Where to Develop Film in Chiang Mai

Seven Labs, Five Reviews, One Personal Favourite

11 min read by Dmitri and Betty. Published in Film & Photography.

For a small city of a hundred thousand, Chiang Mai is remarkably well-equipped for film photographers. Should you need your lab to handle slide film, medium format, darkroom printing; or develop and scan within an hour; this article will help you find a place to go.

The guide is fairly extensive. If you just want to see the list of all the labs with Google Maps links, hours of operation, and brief recommendations — scroll all the way down.

Rakuda Photo Artisans & Café.

✹ Update: It’s my unfortunate duty to report that Rakuda has recently closed its doors. I spoken to its founder, who’s still optimistic about returning to business someday. If you’d like to stay up-to-date on the situation, please consider creating your Analog.Cafe account, which will add you to our mailing list.

Please scroll down for six other great options in Chiang Mai for your film development needs — starting with Thaislip Film Lab.

This is Ta, founder of Rakuda. I took this photo of her on a soon-to-be-discontinued Agfa Vista 200 (some sort of Fuji stock) with my Yashica Electro 35 that she then developed and scanned for me.

Rakuda is a lab, a coffee shop and an exhibition space. Out of all the places described here, they are the easiest ones to find.

Rakuda is located at the intersection of Khang Ruan Jum and Ratvithi roads in downtown Chiang Mai (see Google Maps). They are open from 9 AM to 6 PM every day, except Mondays.

This is Khim, who works with Ta at the lab every day.

Here your film will be developed by-hand, whether it’s black and white or colour. It can then be scanned at up to 12000 DPI (JPEG) on Epson V800 or you can request a darkroom print for your monochrome work. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 110, 35mm, medium or large format. They can push- and pull-develop your film; just ask in advance. Rakuda does not work with slide film, however. There’s another lab for that (below).

Most of the time you can get your digital files back in about three business days but I recommend you allow for more time to be fair to yourself and the girls. Their peak record is 1,000 orders in a single month, though during the rain season you should have no problem getting your scans back on-time. If you’re in a rush, there are other labs in the city that can do the job in about an hour.

Typically, my order is 250฿ per roll (about $8 USD) but I suggest you ask for their price list, should you want something specific. My usual cost breaks down to the baseline develop and scan service @1200 DPI for 200฿, plus 50฿ for doubling the resolution to 2400.

Most images that I’ve published on Analog.Cafe so far have been through their hands. Rakuda is undoubtedly my favourite lab in the city, though they might not be perfect or suitable for all.

Ta, the owner, opened Rakuda about three years ago as Ung Gallery. The name has since been changed, and translates from Japanese as “camel.” To her, she says, it symbolizes adventure and patience.

I really like this photo, not just because of the subject matter but also how it’s creamy and raspy at the same time. The grey tones “sound” like a sax solo at a dingy club. Girls at Rakuda did the job of pushing my Ilford 400 to 1600 and scanning it with an appropriate amount of detail. This image was made with Canon QL25, wide-open at something like 1/125 or 1/60.

Ta (who also goes by Nawaphat) got exposed to film photography at Payap University, only to have the program shortly cancelled and replaced with digital imaging courses. Since then she’s been dreaming of opening her own lab and supporting the craft she fell in love with as a student.

Her wish was granted when she found a space in an otherwise fully-booked town. A year later, she met Khim, a former graphic designer who’s been helping her take care of their growing customer base.

Shot on the same roll of Agfa Vista, the somewhat dim room that has been holding a number of artist talks and meetings. Their exhibition space is beyond the white doors.

Most images that I’ve published on Analog.Cafe so far have been through their hands. Rakuda is undoubtedly my favourite lab in the city, though they might not be perfect or suitable for all.

I’d say that the best work I’ve ever received from them was a roll of Ilford Pan 400 which was pushed two stops and scanned at a slightly-higher resolution than what I usually ask for. The grain and the contrast came out phenomenal.

I’ve also had the girls push my Fuji Natura to ISO 3200, which ended up looking excellent. The end-result came with a gritty, yet beautiful character I did not expect from the emulsion.

Ta and Khim do everything by a manual process that will come with some minor inconsistencies and their personal creative choices. The best way to see if they’re right for you is to give them your roll and see what comes out.

Fuji Natura 1600, pushed to 3200. Shot at 2.8, 1/60 with FED5 (handheld).

Thaislip Film Lab.

The most obscurely-located lab of the bunch. It’s a shed next to the restaurant which is about twenty-minutes away from the city. It is, however, worth the drive if you want to develop your E-6 slide film!

This is Fuji Velvia 100 off my dad’s FED5 that Thaislip has developed and scanned. Note the tiny sliver of a frame border on the left – isn’t that nice?

The lab is located next to the มักเส้น restaurant (click the Thai name for Google Maps link). It’s open 10 AM to 5 PM on weekdays, though you may still find it empty during those hours. In which case you can drop off your film with the eatery’s staff — they know what to do.

Thaislip hand-develops and scans film at about 2400DPI for 250฿ per roll. You may get it back in three days or it could take a week-and-a-half. Which seems acceptable, considering that mailing your film to a lab overseas will cost you more, take longer, and isn’t likely to yield better results. Because Thaislip is excellent.

Another shot from the same roll of Velvia.

Airlab CNX.

Airlab has been around since 2015 in Bangkok, only opened their doors to Chiang Mai at the end of 2017.

This fruitful papaya tree was shot on Agfa Vista 200 with Canon QL25.

Their service is very fast: I got my scans back in about an hour. A great alternative to Analog (below) if you are in the area.

Airlab also rents their darkroom and studio. You’d have to ask about those services within, but beware that the person I spoke to had very limited command of English (though I’m sure he’s not the only one manning the office).

Airlab currently does not sell film. Despite a large sign right above the entrance door it was fairly difficult to find as their window sports T-shirts and nothing obviously photography-related.

They do process 35mm colour and monochrome film as well as medium format in black and white. Pushing is available at 40฿ per stop. I paid 150฿ to get my Agfa Vista 200 complete scans.

Airlab is open every day from 11 AM to 8 PM, a few steps toward the mountain from Boat Bakery (see Google Maps).

Analog.

Analog will get your images ready within one to two hours. Though I would recommend you scan your developed film at home. Analog have recently updated their film scanner, though I still find the colours to be a little too bright.

This lab enjoys wonderful reputation for the service an an overall experience.

This image is from my roll of Fuji Color 200 that Analog sent me an hour after I gave them the roll. Although the scan isn’t what I’d like it to be, the negative they provided had no issues (see below).

The shop uses a machine to process your film (35mm and 120, although latter they can not scan). The prices are cheap: just over 100฿ per roll.

There’s a great selection of fresh rolls there, too. Last time I’ve checked, they had Fuji Natura, Sunny 16 and some other interesting brands along with the staple Kodak Gold, Fuji Color C200 and the local special: Agfa Vista. Sadly, the latter stock has been discontinued, not sure how long it’ll remain on sale.

Analog is located in downtown Chiang Mai under a yellow Kodak sign (see Google Maps).

The shop is open every day from 8 AM to 8 PM.

You can find Analog staff on their Facebook page. There you can preview some scan samples, too.

✹ Update: I’ve been recently notified that Analog has also opened a coffee shop right next to the lab! Chill while you wait for your film — nice.

This is the same photograph of a rice field in Pai. I had it re-scanned at Rakuda the next day.

Photo Bug.

Update: Currently Photo Bug has problems with their scanner. It still works but produces very light lines in the image. It isn’t noticeable if you post your photos onto Instagram, but you may see some degradation on large screens.

There used to be a chain of those stores in Chiang Mai. Today there’s just the one. Photo Bug is a camera store that mostly sells digital photography gear and digital printing services. Amazingly, they also have a great selection of film, including slide and medium-format. You get a discount on expired rolls, too!

To the left of the cash register, there’s a fancy display of an impressive film camera collection with several Leicas, a beautiful Nikon rangefinder and many, many others. Unfortunately, none are for sale.

Photo Bug is something of a happy medium. Personally, I don’t feel that their work is as good as that of Rakuda, but they do have a nice selection of film and digital photography gear as well. They typically return your scanned files within three to five business days.

Photo Bug is at 49 Chang Phueak Road and is open every day from 8 AM to 8 PM. Except for Sunday, when it’s 11 AM to 5 PM. Their prices are quite reasonable, below 200฿ per roll for scanning and developing.

A shot from my trip to Bangkok on Fujicolor Industrial 100 with Canon QL25. Scanned and developed at Photo Bug.

Film Niyam.

I’ve never tried their services but I took a trip across town to make sure that the lab is real. It is.

The shop is almost as difficult to find as Thaislip. It’s not visible on Google Street View but you can recognize it by a beautiful Hasselblad camera in the window along with other nerd magnets. They are to the right of Pinch of Salt bakery.

Niyam is open every day until 8 PM. The lab offers hand-processing for black and white negatives with scanning for 250฿. No colour film.

I did see some samples of their silver gelatine prints and they looked fantastic. According to Facebook, Niyam has over seventeen thousand people “liking” them and twenty-eight five-star reviews.

Colour Vision.

You can buy film here and you can get it developed. This is perhaps the cheapest place to do so in Chiang Mai. However, from what I’ve heard the quality isn’t as good. They haven’t got the redeeming one-hour service like Analog either. I did drive there to make sure that the lab is real. It is.

Colour Vision is located at 2 Chiang Rai Road, near Nimmanhaemin Road. They are open every day from 7 AM to 8 PM.

Which one to pick?

For slide film make a trip to Thaislip. It’s open 10 AM to 5 PM on weekdays. Find them on Google Maps (look for a shed next to the restaurant).

For fast service and fair quality scans go to Airlab. They are open every day from 11 AM to 8PM. Find them on Google Maps (they are few steps away from Boat Bakery).

For fast service and new film go to Analog. They are open every day from 8 AM to 8 PM. Find them on Google Maps.

Photo Bug develops and sells slide film. They are open every day from 8 AM to 8PM with reduced hours on Sunday. Find them on Google Maps.

Try Niyam for black & white film. They are open every day until 8PM. Find them to the right of Pinch of Salt bakery.

Go to Color Vision if you’re brave. They are open from 7 AM to 8 PM. Find them on Google Maps.

Note: if you don’t want your scans on a CD you’ll need to specifically ask your lab for an email or a file transfer onto your USB drive. Please be patient as English isn’t a strong suit for any of the shops mentioned above.


If you find that something’s missing or inaccurate, please email d/at/analog.cafe