When you’re ready for a relief from the madness of the big mango and want to feel the wind on your face, there is nothing like heading north to Chiang Mai. Surrounded by Northern Thailand’s beautiful mountain landscape and forests, this city definitely offers a wealth of opportunities for family fun, some great places to stay and it’s hard not to feel the chilled-out spirituality of this northern delight and here are some great kid-friendly places to stay while visiting Thailand’s “Rose of the North”.
Located on Chang Klan Road, the Shangri-La occupies a choice location in the city centre. It’s within easy walking distance to Chiang Mai’s famed Night Bazaar, among other attractions, as well as just 10 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport by car. With a Lanna-style aesthetic, the well-appointed rooms offer all the comforts you’d expect from this chain hotel, and the service was second to none. Children are readily welcomed; a kids’ room offers activities and toys, and the hotel provides babysitting/childcare services, a large outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court.
This upmarket hotel and serviced apartment, located on the hip Nimmanhaemin Road, about 15 minutes from the airport, provides easy access to interesting shopping and dining options. Spacious and comfortable rooms, from studio to two-bedroom suites, are fitted with kitchenettes, which offer standard appliances including good-sized refrigerators. Suites also have washing machines – a definitely plus when travelling with kids! An outdoor swimming pool, great restaurant and kid-friendly spa top off the guest experience at this family-oriented property.
Boasting minimalist aesthetics, Anantara Chiang Mai is a lovely hotel on Chang Klan along the Mae Ping River. The verdant grounds, the former British Consulate, offer lots of room for the little ones to run and play. A 34-metre-long, streamlined outdoor pool provides mellow river views. Restaurants serve a range of Western and Asian cuisine, as well as dedicated kids’ meals – all made from locally sourced and organic (when possible) ingredients. For greater convenience and comfort, in-room dining is available around the clock, and babysitting services can be arranged with 24-hours notice. The hotel is also just a 10-minute walk from the Night Bazaar and other attractions of the old city.
Nestled in the lush Mae Rim Valley, about a half hour drive outside central Chiang Mai, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai presents spacious luxury villas in one to four bedroom configurations. Its expansive, woodsy grounds include terraced rice paddies, as well as several resident water buffaloes. Kids will love exploring the gardens, checking out the Kids’ Club, learning Thai cooking, planting rice sprouts, doing yoga, swimming and having special spa treatments. Themed babysitting services can be arranged. Nearby, there are lots of family-friendly tourist spots such as the Siam Insect Zoo, Poo Poo Paper Park, Chiang Mai X-Centre and more. Depending on the season, you can also take part in strawberry picking.
A 15-minute walk from the Night Bazaar and Wat Ket, but away from the bustle, Rimping Village offers large, comfortable rooms in a tranquil and natural setting. The wonderful staff will go out of their way to make you feel at home. Amenities include an outdoor saltwater swimming pool, bicycle rental service and excellent restaurant serving healthy Thai cuisine. While not as fancy as the above hotels, Rimping Village is an ideal base for families exploring the city and its outskirts. An on-site tour desk is very helpful in booking daily excursions, arranging transportation and making suggestions for fun activities in the city.
Located in the Wat Ket area, Siripanna provides a comfortable, peaceful stay – in unique Lanna style with an eco-friendly, sustainable bent. Guestrooms and villas are spacious and clean. The lush grounds house a huge outdoor pool, playground, rice paddy, vegetable and fruit garden, jogging track and Kids’ Club. The latter features books and toys for children ages 1 to 10 years old. Children will enjoy exploring the premises, engaging in craft activities and joining a private rice planting class. Depending on the season, guests are welcome to pick their own fruits or harvest rice, too. The hotel is about 10 minutes by free shuttle to the Night Bazaar in the city centre.
Farmstays are here to stay!
Situated an hour outside Chiang Mai, Thung Dong Farm is a beautifully kept, reasonably priced and incredibly child-friendly farmstay. Perched perfectly on the edge of the mountains and the jungle, the huge property reflects cleaver design by owner Khun Ae, capturing everything you could want from an outdoors, natural and relaxing experience.
The main accommodation area runs along a crystal-clear stream; it also houses a large fish pond, an impressive gaggle of chickens, ducks and geese, three beautiful golden labs, some buffalo and an adopted wild deer. Oh, and how can I forget, a very friendly cat called Oscar. There are plants and trees as far as the eye can see, and it is all at your disposal for a fabulous family farm stay.
Explore Chiang Mai with Nancy Chandler Maps: digital versions available now:
- Chiang Mai Greater City
- Chiang Mai Old Town
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
- Chiang Mai Out of Town Trips
- Chiang Mai Warorot Market
- Full Package of all Chiang Mai maps
Or, download a copy of their Digital Directory of Chiang Mai Extended Addition for Expats (free with other map purchases)