Finding the best Chiang Mai Cooking Class [updated for 2019]

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Post updated for 2019

Chiang Mai cooking classes are famous. Tourists visiting the city usually have ‘visit a cooking school in Chiang Mia’ on their list. And there are loads. Hotels and guesthouses are full of leaflets for them. Tripadvisor has a long list. A Google search brings up nearly 2 million hits for ‘Chiang Mai cooking class’ and even more for ‘Chiang Mai cooking school’. So which do you choose? Which are the good ones? Which are value for money? Where can you cook the dishes you want? Where are the vegan and vegetarian cooking classes in Chiang Mai?

Hanging out in Chiang Mai with my parents back in October 2016, we thought a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai would be a fun thing to do together. Kris and I did one in Pai back in 2007 and it was awesome. We love Thai food anyway, and my parents had been enjoying lots of great food we’d recommended during their trip with us. Why not learn how to cook it so we can attempt to replicate it back home?

I gave it some thought and came up with several things to consider when choosing a Chiang Mai cooking class. Scroll to the bottom of this post for our summary of the top 23 cooking classes in Chiang Mai, with details of the lengths, prices, menus and location of each.

There are so many Thai cooking courses in Chiang Mai, so we created this round up of all the top one and how to compare them. #cookingcourse #Chiangmai #Thailand #Thaifood

Reviews of Chiang Mai cooking classes

My ‘go to’ when choosing travel related things is Tripadvisor. There is even a post ‘The Top Ten Chiang Mai cooking classes’. Each recommended course has a long list of reviews from happy guests. And that’s the problem. They all have a five-star rating. All the Chiang Mai cooking schools have positive reviews. While the list gave me an idea of what courses were available, I couldn’t choose between them based on reviews or ratings.

So what else do you consider when choosing a cooking school in Chiang Mai?


How much time do you want to spend on your cooking course? If you are really into cooking and have a lot of time, then there are full-day courses. You start at 8.30 or 9, and cook and eat until somewhere between 3 and 5.30, depending on the course. They usually include some other activities such as a market visit or a talk on farming.

If you are only in Chiang Mai for a few days, you might want to do a half day course. There are morning only classes like the one at Asia Scenic from 9am-1pm where you cook and eat lunch. Most others offer an evening class like the one at Mama Noi between 4.30 and 8.30 where you cook and eat dinner. There are fewer afternoon courses, but Siam Rice run a course from 12-3.30.

All courses vary in length slightly. Check out the table at the end of this blog or the course websites for the exact timings.

If you have even longer, you can do a three-day vegetarian or vegan cooking course in the mountains with YouSubai cooking school. Running from Monday to Thursday, it includes cooking and optional yoga sessions. The price for the three days including accommodation is 3,200 baht. Alternatively, Mai Kaidee cooking school has a three-day vegan and vegetarian cooking course in Chiang Mai.


I bet if you’re thinking of doing a Thai cooking class, you know what dishes you want to learn how to cook. Maybe you’re one of the many who loves pad thai (not us, we really don’t like it that much). Perhaps you want to be able to make a decent red or green curry to impress your friends, and make your own curry pastes rather than buying them from the supermarket.

There is a range of food you can cook at Chiang Mai cooking schools, and the choice is vast. If you do a full day course, you usually cook about 7 dishes. On a half day course, you will cook fewer, usually about 4-5. You eat everything you cook, so choose wisely!

On many courses, like the one we took at Galangal Cooking Studio (you can read about our experiences here), you choose a dish from each category, usually salad, stir-fry, soup, curry paste, curry, and dessert. Each person on the course can usually pick a different dish, so if there are several of you, you can learn and eat a range of dishes.

Pad Thai is one of the dishes you can cook on a Chiang Mai cooking class

Some courses offer different dishes on different days of the week. For example, at A Lot of Thai, the menu changes each day.

At Pantawan Cooking, there is a different theme each day: Monday –  Northern cuisine, Tuesday – Issan (northeastern cuisine), Wednesday- healthy Thai food, Thursday – Thai Home style, Friday – Royal Thai cuisine. Sat- All time Thai favourites, Sunday – Chef’s choice.

Similar to Pantawan, Small House Cooking school offers different menus: including Thai, Northern Thai and vegetarian. You choose which one you want to do that day.

In a couple, there is a fixed menu for all. For instance, at Red Chilli, the menu each day is:

Soup                   Tom Yum Soup and Tom Kha Soup

Curry paste          Red Curry Paste and Green Curry Paste
Curry                   Gang Ped Pon Lamai Ruem and Green Curry
Stir-fry                 Pad Thai with Prawns
Dessert                Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango

This is a total of nine dishes, so you are getting a lot here if that’s what you want to cook.

Schools sometimes offer a more specialist menu. Red Chilli also has a Northern Thai cooking courseThai Akha offers normal dishes plus three dishes from the Akha hill tribe.

If you want to try more Northern Thai food, there’s a great sounding food tour where you try 20 different dishes that we’d like to do next time. Check it out: Chiang Mai 20 dish Food Tour.

If you spend some time in Bangkok during your trip, you should definitely try lots of the street food in Bangkok, especially the area we recommend around Silom.

Vegan and Vegetarian Cooking Classes in Chiang Mai

If you are into vegetarian, healthy or organic food, there are specialist vegetarian Thai cooking courses for you, like the one at Sammy’s Organic Thai cooking school (only Facebook) and Basil healthy Thai. My friend Emma took the course at Mai Kaidee and really recommends it. They not only have vegan and vegetarian cooking classes in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, but restaurants in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and even New York!

Other cooking schools in Chiang Mai offer vegan and vegetarian menus. Thai food uses a lot of fish sauce and oyster sauce, so these courses use alternatives and of course, for the vegan courses, egg free.

Since we had done a Thai cooking class before, we had already learned how to cook pad thai, red curry and fried rice. I also don’t eat nuts, so chicken with cashew nuts didn’t appeal. We wanted to learn some of our favourite Thai foods – laap (spicy pork salad), yam talay (spicy seafood salad) som tam (spicy mango salad), pad siew (fried big rice noodles) and khao soi (a northern Thai yellow curry with noodles. The choice of dishes at Galangal Cooking Studio offered all of these. We could choose from each category, there were four dishes in each category, so between the four of us, we cooked the whole menu!

Travel Blogger Travel Dave did a course through the website Withlocals, which pairs up tourists and travellers and local people offering tours. He did a course with Vannee where you can choose what you want to learn from 50 dishes!

If you like cooking courses, you might be interested in doing one in Myanmar. We did a great course near Inle Lake with Bamboo Delight. Read more about it in this post: Food in Myanmar: Yangon Food Tour and Burmese Cooking course.


Most Thai cooking schools are in or close to Chiang Mai city. Others like Thai farm cooking school are outside the city on their own farms. If you go to a farm, you’ll be able to hang out there, and learn how various fruits and vegetables are grown. Farms are also sometimes organic, so you can see how organic food is grown.

Travelling out to a farm will take a bit longer, so if you are short on time, you might want to stay nearer the city.

What’s included in your Chiang Mai cooking class

Almost all courses include a market visit. They take you to a local fresh market and show you what the various ingredients for Thai cooking look like. Do you know what galangal is?

If you decide to do a cooking course in Bangkok, rather than Chiang Mai, you can even include a visit to the famous Bangkok flower market!

Vegetables at the market that you can visit on the best Chiang Mai cooking class, you can even take a vegan and vegetarian cooking class in Chiang Mai
Photo from

You’ll also get a cookbook so you can attempt to replicate the dishes when you get home.

Most courses organise a pick up from your hotel and a drop off at the end, unless you are staying far out of the city.


Half day courses range in price from 800 to about 1200 baht per person. Full day Thai cooking courses are obviously more expensive, costing from 900 to 2000 baht. Considering this includes a huge meal as well as the tuition and other activities, it’s quite a bargain.


Another way to choose a Chiang Mai cooking class is, of course, to take recommendations from travel bloggers. See who bloggers you follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram did courses with. Google it and see what blogs there are on it.

Like I said, we took a cooking class with Galangal Cooking Studio. You can read about our experience in our blog on it. 

Here’s a great post on the dishes you can cook at Mama Noi’s.

If you are wondering whether to take a cooking course in Chiang Mai, Travel Bloggers Hannah and Adam at Getting Stamped and  Travel Dave can hopefully convince you.

Papaya salad Som Tam is another dish you can cook in a Thai cookery school in Chiang Mai
Papaya Salad – known as Som Tam in Thai

Comparison of Chiang Mai Cooking Classes

Here is a table I compiled of the top Chiang Mai cooking classes (based on Trip Advisor) which might help you choose your cooking course. All prices and information are correct at the time of writing. They are in alphabetical order.

V=Vegetarian, VG=Vegan

Chiang Mai Cooking courses comparison table Chiang Mai cooking school vegetarian cooking class Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Cooking courses comparison table Chiang Mai cooking school vegetarian cooking class Chiang Mai

If I have forgotten a great course, let me know so I can add it to the table.

Have you taken a Chiang Mai cooking course? Which Chiang Mai Thai cooking school did you do it at and would you recommend it? Leave a comment to share your experiences with others.

Why not save this for later? Pin it now.

There are so many Thai cooking courses in Chiang Mai, so we created this round up of all the top one and how to compare them. #cookingcourse #Chiangmai #Thailand #Thaifood

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42 Responses

  1. Una-Minh says:

    This post deserves so much love because you’ve put so much work into the comparison of Chiang Mai Cooking Classes – it’s so in-depth especially with the table at the bottom of the post (something that so many bloggers don’t do). Incidentally, I had serious Pad thai cravings after reading.

    • KateandKris says:

      Thank you. It was what I wanted to find when we were booking, and I since I couldn’t find one, I wrote one!

  2. Ellis says:

    I never knew there were so much cooking classes in CHiang Mai. Thanks for giving an overview of all the possibilities. I was in Chiang Mai two years ago and didn’t get the chance to have a cooking class, but it sounds like a nice idea.

  3. Magretha Palepale says:

    This sounds awesome! I’ve never thought of taking a cooking class in a location that I’m vacationing in, especially an exotic location. What a great idea to really immerse yourself into the culture by learning to make a local dish! Love, love, love it!

  4. Danijela WorldGlimpses says:

    Sounds like interesting thing to do. Even more so if you have in mind that they do organic and health cooking, and market visits! Love the idea. And I can see that you did have some great time while doing it. šŸ™‚ So, how was your first dish? šŸ™‚

    • KateandKris says:

      Delicious! They were all yummy. They are still pretty good when we try them at home without the beady eye of our teacher on us!

  5. Milena says:

    Such a useful post. I was in Chiang Mai last year, but didn’t have enough time to take any cooking class. I will save the post for a reference – I am going back to Chiang Mai this year with one way ticket…. so plenty of time to start learning how to cook all those tasty dishes!

  6. Anna Sherchand says:

    Inspiring. Unfortunately I couldn’t/didn’t take cooking class despite being in Chaing Mai multiple times but next time I’m there, I would like to make sure I do this! Also, want to make sure how recent is your comparison info? Thanks

    • KateandKris says:

      The table was written early 2017, after we had done the course. It’s up to date from there, but you never can tell when schools will change the information, so you might have to check.

  7. Hayley says:

    Chiang Mai certainly looks like the perfect place to try a cooking course, so many great choices. Love all your pictures, you captured it beautifully šŸ™‚

    • KateandKris says:

      Unfortunately I didn’t take these photos, so perhaps we can say I chose the photos beautifully!

  8. stephanie says:

    Galangal studio sounds nice. I went to Sammy’s in 2015 and had a great time cooking the standard recipes like geen curry, pad thai and mango sticky rice.
    Iwould love to do another one, and learn other recipes. so thanks for sharing these tips.

  9. My whole family took a class at Basil Healthy Thai cooking school. They were really good at working with our kids, and I still make both the Sticky Mango Rice dessert and the Som Tam that they taught us.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Anyone looking to attend a cooking wouldn’t need to go pass your post. Well done!

  11. Laura W says:

    VERY helpful! Thank you- taking a class in March and this saved me SO much time.

  12. Sky says:

    Thai Akha Kitchen, my favorite cooking class in chiang mai

  13. Linda says:

    I’m just going to add my voice here to the chorus of appreciation for putting together this list! I was not looking forward to slogging through every Chiang Mai cooking school’s website — thank you so much for making your pain, our gain!

  14. Ramlah says:

    Are there any cooking classes which acommodate children. I am going to Thailand in April but I have a 2year old. Which cooking classes allow children?

  15. Melissa C. says:

    Super comprehensive! We were just there and did a new one that was fantastic – I have a full review over on my website and I can’t recommend it enough šŸ™‚

  16. Linor says:

    Awesom site. We’re going in the early winter, and I already booked a full-day at the farm with Asia Scenic. We got two recommendations from good friends that have visited in the last few years, one for Asia Scenic and One for Sammy’s organic. Me and my two travel buddies did a side-by-side comparison based on what we saw on the websites/youtube and went for Asia Scenic. I can’t wait!

  17. Svevo says:

    Thai Akha Kitchen become #1 in tripadvisor, take a look

  18. Corrine says:

    This is exactly what I needed, because like you I was totally overwhelmed when I found so many of the courses on tripadvisor had 5 stars! Thanks heaps šŸ™‚

  19. Tracy says:

    Great post! A cookery class is definitely on my list and this guide will certainly help choosing! Will pin and definitely keep it in mind! Have you done one on Bali? Would love to read it if you have as heading there next year. #feetdotravel

  20. Sharon says:

    The papaya salad is making my mouth water! What luscious food. I had not idea there are so many choices in Chiang Mai. It would hard to pick one!

  21. Merry says:

    Thanks a bunch for putting this comprehensive chart together! Very helpful time saver. Looking forward to picking a cooking class in Chiang Mai. Cheers!

    • Sean says:

      What did you end up doing? The list is great but I wish it ranked the classes

      • KateandKris says:

        To rank the classes, we’d have to take them all, which isn’t practical. As we say in the post, we took the Galangal cooking studio course, which we thoroughly recommend.

  22. Sean says:

    Iā€™m going in April , anyone have recommendation on an air conditioned/ cool cooking class for this time of the year.

  23. Marcus says:

    Thai Akha Kitchen, simply the best.

  24. ruth says:

    Thanks so much for doing all this research and the chart. It simplified the choices a lot. Much appreciated. If you have any recommendations for nice clean hotel at least 3*, that would be appreciated too. Lots look good but are not. Also street food and places to go after Chiang Mai. I have 4 weeks left. Dec 9/ 2021

  25. ruth says:

    Thanks so much for doing all this research and the chart. It simplified the choices a lot. Much appreciated. If you have any recommendations for nice clean hotel at least 3*, that would be appreciated too. Lots look good but are not.

    • KateandKris says:

      It’s a pleasure! We haven’t been for a few years, so I’m not sure we can recommend a hotel, but we stayed in Chedi Home and loved it.

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