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Chiang Mai hotels slash prices amid ongoing slump in tourism

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort

Hotels in the northern province of Chiang Mai have been forced to cut their rates by up to 90%, in a desperate bid to attract more domestic tourists. According to a Bangkok Post report, La-Iad Bungsrithong, from the northern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association, says with tourists mainly favouring the southern beach destinations this month, hotel operators in the north of the country are preparing for the forthcoming low season.

The resurgence of Covid-19 late last year meant that in December, only 1,000 Chiang Mai hotels, offering between 20,000 and 30,000 rooms, stayed open. This month, occupancy rates have plummeted to less than 3% and are not expected to rise beyond 5% during the Songkran holiday next month.

La-Iad says traditional target markets such as China are currently off-limits due to the Chinese government placing restrictions on citizens travelling out of the country.

“Even though vaccine distribution has started globally, the target markets for Chiang Mai such as China still cannot take outbound trips. Operators have to rely on the domestic market for the whole year.”

She adds that the Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort, of which she is general manager, has cut room rates to 1,500 baht a night, compared to the normal rate of 13,000 baht prior to the pandemic.

Hotels are also being forced to explore new ways of making money, with around 30 hotels – all 4 and 5 star properties – now offering a “drive-thru” food service. La-Iad says hotel operators are also calling on the Chiang Mai office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to provide visitors to the province with a 500 baht coupon to be redeemed in hotel eateries. She says the authority also needs to do more to promote inter-provincial travel, in particular from the south and north-east of the country.

In 2019, Chiang Mai welcomed 11 million tourists, with 70% of them being Thai. By contrast, there were only 1 million in 2020. This year’s number is expected to be around 25% of the 2019 figure.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Why would any Thai or expat with local knowledge choose to spend any time in March or April in the smoke filled region, with repeatedly some of the worst air quality anywhere in the world?

  2. Avatar

    Gary james

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Chiang Mai are missing the elephant in the room. Why would anyone travel to the most polluted city in the world.

  3. Avatar


    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Well, if they tackle the pollution problem seriously, people will be more inclined to come to Chiang Mai. I prefer to go to the beach too when the air quality is that bad.

  4. Avatar

    Ebiware Yeri-Obidake

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    I just looked up Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort. The cheapest room is almost 3,000 bht. Who is lying the reporter or the hotel. I am ready to book for 1,500 bht. Also tried booking 2 months out for that rate and still 3,000 bht.

  5. Avatar


    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    It’s NOT about COVID. It’s about the damn smoke! It was over 300 AQI this morning. When is the government going to do something besides putting shiny new fire trucks downtown spraying water in the air???? It gets worse every year and no one does a damn thing. You get the government you support, I guess.

  6. Avatar

    James R

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 8:27 pm


    Yes the smoke season has just started and will last for three months or more.

    I know a number of people who live there and have just left to go to Hua Him for three months until the annual smoke season is over.

    Chiang Mai has a bad name now and will never recover to how it was a few years ago.

    House prices must have plummeted too, maybe they will give them away for free soon.

  7. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Exactly Stuart.
    I see no evidence of slashed prices.
    A small reduction here and there, but I could not call them slashed.
    Plus I see lot of extra tax and fees added to the bills. For what, is a Thai secret.
    They work out at about 19 percent extra on the bill.
    One hotel state there are no deposits required, and no firm booking, yet they still want the customers card details.
    The hotel are determined to carry on their old rip offs it seems to me.
    My advice never book a hotel in Thailand in advance.
    The hotel could be next to a a massive building site.
    The room that is booked might not overlook the swimming pool. It might be at the back and overlooking a car park. The room might not have a window.
    There will be no refunds,
    Call the tourist police and they will not answer.
    Your room that is paid for in advance might be rented out to a walk-in at a higher price, and the hotel will send you off to a two star hotel, but you will still pay for for four star.

  8. Avatar


    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Toby it does sound like you should stop booking hotel rooms through Agoda, or similar companies. You would most definitely have a much better experience if you would join Accor [Plus is well worth the extra charge], Marriott [Bonvoy] or similar.

  9. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 2:08 am

    I agree 100 percent and only after inspecting the room and checking the ac blows cold air and the toilet plumbing is working ok.only then hand over the cash.most hotel room pictures were taken when the room was new and unused often many moons ago.

  10. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 9:03 am

    From all the reviews, the experience of most visitors to Chiang Mai has been extremely positive.
    The smoke is a problem. If poppy growing was stopped in the old Golden Triangle, because misuse of opiates, then the same attack should be made on these farmers – their livelihood is causing several thousand premature deaths every year.

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 10:41 am

    “… almost 3,000 bht”, Ebiware Y-O ?

    You did well! The cheapest I could find there was 4,000 per night, booking for a week!

    No sign of the claimed “1,500 baht a night, compared to the normal rate of 13,000 baht”.

  12. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Tried again going through the listings, and the best rate for Rati-Lanna anywhere is 3,060 baht per night through Agoda, but only for very limited dates and availability – way, way off the claimed 1,500 baht per night.

  13. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    You’ve got to love the Thais.
    Going to be interesting what happens when this nonsense ends. My guy feeling is people will flock to TLoS desperate to escape their own shit hole which has driven them stir crazy for 18 months. I also suspect the Thais will try to recover all the lost income by ramping prices. Will the same happen with airlines? Cheap fares gone as airlines will only be interested in profitable routes.

  14. Avatar


    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 2:29 am

    Need to focus on attracting tourists from the U.S. Americans are getting vaccinated quickly with Pfizer and Moderna, and it is one of the few countries that is not imposing strict travel restrictions on its returning citizens.

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