This trip review is my desire to help you have an overview of my trip and help you planning a perfect trip to Northern Thailand in the near future. It will not be a cost-saving or budget trip review, but I will show you a list of expenses in a way that I travel on a budget in this field trip. So, are you planning a trip to visit Northern Thailand and do not know how to make a perfect itinerary? Let’s check out our Northern Thailand travel blog for Northern Thailand trip with the suggested Northern Thailand itinerary for 6 days (6 days in Northern Thailand) to explore 3 most beautiful destinations Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai to find out the answer!
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- Top things to do in Krabi island — 8+ must, fun, cool & best things to do in Krabi
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Northern Thailand travel blog: The trip costs
- Tickets: My air tickets of two routes Bangkok – Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – Bangkok are booked on the app of Traveloka, this application will help you find suitable tickets at affordable price. Both flights I flown with AirAsia from Don Mueang Airport. The fare is: 1.570 baht ($50.54). If you hunt early or lucky on the sales promotions, tickets prices can only range $30.23-$34.55. (Super cheap compared to domestic flights in Vietnam).
- Accommodation: I stayed for 5 nights and 4 nights in hostels and 1 night in hotel costs only $42.03 that booking via Agoda.com, review + hotel room rates will be mentioned more detailed below.
- Chiang Mai – Pai coach round-trip ticket: 340 baht. One-way ticket Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai: 266 baht. All types of tickets in Thailand, when you planned your itinerary for the trip, you should book in advance at www.12go.asia to go there without spending time for searching or to be ripped off.
The total cost of accommodation, transportation for my whole trip with 6 days 5 nights in Northern Thailand that I already booked is about 3.500 baht. After all are booked, there is no need to fear anything when traveling here. Especially for those who love solo travel like me.
Northern Thailand trip — Day 1: Bangkok – Chiang Mai.
My flight departs at 8:30AM and can you believe it? I just woke up at 7:35AM, too late. I hurry up to pick and pack everything for 5 minutes, the result when get on the taxi I discovered that I was wearing sandals, did not bring shoes T_T. The driver knows I’m late, he drove very fast at speed of 80km/h (regular road, not highway). Luckily, the road is still deserted, so 8:15AM, I arrived at the airport to check-in. Running as crazy as to boarding on time. I feel extremely lucky and happy.
After nearly 2 hours of flying, the plane landed at Chiang Mai airport at 10AM, not as I imagined, the weather was also hot as in Bangkok even though Chiang Mai is slightly higher than Bangkok T_T. As soon as I get out of the airport, I see many taxi already are waiting to take visitors from the airport to the center, I did not see other public transport services, so I have to take a taxi to city center for 120 baht.
Arriving at the hotel, it was still not time to check in, so I sent my luggage at the front desk and rented a motorbike to wandering. The rental price for a 125cc scooter is 250 baht/day, I rented it for 2 days. Note, when renting a motorbike you have to deposit amount of 3.000 baht or let them keep your passport. I chose the first way because I have to bring my passport in urgent situations.
Vehicles in Thailand will run on the left, opposite to Vietnam, if you are not confident with your driving skills, you should consider when rent a motorbike. The police in Chiang Mai are passionate about their work, LOL, so on the first day, I was stopped twice to check my driver’s license. Fortunately, I always bring my driver’s license from Vietnam, so when I show it and they allow I continue going, there is no penalty. Did you see the importance of a Vietnamese driving license yet, LOL.
Until now, I’ve been talking too much, let’s start the trip now. The first destination is Doi Suthep (Doi in Thai language means a hill or a mountain). On this hill there are 3 main attractions:
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (Wat means Pagoda or Temple): Tickets for visitors are 30 baht, Thai people are free. This temple has a unique architecture and is considered to be the most sacred temples in Chiang Mai, the large Chedi (stupa) in the middle of the yard is a magnificent gilded stupa. Coming to Chiang Mai without visit this temple is considered not traveling to Chiang Mai.
- Continue going up is the Bhubing Palace: Here, there is a flower garden, a palace, a mountain lake, a forest trail,.. in general, everything is like some tourist resorts as in Dalat, Vietnam. This is a summer palace for the king for his vacation. Entrance fee for foreigners is 50 baht, for Thai people 20 baht.
- Drive up one more distance will be Doi Pui Hmong Tribal Village (this road is quite rugged and difficult to riding): Tickets are 10 baht, coming here you will feel it like an ethnic villages in the Northeast of Vietnam, selling all kinds of ethnic things, having streams, flowers, ethnic costumes for rent for girls. I have lunch here, a dish costs about 40-50 baht. I bought 2 headbands here, so cute at price of 50 baht.
When I return to the hotel to check-in, it was around 4PM, so tired, I fall to asleep and sleep until 6PM. After waking up I went to the Sunday night market (there are night markets in Chiang Mai every weekday, take place at different locations). When I arrived at the parking lot, I thought this market is a small market. OMG, I was wrong, it was so big that I went in there for 3 hours and still did not finish, so I gave up to go back the hotel @@. In the market there are many delicious food and drink, selling all kinds of clothes, jewelry, generally very fun!
I ate dinner at this night market, then went for a walk, then went back to the hotel, slept early for the stormy DOI INTHANON trip on the second day.
Northern Thailand Itinerary — Day 2: Chiang Mai
The second day on my Northern Thailand itinerary 6 days started at… 3:30AM, in general, I was afraid of waking up late, so I had a restless sleep, not a good night’s sleep. Because I was planning to go to watch the sunrise at the top of Doi Inthanon mountain in the next morning, I had to get up early and leave the hotel at 4AM. I went alone so I was quite afraid because I have to drive on the very deserted road, driving while praying, finally I passed the 70km distance road.
I arrived at the ticket gate at about 5:30AM, I saw on the board the ticket price is 300 baht/visitor, too expensive so I have to risk … speak Thai language. So my ticket costs 70 baht (saving 270 baht for both people and motorbike). LOL, I am so excited!
I thought that when I passed the entrance gate, I will reach the peak of Doi Inthanon soon, but I was wrong. I continued to drive slowly, but it did not as I expect, I did not expect to still have to ride another 40km on the slope and zigzag road to reach the top. The road is dark and slope and riding in the opposite direction, so until 6:30AM I get to the sunrise point. By that time the sun was rising high, no chance to see the sunrise T_T (It means you have to go from 3AM if you want to watch the sunrise).
There are 3 main attractions on Doi Inthanon
- Doi Inthanon National Park (the highest point of the route): There is a Base Transceiver Station (BTS) and a forest hiking trail for visitors, the scenery here is spectacular for taking photos, especially in the early morning. The early morning temperature when I arrived was 11 degrees Celsius, which means that if I you come here in the winter, it will probably be below zero degrees celsius (0°C). It’s not too surprising, because this is Thailand’s highest point.
- Doi Inthanon complex area: There are 2 large temples dedicated the King and the Queen and a scenic area, the entrance ticket is 40 baht, I strolled for a while, it was deserted, so when I’m leaving, I saw the staffs (around 8AM). Well, because I came too early !!!
- Doi Inthanon Forest Trail: There is entrance ticket and have to go quite deep inside so I did not go.
After going down from top of the mountain, I went to the Grand Canyon. This place is like a high hill, in the middle is a lake, entrance fee is 350 baht/person + locker service is 50 baht/person. Actually, about the Grand Canyon when I read the online review of a Westerner visitor, this place is quite pristine and free admission, but when I come, It was exploited like a amusement park on the water. I swear I didn’t play much, I drank a lot of water when playing water games (probably due to I weak T_T). Besides, the buoy is very big, falls into the water already, climbing up is a problem @@, have to spend much effort.
After that, I return to the town, and ate lunch at Maya Shopping Center’s food court, then noon break.
That afternoon, because I was so tired, I went hotel and sleep until 8PM, took a shower, then went to the local market to buy all kinds of food, brought to the riverbanks to eat (this market said it was local market but also served tourists. So, it stills open until 11PM to 12PM, then I strolling around the city and return to hotel to go to bed. I usually have healthy evenings because I don’t like to go to bar or pub, if you like, let’s go to the Night Bazzar area with so many vibrant and bustling bars.