Tucked within the mountains of Northern Thailand, the laid-back metropolis of Chiang Mai is bursting with an abundance of delights: lush pure landscapes, vibrant artwork, historic tradition, and unbelievable Thai meals. Right here, you gained’t discover the frenzy of Bangkok or Phuket. As a substitute, the expertise is filled with languid days exploring mountains, caves, artwork galleries, and native markets.
Neighbouring metropolis Chiang Rai is simply as interesting, that includes a myriad of lovely temples and surrounding pure sights. It’s typically ignored in favour of Chiang Mai — however why choose one when you may hit each? In keeping with Singapore-based journey blogger Jaren Chen, you solely actually need 5 days for an unforgettable journey to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Spending 5 days in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
“To me, Chiang Mai is extra of a brief journey,” Jaren mentioned, calling town the perfect lengthy weekend getaway vacation spot. “With good planning, 5 days throughout Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is sufficient, although it might be a bit hectic if one is eager to absorb all of the sights.”
Whereas 5 days sound comparatively brief, Jaren assured us that is sufficient time to soak within the notable sights of the 2 cities. He spent a complete of three days in Chiang Mai and two in Chiang Rai, an journey that took him to many of the area’s important sights.
Plus, shorter journeys are rather more wallet-friendly! Preserve studying to see his Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai itinerary, journey highlights, and even a few funds suggestions that will help you plan your subsequent out-of-the-country trip.
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Jaren’s 5D4N Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai itinerary
An excellent chunk of Jaren’s first day was spent in transit. Not solely was his flight’s take-off from Singapore at 5pm, but it surely was additionally a connecting flight with a stopover in Bangkok. He suggested, “If there are not any direct flights into Chiang Mai, all the time transit through Bangkok as there are quite a lot of funds carriers inside Thailand that ply this route.”
In lots of locations, arriving late means there’s little left to do however go to mattress. Not in Chiang Mai, although. When you’ve nonetheless received a little bit of power after travelling, Jaren really helpful a fast journey to the wildly common Chiang Mai Night time Bazaar. Whether or not you’re planning to buy souvenirs or pattern native culinary delights, this is without doubt one of the greatest spots within the metropolis to hang around at night time.
Although Jaren flew into Chiang Mai, he opted to move straight to Chiang Rai the following day. Taking the bus is the most cost effective possibility, and it solely takes round three hours. He really helpful taking Inexperienced Bus Thailand for a sooner, extra snug journey.
“Buses from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai are fairly frequent, with departures nearly each half-hour from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3,” Jaren defined. He added that travellers might purchase their tickets from 7-Eleven the day earlier than, but it surely’s extra handy to get them on the day of journey from the Inexperienced Bus companies counter at Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station.
To take pleasure in extra time in Chiang Rai, Jaren hopped on the morning bus that left at 10.30am. He mentioned, “Meaning, you’ll arrive in Chiang Rai within the early afternoon, leaving a lot time to discover the city. Then, you may spend the night time and the following morning exploring the highlights of Chiang Rai.”
On a two-day Chiang Rai itinerary, you’ll wish to dive into sightseeing as quickly as you step off the bus. Chiang Rai temples are absolute stunners, and Jaren was in a position to hit two of probably the most famend on his first day within the metropolis: Wat Huai Pla Kang and Wat Rong Seua Ten (Blue Temple).
The Blue Temple made an particularly large impression on Jaren, as he counts it as one of many largest highlights of his Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai journey. A contemporary construction painted in eye-catching blue and gold, this comparatively new Buddhist temple sits on the positioning of an deserted historic temple that fell into disrepair within the early twenty first century. Locals say tigers used to roam freely within the previous temple.
“This distinctive temple is a must-visit place, particularly late at night time,” he recounted. “The blue lights make the temple really feel creepy, including a distinct dimension to it.”
Together with the temples, Jaren additionally visited the Golden Clock Tower and Chiang Rai Night time Market on his first day within the metropolis.
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Earlier than wrapping up his Chiang Rai itinerary, Jaren squeezed in one other temple run to Wat Rong Khun, also referred to as the White Temple. A hanging architectural marvel by visible artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, it’s far out of your commonplace sacred area.
Sure, the White Temple has all of the basic Buddhist components. However together with it are offbeat pictures: Anticipate disembodied heads hanging from bushes, mythological creatures, and popular culture references like Michael Jackson and Spiderman. Sounds weird? It’s one thing it’s important to see to imagine.
It was 2.30pm when Jaren lastly caught a bus out of town. One other three and a half hours, and he’s again in time for an additional leg of his Chiang Mai itinerary.
When in Chiang Mai, take the time to discover the nice open air. Considered one of Jaren’s favorite experiences in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai got here on the fourth day, when he and his mates took a visit to Doi Inthanon Nationwide Park.
Thailand’s tallest mountain and often known as The Roof of Thailand, this nationwide park is among the many hottest day journeys from Chiang Mai. Hovering waterfalls, winding trails, lush forests, and all kinds of natural world — it’s no shock that many travellers troop to Doi Inthanon to witness northern Thailand’s pure magnificence.
Get up additional early to observe a wonderful dawn from the highest of the mountain. For the reason that nationwide park is about two hours away from Chiang Mai, this present day journey requires a 4am name time — and even earlier. Travellers can attain the summit by automotive for dawn, then hit the paths to enterprise deeper into the enchanting forest.
“The journey to Doi Inthanon Nationwide Park gave us an adrenaline rush as we rushed to catch the dawn,” Jaren recalled the time after they chased the attractive dawn on the summit. His professional tip: “It’s fairly chilly on high of the mountain, so keep in mind to convey winter clothes!”
On his final day in Chiang Mai, Jaren let himself bask within the cultural sights of northern Thailand. A late afternoon flight meant he had a few hours left for sightseeing, and he made the more often than not by visiting two common vacationer spots in Chiang Mai: Wat Chedi Luang and Doi Suthep.
By 2.30pm, Jaren was flying in a foreign country and headed again dwelling.
Discovering the charms of town
5 days sounds brief, doesn’t it? However it’s sufficient for travellers like Jaren to be enamoured by the charms of Chiang Mai.
“I liked the complete laid-back environment in Chiang Mai,” he mentioned. “It makes it a perfect weekend escape for city dwellers. Everybody appears to be fairly chill.”
Jaren added that the mountain metropolis’s cool climes convey a singular high quality to sightseeing on this tropical nation. He defined, “The very best half that makes it totally different from different Thailand locations is the climate! The chilly climate, particularly after sundown, makes the night time market a good higher expertise.”
Additionally learn: 10 Finest Locations in Thailand for Tradition and Historical past
Jaren’s cost-cutting suggestions whereas travelling the world
1. Grasp the artwork of bargaining
One of many ways in which Jaren Chen retains his prices down whereas travelling is by haggling. It’s a talent he mentioned is especially helpful in nations with loads of out of doors markets like Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco. Bargaining with savvy distributors could also be awkward at first, but it surely simply takes getting used to.
“Follow makes good!” he assured. “Nonetheless, keep in mind should you provide a value to the vendor, follow it and honour the value if the vendor does relent.”
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2. Journey throughout the off-peak season
Frequent travellers know this: Off-peak season is low cost season. Fewer vacationers sometimes imply costs for flights, lodging, and excursions drop considerably throughout these months.
Jaren prompt travelling throughout the begin or finish of the off-peak season when the climate isn’t at its most turbulent but, however most vacationers have already gone dwelling. He added, “Go throughout the shoulder season, between peak and off-peak seasons, to get one of the best of each worlds. It can save you cash whereas guaranteeing the climate or setting continues to be match for travelling round.”
3. Take public transport
Though it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, public transport is normally the most cost effective possibility accessible. As Jaren identified, bus and rail networks in lots of nations are normally adequate for travellers to make their approach round simply. Considered one of his saving hacks is travelling through in a single day buses, which permits him to avoid wasting on resort prices and time.
“In Japanese Europe, taking the bus is the best choice as a result of value and adaptability,” he mentioned. “It permits one to admire the attractive surroundings whereas travelling by way of small cities. Buses additionally depart and cease at metropolis centres, not like some practice stations positioned a bit additional off town.”
When you’re planning to take public transportation continuously, Jaren suggested getting a metropolis move for the most cost effective and most hassle-free approach of getting round effectively. “It may prove cheap to purchase a metropolis move that covers the price of all public transport on a single card.”
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4. Search for funds flights
You don’t must lay our a fortune on flights, even should you’re flying midway internationally. As a substitute of settling for probably the most direct routes out of your level of origin, Jaren inspired travellers to take a look at funds carriers and determine the place they’ll save probably the most cash.
“Keep in mind, to get one of the best flight deal, it’s important to put within the laborious work,” he mentioned.
In keeping with Jaren, it’s additionally essential to study in regards to the main airport hubs all over the world. As an example, main hubs in Europe embrace airports in London, Amsterdam, and Paris. He continued, “Not many individuals realise that Hungary is definitely a very good connecting hub in Japanese Europe as effectively if you’re trying to journey within the area as it’s located close to Central Europe.”
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As a journey blogger, Jaren Chen finds himself consistently on the transfer. After hitting Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and a variety of different locations, he says his subsequent journey will likely be an incredible safari in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Let the journey start!
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All pictures are credited to Jaren Chen of TheGuyTravel, until acknowledged in any other case.