Updated Nov 2018
Have you missed list #1? Go here. Otherwise, read on…
1. Looking to beat down the heat? Head over to the original Doi Chaang (yup, the first one in Thailand) located on the corner of Thanon Baanpa Pragarn and Rattanakheat (these street names are from Google maps).
It’s hidden behind Fat Free Bicycles, but basically if you are on the road where the clock tower is, just go west towards Highway 1. It’s a block away from the golden clock, at the intersection with those strange silver lamp posts, and surrounded by greenery so you have to look carefully.
And when you find it, you shall be rewarded! It has a nice koi fish pond, lovely treats, and the A/C is on full blast. They have western and vegetarian food like soups, sandwiches, and salads, even hummus and falafel.
** Unfortunately, this is no longer there. But in lieu of it is The Wanderer. I’d highly recommend it. Same owners. **
2. Oh, right, speaking of Fat Free Bicycles. I must say, I’m happy with the bike I purchased there. They let us ride around the block. There was an excellent English speaker to help us out, too.
** This is gone, too. I don’t know where they moved. **
3. If you are looking for your Vietnamese fix there is another tucked away restaurant not far from the bus station. On Phaholyothin Road (where the Night Bazaar is and Pizza Co, etc) heading south, pass the Wiang Inn Hotel, take a left on to Sanpanard Alley. Look on your left for a sign on the road. I’ve noticed that the sign changes, so good luck. But once inside you should see the funky decor with surly wait staff. Vietnamese menu with pictures.
** You know, I was gone for two and a half years, and so much changed. This is no longer there as well. **
4. Baan Noi is another expat favorite. It’s on Pa Ngew (it starts off as Honglee) and is not too far from Rai Mae Fah Luang so you could explore the park and then eat here, or vice versa. We have often ordered take away and we’ve eaten there, too. Clean restrooms, outdoor eating, and very good Thai food.
5. Suan Dok Café on Highway 1211 has a nice lake view. And it’s not closed as Google Maps indicates. It feels rickety, in a thatched-roof-kind-of-way, but it’s got character. Decent food and drinks, and coffee with a splash of alcohol.
6. Finding a suitable place to live in Chiang Rai is a bit challenging. There is simply not the vast numbers of apartments that crowd Chiang Mai over here. Many affordable and nice houses are outside of the city centre, too.
When we first moved here, I relied heavily on connections, but because of circumstances we made a rushed decision that we ultimately regretted. The neighborhood was great though. This time around we used Chiang Rai Estate, but again, there was another problem. You can read about why you should NOT rent at Condotel here.
7. If you are looking for locally grown, roasted and ground coffee, I’d recommend Nangnon Coffee on Jet Yod Road. One bag is only 150 baht. They make good gifts, too.
*They have a second location near Overbrook Hospital which is where the locals go to.
8. There are not as many 7-11s here as CM. It’s weird. I feel like I hardly shop there now. But it’s always better to support locally, so I’m not missing it or anything. It’s just something I’ve noticed since moving here.
9. All of the Internet companies have offices in Central Plaza on the second floor. Let the price comparisons begin! (I hate TOT.)
10. CR Mall is not to be confused with Central Plaza. Technically, Central Plaza is a mall. CR Mall is more like an appliance and electronic center with a furniture store next door and a gym on the 3rd floor. I mean, I guess it can be considered a mall. But I don’t really think of it as a mall. Was that confusing?
11. Looking for spicy? Order the pad kee mao at this ratnaa joint on Thanalai and Ngam Muang Road.
12. Jed Yot Road used to flood! Okay, this was about 30 years ago, but we were told folks used to take a boat to the market! Can you imagine? They have since built it up.
*13. Just for fun. Look at the name of this bottled water company. I wonder if they know what this means in English…