All my favorite cheap eats in Chiang Mai so you can have great food without blowing the bank!
I was always on the lookout for cheap eats in Chiang Mai as I stayed there a lot longer than originally planned. This was due to getting sick, so a lot of my days were spent in my hostel bed at Kikies House, as well as waiting for my wonderful boyfriend, James, to fly over to meet me.
As a result of these events I ate at a lot of different places in Chiang Mai over the nearly three weeks I was there. These are my favorite cafes, restaurants and food outlets which are backpacker friendly, tasty and of course cheap! All tested and tried.
New Delhi Indian Restaurant
If I had a dollar for every time I craved Indian food I would have enough money to fund my travels. Okay, not seriously, but I absolutely love Indian food and have tried it in nearly every country I have traveled to.
New Delhi Indian Restaurant was one of three Indian Restaurants I have eaten at in Thailand and I had a few great meals here. As always the portions are large and will for sure keep you full. They have both indoor and outdoor seating with fans and air con. It is a great place to chill out after a busy day to people watch from the balcony with a cold beer. While there I paid $7.50 for a curry, rice, naan and soda.
Opening hours: Sunday- Saturday 11am-12am
Location: 46/32, A, Ratchawithee Road, Chiang Mai
There are so many markets in Chiang Mai you will seriously be in heaven. With such a variety no matter what day of the week it is I promise you will be able to find a market very easy. My personal favorite is the Sunday Night Walking Street Market which is the largest market in Chiang Mai set up 1km along Ratchadamnoen Road.
With such a wide range of food available at the markets it should be your go to place for cheap eats in Chiang Mai. Honestly you cannot go wrong with pad thai and a smoothie. The samosas cost me $0.75 for three pieces and the coconut ice cream cost $1.00.
Though if you are not visiting on a Sunday or perhaps crowded markets are not your thing there is also:
Chiang Mai Gate Night Food Market
When? Everyday, from 5pm till noon.
Location: Chiang Mai South Gate. Just at the opposite side of the Chiang Mai Gate. Rat Chiang Saen road.
Chang Puak North Gate Food Market
When? Everyday, from 5pm till noon.
Location : Chiang Mai North Gate / Chang Puak Gate.
Saturday night Market
When? Every Saturday, 5pm – 11pm.
Location : Wualai Road
Bagel House Cafe & Bakery
Bagel House Cafe & Bakery is my favorite breakfast place for cheap eats in Chiang Mai which make a delicious start to the day. With freshly made bagels and fresh produce it hits the spot. The cafe is set on a quiet road off one of the main streets with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Also there is a counter cabinet displays the bagel range for the day and the friendly staff always greet you with a smile.
The meals are all put together in a small area out front and are served with a fresh slice of fruit. Though, because of the small preparation area sometimes there is a bit of a wait, but trust me its worth it. I paid $3.60 for a yummy egg, cheese and avocado bagel and a drink which was my regular order the numerous times I visited here.
Opening hours: Sunday- Saturday 8.15am-5pm
Location: 1 Moonmuang Soi 8
By Hand Pizza Cafe
Located near a the beautiful temple of Wat Lamchang a visit to By Hand Pizza Cafe is the perfect way to spend a warm evening. The pizzas are made right in front of you in the massive pizza oven out front. The freshest ingredients are used and music is always playing. This place definitely has a great atmosphere with an excellent section of drinks.
There are so many options of pizza to choose between, from the classic margarita to vegan options and meat lovers deluxe. No matter your food preference here you are bound to find something you will love. I spent $6.00 for a regular pizza and a drink.
Opening Hours: Saturday- Sunday 5pm-10.30pm
Location: 25 Moon Muang Soi 7 (On Corner Opposite of Wat Lamchang)
Crepe/ Pancake/ Roti Stands
The treats from the Crepe Stands around Chiang Mai are part of the staple diet for any backpackers traveling Thailand and I love them. They are oily fried sweet goodness covered in chocolate sauce or condensed milk. If you are currently traveling Thailand and haven’t had one yet, please do! They make for the perfect dessert and there are usually also savory options if that’s what you’re craving.
My regular Crepe stand in Chiang Mai is located next to Wat Chiang Man and opposite the Seven Eleven on Ratchapakinai Road. There is no real set time when the Thai gentleman that runs it is there, but it is usually around early lunch until late dinner hours. He is very friendly and makes a damn good crepe for around $1.00. My favorite is condensed milk and banana.
Opening hours: Usually early lunch to late dinner
Location: All over Chiang Mai
Vigie Sist Cafe
Vigie Sist Cafe is the perfect place for delicious baked goods and a relaxing drink. I loved coming here when I was craving a wonderful slice of cake or something a little sweet. In Chiang Mai I found it quite hard to find a cafe with a cabinet which had cakes etc so Vigie Sist Cafe was a life saver! They are actually quite known for their amazing baked goods, sweet frappes and iced drinks! Its the best way to cool down in the Thai heat.
I also love the decor in here! With a dark wood Lanna feel and so many nick knacks hanging about I could spend hours looking around inside and still not even see it all. Furthermore, the tables are covered in cute white doilies which makes the perfect place for a tea or coffee. I paid $3.75 for a croissant, cake and a tea.
Opening Hours: Sunday- Saturday 7.30am-8pm
Location: 200/3 Moon Muang Soi 6,Rachapakinai Road
Blue Diamond Breakfast Club
An extremely popular option with the expat community in Chiang Mai is Blue Diamond Breakfast Club. Walking in there is like a beautiful oasis with a river running through the middle of the outdoor area and a little waterfall. The space is abundant with greenery which provides a lot of shade and feels like you’ve been transported to the jungle, a stark contrast to the Chiang Mai streets outside. The triangular ground pillows you find all over South East Asia are set up alongside low set tables. There are also regular tables inside the restaurant itself and directly outside.
The food here compliments the decor with the freshest ingredients used. There are numerous vegan and vegetarian options which is perfect if you have any dietary requirements. The portions are massive and you will definitely be full by the time you leave. It will give you plenty of energy to go out and explore the amazing Chiang Mai temples. I paid $5.40 for scrambled egg, roast potato, avocado with a bread roll and a green tea.
As well as all this there are also cabinets of freshly made baked goods ranging from cinnamon rolls to bread, to muffins and cheesecakes. You will certainly leave having had a great experience! Just be aware they are not open on Sunday; I found this out the hard way.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 7am-8.30pm
Location: 35/1 MoonMuang Road, Soi 9
What would a cheap eats post be without mentioning the staple eatery for a budget meal in Chiang Mai. Seven Eleven caters for the budget conscious traveler who isn’t fussed about a sit down meal by providing the quickest and most cost effective option. Hot meals are still available which separates it from a lot of convenience stores you would regularly find with microwaves, sandwich presses and boiling water.
Toasted sandwiches are available from as little as $0.60 with options from jam to cheese and sausage and even chocolate! You can even choose between regular bread or croissant bread. There are so many options it is unlikely you will ever get sick of having seven eleven toasties! As well as the generic toasties there are also burgers, sausages, noodles and prepackaged microwave meals. I can not tell you how many times I have eaten lunch or dinner on the stairs of a seven eleven!
Opening Hours: 24/7
Location: Absolutely Everywhere
Uno Pizza Italy
The Thai owned Uno Pizza Italy and Thai Food Restaurant provides great food for an even better price. The decor is simple and maybe a little too ‘homely’ for some peoples preference (I am pretty sure the back of the restaurants is a families living room). Though, if you are looking for simple and good food this is the place to be.
The owners are lovely and while I was visiting the young daughter was dancing to the background music out back. Soon afterwards a family friend appeared, it is a really homely feel. Though, if you are not bothered by a relaxed atmosphere and basic decor this is the perfect place for you! I paid $6.15 for a margarita pizza and a passion fruit smoothie.
Opening Hours: Saturday- Sunday 11am-10pm
Location: 268 Ratchapakhinai Rd
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