Central Festival: Chiang Mai's No.1 Shopping Experience

Central Festival is an exceptional shopping and entertainment center situated in the dynamic city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This state-of-the-art mall houses over 300 retail outlets, offering a wide selection of local and international brands to accommodate various tastes and budgets. The complex provides an extensive range of dining options, including fine-dining restaurants, casual eateries, and food courts that cater to diverse culinary preferences. Additionally, Central Festival in Chiang Mai boasts a cutting-edge cinema, a well-equipped fitness center, and an engaging event space that hosts a multitude of activities and performances throughout the year. With convenient access via public transportation and ample parking facilities, Central Festival delivers an unrivaled shopping, dining, and entertainment experience for both residents and visitors.

The mall is located on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, northeast of the old town (Google Maps). As you approach the entrance of this giant building with its flowing curves and friendly fountains, you realize you’ll need at least half a day to see everything. Make it a full day if you’re going to enjoy some entertainment.

Humble Beginnings From Almost 100 Years Ago

It’s hard to believe that this vast and modern mall is a product of a tiny retail store that opened in Bangkok in 1925. A Chinese immigrant, Tiang Chirathivat, founded the little shop, which turned out to be the forerunner of the family’s current gigantic corporation.

In 1927, Tiang moved the shop, which sold a wide array of newspapers and magazines, naming it Central Trading Store, a name they would carry far into the future.

As their first small business flourished, Tiang opened a new shop in 1947 with his eldest son, Samrit. Samrit’s name means fortune and success, and it certainly seemed that he brought this to their business.

Samrit wanted to call their small store Central, using the Thai word Klang, but they decided on the English word as they thought it had a nicer ring to it. The thought behind the name was that their shop would be at the heart or at the center, where their customers could get everything they needed in one place. To date, Central Group has opened 21 department stores and malls.

Central Festival Is Elegant, Functional, And Fun

Architect Mauro Resnitzky, founding director of Girimun Ltd. 2012, designed this elegant yet functional retail complex, spanning 250 000 square feet.

The primary building features five stories dedicated to luxurious shopping, fast food, sit-down restaurants, and entertainment. The mall is home to more than 300 stores, two enormous food courts, an ice-skating rink, and a 7-theater cinema, among many other types of entertainment. 

A string of canopies lead out to pavilion buildings and event plazas, all set in landscaped gardens. The landscaping was inspired by the Paddy Terrace concept, a local farming practice dating back to the Lanna empire. Lanna translates directly to million paddy field. The wavey design and curves on the paving give the impression of the paddies blowing in the breeze.

Shop Until You Drop At Central Festival Chiang Mai

Which shops and brands will you find at Central Fest, as the locals call it? The better question is: which shops and brands will you not find?

Central Festival has a five-floor department store called…you guessed it, Central! It’s really like a smaller mall within a larger one. If you don’t know where to start looking for the things you need, here’s a little cheat sheet:

  • 1st Floor: Bags, purses, ladies’ shoes, and accessories are the order of the day here.
  • 2nd Floor: This floor is a mix of zones for women, girls, teenagers of both genders and a sporting section. Other sections include jewelry, sunglasses, gifts, and party supplies.
  • 3rd Floor: clothing department for teenagers and young adults, and a section for menswear, shoes, and accessories.
  • 4th Floor: mainly dedicated to children’s and babies’ needs, like clothing, toys, kiddies’ swimwear and accessories, baby toiletries, and other bigger baby items like strollers, car seats, and cribs. You will also find lingerie and ladies’ swimwear on this level.
  • 5th Floor: beds, bedding, luggage, household goods like crockery and cutlery, and many small to medium-sized appliances live on this level.

The Main Mall Has Even More In Store For You

Although it may feel like you have read the cheat sheet guide for the entire Central Festival shopping center, there is so much more to experience than the department store.

Central Festival is a delightful mix of all the famous international brands (like H&M, Levi’s, Marks and Spencer, Zara, and Uniqlo, to name a few) and a host of local retailers.

The ground floor is a random mix of various types of stores. It’s the site of one of the enormous food courts, with the other one sitting on the top floor. There’s also a somewhat pricey supermarket, but it has excellent quality cheeses, meats, and seafood. If you need any beauty or pharmacy supplies, you can get them at Boots, Watson’s, Beauty Buffet, and Beauty Cottage.

The first floor probably feels more like home to Western tourists. This floor carries many international clothing brands like those mentioned previously and familiar fast food restaurants like KFC and Starbucks. If you keep your eyes open, you will often find incredible deals at these clothing shops, with some items starting at 100 baht.

On the second floor, you can indulge your passion for shoes, with stores selling every kind of footwear, from sexy heels to Crocs. Payless often has excellent prices on kids’ shoes. Next, you can move on to teenager-friendly stores, stationery shops, and a favorite electronics one-stop shop called PowerBuy, selling everything from laptops to air conditioners.

If you want to ditch your husband or geek friend so you can do your shopping, the third floor is the place to let them loose. It’s buzzing with stores selling computers, electronics, mobile phones, and accessories.

The third floor also houses the Education Zone, where you can participate in numerous tutoring classes, such as music, art, and sport. And if you have little ones, there’s even a free playground for toddlers. While your children catch up on some lessons, you can nip to any of the banks on that floor.

Further along the same level, you will find the Sub Zero Ice Skating Rink, where you can pay a daily or hourly fee and rent skates as well. This floor is undoubtedly a children’s / teenagers’ paradise.

The fourth floor houses many different stores and is the site of the second food court, which uses a coupon system for payment, so purchase your coupons before ordering your food. Daiso and Moshi Moshi are two Japanese stores on this level, where you can buy household goods, makeup, gifts, and more for very reasonable prices.

The top floor is where you will find every kind of restaurant, which is excellent news if you want to grab a snack before or after a movie. The cinema, Major Cineplex, is also on the fifth floor.

Now that you’ve taken a mental walk through Central Festival Chiang Mai, you will undoubtedly want to head there in person.

Like all major shopping centers, Central Festival Chiang Mai hosts special events, sales, and promotions from time to time. To find out the details, keep an eye on their website, or join their Family Club @ Central Festival.

Eat Your Heart Out At Central Festival

Food courts and restaurants comprise a large proportion of the center’s area, and there are numerous types of cuisine to choose from. Of course, there is an entire range of Asian foods available, including Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and more.

In addition, between the fast food stores and the dine-in restaurants, you will find practically any food you may be craving, including the following:

  • Steakhouse
  • Vegetarian
  • Seafood
  • Sushi
  • Deli and bakery items
  • Coffee and dessert shops, like Starbucks and Dairy Queen
  • BBQ
  • Pizza
  • KFC and other chicken options

For drinks, quench your shopaholic thirst, or boost your caffeine to get you through the rest of your shopping day, visit Starbucks, Amazon Café, Love Mango, Wine Connection, and Pa Ping Café, among many others.

If you’re looking for a tasty meal, head to Laem Cha-roe Seafood, Chester’s Grill, Jeffer Steak, Kane Mochi, or Saap Saap. However, a sweet tooth’s nose will lead them to places like Aunty Annes, Cold Stone Creamery, or Mister Donut.

No Fun Police

Yes, there are plenty of fun things to do at the mall. There’s entertainment for the entire family, from toddlers to “mature adults.”

See A Movie

You can take in a movie at one of the seven theaters at Major Cineplex on the top floor of Central Festival. Movie times vary, with the earliest starting at 10.30 AM and the latest at 09:30 PM. You can join the M Generation club to earn points and get better movie prices or discounts on snacks and drinks.

Movie tickets can cost 80 – 400 baht, depending on what day it is, the type of seats you choose, and the type of theater. Tuesdays are great for students because they only pay 80 baht for a show.

Play Games At The Arcade

Kids, teenagers, and many adults will have a whale of a time at the Fun Planet arcade and game center on the fourth floor. You can enjoy hours of fun for a minimal amount of money. Fun Planet is open from 10 AM to 09:30 PM.

Go Bowling

If arcade games aren’t your thing, why not visit Bluo Rhythm and Bowling? You can rent shoes for 50 baht; a game should cost between 170 and 200 baht. If that sounds like a melody to your ears, you might also enjoy spending time in the Karaoke rooms.

Special Events And Performances

Central Festival Chiang Mai recently hosted Songkran Fest 2023, and the Tamiya Mini 4WD Go To Asia Challenge 2023. To see all events, check their website.

Get Around Easily

Few things in life are free, but Central Festival operates a free shuttle to different places in the city several times a day. There are four routes with pick-up and drop-off points at hotels in the city. If your hotel is one of these serviced by the shuttle, you will probably find a timetable in the lobby.

Alternatively, you can use a taxi, which will cost around 200 baht, a songthaew (shared taxi) for about 60 baht, or a tuk-tuk, which may cost approximately 150 baht. E-hailing is also an option with the Grab app.

If you’ve rented a vehicle, there is plenty of free parking at the mall. The center is also very organized with its parking. There is special parking for ladies driving alone or with male passengers younger than 14. Specific parking areas are also designated for supercars, superbikes, and bicycles.

Central Festival also provides its customers with the following services and amenities:

  • Electric vehicle charging station
  • Lockable phone charging stations
  • Wheelchair service
  • Stroller service
  • Kids’ restroom with smaller, brightly-colored toilets
  • Small lounge for moms to feed and change their babies
  • Prayer room
  • Redemption counter to receive gifts related to promotional campaigns
  • Wheelchair friendly restrooms
  • The Happy Train takes little ones and their parents for a ride around the mall.

The information desk is the first place tourists head when they enter Central Festival to apply for the tourist rewards program known as the 1Card. This entitles them to special discounts or promotions from certain stores. It also facilitates 2 hours of free Wi-Fi.

Tips For Visitors

  • Allow several hours for a visit to this mall. There are endless things to see and do.
  • This massive shopping center has many temptations, so be sure to budget for food, entertainment, gift shopping, etc.
  • If you’re on a budget, don’t shop for groceries at the mall supermarket, there are cheaper stores nearby.


When the weather is lousy, or you’re desperate for air-conditioned activities, you will have the time of your life at Central Festival in Chiang Mai. Besides window shopping, you can feast on various types of delicious food or enjoy a movie, games, or even Karaoke. There is something for everyone at Central Festival. Shopping at this mall is loads of fun!


Central Festival Chiang Mai is a modern, upscale shopping mall located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is one of the largest shopping centers in the region and offers a wide variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options for locals and tourists alike.

Central Festival Chiang Mai is located at 99/4 Moo 4, Fa Ham, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand.

Visitors can reach Central Festival Chiang Mai by various modes of transportation, such as taxi, tuk-tuk, red songthaew (shared taxi), or by renting a motorbike or car.

Central Festival Chiang Mai is typically open daily from 11:00AM to 9:00PM. However, it is always good to check for any changes or updates in their operating hours.

Central Festival Chiang Mai offers a diverse range of international and local brands. Visitors can find clothing, accessories, electronics, home goods, and more from popular brands like H&M, Uniqlo, Zara, and SuperSports.

Yes, Central Festival Chiang Mai offers a variety of dining options, including international and Thai cuisine. The mall features a large food court, as well as casual and fine dining restaurants, cafes, and dessert shops.

Central Festival Chiang Mai offers various entertainment options, including a movie theater, bowling alley, and an arcade. The mall also hosts events and promotions throughout the year.

Yes, Central Festival Chiang Mai provides ample parking space for both cars and motorbikes. The parking area is well-organized and easy to navigate.

Yes, Central Festival Chiang Mai is family-friendly, offering facilities like a children’s play area and family restrooms. Additionally, many of the restaurants within the mall have kid-friendly menu options.

Discover a variety of pricing options for renting automatic scooters, maxi-scooters, semi-automatic motorbikes, and manual-gear motorcycles in Chiang Mai by browsing our Bike Rental Rates page.

If you prefer to travel by car, be sure to read our guide on how to save up to 50% on rental car expenses in Chiang Mai.

For an extensive compilation of our travel advice, explore our Northern Thailand Routes and Travel Notes section.

Find out more about our scooter rental in Chiang Mai. If you encounter any inaccuracies in the text or have valuable information to share with our readers, please feel free to contact us.

Cat Motors Team

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