the 16 guestrooms, but what really makes this place special are the views. Head up to the top to find The Roof, a splendid open-air restaurant-cum-bar with panoramic views of the town, as well as the nearby water.
Furama Hotel’s rooftop has been rebranded and renovated a few times, but the most important thing to know is that their 17th-floor terrace offers some of best views anywhere in Chiang Mai. Xanadu Pub & Restaurant promises a spacious area for cocktails or a full meal, and thanks to the hotel's location towards the west of the city, views over to the looming Doi Suthep Mountain are particularly good – you can see the glowing temple half way up on a clear night.
An absolute institution on the Chiang Mai nightlife scene, Warm Up Café on Nimmanhaemin Road is the city’s biggest, best and longest running club. Ask any Thai which club they recommend, and nine out of ten will tell you it’s here. The place is split up into various sections, including a more laidback outside terrace fronting the venue, which leads to the large room at the back. It’s here where the local bands belt out the Thai pop, with each and every table almost tipping over, stacked high with whiskey bottles, buckets of ice, glasses and boxes of free popcorn.
Although no stranger to a Thai four-piece band, Infinity is by far the most modern, European-like club in Chiang Mai. The first thing you notice when stepping inside is the impressive lighting, with green laser beams projected from the ceiling, whilst the quality sound system does justice to the dance beats spun by local and (sometimes) international DJs. Things get really packed on the weekend with glammed up pretties and dudes in skinny jeans, so it’s best to arrive early or book your table in advance (you don't want to stand around with anywhere to put your drinks).
Angela from StayPlanet