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What's the Reasonable Cost?

San Francisco
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What's the Reasonable Cost?

Dear previous travelers/ area experts,

What should we (3) expect to pay for the following service? Some approximate range would be appreciated so we know that we are not getting ripped off.

Pick up at Chiang Mai hotel at around 8am

A quick tour of the Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep temple

Drive to the golden triangle with no stop

Visit the new opium museum

Boat ride along the mekong river

Quick visits to the hilltribe villages on the way to Chiang Rai

Hotel drop off in Chiang Rai at around 7pm.

I'd like the driver as a guide. Would that save? Included should be the car/fuel, entrance fees to the sights and boat ride.


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1. Re: What's the Reasonable Cost?

Gem, probably not what you wanted to hear, but I reckon you're trying to fit FAR too much into 11 hours.

Doi Suthep is going to chew up at LEAST 3 hours maybe 4. The drive from CM to CR will take another 3 hours then it's another hour on to Chiang Saen. (Then an hour to get back to CR).

You've got to consider the poor driver as well... A tired driver (by day's end) will hardly be a safe driver.

Others may disagree, I'll leave it to them now.

San Francisco
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2. Re: What's the Reasonable Cost?

Thanks for the comment but I don't plan on spending any more than 30 minutes in the temple. I am not much of a temple person, but I'm adding this because it seems important in Chiang Mai. My guess is about 2 hours total from Chiang Mai hotel to the temple and back on the road since it's kind of on the way to the Golden Triangle. No? I understand it's going to be long day, but I don't have much time, so I have no way around it. Thanks.

Destination Expert
for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
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3. Re: What's the Reasonable Cost?

Using the driver as a guide only will save you money if you can locate a driver who speaks English well and understands the tourist cites you want to see and the background of each cite. My experience with the drivers we have used, all of whom I have liked, is that they do not have the ability to communicate in the manner in which we desired to really learn about the culture, the people and the land.

A driver for an entire day will be about 1,700 to 2,000 baht and will include all of your fuel, cold towels, drinks. Many times our drivers had an 8 hour day with us and at other times it was a 12 hour day. They charged the same price and said it was their job to stay with us until our entire day was complete.

A guide will be 700 baht for the same time periods. Sometimes it is 8 hours and sometimes 12 hours and he stayed until the end of the day. The guide works a lot harder than the driver, but the driver cost more due to the fact that they own the car and have payments and have to pay for fuel. Compared to the states, it is an extremelly cheap rate for a guide or a driver.

The guide Jermsak, who many people on this cite use, has kept his rates pretty steady over that last couple of years without an increase, despite his increase in demand. He remains by far the most widely used and highly praised guide due to his incredible knowledge of Chiang Rai and its hilltribes and culture and his time spent in tourism school in Chiang Mai. He was raised in a Hilltribe but lives in Chiang Rai now. His integrity is unquestionable and his honest and warm hospitality will leaving wishing you could have spent a longer period of time with him.

Our drivers Mr. Snit one year and Mr. Bai another year were fantastic. They carried our packages, had new air conditioned vans with great beverages and were incredibly gracious. They stopped when we desired, regardless of whether it was on the agenda. Cold towels were always available. Mr. Snit spoke no English and Mr. Bai spoke limited English.

I hope that gives you some guidelines. Have a great trip.


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4. Re: What's the Reasonable Cost?

sounds like a big day.To give some idea we did similar trip last year.Travelled from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai,on the way stopped at white temple,went to golden triangle did the boat cruise,looked through Lao market(try the cobra wiskey),back to the opium museum,up to Mai Sai crossed the border into Myanmar had a quick tour of city and walk through market,visited hilltribe village and back to hotel in Chiang Rai.It was huge cost us 2500 baht + enrty + food/drinks.

So you could do it but I would recommend do Doi Suthep and a couple of things in Chiang Rai and get up and go to rest from Chiang Rai.Hope this helps but nothing beats thai time if you know what I mean?

Brisbane, Australia
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for Chiang Mai
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5. Re: What's the Reasonable Cost?

Hi again gem77,

All of the advice above is good.

I can only back up the point made by fourb - Doi Suthep is a wonderful Chiang Mai landmark and well worth spending a couple of hours there at least. It will take you about 20 mins to get to the temple. You then walk about a huge, ornate staircase to the top. Along the stair case are small stalls selling a variety of things. At the top you enter into the main temple area. It is truly breathtaking - wonderful photo opportunities and an amazing view back over Chiang Mai. There is a lovely coffee shop under the trees, you can sit here, have a milkshake or coffee and relax and soak up the atmosphere. It's not really on the way to The Golden Triangle as such as it is up the mountain.

Consider this option.... many of the things you mention you want to do can be done from Chiang Rai eg. boat ride on the river, visits to hill tribes etc. Why not just get to Chiang Rai as quickly as possible and then do your sight seeing from there. You will save a great deal of money by catching the Green VIP bus from the Arcade Bus station right into the centre of Chiang Rai. It is cheap, comfortable, air conditioned, non stop, has a toilet on board and huge glass windows to take in the view. The seats recline right back and leg rests come up. You can be in Chiang Rai in just under three hours.

Once in Chiang Rai book a guide and driver to explore the area around The Golden Triangle, The White Temple, hill tribes etc.

We did a wonderful full day trip with Jermsak that included a river boat trip, visits to four hill tribes, up close encounters with elephants and lunch at a jungle restaurant.

I really think you'll enjoy the whole experience much more if you are not rushed - and you will save money as well.


6. Re: What's the Reasonable Cost?

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