Chiang Mai Old City

The Old City

Old Walls, New Heart

It may not be as hip as Nimman, but in the last decade Chiang Mai's old city has seen quite a rebirth. The temples and schools are still there, for sure, but wander the major and minor arteries and you'll find plenty of new things too - restaurants, book shops, boutiques, bars and small hotels. And come Sunday everything changes for walking street.


The Lost Bookshop - Chiang Mai boasts a fairly astounding range of second hand bookshops these days (astounding , because it is not so many years ago that finding anything foreign-language and worth reading in the city was tough). The Lost Bookshop was one of the pioneers of the second-hand book scene, and it is still a reliable favourite. Down the moat-end of Ratchamankha Rd.

Sunday Walking Street - the walking street moved into the old city a few years ago from its original location on Tha Phae Rd. And since then it has continued to grow - and improve. It's a fun scene, with plenty of small vendors selling interesting products, street perfomers, and a great atmosphere. Part of the attraction is being able to wander round Chiang Mai's most charming streets without any cars nearby - a refreshing way to take in the city.


The Writers' Club and Wine Bar - a well run bar on the central stretch of Ratchadamnoen Rd, and a favourite meeting place for local journalists, writers and artists. The proprietor keeps supplies well-priced wines as well as the usual rand of beers and spirits.


Mitr Mai - it doesn't look much from the outside, but this restaurant in lower Ratchamankha Rd has a devoted following. It specializes in Yunnanese Food, including cured hams and various fermented dishes. Somewhat exotic (even for Chiang Mai), but tasty and hearty cooking.