Chiang Mai Nightlife 2014
Chiang Mai typically thought of as a boring town without much nightlife especially from these so-called travel bloggers who come through town for 5 days and think they know everything about the place has. Chiang Mai has had an interesting year in terms of nightlife. I thought I'd break it down for you what's happened and what the current nightlife is like in Chiang Mai. Although it this article won't cover everything for a more detailed breakdown check out the Chiang Mai nightlife guide.
Nightlife in Chiang Mai for Travelers
As I was saying backpackers tourists to Chiang Mai will likely hit up the Zoe in Yellow bar (the reggae area) which on any given night after 11pm will be filling up with people breezing through town. This place gets really busy on Friday and Saturday nights as local working expats and university students have time out.
Tourists and wanna be Hi-So Thai cats are often found down at the Riverside bar and bistro (recommended by most 4+ star hotels in Chiang Mai) For those on a modest budget especially backpackers are often found at the Rooftop bar at Thapae gate as well the blue bat bar. After 2am is when focus shifts back to the legendary Spicy nightclub which was once home to the passing monger now just a mess with drunk tourists. This week opened a new club right near Zoe, it's basically a shop house was closed at after 2am the other night still not sure what to make of this place, not a lot of people seem to be going in there.
Spicy by the way moved back to their original spot after a big renovation to the demise of Good Morning which used to be packed when the old/new Zoe had that stupid smokey packed upstairs room. Since Spicy moved back to their old place Good Morning while still gets a very late crowd is no longer packed.
Bottom line if you were here as a tourist I'd recommend if you don't mind spending $20 on a meal head to Riverside with your travel buddies before heading to Zoe and if you wanted to get pissed as a fart and possible altercation with another traveler or Tuk Tuk driver end up at Spicy. Looking to pickup? Forget the Thai's (mostly whores and problem ladies) try the Farang women! Pre-game at the rooftop bar before heading to Zoe.
Nightlife in Chiang Mai for Expats
If you live in Chiang Mai the first year you're probably going to do the same routine as above, occasionally you might end up at some of the Thai nightlife spots or follow the monger trail but it's unlikely you're going to get your Expat buddies to share a bottle down at differ and expect to have a good time (and pickup that is) if you can't speak Thai. It's like Infinity is the best biggest late night club in Chiang Mai but on any average night you'll see few Farang tables. Why is that?
In fact there are only a few Farangs I see regularly on the night circuit and almost always with Thai's. I see the major problem with Expats in Chiang Mai is the lack of Assimilation and making friends only with what I call the "Zoe crowd". You'll never actually figure out how to pick up the CMU or Payap girl if you spend your weekends at Spicy!
That said How should an expat be doing nightlife in Chiang Mai?
Here i'm not talking about working ladies that's covered in the next section I'm talking about real Thai girls and mostly University students.
Your first mistake is likely going to be your going out on the weekends. Only go out during the week! The reason is these clubs on the weekends are super packed and makes it difficult to either get a seat or get eye contact with others.Girls going out during the week are more likely looking for some action. There are more guys out on the weekend (they work during the week) plus the weekend guys from Bangkok (the girls from Bangkok are more likely looking for a Chiang Mai dude!) so clearly don't do the weekends at a Thai nightclub if you're trying to pickup.
I'm always seeing this with newbie expats. They get to the club spend an hour looking around then do a lap around the room clumsily crashing tables while clicking glasses. Unless you've walked around and some girl has grabbed you this tactic ain't going to work for you at all! Thai Nightclubs are all about location! Everyone is already just standing around their own tables and not moving. If you get a location where you can see Most of the room and the ability to make eye contact with most of the room this is going to work way better for you.
What people don't understand about Thai clubs that while that stupid band is playing that everyone in the room is waiting to end so the "real" music comes on the Thai's are scanning the room. Single girls who "like to have fun" are the ones you are looking for. Keep scanning the room and look for "eye contact". If you see a girl looking at you and she does the second time, give her a smile, if she smiles back that's when you approach her table and never before! Girls who are looking for "fun" are more likely to be at a table of just two.
If you call yourself an expat and don't speak Good Thai stop calling yourself an expat! Let's be honest this is the biggest reason why after a year you're still not comfortable working a Thai nightclub. This is Thailand and people speak Thai! You only need a 500 word vocabulary to pick up a Thai girl at a club, a year is the max that should take!
Want to know what to say when you actually walk over to that table and the best pickup line that's ever worked for me! "Phoot pasa Thai ben mai" (can you speak Thai?). First thing she'll probably do is tell her friend what you said who will then tell her other friend what you said and they'll all be laughing.
Those three mistakes are the reason why most expats after trying a Thai nightclub say that's it's "impossible" to get a one night stand. Especially Chiang Mai where the locals are very wary of "Farang" . Refer to Mistake #3
So where should an expat with a reasonable grasp of Thai head to in Chiang Mai? All depends on what you're looking for really but the best game in town to start is Warm Up then after warm up you have Infinity or Fabrique. Fabrique during the week is an interesting crowd the most interesting being the amount of Karoake girls. Often if the Karaoke clubs are super quiet they might take the girls to the club for an hour to try get some business back to the club. Look for an older lady with about 4-5 younger girls. Weekends in Farbrique has a lot different crowd mainly those coming from Monkey and Warmup.
Infinity nightclub is hit and miss in terms of crowd. They play the band there and people sit down till either really late or they are drunk enough. This isn't just Infinity either it's the same in most Thai nightclubs. To be honest most Thai guys are pretty stiff in the clubs and if there are too many stiff guys the place feels super boring. The Maldives gets a nice but thin crowd and a place to keep on your radar.
Nightlife in Chiang Mai for Sexpats, Mongers
It's amazing how such a good sized club with a lot of history can really fall behind. The once mighty Hot Shots has slowly gone downhill to the point now that they have those cheap bamboo pool seats and table in front of the stage. I've been here several times over the year and each time it gets worse. If you pick up a girl from the go-go club likelihood that she'll ask you to take her here. This is because noone else really wants to go so they won't be "seen". It's little cousin Bubbles should be filled in with cement and the Blue Bat bar which used to be on the roof of the pornping hotel is shut down too even though they have one of the best views of the city!
If you are over 40 the tourist spots of Zoe and Spicy are likely no longer appealing and as Hot Shots is really the only place for that crowd I can understand why long timers to Thailand would say it's shit! Chiang Mai really is a younger mans game these days.
Talking about Go go bars still the clear leader in town is Foxy Lady I do recommend you get there early at about 9:30pm and make your decision fast!
Loi Kroh road beer bars hasn't changed that much you probably have you're favorite bars and if you're new just take a stroll down after 9pm is a good time. The boxing ring beer bars get half closed for the match inside there are some good bar with girls but you'll have to get a Ticket in! Good for tourists but stay out if you're trying to get a bar girl.
If you do bar far a girl for the night I do recommend you try one of the cities many short time hotels with my favorite being Bises Resort which for 300 baht first hour and 150baht the next hour you'll get a nice spa bath and bed that's surrounded by mirrors. I actually go there every week! They don't have these in Pattaya and certainly not at these prices I recommend.
The same old brothels are around listed on the monger maps prices haven't changed and the Soapies have hardly changed. Sayuri still seems to be super popular but my recommendation is still for Celeb @CNX.
Karaoke is still the biggest money maker for nightlife in Chiang Mai which is the reason for the demise of the Chiang Mai sex industry. White Chinese looking girls have figured out that they can make more money just by sitting with a guy banging him. There are lots of scams in these places even the other night a mamason from Aei Eii tried to scam me for an extra 3000 baht. I laughed at that! But seriously speaking 20/20 still remains the largest karaoke/brothel in town or should I say out of town while Shake Karaoke has the best looking girls but they won't go out without a big pay day Even though I've had several at my house the real secret is to become a regular added with some Thai skills. Those are the only two places i recommend now even though I used to say Orchid which is now just filled with fat ugly chicks.
Bang Saan 2 has done what they called a (renovation) a year after opening and have now tried to transform themselves into a late night club (with karaoke on top). The place is still old and you won't find any decent girls in there you don't have to pay 300-400 baht an hour for not really worth it. The original Bang Saan is still kicking and the best location location for the upcoming Loy Kratong if you want to make a real night out of it. Though this will probably set you back at least 5000 baht a piece for the evening.
Advice: If you're going out with a group to coyote, karaoke, beer bars etc please follow this advice. Everyone give the most knowledgeable guy in the group 1000 baht each. That guy is in charge of the money. When a girl ask you for a drink say that your mate is paying and they should ask him. It makes that one guy responsible. This is especially important in a karaoke where you are going to get fleeced (especially if I don't go with you!). It's more justifiable and less offensive for 1 guy to say no to 5 different girls asking for drinks, in a Karaoke a girl ask you for drinks just flatly refuse and say she can drink off your bottle! When the money runs out everyone puts in another 1000. This works well at beer bars but obviously at a Karaoke or Coyote club you'll need more.
Nightlife in Chiang Mai for Thai's
It's really interesting how the Chiang Mai nightlife scene has evolved and it's mostly broken up by where you study/work. Warm Up is busy every night and if you're reasonably good looking and want to party this is where you'll be at. If you just wanna sit around with your friends drinking cheap beer you'll be around the bar area next to the the freeway. If your a Tom and Dee lover you'll be around JJ market somewhere if your older in the same area and by that I mean 25+ you'll be at D-Bar.
Hiso-Types and Bangkokians will be found in Warm Up and Monkey though Monkey struggles to get their nightclub area going earlier unlike WarmUp which is still king of the hill in reputation. You work in a factory or come from the hills you'll probably be at Tawan Dang in Prasertland. Locals in the know should also know that there is now a nightclub area inside the Maldives lots of good looking CMU girls there!
Those Thai's who are underage really have only a few options Infinity and differ where Infinity earlier in the night rarely check id's and at differ it's unheard of which is why these places get a bigger late night crowd.
If you agree or disagree with what I've said in the report please let me know in the comments section below. Also if your interested in more information on the places mentioned in this article check out the Chiang Mai Monger Nightlife map available for VIP members only.