Chiang Mai is by far one of the cheapest parts of Thailand accommodation and food wise. We got Kalare guesthouse for £9 per night for a double room which was reasonable given the location. Saying that, the location is both good and bad. The guesthouse is located literally inside the night bazaar. This is good for a few reasons, mainly that you can wear yourself out shopping and only have to walk a couple of minutes to your bed, and also the proximity to the food centre. Inside the night bazaar, right near the guesthouse is a canteen type centre with street food, Chinese food and Indian food. The downside of the location is the noise, the fact that anyone can walk up the stairs and into the hallways, and the fact that there's a hotel down the road called Galare guesthouse. We got a taxi from Chiang Mai airport to Kalare guesthouse...but found ourselves at Galare guesthouse. We then had to walk from one to the other, but still had difficulty finding the place. Not only did we have this trouble to start with but explaining where we were staying to travel agents was a little challenging. I'd advise you to take a card from reception and present that to a travel agent or taxi driver.
The rooms are small and basic. Our room had a pretty foul smell the whole time we were there, which we think was the drainage system as the smell worsened every time we showered. The room was very noisy, although we didn't really mind as we are a young couple and enjoyed the blues music from the bar metres opposite our window. I wouldn't recommend the hotel to anyone with young children, as you wouldn't get much sleep before the bar closes at about 1am.
The hotel staff were unhelpful during our stay. One girl on reception gave us a map and a few directions and helped us find a hotel opposite with a pool we could use. However the other two, an older lady and a younger man, were extremely rude and reluctant to help. On our last day we stayed at the pool in the hotel opposite until about 1pm. We had asked in the morning if there was a room available where we could shower before getting on a bus for 12 hours, we were told it was fine and to simply return to reception when we wanted to wash. However, when we did come back, the woman was on reception and rudely told us we'd be charged 300 baht each for showering. I said that we weren't informed of the charge earlier, to which she replied "we'll I'm telling you now". I found her manner rude and patronising as she went on to make a point that electricity, water and air conditioning cost money.
We won't be staying at Kalare Night Bazaar Guesthouse again as Chiang Mai has so much to offer, we feel our experience at the guesthouse didn't help us enjoy Chiang Mai to its full potential. Wouldn't recommend.