Chiang Mai Micro Guide

10 Cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai

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When you are living in Chiang Mai or travelling solo for a long period, you learn to be frugal. That said, I grew a little tired trying to become a travel content writer while living on pot noodles every day and started looking for the best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai. You will notice from this list, most of these cheap restaurants in Chiang Mai are on the same side of the old town and all within walking distance of each other; it is just coincided – they really are my favourites.

10 Best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai

Cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai

1. Funky Monkey Cafe

My favourite; small, cozy, local and really cheap. Funky Monkey Chiang Mai is a very small corner restaurant with minimal seating and best known for their Funky Monkey Burger – I go here almost everyday. They have amazing smoothies for just 30/40 baht and french toast which I usually have in the morning. That said, I have Pad Thai here most days too and it never matters whether I sit an the counter or the small table on the pavement, there is something very cosy about this small venue and the staff are super friendly/efficient which put it at the top of my best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai.

Try: Pad Ka Praow or a Strawberry with banana smoothie.

Where is Funky Monkey Chiang Mai? Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai

Mickey Bunny Cafei

2. Mickey Bunny Cafe

Right next door to Funky Monkey. Each and every day I find it hard to decide between Mickey Bunny Cafe Chiang Mai and its neighbour. My favourite thing about here is the decor and how friendly the staff are to customers. I believe they are one big family with the staff always running around and taking turns with holding of the baby. Really cool decor in here and if you have kids they will especially love it as it is mostly Disney related. I go here each morning for breakfast as there is space to sit with my laptop which is important for a digital nomad in Chiang Mai. Overall another one of the super cool and cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai.

Try: Quickie Breakfast with very fresh hot croissants and coffee.

Where is Mickey Bunny Cafe? Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai.

Kats Kitchen

3. Kat’s Kitchen

British/Thai owned, the staff are friends in Kat’s Kitchen but for me it is one of the cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai for the reason that the food is so good and at a reasonable price. There are usually a few tourists or ex-pats in here and while it is very modest or basic in terms of decor, the quality of the food makes up for it. My particular favourite in this Chiang Mai restaurant are the Khao Soi Noodles which you can have according to whether you like spicy food or not – they ask you this beforehand. Tip: Spicy is very hot here.

Try: Khao Soi Noodles

Where is Kat’s Kitchen Chiang Mai? Next to Tony’s Big Bikes at 17, Ratchamanka Rd

Chiang Mai Gate

4. Dumplings at Chiang Mai Gate

These are just delicious and at 40 baht for 6 pieces (or 60bht per 12), it is definitely one of the best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai. Located next to Chiang Mai Gate and a long line of other street food sellers, this is my favourite stall where you can watch them make these dumplings by hand before frying them up before your eyes. It’s pretty quick but you will nevertheless be starving by the time they are ready.

Try: Dumplings, obviously.

Where is Chiang Mai Gate? In the very south of the old town.

Kabab House Chiang Mai

5. Kabab House

It’s not Thai food but they do they most amazing kebabs and when you eat for two people this is one of the best cheap places to eat in Chian Mai. Reason being, you can buy a large kebab and chips for 160 baht but for an extra 30 baht you can have an extra kebab meaning a meal for two. It is cheaper again if you go for a smaller portion at lunch but I love going here while living in Chiang Mai because you can grow tired of eating the same style every day and this feels like a taste of western food to mix it up a little.

Try: Chicken Kebab with chips.

Where is Kabab House in Chiang Mai? Next to Zoe in Yellow on the Rathvithi Road.

chiang mai streetfood

6. Pad Thai on the street

You can go here from around 6pm onward and they cook pad thai on the spot for just 40 baht. Try to sit down at the only table when you arrive and wait, otherwise I sometimes sit on the cub next to the stand and eat away – nobody cares. Very fresh but a little too much oil sometimes although the portions are huge and at 40 baht a pop – who cares.

Tip: Grab a banana nutella rotee at the stall next to it for dessert.

Where can you find street food in Chiang Mai? Across from Johns Place – 95/2 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai

The Corner restaurant

7. The Corner

This is a super popular restaurant in prime location and it was actually the first of the best cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai that I managed to find. Service is fast, it’s great for people watching and the environment is very green with lots of plants etc lining the sidewalk. I have had many meals in here but the chicken pepper stir fry is my best pick.

Try: Chicken with green pepper stir fry.

Where is The Corner restaurant in Chiang Mai? Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai

Dada cafe Chiang Mai

8. Dada Cafe

Just around the corner from The Corner, Dada Cafe is a very green eating restaurant. It is slightly more in terms of cost than the other cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai but at the same time, that little bit extra healthy or organic touch is always nice. I have had a couple of fantastic meals in here but the best was definitely the fresh spring rolls.

Try: Spring Rolls 

Where is Dada Cafe in Chiang Mai? Ratmakka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai

Coconut shell Chiang Mai

9. Coconut Shell

Another incredibly busy spot where people clamber over themselves just to grab a seat on the road. Yes their tables are on the roadside but I can see why it is so popular as the cashew chicken is excellent and so too is the green curry. The one thing I am not so keen on here is how close the tables are together, but that’s just me and for anyone else it would be a nice option for one of the cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai.

Try: Green curry

Where is Coconut Shell Chiang Mai? 42/4 Rachamankha

Taste From Heaven Chiang Mai

10. Taste from Heaven

I guess there really should be a vegetarian option on every list of cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai and this one is hugely popular. It is home cooked food at its best, the restaurant is vegan friendly and they are extremely accommodating with specific dietary needs.

Try: Tom Yum Noodles

Where is Taste from Heaven Chiang Mai? 34/1 Ratmakka road

7 Eleven Chiang Mai

And that’s my 10 cheap places to eat in Chiang Mai but feel free to pick up one of these bad boys in a 7 Eleven instead.

I'm an Outdoor Adventure Blogger from Dublin, Ireland. In late 2013 I began riding a bicycle across Africa and it was during this adventure when I discovered a passion for the great outdoors and the general uncertainty of life on the road. Next April, I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

3 Comments

  1. Birthe (from Wandering the World)

    December 29, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    We’ve been to Chiang Mai last year, but I don’t think we’ve tried any of these places. Will be heading back there next summer, so maybe we’ll try some of them then. If you’re looking for a heavenly burger though, check out Beast Burger. We believe it’s the best burger we’ve ever had. Possibly our opinion was biased after all that rice. 😉

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