Nightlife in Chiang Mai was inconceivable some 30 years ago. All the same, the Blue Moon started business in a subdued way and is still in bussiness with a lively band and an array of singers. For those who enjoy dancing, the larger hotels have discos. Alongside the moat, near Tha Phae Gate, are a variety of bars, some with live bands, taped music and videos, others with music and hostesses. Taking their cue from Bangkok, some Patpong style bars have opened with go-go girls.
Still, nightlife in Chiang Mai is subdued compared with that of Bangkok. Perhaps, it is the fatigue induced by trekking or the calmer feeling and more restful nature of the North. For many visitors to Chiang Mai, nightlife is shopping or eating out at the night markets in Chan Khlan Road.
Among the most popular are Western Art on Sri Phum Road, with live music every night, and Touch on Huai Kaew Road. At the Cottage and Decor, 27 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, a band plays jazz nightly. Country and western is not forgotten in this neck of the woods at the West Side Pub on Singkham Road. Thai folk music is occasionally thrown in for good measure. If livewire bars are not your scene, the intimate Blues Pub at 33/6 Moon Muang Road will go down well. For a deliciously different Thai experience, go to Sethee at 8/23 Bunruangrit Road and be entertained by a troupe of Thai singers decked up in bizarre costumes. The audience and performers seem to enjoy it, and occasionally a comedy team from Bangkok will take the stage.
Blue Moon, 5/3 Moon Muang Road is a typical large Thai-style nightclub with attractive hostesses. Worth a visit, if you don't fancy sitting all by yourself.
Kra Jiap Pub at 18/1 Soi 3 Wua Lai Road is open from 11-2 am. There is also a nightly cabaret show at 10 pm. The Coffee Boy at 248 Thung Hotel Road is housed in an old Thai Lanna teak house. Patrons enjoy classical music in a peaceful setting. Be forewarned, though, that this bar is located in a seedy side of town. Open 8 pm - 2 am; with special shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 pm.
Traditional massages are offered at the following places : Diamond Riverside Hotel, 33/10 Chareon Prathet Road, tel : 270081; Northern Blind School at the corner of Arak Street and Soi 1, Inthawarorot Road near Suan Dok Gate, tel: 221009; and Rinkaew Phovech, 183/4 Wua Lai Road, beside the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre, tel: 274565. Daily 8 am - 8 pm. Foa a more risque body massage, head for the Saiyuri at Soi 2, Bamrungrat Road, tel: 242361.
Vista Hotel. near the railway station, has two cinemas, Vista One and Vista Two. There is also another Vista Cinema at the Central Department Store Complex on Huai Kaeo Road. Mahanakorn Theatre near the Chang Pheuak Gate on the highway north shows Thai movies that run the gamut from tragedy to comedy, all within 100 or so minutes. That the films are in Thai should not deter you: there is enough dramatics in Thai films to convey their meaning for the non-Thai speaker.
Among the city's more popular dancing spots are Bubbles at the Pornping Hotel on Charoen Prathet Road, The Wall at Chiang Inn Hotel along Chang Khlan Road and the Biosphere Space drome at Charoen Muang Road. Competing for the crowds is Touch at 36/9 Huai Kaew Road. Open from 5pm till the early hours of the morning, this is a lively venue. With two floors and good live music this is a place to see and be seen.
For something really zany, head for the Climax at Osathapan Road. You can expect to see people dancing around a table covered with tasty snacks, a Thai phenomenon known as khrua tech, or kitchen disco.
Chiang mai have a selection of Pubs and what they offer.