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Chiang Mai Nightlife is Finally Dead

The Chiang Mai nightlife has changed since this article was written, read the latest article, Chiang Mai Nightlife no longer dead.

When I left Chiang Mai at the end of last year most people I knew told me that "I'd be back" that Bangkok sucks and I wouldn't like living there. I tried a few times to live in Pattaya but it just didn't work out for me, the place is great for a visit, but honestly Pattaya is smaller than Chiang Mai and if you take away all the tourists and prostitutes there's not really many people. Most of my friends they thought I'd be back in Chiang Mai within 6 months hating on Bangkok but the opposite has been true, I'm really enjoying myself down here, things are a bit more expensive yet the move here has provided me with the opportunity to make thousands of more dollars a month, in fact I dare say I'll be here for a long time to come.

Last week I went to Chiang Mai to visit friends and family and was shocked by what's happened to this great Northern City, if you thought Chiang Mai had crappy Nightlife befor,e wait till you see what's happened to it now!

Some of the highlights

  • Spicy & Jack Van must close 1am
  • Loh Kroh bars shut midnight on the dot
  • Foxy go go shut (renovations but will open again)
  • Zoe Bar shut down
  • Karaoke Prices risen by 20% and fake shut at midnight
  • No more late night clubs...at all!
  • All the bars in Zoe bar area all shut midnight on the dot.
  • Monkey nightclub completely gone.

Although some of these deathly nightlife events have unfolded over this past year and that some will even re-open later, the fact is the nightlife in Chiang Mai is the worst it's ever been, at least the 7 years straight I've been here. Zoe closing is quite surprising and the not so false rumor that a tourist died after being clobbered in the place (yet no news reports) definitely has something to do with it. Under construction my ass!

Zoe will reopen and I've been back to Bangkok for a few days now so maybe it already has, although honestly Chiang Mai and especially that area was always better without it. The real reason for this "crackdown" on nightlife in Chiang Mai was the drunk Thai lady driving her car after a drunken rampage and mowed down a bunch of cyclists. This is when the trouble started for bar/club owners in Chiang Mai. Since then the local government has put pressure on the police to enforce closing times and when the police didn't, news broke that they were transferred, now all the police are too scared to allow venues to stay open after midnight for fear of repercussions.

Several brothels have also closed, karaoke's "fake close" at midnight and prices have risen so sharply that my favorite nightlife venue is now more expensive than a high class soapy in Bangkok!

For guys who enjoy the clubs and going out for a drink you really have to ask yourself why would you continue living in Chiang Mai? Bangkok isn't that much more expensive and in fact if you know where to go it can be cheaper and better value than most any nightlife venue in Chiang Mai! I'm glad I left Chiang Mai when I did and more than likely except to visit friends I won't be back to live, if you're still there consider relocating.

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

28 Responses to Chiang Mai Nightlife is Finally Dead

  1. KennyN August 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    Sucks it had to be this way…. For me, the end of Chiang Mai night life all ended when the military coup started….. Chiang Mai had the 8 or 10pm curfew, no nightlife for about 2 months…. And its never been the same since. The Junta completely and purposfully shutdown the redshirts and the north…. Its all politics in my opinion and has nothing to do with the “laws”. They just want to stick it to Chiang Mai. Hell the military is still there on every corner, and every night they are rolling around in military trucks with machine guns shutting down bars and clubs…. Keeping money out of the local police and politicians pockets….. Sticking it to the north.

    But yea, I totally agree, its time to leave Chaing Mai. Really sucks becasue its such a great launching point for so many good day trips that are just impossible here in Bangkok… But nightlife is just so much more important…. hahaha.

    • Chris August 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

      you know what, I asked myself the same question, why are the military still stationed at Thapae Gate? I haven’t seen any military posts at any of the tourist areas in Bangkok!

    • steve October 14, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

      chaing mai is the pits I tried live their 4 times, all I found poms on bikes trying to scam you , the women were crap, It may have been ok ten years back but not now. worst thing there was the ferlangs ———-ferlangs trying to scam other ferlangs how bizarre is that .

  2. brad August 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Sounds like a good place to retire on a budget… but if you’ve got money, retire in Hua Hin and play golf.

  3. Pablo August 23, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    ya its pretty bad

    im leaving next week chiang mai is done

    they managed to suck the last bit of fun out of this place

  4. ujealousofwhitebastard August 26, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    Are there any blow job bars in Chiang Mai? I’ve tried searching Google, etc., but I get conflicting answers. Whether there are or not will have a direct influence on my choice of cities to visit.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris August 30, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

      no dedicated blow job bars in chiang mai but most all the massage shops down loi kroh road will perform the job.

      • Khan January 5, 2016 at 12:20 am #

        I honesty don’t know why you’ve named this blog “living thai” since it’s irrevocably about the seediness of Thailand from bar girls to massage parlours.

        In one post you even had the nerve to condemn all Thai people as really being rude, lazy and selfish because of your experiences with the Thai people in tourist areas who often make a living ripping people like you off.

        You tried defending your hasty generalization by saying you think all Americans are rude and all Brits drunk as if to say “see I’m not racist since I hold stereotypes about other races and nationalities” but those comments simply expose you as someone who judges entire races and nationalities upon a minority of people he’s met in his life.

        Apparently there’s an increased hostility to foreigners, specifically white foreigners, in places like Pattaya and if the white foreigners that the Thai people are putting up with are all like you then I don’t blame them for their hostility. You say Thailand is slowly losing “what makes it great” for sex tourists like you, well good, there’s a lot of scum visiting for that one sole purpose. The more and more of you that leave, the better the country will become morally and maybe the decrease in sex tourism will convince the economy to further spread out into the tide of international business (which it is slowly learning to do) which will eventually make it a first world country.

        Currently, many parts of the country including the governance is quit literally rubbish and people like you are just maggots crawling in that heap, exploiting the situation while simultaneously thinking locals, also exploiting the situation, are representative of all Thai people.

        • Ian Georges August 18, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

          I don’t use bars or bar girls or any other such service. BUT I defend the right of the girls to work like this and I defend the right of farangs and Thais to do so too. There are may Thai girls and other Asians doing the same in UK or USA and it performs a useful social service for those men who are unable to find partners or have unfulfilled desires … far better than leaping out of the shadows and raping some innocent. Nothing makes me happier than when I see a disabled man in a wheelchair accompanied by a girl who will bring a bit of joy to his difficult life, And the girl gets some decent money in a land where decent non-exploitative jobs are hard to come by. Quite often the people who post diatribes against this scene a re people who are sexually troubled or repressed themselves. Membership of born-again type religions also represses peoples’ desires in an unnatural way. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion and yes, I’m entitled to post the other view.

  5. RT August 31, 2015 at 4:40 am #

    Vietnam. Half the price if not a third (tiger crystal 25000 VND) on Bui Vien in Saigon. Bars open until you want to go home. Better food and the hot chicks are actually chicks.

    What’s happened to Thailand in the last couple years is truly reprehensible.

    • Peter October 25, 2015 at 1:20 am #

      Hey RT
      Are you in Vietnam now? Whats a good blog for Vietnam expats?

    • Ivan January 5, 2016 at 4:32 am #

      You’ve forgotten to mention a lot of air pollution. it’s really huge.

  6. ST September 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    Is that karaoke where nobody sing songs near to Gekko still operating? My best girl from Chiang Mai was from there.

    If I ever do go again I will love to drop in. Maybe with the suppression, they won’t be so stuck up with non-Thai speakers. Are the girls still going out for 1500B?

    • Chris September 9, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

      price has risen to 2000

  7. Dave October 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    if u want to fuck around, Vietnam and Cambodia the best choice for u.

    • ChiangMaiGuy October 22, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      disagree – come to Angeles (where I’m writing from now) just said goodbye to a stunning 18 year old who stayed overnight for 1500 pesos + 1000 tip

  8. steve October 14, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    dunno I been Cambodia cant say I was offered any crumpet – its a dirty dump I thought dangerous too!

  9. ChiangMaiGuy October 22, 2015 at 10:23 am #

    Yes things are bad but then Chiang Mai is the wrong colour for the Military Junta. The problem is the Army are ULTRA conservative and after the 22nd coup will not let power go again. AS for Chiang Mai it’s changing in other ways too… traffic is horrendous etc. Having said all this I still prefer it to BKK.

  10. elduderino November 5, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    I’m a bit older than you guys I’m guessing, I’m early 50’s. I spent decades and several hundred visits to BKK (now retired aircrew) but for me, CNX is just fine. I have not seen the army for months, and me and the TG get around at night a fair bit.
    None of the venues on the west bank of the river are being shut at midnight, so I’m not too sure if these posts are entirely up to date.

    I’ve been to the Zoe bar zone both before, and about 6 months after the coup, and it was jumping, that was about January this year, as was Spicy at Xmas 2014. They did come around Loi Kroh and shut down all the gogo bars, that was at 1am. Spicy back then was still open till dawn, they only shut the front door, there is a ‘speakeasy’ side door down the soi to your right of the main entrance.

    All told, if I was younger, and single, I’d probably head to BKK too, but for those of you on a budget, you may find BKK is not all that cheap. For a good assessment of the costs, try comparing the two with Numbeo.com

    I have also very seriously looked into relocating to PI, Cambodia, VN, but based on the overall comments on various expat boards, Thailand still has the edge, in spite of ‘tanks-r-us’ best efforts to fuck it up beyond all recognition. While the PI has some incredible gals, and great English, the level of petty crime there is just insane. Again, you can compare all the crime stats on Numbeo.com

  11. elduderino November 5, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    One other quick thought, depending on how much you need to ‘party’ you might consider flying to Pattaya or even AC from Chiang Mai every few months.
    A lot of us forget these places are now just a few hours away, being used to flying overnight to get here originally.
    Regional fares are cheap too, and now there are two Chiang Mai – Pattaya flights a day, it may be a consideration if you don’t live and die by nightlife.

    • ChiangMaiGuy November 10, 2015 at 8:32 am #

      Exactly what I do… live chiang mai – visit pattaya every two months and regularly fly to Angeles (well Manila they stopped direct flights). For quality of life chiang mai is hard to beat for peace and reasonable cost. But like you I’m getting older and perspective changes with age. Cheers.

  12. ChrisHamburg November 8, 2015 at 4:19 am #

    Last time I was in BKK it was 36 C, smog and I felt uncomfortable. I came from Chiang Mai, 26 C and no smog. Perfect!

    If you are searching for a place to live with many possibilities to have sex – BKK and Pattaya are better. If you (same as me) search a place in Thailand to live, don´t need a party every day till 4 am and want to have sex beside your wife 2 – 3 times a month, CM is perfect.

  13. Romik January 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    I wonder

    “the move here has provided me with the opportunity to make thousands of more dollars a month”

    how does living in Bangkok help you to do so?

    • Chris January 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

      There are many more opportunities to make money in Bangkok than in Chiang Mai. Not sure what you don’t get?

      • Romik January 26, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

        Yes, but you don’t work offline neither in Chiang Mai, nor Bangkok, do you?

        • Chris February 2, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

          no anymore but i have.

  14. Ivan February 2, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    In that case, why are you saying that living in Bangkok makes you more money? How do you earn money?

    • Chris March 14, 2016 at 2:25 am #

      Maybe i’ll explain that when it stops making money, right now it’s kinda a tight niche.

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