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Traveling alone to a city abroad is no easy task. It takes some guts to strap on a backpack, settle into your aisle seat, and venture solo to a country where you may not know a single person (or the language). With that being said, this is oftentimes the most rewarding way to do so. For those of you venturing to Northern Thailand, here is a complete guide on things to do in Chiang Mai as a solo traveler. Independent travelers, this one is for you!


Where to Stay in Chiang Mai as a Solo Traveler

As a solo traveler, steer clear of hotels and instead opt for a more social (and affordable) hostel, instead!


There are numerous hostels to choose from in Chiang Mai. Most of them have large common areas that are great for meeting people in. If you want a party hostel, then Bodega is for you. They even hold a pub crawl every Friday night. You don’t have to be staying there to join in on all the fun, as well, and it is a great way to meet your fellow travelers. Mad Monkey is now in Chiang Mai, and, as with every location, the goal is to foster the most social of atmosphere for guests to enjoy! Find out more information about pricing and locations in our article about the top hostels in Chiang Mai.

Stay at Hostels
Hug Hostel © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


What to do in Chiang Mai as a Solo Traveler

There are so many things to do in Chiang Mai. How do you know which excursions to go on and groups to join to make the most out of your trip? Fret not, as we have rounded up the best ways to see the city alone. Hopefully you will make a few friends in the process, as well!

Join Chiang Mai and Thailand Community Facebook Groups

Whether you have a question about the city or want to go on a day trip with some of your fellow backpackers, posting on a relevant page may be your ticket to finding a few new friends while traveling in this northern city. A few of the best and most social groups can be found below. Be sure to join these prior to visiting the city! They also post about the coolest things to do in Chiang Mai.

  • Chiang Mai Nomad Girls
  • Chiang Mai Digital Nomads
  • Stupid Questions Chiang Mai Group
  • Chiang Mai Expats
  • Thailand Advice & Travel Tips
  • Farang Community Chiang Mai City
  • Digital Nomad Coffee Club – Chiang Mai


Join Chiang Mai and Thailand Community Facebook Groups
Zoe in Yellow © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Things to do in Chiang Mai While Traveling Solo: Eat at Social Restaurants

Speaking of being social, what better way to get to know someone than over a delicious meal? While some restaurants are fore more intimate groups, there are others that promote a sense of community. Seating arrangements are a great example of how a dining venue can promote inclusiveness between diners.

Things to do in Chiang Mai While Traveling Solo: Eat at Social Restaurants
Bodhi Tree Cafe © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

Are the tables and chairs spread out and more private or does a restaurant instead have long tables and benches that encourage visitors to sit with strangers? Free Bird Cafe is a great example of this. This social enterprise and dining venue duo is oftentimes packed, which forces diners to share tables and conversation! Other restaurants, like Tikky Cafe, are equipped with library nooks. What better way to meet others than by chatting about your favorite novel? Kill two birds with one stone by enjoying a delicious meal while making some friends.
Eat at Social Restaurants
Tikky Cafe © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Join Networking Events

With so many digital nomads residing in Chiang Mai, it only makes sense that plenty of networking events are held in the city. Digital nomads coffee club, for example, has weekly coffee meet-ups featuring guest speakers and more. In The City 24/7 Living & Coworking Space, a coworking space near the North Gate, often hosts events and workshops that all are welcome to join. They are even equipped with a rooftop terrace that is perfect for socializing on. These events are held and happen sporadically, so be on the lookout for posters in your hostel, cafes, and more to find out what events are happening during your time in Chiang Mai.

Join Networking Events
In the CIty Hostel & Coworking Space © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Go to the Free Events at One Nimman

One Nimman is a newer mall in one of the trendiest areas of town, and visiting this awesome venue is one of the coolest things to do in Chiang Mai. It is here that several free events are held throughout the week and are perfect for socializing and meeting people living in the northern city. For example, they hold free hatha yoga classes on Tuesdays and Hatha vinyasa on Thursdays. They also have free salsa dancing classes every Sunday evening, and you are definitely going to need a partner. What better way to make friends than to kick-start your trip by dancing with someone? Be sure to follow them on their social media platforms and keep up to date about all of the cool happenings at the courtyard at Nimman One shopping center.

Yoga at One Nimman
Yoga at One Nimman © Courtesy of Kirsten Muolic/Mad Monkey


Join a Fitness Class

There are an abundance of gyms found around the northern capital. Maybe these places have capitalized on the fact that many travelers simply eat their way through the country and are going to need a sweaty session or two to work off all that khao soi they have devoured. Regardless of why it is you choose to go to the gym, these venues are perfect places to meet locals, expats, and travelers in the city.

Skykick Muay Thai Gym in Chiang Mai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

Many classes at gyms require group training, which makes it easy to meet people. At Chiang Mai Muay Thai Gym, the trainers have you pair up to spar (depending on the class), so you can meet a workout buddy while getting in a good sweat. At Bodhi Tree Cafe, the yoga instructor will often allow time for you and your fellow yogis to practice your headstand. If you are anything like me, you will need a few people to help you get (and stay) up. What better way to meet people and bond with them than by allowing them to hold your headstand? Check out our complete fitness guide or instead browse our favorite yoga studios in Chiang Mai!

Fun Things to do in Chiang Mai Solo: Volunteer

Volunteering while abroad is very important to many travelers. Not only do they want to have the time of their life, but they also want to make their trip to Southeast Asia a memorable and impactful one on the community they visit. This is possible with the many organizations that have volunteer programs in the northern capital. Elephant Nature Park is a famous wildlife sanctuary and conservation center that offers half a full-day trips. Not only will you connect with your fellow volunteers on a deeper level because you care about the same wildlife issues the animals face, but you will also spend an entire day with these people (and elephants). Friendships are bound to be born!

Elephant Nature Park
Bathing elephants at the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai, Thailand © Courtesy of Kirsten Muolic/Mad Monkey


Things to do in Chiang Mai: Take Part in Group Activities

In addition to volunteering, you can also take part in a group activity, such as a cooking class. There are also some incredible day trips that simply cannot be missed while traveling in Chiang Mai, as well. These types of tours, whether you go ziplining or white water rafting, do not normally run unless there are a handful of people already signed up, so you will surely meet a few of your fellow travelers along the way.

Friendly employees at Nong Bee’s Burmese Restaurant & Library in Chiang Mai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Things to do in Chiang Mai at Night as a Solo Traveler

One of the things that solo backpackers normally miss out on while traveling in a new country is the nightlife. Who wants to go post up at a bar with a vodka soda in hand as your only company? Fret not, as there are plenty of nightlife venues that are perfect for those of you ridin’ solo in Chiang Mai.

Visit the Jazz at Co-Op to Meet Expats and More

Situated right in front of the renowned and historical North Gate, Jazz at Co-Op is one of the most social bars in the city. It gets so crowded, in fact, that visitors spill into the streets while listening to the epic jazz music flowing out of the venue. This place is packed almost every night of the week (especially on Tuesdays). You will have no choice but to start up a conversation with your fellow jazz lovers, even if you are simply asking someone to step aside so that you can grab a cocktail to best enjoy the music with. It is one of the top things to do in Chiang Mai (whether you are alone or not), as well!

Visit the Jazz at Co-Op to Meet Expats and More
Jazz at Co-Op © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Drink at Zoe in Yellow

Zoe in Yellow is one of the top nightlife destinations in the city. This large square is a hodgepodge of different bars and restaurants, so there is a bar for every type of traveler. The open-air venue is perfect for meeting your fellow travelers. Long, large tables are found at the heart of this drinking district, making it easy to pull up a seat and join in with your fellow partiers.

Drink at Zoe in Yellow
Zoe in Yellow © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Helpful Tips for Traveling in Chiang Mai Alone

If you are still a bit hesitant to take on the Kingdom alone, here are a few tips and tricks to help you have the best time ever in Chiang Mai as a solo traveler!

Is it Safe to Travel to Chiang Mai Alone?

Absolutely, yes! The locals are friendly, the city shuts down fairly early in the evening, and, as with any city, be sure to keep your wits about you and travel smart to avoid any problems during your trip. Lock your valuables away when leaving your hostel, keep your phone and wallet close when going out … you get the point. For no reason should any traveler feel as though they should not travel to Chiang Mai because they are alone!

Is it Safe to Travel to Chiang Mai Alone
Doi Inthanon National Park © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey


Know a Few Basic Thai Phrases

Who says you only have to meet your fellow travelers while visiting the Kingdom? Getting to know the locals will be one of the most rewarding of experiences during your time in Thailand. Sometimes, in order to interact, you must have a few Thai phrases in your back pocket. We’ve included a few of the most popular and humorous ones below for you to use the next time you have the chance to interact with some locals. To learn even more Thai phrases, check out this article.

Hello! Sà-wat-dee!
Do you speak English? Pôot paa-săa ang-grìt dâi măi?
What is your name? Kun chuu arai?
My name is ___. Pŏm/chán chuu ___.
How are you? Sà-bai-dee măi?
Where are you going? (used as a greeting) Bai nai?
Good luck/cheers! Chôke-dii
Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Kun mii fɛɛn rᵾ̌ᵾ yang măi?
Have you eaten yet? Gin kâao rʉ́-yang?
See you later!  Jəə gan!


If All Else Fails … Treat Yourself to a Massage

One of the top things to do in Chiang Mai is to treat yourself to an epic massage. Okay, so this is not the most social of activities, but if you do not feel like going out and trying to make friends, then treating yourself to a massage is the perfect “alone time” activity to partake in. There are massage parlors and spas in abundance in the Lanna-style city, and you can kill anywhere from an hour to an entire afternoon treating yourself to a day of relaxation. To find out more about the best spas and parlors in the city, check out our comprehensive guide on where to get a killer Thai massage in Chiang Mai.

If All Else Fails ... Treat Yourself to a Massage
Massage parlor in Chiang Mai © Courtesy of Kirsten Muolic/Mad Monkey


More Information on Things to do in Chiang Mai as a Solo Traveler

Did you love this article about how to solo travel in the city of Chiang Mai? Do you want even more information about this lovely city and things to do in Chiang Mai alone? Then be sure to check out the following articles that we have rounded up, just for you! We only recommend articles that we have read and found useful ourselves, as well.


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