I will always have a fondness for Nimman because it’s the site of my first little Chiang Mai apartment–my home for a month. Nimmanhaemin Road, named for Chiang Mai’s oldest family, once sported humble homes and noodle shops. Today it is abuzz with cafés, restaurants, shops, hostels, salons, and galleries. Nestled between the mountains to the west and the Old City’s moat to the east, Nimmanhaemin Road, also know as “coffee street,” is chic, modern, and trendy.
The neighborhood is a mecca for backpackers, tourists, and millennials. Charming Internet cafés are everywhere and the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center has an enormous one called C.A.M.P that never closes. Stay as long as you please–just buy something every couple of hours.
Artists and musicians also gravitate to Nimman, which boasts its own five-star hotel, the unique Art Mai Gallery Hotel. Each floor in this eight-story masterpiece was designed by a different contemporary Thai artist working within a particular genre.
Feeling romantic? Try the eighth floor. Sensual? You might enjoy the nudes on the second floor–an adult-only zone. I’m partial to the abstract art on the fifth floor.
There is a gallery on the first floor, of course, and a sophisticated restaurant with an impressive wine list and interesting cocktails such as the popular Lemongrass Mohito.
Restaurants, coffee houses, shops, galleries, and convenience stores are all within easy walking distance in Nimman, as are the few food stalls and street vendors that remain amid all the glitz.
Beautiful shops house handcrafts, jewelry, and exotic carvings created by native artists. Gift shops and salons delight and tempt.
Chefs fashion food with thrilling flavour and fragrance. Three of my favorites are Rustic & Blue for brunch, The Larder Café and Bar for coffee, and Fried Chicken Leaves Nimman–the food stall on my corner. It’s the one place I’m really going to miss. Just look at this fried chicken! One piece costs less than $1.50 and is always served with a deep-fried kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.
Getting Around Nimman
Navigating Nimman takes a little practice. The neighborhood consists of Nimmanhaemin Road and numbered side-streets (called sois). The number scheme is not intuitive, with numbers switching back and forth from left to right, and not always in order. My soi, for example, is Soi 10, between Soi 6 and Soi 8. If I cross the street it becomes Soi 13. Addresses don’t mean much either–it’s all about the soi.
Thank goodness for Uber! I just type in the name of the place I’m going it usually pops right up. Uber’s app does the rest and communicates the location to the driver, who follows the GPS to the location. Usually.
I’ve had a good time here and I’m sure I’ll be back often. My favorite hair salon is here, after all. Any that fried chicken!