Jump into a tuk-tuk and all you have to do is say Nimman. The driver will transport you to one of the hippest streets in Chiang Mai. Officially Nimmanhaemin Road, everyone just calls this trendy shopping street by its shortened form: Nimman. Steps away from the bustling university, Nimmanhaemin Road can’t help but be the groovy, hipster center of the second city of Thailand. Chiang Mai may be mostly known for its temples and treks, but stay in town a few days and you can discover more than just Khao Soi and Monk Chat, but great Chiang Mai restaurants and shopping.
The Best Bits
How to Get to Nimmanhaemin Road
Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand and there are many ways of arriving in town. From Bangkok, it’s little more than an hour flight. Most can enter Thailand for 90 days without a visa but make sure to check. The airport is only 10 minutes from the center of town and over 100 flights go in and out every week. Once settled into your hotel, either walk or take a tuk-tuk to either end of Nimmanhaemin Road and walk down or up.
Here are my Best Bits of Chiang Mai’s Nimmanhaemin Road
LANNA TRADITIONAL HOUSE MUSEUM
If you find it hard to break yourself away from the olde world, spend the morning wandering around the Lanna Traditional House Museum at the bottom of Nimmanhaemin Road. A collection of original Northern Thai style houses saved from ruin is found on this sprawling property. Lanna style = spatially proportionate, teak raised houses with airy, big rooms for those hot summer days. Take the morning to explore and stop to refresh yourself in their adorable English-inspired tea room.
Address: 239 Huay Kaew Road, Muang District, Chiang Mai Thailand, 50200
Walk up Nimmam passing the Art School. Stop in to see the future Jirapat Tatsanasomboon and Vasan Sitthiket. (If you don’t know who they are educate yourself here!)
There is always that one shop in a South East Asian city that you wish had an outpost in your hometown. Chabaa is that one. An assault of color hits you upon entering, making you want everything they have. Full of funky bags, clothes and jewelry made from the prettiest local materials, Chabaa make Chiang Mai shopping fun – it’s chicest shop on Nimmanhaemin Road. Needless to say, I left with more than I could carry. It’s tucked in the Nimman Promenade – an arcade of fixed-price shops, instead of the usual market haggling you might be used to in Chiang Mai.
Address: 14/32 Nimman Promenade, Nimmanhaemin Road, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Cherng Doi Chicken
When all the shopping and architecture make you hungry, head into Suk Kasame Street discover a tiny, hidden restaurant up the street from Chabaa. Cherng Doi Chicken was recommended to us by my go-to food bloggers, Mindi and Daryl Hirsch – the 2Foodtrippers.
The photo above may look like a simple plate of chicken, but you would be so wrong in making that assumption. Succulent, flavorful and mouthwateringly fantastic, this “simple plate of chicken” made us order more before we were finished! Accompanied by a fresh, crunchy corn salad and fried green papaya with spicy-sweet dipping sauce, this was one of our favorite meals in Chiang Mai. Don’t be put off by the laminated menu; you’ll want to come back more than once! It’s one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai.
Address: 2/8 Suk Kasame Rd, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand (just off of Nimmanhaemin Road)
Jumping across Nimman for a little post-Cherng Dio shopping, we headed to the wonderful Booksmith bookstore. Grab one of Nancy Chandler’s maps of Chiang Mai, if you forgot to get one before your trip. They’re packed full of info and charmingly designed. We also found loads of books about Thai architecture, Thai cooking, as well as, classics and newly published novels. So don’t worry if you leave your kindle at home, head here for the best.
Address: Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 3, Chiang Mai, Thailand
What could possibly be the coolest spot on Nimmanhaemin Road? Ristr8to wins this hands down. No one orders a “macchiato” here, the choices are Satan Lattes, Shakeratos from Hell, Affogato with blue ice cream – all served up in glasses that look like skulls, test-tubes and a variety of quirky glassware. This tiny space is bursting at the seams. One reason – the coffee tastes great. Even if you don’t drink coffee, stop by to see their award-winning Latte Art.
Address: 15/3 Nimmanhemin Road, Suthep, Muang, Chiangmai, Thailand 50200
How can you not want their Affogato after watching this:
At the top of Nimmanhaemin Road, you hit the most modern building in Chiang Mai, with its couch-filled cinema, internet café with the fastest speed in the city, and global brands. Head in to check out the funky Japanese loos that do almost everything but wipe for you.
As we jumped into a tuk-tuk heading back to the best hotel in town, the Rachamankha (one of my fav hotels), that lies within the old city, our visit to the modern world was over. Transported were we back to the Wats, the walls, and the tourist laden walking streets of old town.
Ping Fai Festival
If you happen to be in Chiang Mai over New Year’s head to Nimmanhaemin Road 6 to experience the Pai Fing Festival. Every young person in town shows up to mingle, mix, shop, eat and toast marshmallows (even me!). Stalls abound with food from all over the world – hamburgers, seaweed filled cheese balls, ice cream sandwiches, Tom Yum peanuts, are just a few. Young designers ply their wares, while DJs, both male and female, crank out the tunes, Thai rap artists and guitar playing crooners delight the crowds. Not to be missed!
Seeing the rest of Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a popular city with all ages, so you might want to do some cultural bits, some active bits and some foodie bits. Here is a selection of my favorite tours:
- Cultural Chiang Mai: Half Day Chiang Mai City and Temple (Private Tour)
- Active Chiang Mai: Cycling and Zipline Adventure in Chiang Mai
- Foodie Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai Lunchtime Food Tasting Tour
Where to stay near Nimmanhaemin Road
I personally love the Rachamanka, full of charm and character, as well as being super luxurious and walking distance to everything. Here are a few others in Chiang Mai:
- Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai, out of town, but fabulous.
- Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa, on the river and near all the night markets
- Tamarind Village, right on the main Old Town shopping street
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If you want more about country, you can check out this Thailand guide.