Tamarind Village

Chiang Mai & North, Thailand
Book from GBP Book from £123 per night

Tamarind Village

Chiang Mai & North, Thailand

A welcoming, affordable oasis of boutique calm amidst the temples, bazaars, food stalls and night markets of Chiang Mai

A welcoming, affordable oasis of boutique calm amidst the temples, bazaars, food stalls and night markets of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a mighty urban sprawl around a seductive square mile of charm. Right in the heart of this charm, in a prime old town location where you’d expect it to be noisiest and hottest, is a true oasis of cool and calm. Built around a 200-year old tamarind tree, and approached through a long bamboo tunnel, this collection of buildings with verdant courtyards - inspired by rural temple cloisters - is a gem of a hotel.

Designed by the same people as the nearby Rachamankha, but with simpler materials and more humility, it feels comfortable and chic without being luxurious or upmarket. Newly refreshed bedrooms in boutique Lanna style make the best use of the limited space. There's a large swimming pool, an unbeatable breakfast buffet, and friendly staff who welcome you with cold drinks and city maps. It's owned by people who understand the hotel business (cynics might say a little too well), so everything runs smoothly, and there's the usual array of good (if slightly overpriced) spa treatments and tours. But the vibe remains relaxed, and the hotel's enduring popularity tells you that they have got the formula just right.


  • After a day of sightseeing, we loved plunging into the pool, designed like a lotus pond and set in dappled shade
  • It's within walking distance of all the main temples and markets, including a Sunday market right outside
  • Despite the central position, the hotel feels leafy and almost rural; and is surprisingly quiet at night (bar the occasional rooster)
  • Service, for a largish hotel, remains sincere and personal
  • Excellent value, especially considering the prime location and the pool


  • The restaurant will be closed between mid-late September 2024 for refurbishments; all meals will be served in alternative locations but there may be some noise
  • The pool water can get warm, and at busy times deckchairs and towel space can be at a premium
  • The restaurant, spilling out attractively on the rim of the pool, is quite steeply priced
  • The spa seems a little expensive: more affordable options are available nearby

Best time to go

We think November-January are the best months to visit Chiang Mai -not too hot, and free from the swidden smoke of February-March and the rains of May-October. The crazy water festival of Songkran in April is also a draw.

Our top tips

We suggest staying in Chiang Mai for 3-4 days, to allow for a couple of temples, a full day browsing the markets and stalls, plus time for some spa treatments or a cookery lesson. You might want to split that into two short stays either side of a trekking trip. If it's your first visit, ask about their free daily walking tour of the city.

Great for...

  • Boutique Hotel
  • 46 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


You wouldn't know it, but spread around a handful of leafy courtyards are 46 bedrooms. The décor is simple: white walls, dark-wood kingsize beds, a large bamboo-woven headboard, and a rush mat on the polished concrete floor. There's a cabinet with a TV and minibar (with a crafts display on top), and a wall-mounted air-conditioning unit below the pitched ceiling. A pair of simple recesses with a clothes rail and boxes serve as wardrobes. The small rooms make the best use of space, and would make better use still if the coffee-making tray was put on the other side of the bed with the aid of an extension cord. Welcoming and cosy.

Through narrow saloon doors is a small bathroom with a shower - the head is fixed, so standard-issue Europeans may have to bend - plus a basin, loo and a nice range of toiletries including (what else?) tamarind soap, exfoliates etc...

The Lanna Deluxe Rooms have a small outside sitting area, ensuring a bit more privacy than the standard Lanna Rooms, which are accessed directly from the cloisters. During longer stays, that can be a boon.

The Tamarind Suites are spacious, and will suit families as there's room a'plenty for an extra bed. Extra benefits include living areas, a DVD player, an outdoor sitting area, and a tub in the marble bathrooms. The Spa Suite is the property's ultimate residence, located by the spa, with a half indoor/half outdoor set up. The large terrace has a daybed and there's an outdoor shower.

Since our visit, the Lanna Suites have also been added - we yet to personally view them.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan
  • In-room treatments available
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi


In the lovely, open-sided sala beside the swimming pool you'll find the best breakfast buffet this side of the Ping river. Countless types of fruit, many of them unknown to Europeans (longan, pimelo), vie for space with waffles, bacon, vegetable stir-fry, sausages, croissants, yoghurts, toast, jams and a fine selection of fresh juices (including java plum and, of course, tamarind). Load your tray and take a place by the pool, where you'll notice - with the dismay of one who has already over-ordered - a young chap cooking irresistible-smelling omelettes stuffed with goodies. They're worth making space for. Just as you're about to tuck in, be prepared for the national anthem to strike up next door, enforcing a tantalising abstention until it ends.

There's an equally appetising dinner menu, which is handy if you're dead on your feet after all that shopping, or if you just feel like an easy poolside meal. It's also available for lunch, though chances are you'll be out and about in town. After a snack of deep-fried banana chips and northern pickled pork with your cold Singha beer (or indeed European wine), there's a choice of northern Thai specials (spicy sausage, minced pork liver, sticky rice); international fare (lamb chops, 'spag bol', sandwiches); and curries of almost every permutation (pork / beef / chicken / seafood with cashews / mushrooms / broccoli). If you're a veggie, there's a lengthy plant-based menu to choose from.

If you want to dine out, the quirky, candlelit Huen Phen restaurant is a real find: an Aladdin's cave of bric-a-brac and bizarre tribal dishes.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options


  • Explore the temples of the old town, right on your doorstep. Or simply lose yourself in the sleepy streets and peer into the doorways. Join one of the hotel's free daily walking tours if you'd prefer some guidance

  • Take a Thai massage or cookery course - there’s no better place in the country to learn these arts, with a plethora of classes and schools vying for your custom

  • Daily arts and crafts sessions are fun for all ages, and will leave you with one-of-a-kind souvenirs

  • Go trekking and rafting, or take a hill-tribe tour: the province is the epicentre of outdoor adventures, though you should choose your operator carefully and know that the region is far from unspoilt

  • Try the Flight of the Gibbon tour, along 2km of ziplines and hanging bridges in the vertiginous jungle canopies

  • Rent a scooter and just drive. In the direction of the hills, you’ll soon reach Doi Suthep, the city’s own temple mountain, with its processional staircase, gold-painted temples and chedis, and glorious views (the cable car is best avoided)

  • A fellow plays the ranad ek (1-string fiddle) for an hour by the pool every evening, out of attachment to the hotel that helped him pay his way through music school. Together with the chants of the monks from adjacent temples and the beautifully lit buildings, this makes for a magical atmosphere

  • Visit the Night Bazaar, actually an evening bazaar that still offers the best selection of handicrafts, trinkets and tat among the mushrooming venues. It’s a 15-minute walk down the road across the moat

  • Take a tuk-tuk to the Ping River, with its romantic waterfront bars and restaurants

  • Have a drink in one of the beer bars along the moat at Tha Pae Gate: the area preserves the homely, fairylit sleaze of a bygone era in aspic, with peeling Formica and ancient beer coasters included. Or head to the expat and traveller bars on Ratchawithi around the corner

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures


As city hotels go, this is a great place for kids of all ages. Extra beds and cots can be supplied, and there's even an English-speaking babysitting service if you want to hit the night market without them. Keep an eye on your children around the pool area, and when you venture out into the bustling city streets. Children's breakfast is extra. A roll-away bed can be provided at a charge.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:


Tamarind Village is set in central Chiang Mai, which is in the north of Thailand. It's an hour's flight from Bangkok or an overnight train journey.

By Air
Chiang Mai (10km away) is served by frequent flights from Bangkok and Koh Samui, and irregular flights from Sukhothai. If you're coming from abroad, you can fly here directly from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Vientiane. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange a transfer or you can take a metered taxi - see Rates.

By Train
If you enjoy train journeys and/or want to save money, take the 'special express' sleeper train from Bangkok, or a daytime equivalent. The journey takes between 10-12 hours and needs to be booked in advance (best done through your previous hotel). Upon arrival, take a tuk-tuk to the hotel.

More on getting to Thailand and getting around


  • Chiang Mai International 10.0 km CNX
  • Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International 700.0 km BKK


  • Beach 700.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.3 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests


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Rates for Tamarind Village

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