You’d be INSANE not to go on a cooking class in Chiang Mai whilst you’re visiting. Let me tell you why and give detailed reviews of the greatest cooking schools available to you.
Thai food is one of the best cuisines in the whole world, dare I say actually the best? Screw it, I reckon it’s the best on the whole damn planet. Even if you don’t agree with me, I guarantee it’s pretty high on your list!
Already know you want to go to a cooking class in Chiang Mai?
Don’t want to waste time reading through all the recommendations?
If you’ve been to Thailand before, or you’re there right now, you’ll have experienced the culinary delights of Thai street food. Everywhere you go, you can pick up cheap, delicious food in a matter of moments. But, after a couple of days of gluttony, the panic sets in! Eventually, you’ll be heading home and the street food trolleys won’t be coming with you…
Cue depression and comfort eating (an excuse to have even more Thai food).
OK, I’m being melodramatic but either way, after one of these Chiang Mai cooking classes, you’ll be rustling up, pad Thai, tom yum soup and all sorts of other dishes in no time. Thank me later.
#1 – The Best Cooking Class In Chiang Mai – Grandma’s Home Cooking School
Looking around all of the different options in Chiang Mai for cooking schools makes you realise that picking a best is an absolute nightmare! But Grandma’s Home Cooking School pips first place for a couple of reasons.
You get the market visit in the morning, the incredible scenery, the private workstation and attentive staff of all the options in this list BUT you also get to harvest your own herbs, collect your own eggs, feed the chickens and much more in this complete cooking experience.
Grandma’s home cooking school offers morning, evening and full-day cooking schools and I simply cannot recommend them enough.
- Market Visit? Check ✔
- Incredible Ingredients? Check ✔
- Fun Side Activities? Check ✔
- Recipe Book? Check ✔
- Number 1 Class? Check ✔
The Best Of The Rest
Don’t like the look of Grandma’s home cooking school? Never fear! Chiang Mai is home to loads of absolutely incredible cooking classes. Have a read through all of the following schools, recommended by other travel bloggers, to see if you can find one to your liking.
If you’re looking for more information about what to expect, average price, pro tips etc, then click here to sizzle down to the information section below!
Red Chilli Cooking School
If you’re not a spicy food lover then don’t be put off by the name! You control everything you put into your food so can tailor the courses exactly to your liking.
Unlike some of the classes, the market tour in the morning is slightly more structured and you will have a guide who walks you around and gives you information about all of the local delicacies and history. So, if you’re a bit of a food nerd then Red Chilli Cooking School might be the class for you!
The only notable difference with Grandma’s Home cooking class is the fact you won’t be collecting the eggs from the chickens or some of the other little activities to do with the farm. However, this little bit of farm work isn’t for everyone and if that person is you then you needn’t look any further, Red Chilli cooking school is the class for you.
- Informative Market Visit? Check ✔
- Personable Instructor? Check ✔
- Beautiful Setting? Check ✔
- Recipe Book? Check ✔
- No Farm Work? Check ✔
Siamrice Thai Cookery School
Siamrice Thai Cookery School is one of the best cooking schools in Chiang Mai, a beautiful and quiet town in Northern Thailand.
Located on Suthep Road, not far from tourist attractions and the guesthouses in Chiang Mai, the cookery school is easily accessible and can conveniently fit in your Thailand itinerary.
With a flexible time table that allows you to choose a course that fits your schedule and a menu of dishes that you can fit into your course, you have complete control of what you want to learn and when you want to learn.
There is no need to give up a full day of sightseeing to learn to cook some delicious Thai dishes when you can opt for the half-day course (from 9:30 am to 1 pm) or dinner course (4:30 pm to 8:30 pm) which includes a trip to the market and around 4-5 dishes from their menu.
You can even opt to skip the market and just go to their short course which runs from 12 pm to 3 pm if you really are pressed for time. And, for the passionate learners who want to dedicate a day to Thai Cuisine, there is a full-day course that starts from 9:30 am to 3 pm.
The short courses with 4-5 Thai dishes range from 700 to 800 Thai Baht which is less than 25USD. Their full-day course, on the other hand, offers 7 dishes at the cost of 1000Baht, which is a good deal at 33USD. At this price, it’s like getting an authentic Thai take away that comes with a recipe that will allow you to make it for yourself in the future.
Reviewed by Lazy Travel Blog – Check them out on Facebook here.
Smile Organic Farm
After taking over a dozen cooking classes in Asia over the last four years, this is still my favourite cooking class I’ve ever taken. My mom and aunt agreed that it was the most fun thing we did on our Thailand itinerary, though we’re admittedly a bit obsessed with Thai cuisine.
Smile offers both a full day and half-day option, so we went for the half-day morning class, with free pick up at our hotel beforehand. Arriving at a local market around 9 am, they even timed our visit such that we could walk around after the morning rush of shoppers, exploring on our own or following our instructor around as she picked up the day’s groceries.
You’ll spend 15 to 20 minutes orienting yourselves to the Thai market experience, learning the very basics of ingredients used in most Thai dishes. Next, you’ll go directly to the school to learn the basics of preparation, techniques, and cooking styles used in northern Thai cuisine. You then have the chance to choose from 5 to 6 options for each stir-fry, soup, and curry that you’ll prepare.
After picking out your dishes, there’s a short farm tour, exploring the gardens all around the kitchen and seeing how some of the most common Thai ingredients are grown.
The cooking portion of the class starts with spring rolls, and then your chosen stir fry, stopping for a food break around noon, before making soup and curry pastes & curries. Our instructor was absolutely hilarious, constantly cracking jokes about spicy Thai dishes and the shapes of certain vegetables.
Everything can be customized for vegans or vegetarians, and each person gets their own cookbook with their name written in both English and Thai. I have no doubt that if you take this class, too, it will continue to live up to its chipper name.
Reviewed by Dame Cacao – Check her out on Instagram here.
Aroy Aroy cooking class is one of the best in Chiang Mai when it comes to making tasty Thai dishes with fresh, organic produce in a beautiful setting. Located out of the city centre in the rice fields, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped the busy city while getting to experience real rural Thailand.
The Aroy Aroy staff will pick you up from your accommodation and take you shopping at the local market before bringing you to the location. At the market, you’ll pick up some herbs and spices because the rest of the fresh veggies used during the cooking class are grown onsite at the Aroy Aroy farm.
During the class, you’ll get the chance to make a main dish such as Panang curry or chicken and cashew nut stir fry. Two starters, a salad and dessert are also included. These include tom yum soup, fresh spring rolls, papaya salad and mango sticky rice.
The devil is in the detail with this cooking class and even butterfly pea tea is included. Watch it turn from green to purple as you add a drop of lime and stir! The half-day class costs $30 USD.
Thai Farm Cooking School
Thai Farm cooking school is another firm favourite for many Chiang Mai travellers. Famous for its enthusiastic staff, you’ll get a fun and extremely enjoyable experience at Thai Farm.
After being picked up in a very fancy looking minivan (cup holders and leather seats when we went) you’ll head for your typical market tour. After, you’ll be taken to the site where you’ll be given a very relaxed talk through the day’s process and pick some of your own ingredients in the garden.
What made Thai Farm stick out for me was how fun the class actually was. At some points, the whole class was dancing whilst cooking and you can’t help but get involved with the highly charismatic staff.
The food was absolutely great, and the whole day will make you truly believe you can recreate any Thai dish that you want in the future.
Why Book A Chiang Mai Cooking Class?
One of the most important things for me and Jade, whilst we travel around, is really learning and embracing a countries culture. I genuinely believe that one of the best ways to do that is by getting involved in local food. There is no better way to do that than attending a cooking class.
Chiang Mai is very well known for being a place to experience real Thai authenticity without having to disappear to remote villages. This means it’s the absolute best place in Thailand to book a cooking class.
Compared to other big cities (Bangkok being one example) Chiang Mai is actually relatively not ‘touristy’. This means that you get an EVEN MORE relaxed vibe on tours and excursions than you may find elsewhere. This really benefits cooking classes in Chiang Mai as nothing is ever rushed and the classes are always reasonably sized. You can rest assured that you will be able to get the personal help you need whilst cooking without having to wait for ages.
As for booking in advance, this is a must. These classes fill up very quickly and if you want to guarantee your place on a specific Chiang Mai cooking class then booking is essential.
Cost Of A Chiang Mai Cooking Class
How much is a Chiang Mai cooking school going to cost you? Well, that depends if you go for a half-day, full-day or private activity. However, you’ll be looking around 1100 – 2200 Thai Baht depending on what you book.
A normal, decent Chiang Mai cooking class will be around 1500 Thai Baht per person. You really don’t need to spend over 2000 Thai Baht as the cheaper cooking classes are just as epic.
- Half-Day Cooking Class – 1100 THB
- Full-Day Cooking Class – 1500 THB
- Private Cooking Class – 2400 THB (varies quite a lot depending on the school)
What Does The Price Include?
- First and foremost, nearly all of the classes in Chiang Mai include transfer to and from the class. This will be limited to the city of Chiang Mai so you won’t be collected from a tiny homestead 30km outside of the city.
- Any activity that the class has included, for example, a market visit or a farm tour.
- All of the food, in any of the meals that are on the menu for the day.
- All of the utensils, cleaning services and utility costs associated with the cooking.
- Different classes have different drinks throughout the day but generally, water and tea will be free flow throughout the day. As you can imagine, alcoholic drinks and soft drinks will almost certainly NOT be included in the price.
- The teaching costs and any other members of staff at the centre will all be included in the price.
Do not expect to have some crazy or surprise bill at the end of the day as everything you expect to be included in the class is included.
How Long Is A Chiang Mai Cooking Class?
The time you will spend varies slightly from class to class but you can roughly expect the following to be pretty accurate;
- 4-5 hours for a half-day class
- 7-9 hours for a full-day class
You’ll be surprised how little the price differs between half-day and full-day classes so if you have the time then I recommend going for a full-day class as they tend to be the most relaxed and best value for money.
Where Are The Best Chiang Mai Cooking Classes?
Some are in the centre of Chiang Mai, some are on the outskirts and some are even a little drive through the mountains! The main thing for me is the fact that all of the tours will offer transfer from Chiang Mai. Therefore, most of you won’t even have to look into where the class is actually taking place. Just sit back and relax.
However, if you are looking for a half-day tour and you absolutely need to be back in Chiang Mai by a certain time in the afternoon to do something else on your epic itinerary then make sure to have a look at the location. If this is the case then simply book a class in Chaing Mai itself.
What Food Is On The Menu?
Obviously, there will be some slight variations from class to class. We wouldn’t want them to all be the same, would we! However, there are some absolute staples that every single cooking class in Chiang Mai will include.
The most famous fried noodle dish in the whole of Thailand. If your class doesn’t make this then is it even a Thai cooking class?
Red, green or maybe even yellow. You will make one of the famous Thai curries as your main course. Yes, the calorific fried noodles above aren’t even the main course! #NoDietOnVacation
Usually a selection of tom yam, coconut milk or vegetable soup. You might be thinking this is the course where you can take a break from the filling dishes… Think again.
Yes, there’s more. Thankfully there is a decent amount of time between courses if you go for a full-day class. Desert will almost certainly be banana-based with coconut cream. There is a variety of different desserts from class to class but you can definitely expect one at the end of the class.
Many of the classes actually change their menu throughout the week. If you don’t fancy one of the dishes then take a look on their website to see if they change the menu on different days. Then simply book the day which is best for you.
What To Expect At A Chiang Mai Cooking School
You’ll almost certainly be taken around a local market where you’ll be able to wander freely whilst the staff collect the ingredients for the days cooking class. This is a really good opportunity to have a look around a market that actual Thai people shop at, instead of being shepherded around a tourist trap with inflated prices and aggressive sales techniques.
Many of the classes are actually built in the middle of farms. These farms produce many of the herbs, spices and vegetables that you will use in your cooking class. You may be taken around the farm on a little tour or actually spend some time picking some of your own ingredients.
You’ll be set up at your own personal workstation. There are no Chiang Mai cooking schools in this post where you do not get your own workstation. I really don’t think watching someone else cook is immersive enough to pay the money.
This is where different classes differ slightly. You might be given a chopping board with all of the ingredients prepared and ready for the pan or you might be given the ingredients ready for you to chop, crush and pound into shape. If you go on a full-day tour, you will almost certainly be prepping the ingredients yourself. Personally, I think the more prepping, cooking and eating in a class the better!
Throughout the class, the instructor will guide you through step by step. You’ll watch for a couple of minutes and then do it yourself.
Once the meal is completed you will be given free reign to sit down and gobble it up. They will let your food go down before getting on with the next course.
At the end of the day, you’ll be provided with a cooking book detailing everything you have made throughout the day as well as some dishes that you didn’t have time to make. The quality of this book will differ from class to class but don’t let this affect your decision whether to book a specific tour or not. It’s all about the experience on the day, not the book you get at the end of it.
Where To Stay In Chiang Mai
There are so many accommodation options in Chiang Mai city that you’re spoilt for choice. I’ve listed the best budget and the best accommodation for comfort below. If you want to have a look at all the options click here for more.
You can’t go wrong with Absolute House. You’ll get a choice of a private room or a dorm room. Everything is air-conditioned. There’s a bar on-site and all of the cities attractions are easily accessible. If you’re trying to save money then look no further!
If you’re looking for something a little more homely, comfortable, then take a look at Luxury Condo. You can grab an apartment fitted with a kitchen, washing machine and bathroom. Then you can make use of the accommodations outdoor pool and fitness centre. It really is perfect for anyone wanting to make their Chiang Mai visit something a little more special.
What Else Is There To Do In Chiang Mai?
There are so many amazing activities to do, in Chiang Mai city, whilst you are not serving up delicious Thai food. I’ve listed some of the very best below.
The most well known and famous of all of the attractions in Chiang Mai. If you are a scenic lover, temple enthusiast, cultural sponge or history buff then this is the place to be! Nestled in the mountains of a huge national park, lose yourself for half a day visiting Doi Suthep.
- Mountaintop city views? Check ✔
- Waterfalls? Check ✔
- Buddhist temple? Check ✔
- Serene meditation classes? Check ✔
- Rare wildlife? Check ✔
Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary
Jade and I cannot recommend this elephant sanctuary enough. We were very aware of the bad animal welfare in Thailand and wanted to make sure that we were not endorsing this at all in our trip. Rest assured that Elephant Nature Park is world-famous for its elephant rescue and rehabilitation scheme and they are truly passionate about the care of their elephants.
If you’re looking to interact and get close to elephants but in the safest, most ethical way possible in Thailand then this is the tour for you.
- Ethical Elephant Park? Check ✔
- No riding? Check ✔
- Accommodation? Check ✔
- Dog walking? Check ✔
- Vegan food? Check ✔
Mae Ping River Kayaking
If you like seeing the incredible beauty of nature with a little added adventure then you simply have to kayak the Mae Ping river during your Chiang Mai stay. Don’t like kayaking? Well, try paddleboarding instead! I would go kayaking simply because I’m totally useless at paddleboarding…
- Adventure? Check ✔
- Unspoiled Thai Beauty? Check ✔
- River swimming? Check ✔
- Escaping the city? Check ✔
- Holiday exercise? Check ✔
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Cooking Class In Chiang Mai?
Grandma’s Home Cooking School consistently gets perfect reviews and has everything you could want from a Thai cooking school.
What Do You Cook In A Thai Cooking School?
- Pad Thai
- Tom Yum Soup
- Green/Red/Yellow Curry
- Sticky Mango Rice
- Banana Coconut Soup
- Panang Curry
- Spring Rolls
- Papaya Salad
- Basil Chicken
- Cashew Chicken
Can I Go On A Chiang Mai Cooking Class If I Am Vegan?
Yes, you can. Double-check with the provider but nearly all Chiang Mai cooking classes can be completed fully if you are a vegan.
How Long Is A Chiang Mai Cooking Class?
Ranging from 3 – 8 hours depending on what type of class you book.
How Much Is A Chiang Mai Cooking Class?
Ranging from 700 – 2500 baht depending on the class. A typical and good cooking class will be around 1300 baht.
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