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“Chiang Mai Tips and Tricks for an Excellent Adventure”

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Sabaidee Chiang Mai Hotel
Ranked #228 of 776 Chiang Mai B&B and Inns
Reviewed May 1, 2013

Let me start by saying that I am a 51 year old Canadian man from Montreal and a well seasoned traveler. I've been coming to Chiang Mai for many years now, and after doing EXTENSIVE research to find a DECENT AND SECURE PLACE to stay, my researches have always brought me back to stay at the Sawasdee Chaingmai House for several reasons, some of which are listed here.

I don't usually write detailed reviews as I think a high percentage of the traveler comments and the Trip Advisor Awards speak for themselves (Sawasdee Chaingmai House was Winner of 2011 and 2012 recommended places to stay in Chiang Mai), but this time, I wanted to share some of my comments and experience that hopefully will help you make a sound decision as to where to stay, as well as ensure you get the most out of our Chiang Mai adventure.

First, let me briefly mention that if you are looking for a place to crash, drink beer and party all night, the Sawasdee Chaingmai House is NOT the place to for you. Sam (the owner) and MO (the manager) are both Thai native and run a VERY respectful place for mature travelers that want to experience a SAFE and POSITIVE experience - Note that the Sawasdee Chaingmai House is one of the ONLY small guest house that has a security guard on site during the overnight hours to ensure your safety. You will be given a magnetic access card which you will need to enter the fenced premises.

Upon your arrival, you WILL be treated like you are part of the family. Sam and MO will do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to ensure your stay is as comfortable and pleasant as possible and WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATIONS IN RETURN, other than to treat them the same as they treat you - Buddhism respect, honesty and integrity.

Other key points you should know:
• VISITING CHIANG MAI - Chiang Mai has SO MANY great places to see, and to make sure you do not get ripped-off by tuk-tuk or taxi drivers, the Sawasdee Chaingmai House makes use the trusted services of chosen taxi drivers. One of them is Mr. Pon. For a very decent fee, this gentle and honest man will take you to where ever you want to go, where you'll only have to pay the entry fee, and while he waits for you, you can shop, visit, etc. in TOTAL confidence knowing that your safe ride awaits for your return. This leads me to share my VERY EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE way to visit Chiang Mai. As I am not a 'group-tour' person, I suggest you hire Mr. Pon services for the day (Sam or Mo can make the arrangement for you absolutely FREE of charge). You tell them what and where you want to see (Sam and Mo can even suggest key places to visit WITHOUT selling you anything or getting any commission in return for their services) and Mr. Pon will gladly drive you where ever you want to go (8 am to 6 pm). By travelling this way you cut the middle man, avoid large groups and the possible delays, and have a personal driver. To me, this is the ONLY way to visit Chiang Mai (and other places in Thailand and Asia for that matter).
• BUYING A TOUR - if you prefer to join a tour for your activities, brochures are there for you consult and if you are interested Sam and MO will assist you with great pleasure in organizing your tour. - NOTE that there will be absolutely NO solicitation what so ever from Sam or Mo - no one tries to sell you tours or other items - If you don't ask for any tour you will not be bothered by anyone.. There are many tours possible and brochures are there for you to consult if you are interested.
• JUST ASK AND YOU WILL GET GREAT SERVICE - Sam and MO are not a greedy people. Sam is a retired man who used to work in the private sector's agricultural field, so their concern is NOT about getting rich, but rather about sharing and helping people to get value for the money and get the best of their Thai adventure. One time I had a miss-adventure with my computer where the screen got broken while traveling to Chiang Mai, and upon my arrival, Sam contacted a PC support shop and helped to get the best possible service and price. I had my 6 months old laptop screen replaced in a few days for less than 100$ US (ORIGINAL parts and labor included). As a tourist and a foreigner, finding this by myself would have certainly been more difficult and would have cost me much more (judging by the prices in the shopping center PC shops). So if it's massages you want, just ask and they'll point you in the right direction. By the way the women in the women's jail in the heart of Chain Mai offer great massages for some of the best prices - and as a generous gesture, Sam will give you his 10% discounts This is part of the women's rehabilitation program so I highly suggest you try them out - don't worry, it is very safe. If you want to rent a bike, Sam has some for a reasonable price. If you want to rent a motorbike, you can do so near by and Sam will gladly safeguard your motorbike over night or when you do not use it, but PLEASE BE CAREFUL, as Chiang Mai streets are quite narrow and not necessarily the same quality as you have back home, and there can be a lot of traffic!! I am aware of a few incidents (some minor and some more serious) where either the person got injured and/or three was damage to the motorbike. So if anything else you want to know, just ask Sam or Mo and they will gladly help, and ALWAYS at no cost, no expectations and no commission in return.
• ENVIRONMENT - The Sawasdee Chaingmai House is located just outside the busiest streets but approximately 5-10 minutes walk from several places of interest, including many restaurant. A 20 minute walk will take you to the night Bazaar, or you can always take a taxi or Tuk-tuk if you prefer the motorized way. Although the Sawasdee Chaingmai House not situated on a main street, it is situated across the street of a school. This means there CAN be some noise in the morning but there is no noise during the day or at night. My recommendation if you are a light sleeper is to bring a set of ear plugs. By the way this applies not only to the Sawasdee Chaingmai House but also any place (city and country) where there can be houses, cars and people close by. Ear plugs are cheap and available pretty much everywhere and will help you get a good night sleep where ever you are. If shopping is what you are looking for, there are a few shopping centers in Chiang Mai. Some simple ones located around the old city walls and the night bazaar but for the bigger ones, you will need to take a taxi to get there. And if you're planning on buying souvenirs, and also planning on visiting Doi Suthep (a must-see Temple at the top of the highest mountain in Chiang Mai), check out the merchandise and prices on at the Night Bazaar but don't buy just yet. Go to the Doi Suthep souvenir shops and you're bound to find the same things but at cheaper prices.
• RESTAURANTS AND FOOD - Although there are plenty of restaurant in Chiang Mai (from big to small, more expensive to down cheap) Big Sam's café offers a simple but very tasty lunch menu. Sam's sister SUE is a great chef and can cook a great meal (note that everyone at the Guest House - Sam, Mo and Sue are all great cooks) so if you want to know about certain ingredients, recipes, etc. JUST ASK. They will gladly answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Note that if you love Thai cooking you should allocate time to take a Thai cooking class. There are plenty of cooking schools in Chiang Mai and again, Sam and MO can guide you without any expectations in return to some of the finest schools. You will love your experience and walk away with a cook book and good knowledge of Thai cuisine you can make back home.

That said, I could go on and on writing about my Chiang Mai adventures and my stay at the Sawasdee Chaingmai House but I just wanted to point out a few things in helping you get the best out of your trip. My advice to you is; read many reviews (not just the good ones but also the not so good ones) and find out why some people are satisfied while other are less, and you will find that sometimes what affects one person doesn't affect the next, especially when the issues may be about something that that just doesn't sound right for you...
Good luck, enjoy Chiang Mai and travel safe :-)

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Marc C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 - 66 of 222 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2013

We stayed here for four nights, we arrived very late on the first night of our stay due to the lateness of our train from Bangkok. As we had only booked over Internet and so had not warned then that we may arrive so late we were worried about checking in. However when we arrived the night security guard had our key ready an showed us straight to our room. The next morning we woke up late and even though we had missed the included breakfast time, they still made us a breakfast so we didn't go without. Anything we needed help with they went out of their way to ensure you were ok and help. The rooms were massive and clean, and it was only a short walk to all the bars and restaurants. We would definitely chose to stay again if we returned to Chiang Mai.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank Narni29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We initially only planned to stay at Sawasdee for one night but ended up extending our stay to three because we really liked the hotel and enjoyed our time in Chiang Mai.

We struggled to find accommodation within our budget in Chiang Mai and booked Sawasdee due to it's good reviews on tripadvisor. We paid $32 a night which was at the top end of what we had been paying for our hotels during our two months of travelling through SE Asia but given that Chiang Mai is a big city, for the quality of the room and the staff it was definitely worth it.

Our room was huge, it even had it's own reception area with a desk and fridge! The bed was huge and very comfortable and there was plenty of room to spread out. (Much appreciated when you've been living out of a backpack!) Everything was spotlessly clean and the bathroom was a good size with a lovely walk in shower.

The only slight downside was that the hotel is opposite a school and a megaphone sounds at 7.30 on weekday mornings. This was only a problem for us for two out of the four mornings we were there but if you fancy a lie-in maybe take some earplugs!

The staff were really friendly and helpful and made us feel right at home. They also assisted us in hiring a scooter for the duration of our stay.

Breakfast was great in served in the adjoining cafe - a choice of american breakfast or fruit with muesli.

Overall we had a wonderful stay and wouldn't hesitate in staying here again the next time we're in Chiang Mai.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cookington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

After staying in Sawasdee house for 3 nights, we decided to stay for an extra two - as it was busy we moved rooms on the last two days - and therefore we stayed in 3 different rooms. Firstly, as the other reviewers, I must praise the staff for being kind and friendly at all times. The rooms are spacious and the beds are very comfortable. The rooms we stayed in lacked any kind of view and the lower floors are a bit dark - but nothing to off-putting. I have to agree with a previous reviewer about the cleanliness of the bathrooms, however it's not as bad as to stop me staying here again. Another issue we had was you can often hear other guests in the hallway, some people lack any kind of consideration and will make a whole lot of noise at all times, I'd like to think they could confront people about this (or equip the security guard they do have with some sort of taser device to shock persistent offenders). The location is brilliant, and the breakfast - for a guesthouse - was very good, the cafe staff again very friendly and welcoming. I was close to giving it 5 stars, though a better recommendation would be to say I would definitely stay here again, but on a higher floor!

Room Tip: A higher floor is important, I didn't mind the south side, but being near the entrance is quite...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Steve C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Staying at Sawasdee really made our stay in Thailand. It's location is walking distance from practically everything, including the night market if you don't mind walking 10-15 minutes.
The rooms are huge and impeccably clean, very warm and inviting. The shower was warmish and hot water could last for two people if planned carefully. The free two mineral waters a day was a bonus.
The free breakfasts were big enough and very nice, although more options would be a recommendation as they start to get a big old after three or four days. However the restaurant itself is very good and not overpriced.
What really made our stay was the staff, as Sam was just amazing and could help you with any question or query and we booked quite a number of trips and travels through him and his fantastic staff. They would always arrange for the companies to pick us up and drop us off at our hotel which was great.
The hotel was a tad loud in the mornings from the school or something across the road so light sleepers may have trouble but we didn't so much.

Room Tip: We stayed on the third floor which may have avoided some of the darkness and noise issues others fac...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank DubJTripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Guest houses in Thailand are always hit and miss, meaning they will have some things right and other things wrong. In the case of Sawasdee, many of the things I look for were right with not too many wrongs.

The hotel is in a great location inside the wall of the old city. It's right near the Thai airways building so you have a good reference for taxis and tuk-tuk drivers. Everything in the old city and most of the close by outward parts are in walking distance. Since I wanted to get out of Thailand alive so I could brag about my adventures, this was important to me.

The manager of the hotel was always friendly and helpful. He was able to give recommendations for tours and was able to book most of them direct from the guest house as well as request transport to the bus station and airport. The staff really shined when the power was lost to the city during an intense thunderstorm. They stayed at the hotel all night handing out candles and ensuring guests were okay. Definitely some of the better service I've encountered.

The hotel itself is a little on the worn down side, but that's to be expected in Thailand. Everything that needed to be in the room was. There was a TV, small refrigerator, air conditioning and wifi access, which was occasionally fast enough to download a youtube video without buffering. My one complaint about the room was it seemed that they never washed the floors. Every time I walked barefoot across the floor, I ended up with black soles. Not a deal breaker for me but just something to be aware of.

A bigger problem for me was the bathroom. The shower was okay and had its own hot water heater, but it was in desperate need of a cleaning. The drain was almost completely clogged with hair and other material from guests past. Also, there was a sign above the toilet specifically requesting that not bathroom tissue be flushed. Again, not a problem for me but something I feel other trip planners may be uncomfortable with.

Final thought: All in all, the basic necessities are here. If you plan on spending all your time exploring the countryside of the fantastic city itself and just need a place to sleep, this is a good option.

Room Tip: None of the balcony rooms have an exceptionally good view so it's probably not worth paying extr...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank mr_cardholder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2012

I've stayed here two times now, for three weeks each time. The location in the old city by Chang Puak gate is perfect and the price is very reasonable. Anything in the old city is withing walking distance. The Sunday night Walking Street market in only two blocks away and Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall and the Night Bazaar are quick tuk tuk ride away. Sam, Mo, and the other staff are absolutely like family! They are wonderful resources and can help you with any needs that you have. For example, they helped me with my Fed Ex shipments and wrote addresses and directions in Thai so my tuk tuk driver could get me to a couple appointments that I had. The daily breakfasts are great and the rooms are spacious and comfortable with a separate area that has a desk, chairs, and refrigerator. The wireless internet in the rooms and throughout the property had great signal strength and worked well. I had to be online everyday and never had an issue. Sawasdee Chiangmai House is the only place I will stay when I'm in Chiang Mai!

Room Tip: I like the rooms with a king size bed, but all the rooms are spacious and comfortable.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Dan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sabaidee Chiang Mai Hotel

Address: 5 Praplokklao Soi 13 | T.Sripoom, A.Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand (Formerly Sawasdee Chiangmai House)
Location: Thailand > Chiang Mai Province > Chiang Mai
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #228 of 776 B&Bs / Inns in Chiang Mai
Price Range: $14 - $34 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sabaidee Chiang Mai Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All rooms are clean and well furnished with teakwood furniture, air conditioner, refrigerator, bathroom with hot and cold water, The Deluxe room has its own private balcony. To ensure a soothing and pleasant stay the big rooms are quite spacious at 32 square meters.Sabaidee Chiangmai Hotel is a cozy boutique guesthouse which decorated in the old Lanna style with hand painted wall mural. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sawasdee Chiangmai House Hotel Chiang Mai

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