Chiang Mai is home to some of Thailand’s best luxury hotels and an astonishing variety of boutique accommodation, but even those traveling on a budget will be spoiled for choice. When I first moved here there weren’t many hostels and cheap accommodation was found mainly in the form of basic guesthouses without much personality. In the past few years, a number of actual hostels in Chiang Mai (with dorms and single rooms) have popped up and, in true Chiang Mai fashion, are usually pretty Instagram-worthy.
If you’d rather save some money while also connecting with interesting people from all over the world, then this list of 7 cool hostels in Chiang Mai is for you. While I haven’t actually stayed at any of these – why would I when I live here? – these are the hostels I would recommend to friends passing through based on value, style and location.
While some baseline rates are given below, clicking on the links provided will take you to Agoda, a popular Southeast Asia booking site, where you will probably score a deal that’s usually significantly lower than the posted price.
Elegantly minimalist, Hostel by Bed is located in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old City, just a short walk away from the popular Sunday Walking Street. Bright, clean, open spaces define this budget-friendly hostel, which offers dorm rooms with both twin or queen size beds, as well as a handful of private rooms with an ensuite bath. With free WiFi in all rooms, kitchen facilities, and an on-site laundromat, you’ll have everything you need for a comfortable stay in Chiang Mai.
Hug Hostel is perfect for travelers who are looking to socialize. Located on the north side of the Old City’s moat, they’re only a few steps away from one of the city’s best music venues, the Northgate Jazz Co-Op. All the rest of the city’s excitement is only a short walk or tuk-tuk ride away, or if you’d like to get out of the city to go trekking or get a dose of adventure sports, their tour desk is ready and willing to help you out. Hug Hostel offers both private and dorm-style air-conditioned rooms.
A gorgeous space with a funky vibe, Thunder Bird Hostel is also located in the Old City, near the bustling local market. The onsite bar and coffee shop bring in a little extra foot-traffic, making this a great place to meet new people to join you on your adventures and excursions. The special care paid to the art and design of the interior spaces elevate Thunder Bird from being a mere hostel, but the prices charged for their shared dorms and family rooms are still very pocketbook friendly. (If you’re in the area it’s a cute place to pop in for a quick coffee or beer!)
Tucked away south of the moat but still steps away from the buzz of the Old City is HAUS Hostel. If you’re lucky, you might snag a dorm room with a mountain view. While the dorm rooms themselves aren’t much on frills, the shared spaces are decorated in a gorgeously eclectic style. This is a cozy haven from the city, but you don’t need to go far for sightseeing and fun, the popular Saturday Market is located nearby on Wua Lai Road.
Adding more location variety to this list is So Hostel, which can be found between the Old City and the bustling Night Bazaar. This vibrant, modern hostel has lots of shared space to hang out and the open concept layout means you can’t help but chat with new people as you’re making dinner in the kitchen, doing laundry, or chilling on the couch taking advantage of the free WiFi. They offer both dorm and private rooms, all designed in a chic industrial style and accented in eye-catching red. Oh, and did I mention the awesome rooftop space? Because it’s awesome.
In the City Co-Living and Co-Working Space houses travelers in their minimalist dorm rooms and offers ample shared space to socialize. A popular sundowner spot (they have a fabulous rooftop with an expansive city view), they also host a variety of meetups, workshops, and parties. The downstairs co-working space is open to the community and provides blazing fast internet along with opportunities to connect and collaborate with Chiang Mai’s digital nomad population. Conveniently located on the north side of the moat, this hostel is within walking distance of the city’s best cafes and sightseeing spots.
Worth being on this list for the name alone, 2 Gals and the Pig Hostel epitomizes the quirky, hyper-trendy vibe of the Nimmanhaemin area. Infusing hostel minimalism with a strong dose of style and sass, you’ll get boutique level attention to detail at a fraction of the price. If cute coffee shops, stylish boutiques or craft beer are your thing, then this hip, artsy neighborhood is the place to be. Whether you are traveling solo and want to mingle with others in the dorm, or prefer a private room for more privacy, this hostel will provide a comfortable and fashionable haven.
While there are a dizzying number of budget options for accommodation, this list of hostels in Chiang Mai should give you a good start. Chiang Mai has long been a crossroads for a more interesting and cultured sort of traveler, and staying at a hostel making new friends is a sure way to make your trip more memorable.
Note: This post contains Agoda affiliate links. You get the best rate and I get a small commission at no extra charge to you – win win!
Hey! I'm Alana and I've spent nearly the past decade living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working as a writer and photographer. I started Paper Planes as a place to share local insight, special places, and how to travel well through a range of experiences — from hostels to high-end hotels, street meat to multi-course meals.
New places are always calling my name...
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