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Chiang Rai Nightlife

What to Do at Night in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai offers limited options when it comes to nightlife. Besides the Night Bazaar and a string of bars and massage parlours lining Jet Yod Street and around Wangcome Hotel, there’s not much else going on after sunset. Rather than flashy clubs and pubs, what you get is a place to really take it slow and enjoy a chill-out experience. Many bars have large-screen TVs for live sports broadcasts and a few pool tables. Live music, however, is a rarity, and you will have to make do with the bar owner’s taste for Mp3s or CD music.

For A go-go bars, head over to a short strip of private Punyodyana Road east of the Clock Tower, and that’s all you will get. As you stroll down the nightlife street, it will dawn on you that clubbing and late-night partying is really not the highlight of this hill-enclosed town. Many visitors prefer to hit the Night Bazaar and sip a few beers at the open-air beer garden in-between their shopping breaks. But don’t ramp up your expectations too high, though, or you will be in for a disappointment.

Just remember that, rather than nightlife, the charms of Chiang Rai lie in its pristine natural beauty as well as fascinating artistic and cultural heritage.

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Bar Lamyai

Tucked down the private Punyodyana Lane, this simple bar setup has a few outdoor wooden tables and a pool corner. There’s not much to the food menu, except a few snacks and nibbles, as the main focus here is on the reasonably-priced drinks. So, come here for the bare basics, namely cheap drinks, free Wi-Fi and live sports and/or international news broadcasts.

  • Opening Hours: Budget – Affordable
  • Location: Jet Yod Road, 50 metres from Clock Tower
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Cat Bar

Open since 1995, this lively venue is famous for its live jam sessions with the owner, Sam, who rocks the house with his guitar every night from 22:30 onwards. Anyone is welcome to join in the fun, or if music is not your talent, then order a few drinks and simply enjoy the show. There’s also a bright orange pool table where you can enjoy a few games with others, should the mood strikes. With the owner and his wife overseeing the place themselves, service is warm and friendly.

  • Location: Jet Yod Road
  • Price Range: Affordable

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Covering four street blocks just southeast of the Clock Tower, Chiang Rai Night Bazaar is a nice diversion from Jet Yod Road’s bar-hopping scene. Vendors start to set up their stalls at around sunset, but it doesn’t get busy until after 19:00. What you will find here is a range of hill-tribe crafts, such as knitted scarves, embroidered bags, silver jewellery, bed spreads, wallets and fashion accessories, along with T-shirts, sneakers and a range of sculptural art and handicrafts. Always negotiate before you buy, as vendors tend to mark up the price at least twice as much as it usually costs elsewhere.

Apart from shopping, the Night Bazaar has two outdoor stages for cultural performances and a beer garden/food court where you can grab a quick bite or dinner. Beers are limited to local varieties.

  • Opening Hours: 18:30 – 23:00 daily
  • Location: Between Phaholyothin and Prasopsuk Roads, around the bus terminal
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Coconut’s Bar

Set up with organic-shaped garden tables and Christmas lights, Coconut’s Bar exudes a cosy and laid-back vibe. It is the kind of place to meet up with some friends for a couple of beers, cocktails, a game of pool, live football matches, or chilled-out grooves. The extensive drink list offers everything from local whiskeys to standard cocktails, wine coolers, beers and imaginative concoctions fashioned from local booze.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu leans towards English cuisine but also covers a wide range of international dishes, including Greek salad with feta cheese, burgers, steaks, potato wedges, lasagna, fish and chips, Mexican tacos, and more. After sunset, the sidewalk tables fill up quickly. Single travellers will feel right at home here.

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 – 01:00
  • Location: Jet Yod Road
  • Price Range: Affordable
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Easy House

Fusing a western and Thai country style, this dimly lit bar – part of a guesthouse with the same name – has a homey feel but is rather quiet compared to its neighbours. It serves a range of western and Thai dishes from steaks and spaghetti dishes to phad thai and tom yam soup, as well as a few local beers. Entertainment includes cable TV programmes, movies, darts and easy-listening music.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – midnight
  • Location: Jet Yod Road
  • Price Range: Budget-Affordable
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Kaffee Hub

This loft-inspired hangout venue feels more like a cosy lounge. It is located inside a historic three-storey building, overlooking the Clock Tower. The first floor has a café-style setup, with low tables and teakwood chairs scattered across concrete flooring while the second floor is the bar and lounge area where you can enjoy a few cocktails on the terrace while watching the world go by. A café by day, Kafee Hub offers a selection of international and Thai dishes on its menu. After sunset, the mood shifts to a mellow, retro-style cocktail lounge, ideal for lazing away the night.

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 – midnight
  • Location: Corner of Banprapakan Road and private Punyodyana Lane, just east of the Clock Tower
  • Price Range: Affordable

Leelavadee

Chiang Rai’s riverside remains rustic and largely undeveloped. Chances are you won’t just stumble across a restaurant or bar set by the Mae Kok unless it’s part of a luxury hotel. Leelavadee is an exception. Claiming an enviable riverfront location, this contemporary pub-restaurant is a delightful alternative to Chiang Rai’s rather mellow bar scene. Although the drinks list doesn’t stray from the usual offerings of local beers and whiskeys, the main highlight is live band music, which covers a wide range of international and local pop varieties, as well as local folk songs to begin each evening. Seats are set either in the garden or under a large canvas canopy, both overlooking panoramic river views.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 – midnight (live band from 19:00 to 23:00)
  • Location: Kwae Wai Road, by the Kok River on the opposite side of city centre
  • Cuisine: Thai, seafood, northern Thai
  • Price Range: Affordable
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Massage Parlors and A go-go Bars

A small lane connecting Jet Yod and Phaholyothin Roads is home to a few A go-go bars and massage parlours. You can’t, however, compare it with Bangkok’s infamous Patpong, Pattaya or even Chiang Mai’s clubbing scene. Although the dancers try to grab you off the street as you stroll pass their bars, don’t expect a grand spectacle or you may be in for a disappointment.

  • Location: Between Jet Yod and Phaholyothin Roads, opposite Night Bazaar

The Turntable Jazz Bar

Possibly the only jazz bar in town, The Turntable is part of family-run North Hotel located a block east of the Night Bazaar. Boasting a sophisticated black and bright red colour scheme, it feels rather stylish and cosy. The bar serves reasonably priced beers and cocktails. Unwind with live music or recorded jazz tunes from the ‘60s or grab a book from the bar’s collection of jazz books and just chill out for as long as you wish.

  • Location: Between Night Bazaar and Fruit Market (Sirikorn Market)
  • Price Range: Affordable
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