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Budget Friendly Cheap Eats in Chiang Mai You Need To Try

Traveling Chiang Mai on a budget? Find out the top cheap eats in Chiang Mai which will keep you and your wallet full. From local bites, western favorites and everything in between, you will find it all here in this guide. 


I am always on the lookout for cheap eats in Chiang Mai when I am in the city. Even though northern Thailand is a lot more budget friendly than the islands down south, it can still be very easy to overspend. This is especially so at the numerous delicious cafes and restaurants which line the streets of one of my favorite cities.

Over various trips, I have spent over a month in Chiang Mai. During these times I explored the many impressive temples, experienced nature outside of the city and of course ate out plenty of times. From that, I have been able to gather up this list of the top cheap eats in Chiang Mai, all tested and tried by yours truly.

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or simply have a taste for something a bit meaty, there is something for everyone on this list! So let’s get into this list of my favorite cheap eats in Chiang Mai so you can have some great food without blowing the bank.


The Top Cheap Eats In Chiang Mai


How I Book Cheap Transport In Thailand: 12Go Asia

fried cheese balls and smoothie cheap eats in chiang mai


Breakfast Cheap Eats In Chiang Mai

Bagel House Cafe & Bakery

Bagel House Cafe & Bakery is always my favorite breakfast joint 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 which 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

bagel house cafe and bakery in chiang mai cheap eat


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 lifesaver! They are actually quite known for their amazing baked goods, sweet frappes, and iced drinks! It’s 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 tea.

Opening Hours: Sunday- Saturday 7.30am-8pm

Location:  200/3 Moon Muang Soi 6,Rachapakinai Road

vigie sist cafe chiang mai cake and tea


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 are 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

blue diamond breakfast club chiang mai


Lunch Cheap Eats In Chiang Mai

Seven Eleven

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, 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

seven eleven toastie in chiang mai


Its Good Kitchen

For a delicious Thai meal, you cannot go wrong with Its Good Kitchen. Being in the middle of the old town it is easy to get to no matter where you are staying. Though, that could also be a bit problematic as its a super popular cheap eat. We luckily got in straight away when we visited, though there were groups having to wait 15+ minutes for a table.

Nonetheless, if you are happy to wait for cheap and delicious food Its Good Kitchen is the best spot. They have a variety of vegetarian and meat options all for less than 100 baht! Most meals are served alongside a cute teddy bear or heart-shaped rice. I order a portion of fried mushrooms which was delicious.

Opening Hours: Friday- Wednesday (closed Thursdays) 11am-9.00pm

Location: 175/6 Rachadamnoen Rd

its good kitchen chiang mai


Taste From Heaven

On one of my more recent trip to Chiang Mai, I discovered Taste From Heaven and absolutely had my mind blown! This delicious vegan and vegeterian joint is a must try in the city, even for the most devoted meat lover. I actually brought my partner here (he loves his meat) and he requested we went back on various other occasions.

Whether you are wanting western or Thai cuisine, Taste From Heaven caters for both. Though I must admit, one of our favorite meals here is the amazing Khao Soi. With tofu and mushrooms as the ‘meat’ of the dish, it allows us vege-eaters to taste some of the local delicacies Chiang Mai is known for. This big bowl of noodle goodness will set you back only $3.30 / 100baht and you will leave with a very full stomach!

Opening Hours: Everyday, 9am- 10pm

Location: 34/1 Ratchamanka Rd

a taste from heaven chiang mai fried rice pineapple and khao soi


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 at the back of the restaurant is the 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 afterward 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

uno pizza italy chiang mai pizza and smoothie


Dinner Cheap Eats In Chiang Mai

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 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

new dehli indian restaurant in chiang mai curry and naan meal


Chiang Mai Markets

One of my favorite things to do in Chiang Mai is exploring all the amazing markets. 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 midnight.

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 midnight.

Location: Chiang Mai North Gate / Chang Puak Gate.

Saturday Night Market

When: Every Saturday, 5pm – 11pm.

Location: Wualai Road

coconut ice cream from the chiang mai sunday night market


By Hand Pizza Cafe

Located near 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 on 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)

by hand pizza cafe wood fire pizzas chiang mai


Dessert Cheap Eats In Chiang Mai

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

crepe pancake roti stands and carts in chiang mai


Want To Splurge? More Expensive Options

Rock Me Burger

For any burger lover missing a taste of home, you cannot go wrong with Rock Me Burger in Chiang Mai. Everything here is oversized, the food, the drinks, the portions, which does mean prices are a bit more expensive. Though, it is so worth it!

I am not the biggest burger lover, though my partner is and after listening to him begging me to go there for dinner I gave in. It is the kind of red light district area of Chiang Mai, so prepare to walk past seedy bars. Though, this restaurant is nothing like those ones. Prepare yourself to the biggest burgers you have ever seen in your life and such a wide variety as well. Though I will say they only have one vegetarian burger, and in my opinion, it wasn’t the nicest. Therefore I only recommend Rock Me Burger to meat lovers.

Opening Hours: Everyday 11am-11.15pm

Location:  17-19 Loi Kroh Rd, Tambon Chang Khlan

rock me burger chiang mai


Take A Cooking Class

One of the best foodie experiences in Chiang Mai is to take a cooking class, so I just had to add it to the cheap eats list! On our most recent trip, we actually tried out our first ever cooking class which we booked through Backstreet Academy. They offer recipes which can be altered to become vegetarian/vegan which was a big plus in my book.

The whole experience was excellent from start to finish and we learned some new skills for back home. Also, we got to eat so much! There was an appetizer, couple, stir-fried dish, curry, and dessert. Each one we learned to make and were able to eat! The cost is $only $24.00 for all this food plus it makes for an awesome experience.

Opening Hours: Everyday is 2 classes, 9am or 4pm

aromadii cooking school in chiang mai


How I Book Cheap Transport In Thailand: 12Go Asia


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Traveling Chiang Mai on a budget? Find out the top cheap eats in Chiang Mai which will keep you and your wallet full. From local bites, western favorites and everything in between, you will find it all here in this guide.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

2019-06-30T23:05:08+12:00

22 Comments

  1. kauai_teacher September 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Nice! Everything looks amazing. By brother is going to Thailand soon, so I’ll be forwarding this to him.

  2. Michelle | michwanderlust August 30, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Haha the inclusion of 7-11 made me smile but you’re so right – it belongs in this list! It’s my go-to when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to brave the crowds at the markets. And I wasn’t entirely enamored of the abundance of (overpriced) hippie cafes in Chiang Mai. Would go back for the khao soi though! yummyyy

  3. Justyn Gourdin August 29, 2017 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Hey there!! So a couple of things, I love all your images! They all look so universal and it’s really nice! All the food looks amazing! Secondly, I love that you shared the opening hours and locations of things!

  4. EMMA August 27, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Oh wow looks delicious! I am going to Chiang Mai in January so I will definitely have to hit up some of these suggestions 🙂

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Enjoy your time there! Definitely plan your trip so you are staying over a Sunday night as well. Seriously, the night markets on a Sunday are amazing!

  5. Gary Holden August 27, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    You forgot Butter is Better on Chang Klan Rd great european breakfasts plus some of the street eateries along the road. The Night Markets ,huge variety of foods…the food stalls in Chinatown and Worrorot Market, oh so many more to taste and see…Pad SeeEww moo on Chang Klan by the bank, $3, the noodle shop opposite, Noodles and dumplings or wonton, $8 for two including tea,. ahh got to get back my mouth is dtooling just remembering

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Haha I only wrote about the places I visited so I can share my experience and decide whether they are good enough to mention. You have definitely listed some places I will have to try next time though!

      • Gary Holden August 27, 2017 at 9:41 pm - Reply

        there are some great places over the other side of the Ping River as well as good music and food, more expensive than street food, at places right on the river……safe travels, stay well be safe

  6. Flo @ Yogawinetravel.com August 27, 2017 at 4:59 am - Reply

    I had so much fun at the Sunday night market when I was in Chiang Mai! I’d love a banana pancake right about now, and Blue Diamond is definitely on my list for my next trip to Chiang Mai!

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Yeah Blue Diamond is such a popular hangout, though they’ve decorated it so it so its relaxing and peaceful! Totally a must visit place when in Chiang Mai

  7. Janine Beynon August 27, 2017 at 3:43 am - Reply

    Reading this made me hungry! I loved the food in Chiang Mai, had so much great veggie food there! Love that you mentioned 7-11, I loved getting the toasties there for a quick breakfast/lunch

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I am a veggie as well and I totally agree! All restaurants had such a great range of options. Toasties were my go to breakfast most mornings throughout my entire trip

  8. Cali O August 27, 2017 at 3:21 am - Reply

    I LOVE that you included 7-11. I have no idea why toasties aren’t a worldwide staple of 7-11’s. Hmmph. Chiang Mai is awesome. I too, stayed much longer than expected. Oh and those pancakes/crepes/delicious things…I never knew I needed them in my life until I tried my first one…sigh.

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Haha I couldn’t forget 7-11! I know, they totally should be! We don’t even have 7-11 in New Zealand where I am from 🙁 Haha its one of those places you arrive at and never want to leave.

  9. Kosovo Girl Travels August 27, 2017 at 2:49 am - Reply

    love it. I was in Chiang Mai and loved the food there. What I can’t still get over with is Khanom Buang. I so want to be able to cook it here in Kosovo, but it’s hard to find the ingredients.

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      I know that struggle as well! I had so many delicious meals which I have tried to recreate! I could try and blame it on the ingredients, though in all honesty, I am not the best cook haha

  10. Ellie Cleary August 26, 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Ah I miss those street-side crepes/pancakes!! There’s a great night market (very local, very non touristy) up from the Nimman area, next to the University which has some amazing food for 40-60 Baht for a meal. Trying to remember the name of it now!!

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      Oh will have to check it out next time I am there!

  11. Suzannah Smith August 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I swear that my husband loves 7/11 toasties more than he loves anything else about Thailand (and he LOVES Thailand!)
    I was really impressed with the crepe stands in Chiang Mai, there was one that did cereal and marshmallow pieces (Luky Lucky Charms cereal) and it was simply divine! Change Mai really impressed me with its food choices

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      Haha I swear my partner is the same as well. I guess men love their toasties! Oh cereal and marshmallow, that sounds amazing!

  12. Jenn Bcn August 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I will always remember the roasted bananas in the night market… it was amazing! Unfortunately when I was there last year I didn’t visit any of these places, though to be honest, I ate like a pig all 5 days I spend there. The food in Thailand is always so amazing…! Thanks for the compilation and prices!

    • Tash @ Backpackers Wanderlust August 27, 2017 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Oh roasted bananas!? That sounds so good, how did I miss it!

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Your typical New Zealander, now discovering the world one country at a time. With a high-end backpacking style I prefer to glampack across the globe by embracing the best of each destination. All of which I share right here on Backpackers Wanderlust. 

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