the best rooftop bars in chiang mai may not offer the dizzying heights of bangkok’s, but the views are no less spectacular. although doi suthep mountain might boast the most famous vantage point of the city, there’s an ever-growing number of alfresco spots offering almost-as-nice views. unlike the mountaintop, they also offer refreshing cocktails and delightful dining, too.
the following is a rundown of our five favourites, from golden oldies 24 floors up, to swish new terraces where the molecular cocktails will have you thinking you’ve swapped cities for the night. the styles and atmospheres available are extremely varied, going from high-end cocktail bars to rough-and-ready backpacker haunts. naturally, the costs for drinks also vary a lot, too. one thing they all have in common, though, is that outstanding view across this beautiful historical city.
The recently opened Sala Lanna hotel, set on the pretty banks of the Ping River, is one of the most impressive openings of late in Chiang Mai. There’s much to love here, such as the rustic Lanna décor throughout the 16 guestrooms, but what really makes this place special are the views. Head up to the top to find The Roof, a splendid open-air restaurant-cum-bar with panoramic views across the town, as well as the nearby water. Booked in at the hotel? Don’t forget to take a dip in the pool and watch the slow river life float on past as you do laps. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Fri - Sun 18:00 - 23:00
- Address: Sala Lanna Chiang Mai, 49 Charoenrat Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 242 588
Myst is a little slice of Bangkok that’s made its way to the northern capital, bringing with it some excellent rooftop views from the top city’s newest mall, as well as shisha and fancy molecular cocktails from the bar. The Myst brand originated in the Thonglor area of Bangkok – known for its trendy and slightly pricey nightlife scene – and this second Chiang Mai branch follows in suite. If you want something a little less formal (ie. cheaper), explore the mall’s other rooftop drinking spots such as ‘Buckets Siamese Bar’ and ‘The Roof’, both on the same floor as Myst. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 17:00 - 01:00
- Address: 6/F, Maya Mall
- Tel: +66 (0) 61 512 6768
Xanadu Rooftop Pub & RestaurantFurama Hotel
Furama Hotel’s rooftop has been rebranded and renovated a few times, but the most important thing to know is that their 17th floor terrace offers some of best views anywhere in Chiang Mai. Xanandu Pub & Restaurant promises a spacious area for cocktails or a full meal, and thanks to the hotels location towards the west of the city, views over to the looming Doi Suthep Mountain are particularly good – you can see the glowing temple half way up on a clear night. There’s also decent indoor restaurant (The Grill Room) downstairs, but we’d choose the alfresco deck on top anytime, unless it’s raining, that is.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 - 24:00 daily
- Address: 17/F Furama Hotel, 54 Huay Kaew Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 53 415 222
Blue BatPornping Tower Hotel
Twenty four floors up at Pornping Tower Hotel, Blue Bat is the highest rooftop bar in Chiang Mai. In close proximity to the city’s night bazaar, old city and riverside, views from this high up are always going to delight, particularly if you come for a cocktail during the ‘golden hour’ (18:00-19:00) and watch the sun set behind Doi Suthep Mountain in the distance. Décor is less easy on the eye; if you want flashy surrounding you’d be better off at Maya, but Blue Bat certainly has its charms, as well as a rather convenient location close to most of Chiang Mai’s hotels.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 24:00
- Address: 24/F Pornping Tower Hotel, 46-48 Charoenprathet Road, Chiang Mai
If the neon graffiti lining the staircase doesn’t tell you what kind of place this is, then the throbbing drum and bass tunes certainly will! THC Rooftop Bar is extremely popular with backpackers with cushions on the floor, low tables, and a tree-house vibe thanks to lots of bamboo flooring. Partially covered but open-air, the views from the fourth floor rooftop look out over Tha Phae Gate and the moat for a classic Chiang Mai cityscape. Beers are very cheap, starting from 65 baht, and no, they don’t sell what the name and trippy psychedelic vibe might suggest. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 18:00 - late
- Address: 19/4-5 Kotchasarn Road (opposite Tapae Gate, outside the moat)