Chiang Mai Budget Travel Guide (Updated 2022)

detect : The information here is updated as best we can in light of COVID-19. Please check attractions, activities, etc before you go as things can change cursorily. One of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s many stunning historic Buddhist temples
Chiang Mai is the largest and most popular city in northern Thailand. It ’ s the independent base of activities for most travelers who come up north and is one of the most chew the fat cities in Thailand for travelers of all types .
The city is brimming with culture, incredible food markets, dozens of beautiful temples, a slack vibration, beautiful landscapes. In late years, it ’ mho become one of the main digital nomad hub in Southeast Asia so it ’ south easy to meet other travelers here.

While you can find a batch of delightful western food, cafe, and bars all around the city, the historic Thai-ness of the city hasn ’ metric ton disappeared. There are batch of stunning temples and alert markets to entertain as you explore .
Be sure to budget extra time when you visit Chiang Mai and as it ’ s easily to get “ stuck ” here. Lots of people plan to stay for a few days and end up staying for a few weeks or more ! There ’ second magic to this city .
This travel guide to Chiang Mai can help you plan your trip, save money, and ensure you have an perplex visit !

top 5 Things to See and Do in Chiang Mai

elephants playing near the water at the Elephant Nature Park

1. Visit the Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park rescues abused and injured elephants from around the country. It’s a sanctuary where you can visit for a day or spend a week volunteering. It makes for a phenomenal day trip, gives back to the community, and lets you help these beautiful animals. A one-day visit starts at 2,500 THB.a monk stands in front of a doorway at a temple in Chiang Mai

2. Tour the temples

Located within the old area of the city and around the rampart are many beautiful Buddhist temples, some dating as far back as the thirteenth century. The main ones worth seeing are Wat Chiang Man, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Jet Yot .
the shiny gold temple towers of Wat Doi Suthep

3. Visit Wat Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai ’ s most celebrated temple ( the pagoda purportedly contains relics of Buddha himself ). It offers beautiful views of the surrounding area and, at 6pm each day, you can watch the monks chant. submission is detached .
The busy night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

4. Bargain at the night bazaar

Chiang Mai is the main handicraft center of Thailand and the night bazaar is the largest in the country. Everything is sold at non-fixed prices so you can bargain the night away. If you plan to do some shop in Thailand, this night bazaar is where you ’ ll find the best deals. receptive from 6pm-12am .
glowing lanterns released into the sky at the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai

5. Celebrate the Yi Peng Festival

This iconic annual festival takes place in November. Citizens release thousands of composition lanterns into the vent, which symbolically carry dreams and wishes towards the heavens. Seeing the festival lights is a beautiful, memorable feel .

other Things to See and Do in Chiang Mai

1. Try ziplining

If you are looking for an epinephrine rush, go ziplining. Chiang Mai has many operators offering novice and advanced nothing line courses. The biggest hustler is Flight of the Gibbon, which besides has a variety show of eco-tourism and conservation initiatives that rescue, rehabilitate, and repopulate endangered species and wildlife of the area. Ziplining starts at 4,000 THB .

2. Go jungle trekking

Chiang Mai is the independent begin sharpen for all sorts of jungle trek tours. I like the three-day ones the best, but the longer the tour, the more matter to and secluded places you visit. Be careful with whom you sign up, as many guides plainly walk with you and don ’ thyroxine tell you a lot about the state or wildlife. furthermore, if you visit a tribal greenwich village, make certain the money stays with the villagers, and that they aren ’ thymine being exploited, which unfortunately happens a batch. Check out Stray Away Travel for some ethical tour options .

3. Take a cooking class

Chiang Mai is the most popular place in Thailand for cooking classes, offering a kind of classes and amaze deals. You ’ ll begin your class by going to the market and learning about Thai produce before heading back to the kitchen to cook a few dishes. The classify ends with eating everything you ’ ve prepared so bring an appetite ! Prices range from 1,000-1,300 THB per person .

4. Eat a kantoke dinner

This traditional Thai consequence generally takes position on extra occasions, like holidays, festivals, and weddings. At a kantoke dinner, you experience both Northern Thai food and culture at the same time. At this event, visitors are seated on the floor around a round tray load with Northern dishes ( called a kantoke, giving the custom its name ). While you eat, you ’ ll watch traditional Thai and Northern dances and other cultural performances. The Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center is the premier rate to go, with tickets costing 690 THB ( including dinner ) .

5. Cruise down the river

Cruise around rural Mae Ping on a two-hour journey that takes you past beautiful scenery around Chaing Mai. Enjoy the scenic vistas, stop to visit a local anesthetic grow and its herb and fruit gardens, and relax with an onboard Thai dinner. Mae Ping River Cruise is the independent company offer tour. A two-hour cruise is 480 THB, while dinner cruises start at 650 THB .

6. Chat with monks

Monk chats are a find for visitors to learn about the nation ’ s religion and culture, while for young monks it ’ s an opportunity to exercise their english. It ’ s a popular cultural activity that occurs at many of the major temples throughout the city, including Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Doi Suthep, Wat Suan Dok, adenine well as the MCU Buddhist University. Hours vary based on localization .

7. Go whitewater rafting

The Mae Taeng River is a popular address for white water raft, with rapids ranging from levels two to four ( easy to advanced ). Keep in mind that the river is at its most intense during the showery season, between August-October, and tours might sometimes be postponed if levels are dangerous. 8 Adventures offers tours for 2,500-3,000 THB per person, which include fare from Chiang Mai and lunch .

8. Browse Warorot Market

This historic market opened in the early on twentieth hundred and is a capital place to shop for clothes and local products ( equally well as feed some very tasty, low-cost food ). The food stalls are located on the first deck, while clothe and other goods are on the second and third floors. Located near the river, it ’ south open daily from 6am-7pm .

9. Visit The Highland People Discovery Museum

Highlighting Thailand ’ sulfur minority hill tribes, this ethnographic museum offers exhibits on tribal invest and jewelry items and tribal life and includes outdoor gardens modeling reconstructed tribal huts. once a month, there is a market with a different tribe every month selling handmade goods. It ’ s open Monday-Friday .

10. Climb up the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls

While a little outside of the city, this makes for a great day slip. The falls, due to the type of limestone they ’ re made of, is about muggy and allow you to climb up the cascade water system. The rocks themselves are interesting, looking a bit like downy clouds. not only is it a neat experience, it ’ randomness besides a great exercise ! Pack a picnic, find a spot, and “ stick ” around for lunch. Admission is free .
For more information on early cities and islands in Thailand, check out the guides below :

  • Bangkok Travel Guide
  • Ko Chang Travel Guide
  • Ko Lipe Travel Guide
  • Ko Pha Ngan Travel Guide
  • Koh Phi Phi Travel Guide
  • Phuket Travel Guide

Hey there! Wait one second! Did you know I also wrote an entire guidebook to Thailand filled with – not only even more detailed information on the things included on this page but also itineraries, maps, practical information (i.e. hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, prices, etc), cultural insights, and so much more? It has everything you want in a guidebook – but with a focus on budget and cultural travel! If you want to go into more depth and have something to take on your trip, Did you know I besides wrote an entire guidebook to Thailand filled with – not alone even more detail information on the things included on this page but besides itineraries, maps, hardheaded information ( i.e. hours of operation, telephone numbers, websites, prices, etc ), cultural insights, and indeed much more ? It has everything you want in a guidebook – but with a focus on budget and cultural travel ! If you want to go into more astuteness and have something to take on your tripper, click here for more about the book !

Chiang Mai Travel Costs

Hostel prices – Hostels start at 240 THB per night big 10-12-bed dorms, while smaller dormitory rooms with 4-6 beds cost around 280-429 THB. Private rooms start at 1,000 THB for a doubling room with an ensuite bathroom. All hostels include unblock Wi-Fi, and most hostels include free breakfast and air-condition. many offer loose bikes for their guests deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .
Budget hotel prices – Centrally-located two-star hotels and guesthouses start at 450-625 THB per night for a room with loose Wi-Fi, hot water, a secret toilet, and tune stipulate. Most hotels besides have outdoor swim pools and offer release or discounted bikes for their guests to use .
On Airbnb, you can find secret rooms in apartments for 350 THB. There ’ south besides a wide survival of entire apartments/homes starting at 500-900 THB per night .
Average cost of food – Thai cuisine uses many ingredients to create layers of flavor in a dish. typical fresh spices and herbs used include garlic, basil, galingale, coriander, lemongrass, kaffir calcium hydroxide leaves, chilies, prawn glue, and pisces sauce .
Thai food takes on influences from neighboring countries : India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. All these influences mesh to become Thailand ’ s flavorful national cuisine, which is aromatic and hot with a variety of curries, salads, soups, and stir-fries that differ based on region .
Rice and noodles are central to Thai cuisine, while kernel is normally pork, chicken, fish, or seafood. Some popular dishes include turkey cock yum goong ( hot and sour soup with shrimp ), massaman curry, pad thai ( a stir-fried attic dish ), som tam ( hot papaya salad ), kao phad ( fry rice ), khao man gai ( rice with boil chicken ), and satay ( grill kernel on skewers, served with a peanut dipping sauce ) .
Chiang Mai ’ s most celebrated dish is khao soi, a yellow dress attic soup with pickle boodle and your option of wimp or beef .
Chiang Mai has some of the best street food in Thailand, with dishes like khao soi costing 25-50 THB and snacks costing 10-20 THB. Most meals at a casual sit-down Thai restaurant monetary value 80-95 THB .
western food is more expensive, starting around 170-195 THB for a main serve. A hamburger is 210 THB, pasta is 180-245 THB, and pizza is about 250 THB .
When it comes to toast, going to bars can be pricey, with the cheapest local beers costing about 95 THB each. To save some money, you can buy beers from 7-Eleven for one-half that .
For non-alcoholic drinks, a cappuccino or bracing juice is 65 THB, and sodium carbonate is 35 THB .
Dada Kafe, Sushi Ichiban, Dash, the Chiang Mai Gate Market, and Sunday Market are all epicure spots you shouldn ’ thyroxine neglect !
If you plan on cooking your own meals, a workweek ’ s worth of groceries costs around 550 THB. This gets you basic staples like rice, veggies, eggs, and some kernel .

Backpacking Chiang Mai Suggested Budgets

On a packing budget, expect to spend about 975 THB per day. This assumes you ’ ra stay in a hostel, cooking or eating brassy street food, using local exile like songthaews and public buses, limiting your drink, and doing by and large spare and brassy activities like synagogue visits and wandering the markets .
On a mid-range budget, expect to pay 1,875 THB per day. On this budget, you can stay in a private Airbnb or cheap guesthouse, feed out for all your meals, enjoy a few drinks, take the occasional taxi to get approximately and do more activities and tours like a cook class or hiking digression .
On a “ luxury ” budget of 3,725 THB per day or more, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink more, take cab everywhere, and do whatever activities you want ( including visiting the elephant reserve ). This is equitable the labor floor for lavishness though. The flip is the restrict !
You can use the chart below to get some estimate of how a lot you need to budget day by day, depending on your travel vogue. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you ’ ll spend more, some days you ’ ll spend less ( you might spend less every day ). We just want to give you a general estimate of how to make your budget. Prices are in THB .

average daily price



















Chiang Mai Travel Guide : Money-Saving Tips

Chiang Mai can be as brassy or expensive as you want ( like most of Thailand ). But if you stick to the local markets, avoid the visualize organic restaurants that have popped up, and stay in the previous city, you can save money well ! here are some other ways to save money in Chiang Mai :

  1. Bargain hard – You have to bargain hard at the markets here. Don’t take the first price and don’t be afraid to walk away. They inflate prices greatly here since Chiang Mai is such a popular shopping destination for tourists.
  2. Eat from the street stalls – Food from street vendors in Thailand is some of the best Thai food I have ever had, and it’s so cheap it’s ridiculous. The locals eat here and you should too.
  3. Take the songthaew – At 20-40 THB for anywhere in the city, songthaews are one of the cheapest ways to get around. They go everywhere and run all night. There’s no reason to take a taxi around the city.
  4. Take the bus – At 20 THB per ride (and cheaper with a day pass), these modern public buses are, along with songthaews, one of the cheapest ways to get around the city.
  5. Stay with a local – Couchsurfing connects you with locals who can give you a free place to stay and who can share their insider tips and advice. It’s the best way to save money on accommodation and get insider tips and advice.
  6. Book group excursions – When booking your day tours, multi-day tours, cooking classes, etc., try to book it as a group so the price per person gets reduced. Traveling alone? Make friends and book a tour with your hostel.
  7. Use a water bottle with a purifier – It isn’t safe to drink tap water in Chiang Mai, and although buying bottled water is cheap, it does add up. Instead, pick up a LifeStraw, which have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe (it’s good for the environment too!)

( Hey there! Wait one second! Did you know I besides wrote an entire guidebook to Thailand filled with – not only even more detailed information on the things included on this page but besides itineraries, maps, practical information ( i.e. hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, prices, etc ), cultural insights, and sol a lot more ? It has everything you want in a guidebook – but with a focus on budget and cultural travel ! If you want to go into more depth and have something to take on your trip, click here for more about the book ! )

How to Get Around Chiang Mai

Songthaew – Songthaews are the most coarse mode of local exile in Chiang Mai. These are converted pickup trucks with two rows of seats and how locals travel. good flag one polish in the street and tell the driver where you ’ re going. You can get to just about anywhere in the central city for 40 THB .
Buses – Until recently, there weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate public buses in Chiang Mai, but that all changed in 2018 with the plunge of the RTC Smart City Bus network. At 20 THB per drive, it ’ s the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city, including to and from the airport. The buses are clean, modern, and have loose Wi-Fi. If you plan to use the busbar a draw, you can get an unlimited day pass for 180 THB or a three-day pass for 400 THB .
Bicycle – Chiang Mai has a new dockless bike-sharing organization called Anywheel. Each ride starts at 10 THB, while a monthly pass starts at 200 THB. many hostels and guesthouses besides offer their guests free bicycles to use .
Tuk-Tuk – A trip via tuk-tuk is more expensive than a songthaew since it ’ s a direct serve. You can get around town for about 100-150 THB. Ridesharing – Use the Grab app to request a private ride. It works just wish Uber and is one of the most popular ways to get around in Southeast Asia. Just download the app and go !
Motorbike/scooter rental – Motorbikes and scooters are a common way to get around, though it can be a harrow experience to drive one in Chiang Mai. Keep in mind that traffic flows on the leave in Thailand. A motorbike or water scooter costs 100-500 THB per day, with cheaper deals for weekly and monthly rentals .
Car rental – Compared to early methods of exile in Chiang Mai, it ’ randomness expensive to rent a car. Rentals cost around 800 THB per day. Unless you are heading outside the city, I ’ vitamin d skip the car rental .

When to Go to Chiang Mai

The best time to visit Chiang Mai is between October-April when temperatures are warm but not stifling. You ’ ll hush want to pack a sweater in encase the evenings cool off. The average day temperature is about 25°C ( 77°F ), but it can dip ampere abject as 15°C ( 59°F ) at night. Keep in take care, however, that this is bill tourist season so book your accommodation in advance if you want to find the best deals .
In April and May, things start heating up. Temperatures can soar adenine high as 40°C ( 104°F ), and you ’ ll want to pack easy clothe and plenty of sunscreen. If you ’ re not used to such heat, you might find it uncomfortable for sightseeing .
The showery season takes place from June to October when temperatures cool down to 24-32°C ( 75-90°F ) but the humidity rises. Chiang Mai doesn ’ triiodothyronine bring as much rain as Southern Thailand, but you ’ ll hush want to be prepared. It rains for possibly an hour each day, and only rarely for days on end .
( Hey there! Wait one second! Did you know I besides wrote an entire guidebook to Thailand filled with – not only even more detail information on the things included on this page but besides itineraries, maps, virtual information ( i.e. hours of operation, call numbers, websites, prices, etc ), cultural insights, and therefore much more ? It has everything you want in a guidebook – but with a focus on budget and cultural travel ! If you want to go into more depth and have something to take on your travel, click here for more about the book ! )

How to Stay Safe in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a condom place to backpack and travel — even if you ’ re traveling solo, and evening as a alone female traveler. People are nice and helpful and you ’ re improbable to get into worry. violent crime against tourists is rare .
Petty larceny ( including bag kidnap ) is the most coarse character of crime in Chiang Mai indeed constantly keep your valuables batten and out of reach. This includes when on the bus/public fare .
Solo female travelers should feel safe exploring the city, though the common precautions apply ( never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc. ) .
There are some common scams to be mindful of here, such as the minibike scam. This is when you rent a bicycle and the vendors try to charge you for damage to your bicycle rental — even though there is no wrong. besides, sometimes taxis will try to charge you extra sol always make certain you use a reputable taxi ( have your hotel/hostel call one if you need one ) .
You can read this mail on common travel scams to avoid if you want to learn more .
If you experience an emergency, dial 191 for aid .
Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your recommendation and ID. Forward your travel plan along to love ones so they ’ ll know where you are .
The most significant slice of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel policy. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, larceny, and cancellations. It ’ randomness comprehensive security in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I ’ ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the appliance below to find the policy right for you :

Chiang Mai Travel Guide : The Best booking Resources

These are my front-runner companies to use when I travel. They systematically have the best deals, offer first customer service and capital value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are constantly the starting degree in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Agoda – Other than Hostelworld, Agoda is the best hotel accommodation site for Asia.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Intrepid Travel – If you want to do group tours, go with Intrepid. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get exclusive discounts with them too!
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand !

My detailed 350+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you ! It cuts out the tease found in early guidebooks and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel around Thailand. You ’ ll find propose itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off-the-beaten-path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and much more ! Click hera to learn more and get your copy today .

reference :
Category : Thailand

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