Hotel Review: My hotel-hopping adventure in Chiang Mai

Anyone who has been to Chiang Mai would probably have noticed that every other door is either a hotel (of some sort) or a cafe. Tiny hotels, inns, backpackers and the like have mushroomed all over the city in a city where tourism is burgeoning. With literally thousands of options to choose from, choosing the right place may not be the easiest task. I have spent hours over days going trawling through the internet before deciding on these four properties, in four different locations across the city.

First stop, Mae Rim. This is the gateway to the many nature and adventure based activities in Chiang Mai. One can easily experience the thrill of ziplining and ARVs or river rafting from here. I stayed at the Grand Morroc Hotel which is probably the only 4-star hotel in the area. There is the Four Seasons not too far away and several other more basic options. At US$100 a night, it’s not exactly cheap. Whilst it is close to the activities, there are not much else in the area so finding food itself can be a challenge. The hotel whilst pretty to sight, probably needs a little tender loving care.

Next day, I moved to Times Square (not quite) but you get the hint. Nimmanhaemin is the city’s equivalent to Times Square where you get the hustle and bustle of a myriad of shopping, dining and entertainment options. There are plenty of street around too so if that’s your thing, a wander around this are may yield many interesting photography opportunities. As I had a budget of US$50 to stick to for tonight and the next few nights, I chose the Cmor Andacura Hotel where the rooms huge albeit a little on the boring side. It was only a 3-minute brisk walk from the hotel to the huge mall around the corner although the hotel does offer a free tuk-tuk transfer and also bicycles for you to borrow at no cost!

From there, I moved to the Old City where Chiang Mai started. This is where the walls were built and wars were fought centuries ago. Today, the Old City still surrounded by its moats, is filled with people from all walks of life. You will see pretty houses on some streets and then what may look like slums not too far away. You are never too far away from a temple (Wat as they call them in Thailand) in this highly spiritual country. There are many traditional restaurants and of course, massage parlours all over the city. Here, I chose to stay at the Le Naview Prasingh Hotel. Again, it was well located for one to explore all the sights of old town on foot. Nothing to write home about but it does serve its purpose well for under US$50 a night.

My final night was spent at the riverside area of Chiang Mai, a ten minutes’ walk away from the excitement of the Night Bazaar yet it feels like you are a world away. This must be the absolute best value of all the hotels that I have stayed in this week. The i-River Hotel is located on the other side of the river from the ultra luxurious Anantara Resort. At US$50 a night, it is a bargain when you would probably be paying almost ten times more to be on the other side! Not only do you get a room, you get unlimited bottled water, coffee and tea throughout the day with snacks, and also a simple breakfast to start your day. What better way to start your day than to have a coffee and croissant amidst the tranquility of the Ping River!

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Andrew is a self-confessed guru when it comes to frequent flyer programmes. He claims that he is more familiar of the terms & conditions than the one who came up with the terms & conditions. His dream is to be able to feast on cookies day and night without getting fat.