A brightly colored mural of a young cartoon woman with bright red long flowing hair wearing headphones. There are bottles of lotion on the bottom of the mural.


Discover Nimmanhaemin, Chiang Mai’s vibrant hub with shopping, food, transport tips, and expat life insights. Fall in love with Nimman!

Nimmanhaemin: The Beating Heart Of Chiang Mai’s Trendy Side

Just a little to the north-west of the venerable Chiang Mai Old Town, Nimmanhaemin is a treasure trove of culture, food, and style. It never ceases to amaze me! I’ve been here countless times, and with each visit, my affection for this vibrant neighbourhood grows. Buckle up, wanderlust warriors! I’m going to take you on a journey through this bustling gem.

A brightly colored mural of a young cartoon woman with bright red long flowing hair wearing headphones. There are bottles of lotion on the bottom of the mural.
One of the murals in the Think Park complex in Nimmanhaemin.

Location: Nimmanhaemin In A Nutshell

Let’s talk geography! Nimmanhaemin, fondly called Nimman, is conveniently close to everything. A mere 10-minute drive from the Old Town, and you’re welcomed by the contrasting modernity. It’s perfect if you want to explore the ancient city during the day then unwind in a hip and happening area at night. And the airport? An effortless 15 minutes away. Oh, how many times I’ve hopped off a plane and been sipping Thai iced tea in Nimman before you could say “Sawasdee Ka”!

The area is predominantly Nimmanhaemin Road – starting at the junction with Huay Kaew Road and running all the way down to the university – and the various soi (lanes) running from it.

Shopping – Retail Therapy, Anyone?

Ahh, shopping! Nimman is like a stylish, charismatic friend who’s always dressed to the nines. Stroll into Maya Mall and you’ll be spoiled for choice. Fashion, food, tech, coworking space, or a cinema fix – Maya Mall’s got it all. The rooftop is a well-kept secret for some open-air breezes and a skyline view (shhh! don’t tell anyone!).

Then diagonally across the big intersection is the fabulous One Nimman complex. With its red-bricked enchantment, One Nimman Chiang Mai is another shopping paradise that doubles as a cultural hotspot. From eclectic boutiques and local crafts, to great bars, awesome food, white markets on a weekend and live performances each evening, you can’t help but fall in love.

And don’t get me started on Nimmanhaemin’s whimsical roadside shops! If you’re seeking quirky souvenirs or artisanal crafts, Nimman’s streets are your goldmine.

Street view of the modern shopping center, Maya Mall, with a small white Buddhist temple out the front.
Maya Mall – a shopaholic’s haven

While we are in a shopping mood, you must head over to the amazing Jing Jai market on a weekend. It is very close to the Old City. Also the amazing Chiang Mai night market is definitely not to be missed!

Food – A Gastronomic Adventure

The food in Nimman is where this neighborhood really shines. Cafes? More like slices of heaven. Rustic and Co. has some of the best breakfasts in town. For coffee aficionados, Ristr8to is a must with its award-winning baristas. It’s particularly good for early-birds because it opens at 7am – about an hour before anything else. You can also find great coffee at Yelloo – a cafe and bakery just across Nimmanhaemin Road from Ristr8to.

For lunch or dinner, dash into Salad Concept. They have the best smoothies in town, in my opinion, and lots of fresh, healthy options. Alternatively, Smoothie Blues. If you’re feeling indulgent, the mouth-watering burgers at Beast Burger are super-tasty. If you’re looking to splash out a bit, try the scrumptious Thai food at Nara – right on the corner of the big intersection of Nimmanhaemin Road and Huay Kaew Road (diagonally opposite Maya Mall).

Thai food lovers, rejoice! Street food vendors serve up traditional delicacies that are beyond divine. Som Tum, Pad Thai, and Mango Sticky Rice – just yum! In fact, the best (cheap!) mango sticky rice I’ve ever had is from a street food vendor in the basement of Maya Mall. For 50 Baht, I consider it an investment in my tastebuds!

When night falls, the area buzzes with spirited bars. Warm Up Café is an institution, while Beer Lab is perfect for craft brew enthusiasts. For a quiet sunset drink, head to the rooftop bar at Hotel Yayee. If you’re up for late-night cocktails and chic vibes, head to Myst Rooftop. I also found the very best pizza in Nimmanhaemin – Pizza Corner (not on a corner!!) on Suk Kasame – yum!

Transport – Navigating Nimman Like a Pro

Getting around is a breeze! Songthaews (those adorable red trucks) are your wallet-friendly chariots. Haggle a bit; it’s part of the charm. If you’re looking for a more private ride, Grab cars (Southeast Asia’s Uber) and taxis are aplenty.

Hire a private driver for the day to venture out and about. Or, for the adventurous at heart, rent a motorbike or car to explore on your own terms. Nimman’s streets are easy to navigate, and the sense of freedom is exhilarating.

The Expat Community – A Home Away from Home

Now, let’s chat about the thriving expat community. Nimman is the hub for digital nomads, families, and retirees. Co-working spaces like Yellow, Collab Coworking Cafe and CAMP (Creative And Meeting Place) are perfect for keeping the productivity ball rolling.

Fitness junkies will find plenty of gyms to work off the Pad Thai calories. For families, there are several preschools and international schools where your little ones can thrive.

Language learning centers abound for those eager to immerse themselves in Thai culture. I’ve dabbled in a few lessons myself, and let’s just say, my Thai is… a work in progress!

Now, let’s just touch briefly on accommodation. With a plethora of options from budget hostels to luxurious serviced apartments, Nimman caters to every taste and pocket. I recommend The Nimman by Palm Springs for a swanky stay, or Huay Kaew Residence if you’re after something homely and budget-friendly. There are also an almost unending supply of AirBnB options, too.

And for those seeking a more permanent abode, there are ample condos and houses for rent. You’ll find a mix of modern design and Lanna style that captures the essence of Chiang Mai.

The outside view of a small, Japanese themed shop covered in small tiles in blue tones. There are a dozen white paper lanterns hanging in a row from the front of the shop.

Beyond Nimmanhaemin – Wonders Around the Corner

While Nimmanhaemin is a destination in its own right, it’s also the perfect base for exploring greater Chiang Mai. The magnificent Doi Suthep Temple is just a short drive up the mountain. Trust me; the view is worth the climb. For a spot of nature, the serene Huay Tung Tao Lake isn’t far either. Bring a book, rent a bamboo hut for the day, and let the tranquillity envelop you.

Parting Thoughts

There’s a certain allure that Nimman possesses. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of ancient culture and modern flair. Perhaps it’s the magnetic energy that draws you in with the promise of adventure. For me, it’s a place that feels like home every time I visit.

Nimmanhaemin, with its soulful quirks and contemporary beat, is a Chiang Mai treasure that’s waiting to be unraveled. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a family, or just an adventurer at heart, Nimman welcomes you with open arms. Take my word for it; you won’t be able to resist its charm. So grab your passport, pack your bags, and I’ll see you there!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the nickname of Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai has earned itself the nickname of Rose of the North – isn’t that lovely? Nimmanhaemin has the nickname of Nimman and everyone in Chiang Mai understands this abbreviation.

What is Chiang Mai famous for?

Chiang Mai is famous for incredible temples, a vibrant Old Town surrounded by ancient walls, and stunning scenery. Temples like Doi Suthep, Wat Sri Suphan (the Silver Temple), and the ancient Wat Chan Mai are not to be missed! And wander winding alleyways through the bustling Old Town to find treasures aplenty – silver, handicrafts, fabrics, and tea. Just a few minutes’ drive to the north-west of the Chiang Mai Old Town lies the area of Nimmanhaemin. Nimmanhaemin – or ‘Nimman’ for short – is a trendy and thriving hub of culture, coffee, food, and shopping.

What is the old name of Chiang Mai?

In 1296 Chiang Mai was named as the new capital of the Lan Na kingdom, taking over from Chiang Rai. Chiang Mai translates to ‘new city’ in the Thai language, although after over 800 years it’s now not so ‘new’! Nimmanhaemin (or ‘Nimman’ for short) is an artsy and trendy area slightly north-west of Chiang Mai’s Old Town. Nimmanhaemin boasts some of the best coffee in Chiang Mai, as well as excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, bars, and entertainment.

Is Chiang Mai the second biggest city in Thailand?

Chiang Mai is not the second biggest city in Thailand, but it is the biggest city in Northern Thailand. Getting statistics for Chiang Mai’s current population is challenging. You see, Chiang Mai is the name of a city, and the name of a province, and the name of a district! So when people (or websites) talk about Chiang Mai’s population, it’s often difficult to tell if they’re referring to the city, the province, or the district. Some estimate that ‘greater Chiang Mai’ (which includes the Chiang Mai Old Town as well as urban areas around it) has a population of approximately 1.3 million people. However, the Old Town of Chiang Mai only has a population of about 132,000 people.

What is Chiang Mai’s most famous dish?

Chiang Mai’s most famous dish is Khao Soi – a spicy Northern Thai curry noodle soup. It’s delicious! Often prepared with beef or chicken, Khao Soi is definitely Chiang Mai’s most famous food – with very good reason. You can find Khao Soi all over Chiang Mai, from street stalls to fancy restaurants and everywhere in between. Some of the very best Khao Soi is sold along the main road through Nimmanhaemin and in the fabulous One Nimman precinct.

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