Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand Itinerary (6 days)

Travel Itinerary: Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand in 6 days

This itinerary will cover the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Thailand over 6 days, and is the second part of my Thailand - Laos backpacking trip. To see a previous itinerary, check out my 5 day itinerary for the Mae Hong Son motorcycle loop, or fast forward to my next itinerary, 13 day itinerary for Northern Laos and 9 day itinerary for Ayutthaya, Bangkok and Hua Hin, Thailand

Trip Summary

  • Trip length and when did I go? 6 days in June 2015
  • Places visited: Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep, Chiang Rai, Mae Salong
  • How much did it cost me? MYR 360

At A Glance

  • Day 1 - Chiang Mai. Arrival in Chiang Mai. Check in to So Hostel, then walk to Sunday Night Market and dinner at Tha Phae gate. Overnight in Chiang Mai.
  • Day 2 - Chiang Mai. Walking tour of the old city along all five of Chiang Mai's gates (Tha Phae, Chang Puak, Suan Dok, Suan Prung and Chiang Mai). In the same time, I visited important temples such as Wat Phan Tao, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh. Dinner at Chiang Mai gate. Overnight in Chiang Mai. 
  • Day 3 - Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep to Chiang Mai. Day trip by motorcycle to Doi Suthep and Doi Pui. Stopped by at The Harbour on the way back. Dinner at Chang Puak gate. Overnight in Chiang Mai.
  • Day 4 Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. Check out from hostel and took the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. Upon arriving in Chiang Rai, I checked in to Fun D Hostel. Did a short visit of Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) in the afternoon. Back in Chiang Rai, I did a short walking tour of Chiang Rai, visiting the famous Chiang Rai clock tower. Ended by day by having dinner at Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. Overnight in Chiang Rai.
  • Day 5 Chiang Rai to Mae Salong to Chiang Rai. Day trip by motorcycle to Mae Salong. Along the way, I made stops at King Mengrai monument and Baan Si Dum (Black House). In Mae Salong, I hiked up to Sinakarintra Mahasanthikiri Pagoda for a bird's eye view of the town and its surroundings, and visited the tea plantations. Back to Chiang Rai and dinner at Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. Overnight in Chiang Rai. 
  • Day 6 - Chiang Rai to Laos. Check out from hostel and took a bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Kong. From Chiang Kong, I took a tuk tuk to the border crossing and over the Friendship bridge to Laos

Itinerary Map (click to view POIs and routes)


Travel Montage





Arrival in Chiang Mai & Hostel check-in
  • 8.00 pm - Arrive in Chiang Mai after completing my Mae Hong Son loop
  • Check-in to So Hostel (located along Loi Kroh road) - 189 baht per night. Staying for 3 nights (total cost - 567 baht)

Arriving in Chiang Mai. Loi Kroh road at night
Arriving in Chiang Mai. Loi Kroh road at night
Facade of So Hostel Chiang Mai. Conveniently located with ample and well-thought-out facilities at a good price point
Facade of So Hostel Chiang Mai. Conveniently located with ample and well-thought-out facilities at a good price point
Interior of So Hostel. Had the whole dorm to myself the first two nights, sweet!
Inside So Hostel. Had the whole dorm to myself the first two nights, sweet!

Sunday Night Market at Tha Phae Gate
  • 9.30 pm - Walk from hostel to Sunday night market, located at Tha Phae gate (under 10 minutes)
  • Dinner - Chiang Mai sausage (20 baht) & vegetarian fried rice (60 baht)
  • Walk around the night market for a few hours until closing hour. The market only stays open till midnight
  • 11.30 pm - Return to hostel

Tha Phae gate at night
Tha Phae gate at night
Sunday Night Market
Sunday Night Market
Chiang Mai sausages at Tha Phae gate. Yummy!
Chiang Mai sausages at Tha Phae gate. Yummy!

Getting ready for Chiang Mai's old city walking tour
  • 8.00 am - Wake up
  • Breakfast at 29 Cafe (located along Ratmakka road, close to Tha Phae gate) - American breakfast (100 baht)
  • Return scooter to Pop Rental at Tha Phae gate

My breakfast at 29 Cafe
My breakfast at 29 Cafe. Well portioned, good price
On the way to Tha Phae gate
On the way to Tha Phae gate
Tha Phae gate in the daytime
Tha Phae gate in the daytime

Tha Phae Gate to Chang Puak Gate
  • 10.00 am - Start walking tour of Chiang Mai's old city
  • 11.15 am - 12.00 pm - Photo stop at Chang Puak gate. From here, it's possible to catch a red songthaew to Doi Suthep. Costs 50 baht one way, but it only leaves when full (in low season, this could take a very long time)

Part of the wall that surrounds Chiang Mai's old city
Part of the wall that surrounds Chiang Mai's old city
On the way to Chang Puak gate
On the way to Chang Puak gate
View of the moat on the way to Chang Puak gate
View of the moat on the way to Chang Puak gate
Approaching Chang Puak gate
Approaching Chang Puak gate
Red songthaews waiting at Chang Puak gate
Red songthaews waiting at Chang Puak gate. You can catch a red songthaew here to Doi Suthep. During low season, this can be a very long wait, so try out other options such as renting your own transport

Chang Puak Gate to Three Kings Monument
  • Walk south along Phra Pokklao road. Short photo stop at Three Kings Monument (15 minutes), an important landmark in Chiang Mai's history, built to commemorate the city's founders
  • 12.30 pm - Coffee break at Kaffe 151 - Banana cake (30 baht) & pearl milk tea (35 baht)

Walking along Phra Pokklao road
Walking along Phra Pokklao road
Kaffe 151 located on a junction along Phra Pokklao road
Kaffe 151 located on a junction along Phra Pokklao road
Three Kings Monument, one of Chiang Mai's most important landmarks
Three Kings Monument, one of Chiang Mai's most important landmarks

Wat Phan Tao
  • 12.45 pm - Continue down Phra Pokklao road
  • 12.55 pm - Photo stop at Wat Phan Tao (30 minutes), one of city's oldest temples, and one of the few remaining teak wood structures in Chiang Mai

Seen on the way to Wat Phan Tao
Seen on the way to Wat Phan Tao
View of Wat Phan Tao from the outside
View of Wat Phan Tao from the outside
Teakwood interiors of Wat Phan Tao
Teakwood interiors of Wat Phan Tao

Wat Chedi Luang
  • 1.30 pm - Walk over to Wat Chedi Luang, located just around the corner. The ruined chedi housed in this temple was possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai

Entrance to Wat Chedi Luang
Entrance to Wat Chedi Luang
View of Wat Ho Tham, one of the temples inside Wat Chedi Luang
View of Wat Ho Tham, one of the temples inside Wat Chedi Luang
Inside Wat Ho Tham
Inside Wat Ho Tham
Chedi Luang, possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai
Chedi Luang, possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai

Wat Phra Singh
  • 3.00 pm - Walk west along Thonon Rachadamnoen road. Coffee break at Ratchadumnern Cafe along the way - Iced latte (65 baht)
  • 4.00 pm - Photo stop at Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai's most revered temple. There's an entrance fee of 20 baht to enter the main temple, but I got in for free since I seem to pass for a local :D

Walking along Thonon Rachadamnoen road to Wat Phra Singh
Walking along Thonon Rachadamnoen road to Wat Phra Singh
Coffee break at Ratchadumnern Cafe
Coffee break at Ratchadumnern Cafe
View of Wat Phra Singh from the outside
View of Wat Phra Singh from the outside
Ho Trai, or temple library of Wat Phra Singh
Ho Trai, or temple library of Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh to Suan Dok Gate
  • 5.00 pm - Exit Wat Phra Singh, and start walking east along Arak 5 road. Turn in halfway to Intrawarorot road. Noticed lots of eateries along this road, and the place is seemingly popular with the locals
  • 5.15 pm - Photo stop at Suan Dok gate 

Beautiful weather seen from Arak 5 road
Beautiful weather seen from Arak 5 road
Plenty of local eateries along Intrawarorot road
Plenty of local eateries along Intrawarorot road
Watching the sunset over Suan Dok gate
Watching the sunset over Suan Dok gate

Suan Dok Gate to Chiang Mai Gate
  • 5.30 pm - Walk south along Arak road. Since it started to rain, I decided to do a short photo stop at Nong Buak Hard park. It's a small area but very popular with the locals.
  • 6.15 pm -  Continue on eastward along Bumrung Buri road from the park
  • 6.30 pm - Quick photo stop at Suan Prung gate

Scenic moat area seen on the way from Suan Dok to Chiang Mai Gate
Scenic moat area seen on the way from Suan Dok to Chiang Mai Gate
Fruit stalls lining the outer fence of Nong Buak Hard park
Fruit stalls lining the outer fence of Nong Buak Hard park
Inside Nong Buak Hard park
Inside Nong Buak Hard park
The moat runs in parallel with Bumrung Buri road
The moat runs in parallel with Bumrung Buri road
Suan Prung Gate, one of Chiang Mai's five gates
Suan Prung Gate, one of Chiang Mai's five gates

Chiang Mai Gate
  • 7.00 pm - Dinner at Chiang Mai Gate food market - Paprik rice (40 baht) with fried chicken (20 baht) & fruit shake (25 baht, quite possibly the best I've tried, bought from Pa Fruit Shake stall)
  • 8.45 pm - Return to hostel

Drizzly evening at Chiang Mai Gate food market
Drizzly evening at Chiang Mai Gate food market
There's a wide selection of food here that you'll be spoilt for choice
There's a wide selection of food here that you'll be spoilt for choice
Pa Fruit Shake Stall. Possibly the best fruit shake I've tried in Chiang Mai
Pa Fruit Shake Stall. Possibly the best fruit shake I've tried in Chiang Mai
The beautifully illuminated Chiang Mai Gate at night
The beautifully illuminated Chiang Mai Gate at night



Pre-day
  • 8.00 am - Wake up
  • Breakfast at Crema Cafe nearby the hostel - American breakfast (110 baht) & coffee (25 baht)

Loi Kroh road during daytime
Loi Kroh road during daytime. The temple pictured above is directly opposite the road from where my hostel is
Crema Cafe
Crema Cafe. Decided to have breakfast here since it was only a short walk away from the hostel. The breakfast was pricier and wasn't as good as the one I had in 29 cafe though

Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep
  • I mentioned earlier that you can also take a red songthaew from Chang Puak gate to Doi Suthep, however between the waiting times and added costs, I chose to rent a motorcycle instead
  • 10.00 am - Walk to Tha Phae gate (under 10 minutes). Rented a motorcycle from Chiang Mai Thai Car Rent & Tour (located a few shops away from Pop Rental) - 150 baht per day (renting for only one day)
  • 11.00 am - Ride to Doi Suthep (via route 1004, exit the old city into Huaykaew road going northwest, you will pass by the Chiang Mai Zoo on the way)

Doi Suthep
  • 11.45 am - Arrive at Doi Suthep. Paid entrance fee to enter Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of northern Thailand's most sacred temples - 30 baht
  • 11.50 am - 1.50pm - Photo ops around Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Parking lot and entrance to Doi Suthep
Parking lot and entrance to Doi Suthep
Climbing the 300+ steps of the Naga staircase to get to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Climbing the 300+ steps of the Naga staircase to get to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Alternatively, there's also a lift you can take to the top if you're not feeling up to it
The golden mount, one of the most photographed parts of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
The golden mount, one of the most photographed parts of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Emerald buddha statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Emerald buddha statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Altar with a row of golden Buddhas
Altar with a row of golden Buddhas
Visitors donating coins to the temple by trying to stick them onto a board
Visitors donating coins to the temple by trying to stick them onto a board. Some try it with wax, others with pure luck
Beautiful views of Chiang Mai from this viewpoint at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Beautiful views of Chiang Mai from this viewpoint at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Sightseeing around Doi Pui
  • 2.00 pm - Continue on up the hill to Doi Pui national park. Stopover at Bhubing Palace along the way but didn't go in. This place was built to accommodate Thailand's royal family and other dignitaries during state visits to Chiang Mai. The main draw for tourists however, is the beautiful landscaped gardens located within its grounds. There's an entrance fee of 100 baht to enter.
  • 2.30 pm - Photo stop at Doi Pui peak. Similar to Doi Inthanon, the highest point on Doi Pui hill is marked with only a signboard. There isn't much of a view as it's covered with trees. To get here, simply follow the road all the way to the top until you reach the camping grounds. From there, it's about 20 minutes on foot to the peak

Bhubing Palace
If you like spending time in beautifully landscaped gardens, then Bhubing Palace is the place for you
Doi Pui Peak
On the way to Doi Pui Peak
This isn't actually Doi Pui peak, rather a viewpoint located along the road on the way to it
This isn't actually Doi Pui peak, rather a viewpoint located along the road on the way to it. I liked the views here better than the 'viewless' Doi Pui peak
Hmong village nestled in a lush jungle
Hmong village nestled in a lush jungle

Back to Chiang Mai
  • 4.00 pm - Ride back down from Doi Pui to Chiang Mai. Did short photo stops at two viewpoints with impressive views of Chiang Mai city on the way down

The way back down from Doi Suthep to Chiang Mai
The way back down from Doi Suthep to Chiang Mai
View of Chiang Mai from one of the viewpoints on the way down
View of Chiang Mai from one of the viewpoints on the way down

The Harbour, Chiang Mai
  • 5.00 pm - Back in Chiang Mai
  • 5.20 pm - 7.20 pm - Photo stop at The Harbour on the way. Coffee break at Roastniyom - Cafe latte (60 baht)

The Harbour, Chiang Mai
The Harbour, Chiang Mai. A great place to spend your evenings
Having coffee at Roastniyom Cafe
Having coffee at Roastniyom Cafe
The Harbour lights up as the day turns to evening
The Harbour lights up as the day turns to evening

Chang Puak Gate
  • 7.30 pm - Stopover for dinner at Chang Puak gate food market - Seafood tom yum & stir fried vegetables (150 baht)
  • 9.30 pm - Return to hostel. Did my laundry using the coin operated machines in the hostel - 90 baht
  • Went for a massage at a massage parlor nearby before heading back to the hostel - 150 baht

Chang Puak Gate food market
Chang Puak Gate food market
The stall in Chang Puak gate where I had my dinner at
The stall in Chang Puak gate where I had my dinner at

Dinner at Chang Puak Gate
Dinner at Chang Puak Gate, spicy tom yum and stir fried vegetables. The tomyum was one of the best I've tasted so far in my travels



Last day in Chiang Mai & Hostel check-out
  • 7.30 am - Wake up
  • 8.15 am - Pack up and checkout from hostel
  • 8.25 am - Returned motorcycle to Chiang Mai Thai Car Rent & Tour at Tha Phae gate

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by bus
  • 8.35 am - Ride a red songthaew from Tha Phae gate to Arcade bus terminal - 40 baht
  • 8.50 am - Arrive at Arcade bus terminal. Walk to ticket counter to buy one way ticket for 9.30 am bus (Green Bus) to Chiang Rai (Bus Station 1) - 140 baht (2nd class)
  • Breakfast at the bus terminal - Fried rice with egg (40 baht)
  • 9.30 am - Board bus (Green Bus) departing for Chiang Rai
  • 10.45 am - Stopover at Mae Khachan for lunch (15 minutes)

Arcade Bus Terminal, Chiang Mai
Arcade Bus Terminal, Chiang Mai
Green Bus ticket counter inside Arcade bus terminal
Green Bus ticket counter inside Arcade bus terminal
Waiting to board the bus. The journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai took about 3 hours
Waiting to board the bus. The journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai took about 3 hours

Arrival in Chiang Rai & Hostel check-in
  • 12.40 pm - Arrive at Chiang Rai Bus Station 1. Walk from the bus station to the hostel (under 20 minutes)
  • 1.00 pm - Check-in to Fun D Hostel - 144 baht per night. Staying for 2 nights (total cost - 288 baht). I'm inclined to give this hostel a glowing recommendation, as it gave me the best value for money out of all my stays in Northern Thailand.

Arrival at Chiang Rai Bus Station 1
Arrival at Chiang Rai Bus Station 1
Fun D Hostel in Chiang Rai
Fun D Hostel in Chiang Rai offered the best value for money out of all my stays in Northern Thailand
The dorm in Fun D Hostel
The dorm in Fun D Hostel. The beds were small but comfy and best of all, they have privacy curtains!

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)
  • 1.40 pm - Walk back to Chiang Rai Bus Station 1 (under 20 minutes)
  • 2.15 pm - Ride bus (blue color with the sign "To White Temple") at platform #8 to Wat Rong Khun - 20 baht. Remember to tell the bus driver to drop you off at Wat Rong Khun
  • 2.45 pm - Dropped off by the roadside near Wat Rong Khun. Walk to the entrance of White Temple (under 5 minutes)
  • 2.50 pm - 4.00pm - Photo ops of Wat Rong Khun. Have to admit I was a bit deceived by the photos I saw while researching how to get to the white temple. Got the impression the temple was a fairly big place but it's actually pretty small and can be seen in about an hour

You can take the blue colored bus at platform #8 from Chiang Rai Bus Station 1 to Wat Rong Khun for only 20 baht
You can take the blue colored bus at platform #8 from Chiang Rai Bus Station 1 to Wat Rong Khun for only 20 baht
The famed White Temple to tourists, Wat Rong Khun to the locals
The famed White Temple to tourists, Wat Rong Khun to the locals
The temple stands as a testament to the amalgamation of old and new ideas
The temple stands as a testament to the amalgamation of old and new ideas

Back to Chiang Rai
  • 4.05 pm - Exit Wat Rong Khun and walk to the police station just outside the temple along the highway (under 5 minutes)
  • 4.15 pm - Ride bus (blue color) back to Chiang Rai - 20 baht
  • Note: If you're visiting Wat Rong Khun using this method, make sure to conclude your visit latest by 4pm as I was told by the locals that this was the last bus back to Chiang Rai
  • 4.35 pm - Arrive at Chiang Rai Bus Station 1

Going to and from Wat Rong Khun is pretty easy once you get the idea
Going to and from Wat Rong Khun is pretty easy once you get the idea. Just make sure to wrap up your visit before the last bus comes through here though, or you may find yourself having to take a taxi back!

Sightseeing Around Chiang Rai
  • 5.00 pm - 7.00 pm - Photo walk around Chiang Rai town. From the bus station, I walked along Phaholyothin road, then continued westward along Thanon Baanpa Pragarn road

Back in Chiang Rai
Back in Chiang Rai
Sights and sounds of Chiang Rai
Sights and sounds of Chiang Rai along Phaholyothin road
Sunset over Thanon Baanpa Pragarn road, Chiang Rai
Sunset over Thanon Baanpa Pragarn road, Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai clock tower
Chiang Rai clock tower

Chiang Rai Clock Tower
  • 6.00 pm - Photo stop at Chiang Rai clock tower. Hung out at Yoddoi Cafe just around the corner while waiting for the light show to happen at 7pm. During this time, the clock tower lights up in different colors at specific intervals, most notably around 7pm, 8pm and 9pm each day

Chiang Rai clock tower lights up in different colors at specific intervals each day
Chiang Rai clock tower lights up in different colors at specific intervals each day, starting at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm
One last peek at the Chiang Rai clock tower
One last peek at the Chiang Rai clock tower

Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
  • 7.30 pm - Dinner at the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar - Hot pot (70 baht) & fruit shake (20 baht
  • 10.00 pm - Did some shopping and walked around the bazaar for a bit before heading back to the hostel

Entrance into Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
Entrance into Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
Chiang Rai's biggest surprise to me was its night bazaar
Chiang Rai's biggest surprise to me was its night bazaar 
One of many fruit shake stalls at the night bazaar
One of many fruit shake stalls at the night bazaar
The night bazaar is very popular with tourists and locals alike
The night bazaar is very popular with tourists and locals alike. There's no better place in Chiang Rai to sit back and enjoy your evenings



Getting ready for Mae Salong day trip
  • 7.30 am - Wake up
  • Breakfast at the hostel - Toast bread, cereal and coffee (provided by the hostel)
  • Rented a motorcycle from the hostel - 200 baht per day (renting for only one day)
  • Refuel at a nearby gas station - 90 baht

King Mengrai Monument
  • 9.00 am - Start riding from the hostel to Baan Si Dum (via Route 1)
  • 9.05 am - 9.20 am - Photo stop at King Mengrai Monument on the way. If you have plenty of time, there's a tram you can hop on here for a free city tour 

King Mengrai Monument, Chiang Rai
King Mengrai Monument, Chiang Rai
Free city tour by tram is available near the monument
Free city tour by tram is available near the monument

Baan Si Dum (Black House)
  • 9.20 am - Continue on to Baan Si Dum via Route 1
  • Note: The lack of signages makes it very easy to miss the turn-in to Baan Si Dum. Look out for the purple signboard with the letters "National Artist - Mr. Thawan Duchanee" then make a left turn. Follow the small road to Baan Si Dum
  • 9.55 am - 10.55am - Photo stop at Baan Si Dum. Chiang Rai's Black House showcases works of art by Thailand's national artist, Thawan Duchanee. I found the displays to be quaint and grotesque at the same time

Baan Si Dum, Chiang Rai
Baan Si Dum, Chiang Rai
Quaint works of art by Thailand's national artist, Thawan Duchanee
Quaint works of art by Thailand's national artist, Thawan Duchanee
The black houses of Baan Si Dum
The black houses of Baan Si Dum
Some of the displays at Baan Si Dum can be morbid and a bit disturbing
Some of the displays at Baan Si Dum can be morbid and a bit disturbing

Mae Salong
  • 11.00 am - Continue on to Mae Salong via Route 1, then a turn-in to Route 107. At the security checkpoint, turn-in to Route 1089
  • 1.00 pm - Arrive in Mae Salong
  • Lunch at Ping Ping Restaurant - Pork knuckles, stir fried vegetables and oolong tea - 320 baht
  • 2.15 pm - Climb the stairs to the top of Sinakarintra Mahasanthikiri Pagoda to get a bird's eye view of Mae Salong (under 30 minutes). Make sure you're fairly fit before attempting the hike, as it's a long and very tiring one. I found out later that you could also drive to the top but a word of caution, the road to the top is pretty steep
  • 3.45 pm - Climb back down from the pagoda and ride to the surrounding tea plantations in the valley below Mae Salong
  • 5.15 pm - Ride back to Mae Salong to refuel at the gas station - 50 baht

On the way to Mae Salong
On the way to Mae Salong
Breathtaking scenery on the way to Mae Salong
Breathtaking scenery on the way to Mae Salong
Mae Salong town center
Mae Salong town center. These row of shops are open for visitors who want to sample or buy oolong tea
Yes! There's a 7-11 in Mae Salong!
Yes! There's a 7-11 in Mae Salong!
There are plenty of restaurants in Mae Salong, but I decided on Ping Ping restaurant since it was packed to the brim with hungry patrons. More customers means good food right?
There are plenty of restaurants in Mae Salong, but I decided on Ping Ping restaurant since it was packed to the brim with hungry patrons. More customers means good food right?
Yunnanese delight. Delicious serving of pork knuckles, stir fried vegetables and refreshing oolong tea for lunch
Yunnanese delight. Delicious serving of pork knuckles, stir fried vegetables and refreshing oolong tea for lunch
Entrance and starting point to the Sinakarintra Mahasanthikiri pagoda
Entrance and starting point to the Sinakarintra Mahasanthikiri pagoda in Mae Salong
That arduous climb to the top, I lost count after the first few hundred steps. Luckily, there's an easier way to do this
That arduous climb to the top, I lost count after the first few hundred steps. Luckily, there's an easier way to do this
Views of Mae Salong from the top of the pagoda
Views of Mae Salong from the top of the pagoda
On the way down to the tea plantation
On the way down to the tea plantation
This big lion head structure welcomes you to the tea plantation
This big lion head structure welcomes you to the tea plantation
Views of Mae Salong and the surrounding countryside from the tea plantation
Views of Mae Salong and the surrounding countryside from the tea plantation
Rolling hills of oolong tea
Rolling hills of oolong tea

Back to Chiang Rai
  • 5.30 pm - Ride back to Chiang Rai from Mae Salong 
  • 7.15 pm - Back in Chiang Rai. Went to the night bazaar to do some last minute shopping
  • 9.30 pm - Dinner at the night bazaar before heading back to the hostel - Hot pot (70 baht) & coconut shake (20 baht

Back in Chiang Rai. Decided to spend my evening in the night bazaar.
Back in Chiang Rai. Decided to spend my evening in the night bazaar. There are free concerts by local performers to keep your nights entertained 
Dinner on my last night in Chiang Rai. Hot pot and coconut shake
Dinner on my last night in Chiang Rai. Hot pot and coconut shake



Last day in Chiang Rai & Hostel check-out
  • 7.30 am - Wake up
  • Breakfast at the hostel - Toast bread, cereal and coffee (provided by the hostel)
  • 9.00 am - Pack up and checkout from the hostel. 
  • Returned the motorcycle to the hostel, the owner gave me a ride to the bus station

How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method. Step number one, take the bus departing for Chiang Kong from platform #16 at Chiang Rai Bus Station 1. Fare is 65 baht

Chiang Rai to Laos using the DIY method
  • 9.10 am - Arrive at Chiang Rai Bus Station 1
  • 9.30 am - Ride bus (red color) at platform #16 bound for Chiang Kong - 65 baht. Tell the bus driver you want to be dropped off at the border
  • 11.30 am - Dropped off at an intersection just before Chiang Kong. Walk to the nearby tuk tuk station
  • 11.35 am - Ride tuk tuk to the Thailand - Laos border crossing nearby - 30 baht (bargained down from 50 baht)
  • 11.40 am - Arrive at the border crossing. Changed some Thai baht to Laotian kip at the currency exchange
  • Immigration clearance
  • 12.15 am - Ride the shuttle bus from Thailand to Laos via the friendship bridge25 baht

How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
If you told the bus driver that you want to go to the border, you will be dropped off at the intersection to the friendship bridge, just before entering Chiang Kong
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method. Step number two, ride a tuk tuk from the Chiang Kong intersection to the border crossing. Should cost no more than 50 baht per way
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
Riding the tuk tuk to the border crossing, the whole trip takes less than 5 minutes
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method. Step number three, after immigration clearance, buy a ticket for the shuttle bus to Laos. Fare is only 25 baht
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
Getting ready to board the shuttle bus to Laos
How to get to Laos from Chiang Rai, using the DIY method
Just beyond this horizon, Laos awaits!


How much?
What for?
THB 855
Accommodation
THB 567
Accommodation in Chiang Mai (3 nights)
THB 288
Accommodation in Chiang Rai (2 nights)


THB 720
Ground Cost
THB 40
Transportation around Chiang Mai
THB 150
Motorcycle rental in Chiang Mai (1 day)
THB 140
Transportation from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai
THB 40
Transportation around Chiang Rai
THB 200
Motorcycle rental in Chiang Rai (1 day)
THB 120
Transportation from Chiang Rai to Laos
THB 30
Admission – Doi Suthep


THB 1,660
Misc
THB 1,280
Food & drinks
THB 380
Miscellaneous (gas, laundry & massage)


THB 3,235
Total


How much did it cost me?

  • In local currency: THB 3,235
  • Conversion rate (at the time): MYR 1 = THB 9
  • After conversion: MYR 359 (for 6 days)




16 comments

  1. Amazing and just wonderful photographs,.
    Travel Photography

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am glad I found your travel blog. Very2 informative & helpfull especially with the detailed itineraries with expenses breakdown. Love it!
    Keep it the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi! again Garrett,
    I intend to visit Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai with with wife & daughter in Dec 2016. Is it advisable to use the local tour package (to & around Chiang Rai) from hotel instead of self-travel as I have to rule out using motorbike since there are 3 of us.

    Day 1 ~ 3 = Arrival at Chiang Mai & check-in hotel. Move around on my own in Chiang Mai following your itinerary.
    Day 4 ~ 5 = Take local tour arrangement to Chiang Rai (inclusive of local tour at Chiang Rai) & transfer back to Chiang Mai.
    Day 6 = Back to Chiang Mai. Free & easy.
    Day 7 = Check-out hotel & fly back Malaysia.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Those local tours have a fixed itinerary and often rush from place to place with very little time spent at the actual places visited

      Since you have a small group, why not rent a car with driver for a day to Chiang Rai? That way you get to pick out the places you wanna see, and is potentially cheaper than purchasing a tour package for 3 people

      Hope this helps :)

      Delete
  4. Thank you so much for your suggestions. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi
    Just wondering, you didn't go to the Golden Triangle ? Or it's Mae Salong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Felicia,

      No, I didn't have time :P
      They're not the same place, but judging from what I heard from other people about Golden Triangle, I did Mae Salong instead :)

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

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