Chiang Mai is not only famous for its landscapes, unique cultural festival, but also is an ideal destination for watching Songkran water festival (New Year festival of Thais) with distinctive traditional features. Let’s check it out our Chiang Mai itinerary — 72 hours backpacking in Chiang Mai on occasion of Songkran water festival.

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Wat Chedi Luang, one of th most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai.
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Using scented water to wash Buddha statues in the temple is an important ritual of Songkran water festival. Photo: Jebsen Holidays.
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Old Town of Chiang Mai
old town chiang mai
chiang mai trip blog
chiang mai travel blog
Chiang Mai walking street

The following article aims to give you some pieces of advice on planning 72 hours backpacking in Chiang Mai on the occasion of Songkran festival from 13th to 15th April.

How to get to Chiang Mai

Airfares from Vietnam to Bangkok is at a cost of $ 100-150 USD per person/roundtrip.

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Cycling around Chiang Mai

From Bangkok – Chiang Mai has 3 fights:

  • Flight Bangkok – Chiang Mai: Lowest fare is 230 USD per person/ round trip.
  • Car from Bangkok – Chiang Mai: Travel time about 9-12 hours, fare from 250-550 baht ( about $ 7- 15.5 USD) per person/ one way.
  • Train from Bangkok – Chiang Mai: Travel time about 11-13 hours. Fares from 121-158 baht ( about $ 3.5- 4.5 USD) per person/ one way.

From the bus station or train station, you can get tuk-tuk to move to the hotel. You should bargain in advance.

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Self-drive tuk tuk in Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai: In addition to buses, taxis, you can rent a motorbike or bicycle to explore freely.

If renting a car, you will pay a deposit of about 3,000-5,000 baht. Car rental about 200 baht ( about $ 5.5 USD) a day.

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Songthaew in Chiang Mai

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Where to stay during Songkran water festival?

The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

There are many visitors getting to Chiang Mai on the occasion of Songkran water festival. Therefore, you should make a reservation through the website before coming to Chiang Mai to get lower prices and not worry about a place to sleep.

Shangri-La Hotel – 5-star hotel

  • Address: 89/8 Changklan Rd., Muang, เชียงใหม่ 50100, Thailand
  • Phone: + 66 53 253 888
  • Price: $ 136 USD per night.
  • You can check rates & availability for this hotel on Agoda.com or Booking.com.
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Photo: shangri-la.com

Holiday Inn Chiang Mai – 4-star hotel

  • Address: 318/1 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road Tumbol Wat Kate, 50000, Thailand
  • Phone: + 66 53 275 300
  • Price: $ 42 USD per night.
  • You can check rates & availability for this hotel on Agoda.com or Booking.com.
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Eurasia chiang mai hotel. Photo: expedia.com

Eurasia Chiang Mai Hotel – 3-star hotel

  • Address: T. Nong Pakrang, Amphur Muang 1 Likkasithradvidhee Rd, Nong Pakrang, Muang, เชียงใหม่ 50000, Thailand
  • Phone: + 66 53 247 790
  • Price: $ 24 USD per night.
  • You can check rates & availability for this hotel on Agoda.com or Booking.com.

What to eat?

Khao Soi Khun Yai (1)
Khao Soi, must eat in Chiang Mai

The specialties that you should try include: khao soi, sai oua, Kaeng hang lei pork curry, fermented pork roll, Khanom Jeen nam ngiao, Kaeng khanun, yum moo yor, Miang kham ..

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Sai oua dish – local food in Chiang Mai. Photo: Chiangmaibest
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Nam-Prik local foods in chiang mai. Photo: chiangraibulletin.com
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Kaeng-Khanun. Photo: chiangraibulletin.com

Chiang Mai itinerary: Day 1

9h30: Departing at the airport, doing check-in procedures.

15h30: Get a hotel room in Chiangmai. Rest for 30 minutes.

16h: Visit Wat Chedi Luang temple in Prapokklao road. It was built in 1401 by the order of Saeng Muang Ma King. In 1454, Tilo-Garaj King expands the stupas to 86 meters high. This temple collapsed in an earthquake in 1545.

Photo: asiatours.co.
Wat Chedi Luang temple.

wat chedi luang chiang mai travel blog

wat chedi luang best places to visit in chiang mai thailand
Wat Chedi Luang, one of the top places to visit in Chiang Mai
Inside Wat Chedi Luang
Inside Wat Chedi Luang

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Lanterns over Wat Chedi Luang Temple, Chiang Mai in Loy Krathong Festival
Lanterns over Wat Chedi Luang Temple, Chiang Mai in Loy Krathong Festival

In 1991-1992, it was rebuilt at a cost of several million baht. Special characteristics of the temple are the harmonious combination of the architecture of Lanna dynasty and art of Northern Thailand.

Wat Chedi Luang Thai Lan 3 days itinerary Chiang Mai

wat chedi luang temple chiang mai
| most beautiful places in chiang mai

18h: Have dinner. Wandering by motorbike to explore Chiangmai at night or drop by the Tung park where was used to be a prison for drug traffickers.

22h: Back to the hotel to rest.

Chiang Mai itinerary: Day 2

There are 2 options:

1. Participate in the activities of Songkran festival like welcoming Buddha statue, cleaning Buddha statue, covering by sand by the river as well as some other activities such as taking part in the temple ceremony, watching beauty pageants, having dinner with beloved ones …

Photo: darkroom.baltimoresun.com
Photo: darkroom.baltimoresun.com

2. Continue the journey to explore the fabulous sights of Chiang Mai:

8h: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple is away 18 km from Chiangmai city center. It is located on the slopes of Suthep at an altitude of 1,073 m and is built in 1383. The highlight of the landscape is the huge gilded stupa, the path is 290 Naga stair steps, beautiful city view from above.

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Wat Phra Tha Doi Suthep temple. Photo: asiatours.co
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The road leads to the temple.
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You have to pass 309 high stone steps to admire the brilliant pagoda scene in sparkling gold. | chiang mai best places to visit
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai.

wat phrathat doi suthep chiang mai

wat phrathat doi suthep chiang mai

11h: Visit Mae Sa Elephant Camp, away about 30 km from the city. Come here, you will have a chance to drive an elephant around the camp. Have lunch here.

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Photo: tourinchiangmai.blogspot.com

13h: Chiang Mai Zoo is home to more than 200 species of mammals. There are Lin Hui and Xuang Xuang, Goodwill Ambassador from Thailand and China.

Photo: mychiangmaitravel.wordpress.com
| chiang mai itinerary
Top places to visit in Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium (1)
Close to the nature

Top places to visit in Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium (1)

Top places to visit in Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium (1)
| chiang mai itinerary songkran
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Photo: forums.steves-digicams.com

17h: Stop at a tea shop inside the zoo premises, drinking tea, watching the sunset and watching the birds flying back to their nest.

Chiang Mai itinerary: Day 3

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Splashing water is one of the attractive activities of Thailand to tourists in Songkran festival. Photo: Andrewtaylor.

15th April is the day celebrating the Water Festival.

Traditionally, in the old days, Thais use scented water to fall on family members with the concept of washing away bad things in previous years, receiving the freshness and good luck in the new year. Due to the uniqueness, this ritual has expanded to splash all members of families as well as for foreign and domestic tourists.

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Photo: theluxurysignature.com

Things need to know when participating Songkran Water Festival:

  • You can water onto everyone, except children, the elderly and the monks.
  • You should not use dirty water or ice water onto people around.
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Photo: worldwidetour.org.
  • Always smile and enjoy the fun that festival brings.
  • Learn the phrase “Happy New Year” in Thai is “Sawasdee Pee Mai!”.
  • Do not water on people who are driving because this can cause accidents.
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Photo: impressivemagazine.com

21h: Get to the Chiangmai airport, end 72-hour schedule backpacking Chiangmai on the occasion of Songkran water festival.

Here are more photos about Songkran water festival:

Are you looking for more Chiang Mai travel guide and top things to do in Chiang Mai? Let’s read: Chiang Mai travel blog — The fullest Chiang Mai travel guide for a great trip to the “Rose of the North” of Thailand.