Tawandaeng (ตะวันแดง, sometimes spelled Tawandang) is by far the craziest club in Chiang Mai (it’s actually a chain, there are others). It’s more like a dinner show than a nightclub, but the line blurs as whiskey bottles empty and people get into the mood. Make sure you walk around and dance with people – they’ll love it.
There’s no dance floor as such, it’s instead cluttered with dining tables and waiters dodging drunk people. There’s a full menu available, and while the food isn’t amazing it’s reasoably priced. Drinks are best ordered as a bottle of whiskey with mixers and ice.
The music is a mixture of slightly naughty folk songs from the Northeast (mor lam) and old Thai protest songs – it’s likely most of the audience will know the words to all of them, which means people get really into it.
The first thing you’ll notice are the oversized portraits of revolutionaries and communist leaders hanging from the walls both inside and outside. According to legend (we don’t actually know if this is true), these are an homage to Tawandaeng’s unlikely origins – during the 1970s, when many left-leaning students and academics were driven out of Bangkok, meeting halls in provincial towns serves as places to discuss communist ideas. Somehow these turned into Tawandaeng, its past reflected in the decor and music they play.