How I Traveled Cheap to Chiang Mai, Thailand for $145 [Travel Cheap]
In this post, I discuss how I was able to travel cheap to Chiang Mai, Thailand for under $200 for flight, accommodation, and transportation. Note that this flight was originating from Bangkok since I was already there but is still a cheap itinerary.
Thailand is a favorite destination for people all over the world because over there, you feel like a King. Food prices are around $2 per meal and you can get large, fresh coconuts for less than $0.50.
On top of that, there are endless things to do. Amazing beaches, the famous river markets, temples, elephant riding, tiger petting, and a plethora of night markets.
I always start with the big 3 expenses in traveling. To travel for cheap, you’ll need to save on Flights, Accommodation, and Transportation. The better deal you’re able to find for all 3, the more money you’ll be able to save.
Traveling in Asia is awesome because it’s cheap. There’s a number of budget airlines including Scoot, Air Asia, and Tiger Air. I was able to find a deal through Air Asia after doing an initial search on flights.google.com. If you’re booking from the States, I’d suggest looking at your points inventory to save on long-haul flights. And if you’re booking from elsewhere, I’d suggest flying into Bangkok first.
Had I flown directly into Chiang Mai, it would have been significantly more expensive than flying into Bangkok first.
The deal I got from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was $70. It would have been about $500 to fly direct to Chiang Mai!
Both legs of the flights also had a meal option for around $5 USD! The way Air Asia works is similar to any other budget airline where you only pay for what you need.
Since I was only traveling with a small luggage, I didn’t need to pay for check-in.
Unfortunately, Air Asia does not display ticket prices anymore but I had paid about $70 USD to fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Hotels and accommodation in Chiang Mai is slightly more expensive than Bangkok but still cheap. As you’ll see below, I booked a very nice 3 star hotel for about $30 USD.
You can find cheaper hostels for even less, but I wanted to stay somewhere decent. If you’re looking for luxury accommodations, they also have 4+ star hotels for around $70-80/night.
Total I spent about $60 for 2 nights in Chiang Mai. The hotel was nice! It included breakfast each morning, had free wifi, was extremely clean, and the owners helped me navigate where I wanted to go. In fact, they called a private songthaew for me while I was there. I’ll discuss more of what songthaews are below.
In Chiang Mai, I utilized a lot of the local transportation methods which were songthaews and tut tuts.
A songthaew is a wagon-truck vehicle that stops and picks up passengers in the back of the truck. It’s interesting how it operates. You can for a songthaew, go to where you need to go, and pay when you leave. If you’re unsure of how to use one or how much to pay, you can negotiate with the driver.
However, if you know the approximate fair amount, you’re expected only to pay that amount. I paid about $15-20 total for my basic songthaew trips (from airport to hotel and vice versa).
Tut Tuts are the other option for travel. It’s a small 3 wheeled mini car that takes you wherever you need to go! It’s a fast little firecracker but be weary of tut tut drivers that try and up sell to foreigners. Most locals take songthaews.
Things to Do:
There’s a ton of things to do in Chiang Mai. All of it was extremely cheap. I hired a personal songthaew driver that made me feel like a millionaire. He took me wherever I wanted to go and waited outside until I was ready for the next destination.
In Chiang Mai, I went to a monkey show, spent some close time with tigers, saw lions, and even took an authentic Thai cooking class!
If you liked this post, you can also read on how I was able to travel cheap to Bangkok, Thailand for under $300.
What are some of your trips for traveling to Thailand for Cheap?