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Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

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OC, CA
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Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

Hi,

So I'm heading to Chiang Mai around Aug 22. We will be in the area for 3-4 days.

I'm the adventurous sort, so really want to do some trekking, visit local villages, check out the elephant camps, etc... (any other suggestions on what we should check out?)

So my question is should we set all of this up prior to heading out to Thailand, or should I wait and make arrangements once I get to Bangkok (getting there aug 19)?

Also should I book a tour to Chiang Mai or is it pretty easy to do the circuit on our own?

Lastly will I have time to check out Pai or Chiang Rai? If I have to choose which one should we go with?

Thanks for all the info in advance.

Kuala Lumpur...
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1. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

I just got back from a visit to Chiang Mai in early June and from my experience it is really very easy to book the tours from there.

I booked a driver and car way in advance only to find taxi-drivers, tut car drivers offering much better rates to drive you around but then again it wasnt tested so I stuck on to my driver for the second day. My biggest grouse was that the entrance fee for example to the Maetang Elephant was way overpriced i.e 1500 baht per person as compared to 900 baht from the local tour agents with transport included.

On my second last day, I decided to book one of the trips via the local tour agents and it was so much cheaper even compared to internet booking price as they were willing to cut their commission just to get the business.

This could however be due to the low season , I'm not sure as it was my first time to chiang mai, so cant gurantee it will be the same in august....

Texas
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2. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

Unless you know someone or have insider information, wait untill you get there. Remember, the nicer the place you stay it the more expensive things get. Inflation on a sliding scale relative to your wealth.

Most places, when you get there they will be looking for you. Don't get the first one, the second one...let them outbid each other. Or find an expat website and they'll know the best places.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

Hi, we're going to be in Chiang Mai this summer for five nights. The patara elephant farm was all booked except for one day. Of course, we need 5 slots and they only have 7 per day. We just reserved recently over a month in advance. So it may depend upon what you're doing. I also booked a guide.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

Rule of thumb: Never book in advance or online. ... You can't haggle online.

Never book through your hotel or Guest House. They always charge a much higher price.

Always cheaper to book your own tour, on the street. Wait until you arrive. Go for a walk. Go to an internet cafe and check the weather for the next day.

There are tour offices on every street. You can haggle! Just the same as shopping.

Pai is an all day bus ride from Chiang Mai. If you were staying longer I would suggest Pai. You can river raft into a cave. There's a great bar called the Bee Bop Bar. Great musicians. *But you don't have time to do this. Save it for another trip.

Not to worry... You can also river raft in Chiang Mai. You are best to stay close to Chiang Mai. If it isn't rainy (after checking the weather online for the following day,) Book: Maetang Elephant tour. (watch a baby elephant paint a picture.) This comes with riding an elephant across a small inlet to the Mae Ping River, river raft down the river... this is awesome! (It's not deep and white water rapids.) This includes includes the cave and an ox cart ride (bumpy and not comfy.) Than lunch which is awesome!A smorgasbord. Than off to see the Long-necks!

This is still the same tour...

Take extra money to buy silk from the Long-necks. Take your camera to get a picture. They will pose with you sitting next to them. But buy something from them. (...And haggle!)

Take extra money for photos...

The tour will take a picture of you on the elephant and the river raft. Optional to buy (200 B.)!

Another day... Eat at The Wok restaurant, in old city. If you like it, book a one day cooking course. Have a look at Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School online. Check out the food in each course. It's not too over whelming. It's from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Phone them to book. (... you'll love this course.)

In the evening... check out the Braserri Restaurant. his classy place is owned by a wicked guitar player. Best in Thailand. If the searing rock and blues belted out gets to be too much, (and isn't raining) you can sit outside in the lush garden setting by the river for a more mellow acoustic setting.

This guitarist by the mane of Took, gets jamming around 11 P.M. He puts on an amazing show.

If you are there on a Sunday... be sure to go to Walking Street. This is just inside Tha Phae Gate. Walk straight a head and you are on the street. It starts at 6 P.M. to midnight.

Regards!

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

The cooking courses are popular. Lots of people book a different cooking course each time they come to Chiang Mai. The cooking course is O.K. to book online.

Because you are there for such a short time you might want to pre-book, in case your course is full.

Look at the course you want, online. It probably won't be a full but on the off chance, it would be a shame to miss.

Best!

Chiang Mai Thailand
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6. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

welcome to Chiang Mai Here we have a lot of things to do. Elephant ride bamboo raft if you like to do the adventurous trip like white water raft very exciting Auqust would be nice to do that or trekking visit hill trib people,rappelling ,off road buggy and many more.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

Just to be clear.. it wasn't at all white water rafting. It was calm and serene. Not to worry...

It is beautiful and peaceful. And not too deep, just enough. The scenery from the raft is awesome. Take your camera but keep it dry. They will take a picture of you but take some yourself.

It's a longish ride down the river. Our guide pointed out a baby boa by the shore. Yup! I saw it. There are 2 guides using bamboo poles. One at each end of the raft. Take the pole from the guide at the rear. Ask someone at the front to take your picture. The guide at the front will probably offer 100 B to throw him in. (They love humor! But don't do it.)

This is a great tour. Lots of people don't realize but you can haggle for tours.

Scotland
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8. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

How do you tell which are the most reputable tour agents?

Thanks

EMac

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

It's the specific tour that you focus on, not the reputable agents. And book the proper name of the tour. There are different tours to ride the elephants. Ask... where does the tour go? Does the elephant ride and elephant show include river rafting and the Long-necks? (The river rafting is at Maetang Junglecraft.)

The tour makes several stops to all these places. You also go to Lisu Village. Check out the squat pot in the public bathrooms. It's traditional Thai culture. (...Just go with it.)

*All the agents book the same tours. This is why you can haggle a bit. The tour will have lots of agents booking it. This is an awesome tour. There are different tours to pick.

Make sure you are in an A/C van. Thais keep the A/C on quite low as it affects the gas mileage. Try to sit as close as you can to the front!! (This will depend on who is picked up first on route, and so on.)

There is an advantage to touring with someone. Unfortunately I tour alone. I can't remember exactly what I paid. (I think) 1000 B or 1200 B. And someone else on the tour paid 500 B for him and 500 B for his wife. (That him saved 1000 B.)

It's an advantage if you have a friend or partner. *This is what I mean by haggle. You have to make the offer. They won't say anything to you. If there is 2 of you it increases your chances of the agent dropping the price.

Best!

singapore
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10. Re: Heading to Chiang Mai and need some advice

hey sal...just got back from CM last night! we did most of the interesting stuff, including a trip to MaeSa Elephant camp, off-road buggy rides, a trip to tiger kingdom (the newest attraction in CM, where u can pet a real tiger-should be adventurous enough for u!)- all in avery unhurried-plan at your own pace way. I had hired a car and driver and told him the night before what i would like to see the next day and he did all the running around like buying entrance tickets, recommending a good place to eat, etc which was very helpful.

Hope you enjoy your visit!