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 :-)
- 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