The Thais are brilliant singers and like to enjoy themselves The Chiang Mai nightlife is much tamer and quieter than Bangkok, but enjoyable all the same. People in this city like to enjoy themselves and are happy to party with the many foreigners visiting their town. The Chiang Mai nightlife offers plenty of relaxing bars, a couple of banging discos, one street full of go-go bars, and a smattering of karaoke lounges. Thailand is also very accepting of the gay and lesbian scene.
The city is a great place for a pub crawl because it’s easy to walk (or stumble) from bar to bar (crossing the city centre on foot takes about 20 minutes). Many bars in Chiang Mai feature live music and the Thais are fabulous singers, with repertoires that include lovely Thai ballades, rock, soul, blues and pop favourites. There are also a number of discos which have talented DJs spinning dance floor anthems, cutting edge trance and house, and retro classics.
Chiang Mai nightlife is unfortunately quite restricted after midnight due to a current directive from the Governor to spoil the fun. There have been considerable complaints from all quarters, but only a selected number of places have so far been allowed to remain open until 2am.
Bars are found all over the city, but are mostly congregated on either side of the Moat’s eastern flank (in the Tapae Gate area), along the Ping River near Nawarat Bridge or in the vicinity of the Night Bazaar. Some are lively, friendly affairs, others are quiet and more mature.
Here in Chiang Mai there is an active gay scene. Chiang Mai ‘s gay scene is small but active. There are a number of thriving bars and clubs in an area behind the Night Bazaar Centre, as well as other bars, clubs and saunas throughout the city. The lesbian scene is somewhat more subdued, with the first official lesbian bar opening up in January 2004.
Karaoke is a national obsession and these lounges can be found all over the city. Many of them attract a male clientele by including a bevy of young hostesses who will sit and sing with you for a small hourly fee. Many of these are found at Chiang Mai Land, a purpose-built street off Changklan rd, south of the city.
Like the rest of Thailand, the nightlife in Chiang Mai is well known for its go-go bars. These are located mostly along the western end of Loi Kroh rd, including a walk-in arcade near the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, and a stretch of Moon Muang rd south of Tapae Gate. Popular with some, these areas are well contained, more discreet than Bangkok and relatively tame.
There is also plenty of good clean fun to be had. Multiplex cinemas are found in the Kad Suan Kaew mall (also known as Central) and Airport Plaza, both showing movies with English soundtrack.