Travel Budget for Chiang Mai

Changwat Chiang Mai, Thailand

How much does it cost to travel to Chiang Mai?

How much money will you need for your trip to Chiang Mai? You should plan to spend around ฿1,272 ($40) per day on your vacation in Chiang Mai, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, ฿282 ($8.91) on meals for one day and ฿93 ($2.95) on local transportation. Also, the average hotel price in Chiang Mai for a couple is ฿1,487 ($47). So, a trip to Chiang Mai for two people for one week costs on average ฿17,804 ($562). All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
  • One Week Per person
  • 2 Weeks Per person
  • One Month Per person
  • One Week For a couple
  • 2 Weeks For a couple
  • One Month For a couple
This data comes from the travel budgets of real travelers - Learn more about these numbers.
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A vacation to Chiang Mai for one week usually costs around ฿8,902 for one person. So, a trip to Chiang Mai for two people costs around ฿17,804 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs ฿35,608 in Chiang Mai. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared. If you travel slower over a longer period of time then your daily budget will also go down. Two people traveling together for one month in Chiang Mai can often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

How expensive is Chiang Mai?

How much does a trip to Chiang Mai cost? Is Chiang Mai expensive? The average Chiang Mai trip cost is broken down by category here. All of these Chiang Mai prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

While meal prices in Chiang Mai can vary, the average cost of food in Chiang Mai is ฿282 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Chiang Mai should cost around ฿113 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Chiang Mai is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

The cost of a taxi ride in Chiang Mai is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent ฿93 per person, per day, on local transportation in Chiang Mai.

  • Accommodation1 Hotel or hostel for one person
  • Accommodation1 Typical double-occupancy room
  • Food2 Meals for one day
  • Water2 Bottled water for one day
  • Local Transportation1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
  • Entertainment1 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
  • Tips and Handouts1 For guides or service providers
  • Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps1
  • Alcohol2 Drinks for one day
Last Updated: Aug 4, 2019
Flights to Chiang Mai

How much does it cost to go to Chiang Mai? Naturally, it depends on the dates. We recommend SkyScanner because they can find the best deals across all of the airlines.

How much money do I need for Chiang Mai?

Typical travel prices in Chiang Mai are listed below. These actual costs can give you an idea of the price of travel in Chiang Mai. Please keep in mind that the cost of travel in Chiang Mai can vary depending on your specific style of travel.

  • Tuk Tuk Ride
  • Chiang Mai Trek (One Day)
  • Thai Cooking Class
  • 1 Liter Water
  • Sit Down Dinner (for One)
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
  • Casual Breakfast
  • Aspirin
  • Thai Massages (for Two)
  • Doi Suthep Entrance Ticket
  • Moped Rental
  • Kratong Lessons
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
  • Bus tickets (2) to Chiang Pai
  • Pedicure
  • Mangoes
Typical tour prices for Chiang Mai

How much do tours to Chiang Mai cost? Multi-day tours can often be an effecient way to see the highlights of a country or region.

  • Contiki Tours for 18-35 year olds
    9 days
    $ 885
  • Intrepid Small group tours for everyone
    13 days
    $ 1425
  • G Adventures Adventure and cultural tours
    7 days
    $ 650
  • Trafalgar Award-winning tours
    9 days
    $ 1550
Find a hostel, guesthouse, or B&B in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai On a Budget
Chiang Mai Chiang Mai street vendor
Chaing Mai is both the cultural center of the north and a launching point for trips into the rural areas, small towns, and lush jungles of Thailand's northern regions. Known for great food, historic temples, arts and crafts, and a lively night market, Chiang Mai is a very popular destination for travelers. In some areas, tourists and ex-pats dominate, but it's quite easy to get away from the tourist scene and into the real culture of Thailand, as Chaing Mai (and the surrounding countryside) is quite large.
The old city center is surrounded by ancient walls, and contains many historic temples and architectural gems. The city sprawls outward from here, and mostly east towards the Ping river and the nearby Night Bazaar with surrounding restaurants, hotels, and shops. While many markets are open during the day as well, the nighttime activity at the market brings in the crowds and a vibe of excitement.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a temple 13km outside of the city, and makes for a great half-day trip. Many visitors rent motorbikes or hire a taxi for the ride up the hill to explore the temple and take in the great views of the city from up high. For more information on religious sites in the area, see this great guide to the temples of Chiang Mai.

For information on elephant parks, see the Activities section below.

If museums interest you, several great finds are available in Chaing Mai. The Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre offers a modern and air-conditioned experience showcasing the history and culture of northern Thailand. The Chiang Mai National Museum also offers a good overview of history. Don't miss the unique Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders, which displays a wide range of butterflies, bugs, wildlife, geologic samples, and other natural science exibits.

The Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium also draws in a number of visitors, most of which are Thai. Foreign visitors tend to give the Zoo unfavorable ratings as the animals are kept in small areas and there are more kiosks selling trinkets than the number of animals on display.

Muay Thai Boxing is quite popular in Chaing Mai, just as it is in Bangkok. Various venues around town showcase the sport. But unlike in Bangkok, it is much less expensive in Chaing Mai. The Kalare Boxing Stadium is near the Night Market, and Tha Phae and Loi Kroh are other popular venues.
Chiang Mai is an interesting mix of old and new. At the city's center is the old historic area enclosed by a mostly square moat that was once a wall (some of which has been restored). Inside the moat and wall sections are the historic temples along with shops and restaurants.

To the east of the old city, along Tha Phae Road and Loi Kroh Road, heading towards the river, is the main section of shops, hotels, restaurants, and other amenities that tourists would be interested in, such as the Night Market and riverside vendors.

The airport lies to the southwest of the old city.

Straight to the west of the old city is the Su Thep area, and beyond is the border of Doi Suthep Pui National Park (which is home to the Wat Phrathap Doi Suthep temple).

If you want to wrap everything that northern Thailand offers into a few days, then a jungle trek is a convenient, although somewhat touristy option. Many guesthouses, hostels, and hotels run multi-day treks into the surrounding countryside that combines the beautiful scenery with elephant rides, local villages, and a bit of rafting or swimming. Note that many of these trips are not very authentic as you will be with other travelers and in locations that are not far from Chaing Mai. (Also, many hostels only open rooms up to travelers who agree to go on their organized treks.)

Elephant tours, and visits to elephant parks, are perhaps the most popular activity in northern Thailand, and a number of Elephant parks are in or near the Chiang Mai area. These parks are often very controversial, as many do not take care of their elephants very well, while others are not just for tourists but also act as animal sanctuaries. Do your research first, and ask other tourists what their experiences were like.

Some elephant parks with good reputations include Baanchang Elephant Park (one of the less expensive places), Eddy Elephant Care Chiang Mai (a full day ore more experience), Elephant Nature Park (a sanctuary with day, night, and weekly options), and Friends for Asia Elephant Camp Volunteer Project (two week minimum with lodging options).

Cooking classes are very popular in Chiang Mai, as a number of small cooking schools have opened up to benefit the tourists. These classes are usually a full day, and the students are instructed by local Thai people on how to prepare and cook various Thai dishes. The day usually begins with a trip to the local market where various ingredients are explained (curry, exotic herbs, interesting fruit, etc). Then the students, under instruction and guidance from the teachers, prepare dishes such as salads, curries, meats, and desserts. Many of these classes also involve some entertainment and humor from the teachers, which makes for an enjoyable experience. And, of course, there is much eating.

Tours to hilltribe villages are also quite popular and make for a great cultural experience. The northern jungles of Thailand are home to a dozen or so tribes, each with their own culture and history. Many of the trips to these villages are touristy, and sometimes exploitative of the locals, so do your research first. The further away from civilization, the more authentic your experience will likely be.

Mountain biking is another popular activity, as a number of bike trails have been created in the surrounding hills. Inquire at local travel agencies or at your hostel or hotel or options.

Spas, heath centers, yoga studios, and massage centers are also quite prevalent in Chaing Mai. As always, do your research first to make sure that you are getting what you paid for, not less, and not "more". Many places also offer Thai massage classes.

With so much to offer at great prices, Chiang Mai offers a great addition to any budget-oriented trip through the region. For more information about traveling on a budget, check out this guide to backpacking Thailand.
Food and Dining
Khao Soi seems to be Chaing Mai's signature dish, as it can be found in many places around town. This yellow wheat noodle dish has a curry broth and is usually served with chicken or meat.

Restaurants serving not just Thai food, but every type of international food can be found in Chaing Mai. Many Thai restaurants cater to tourists, and therefore are not considered "authentic" by the locals or discerning travelers. Look for restaurants or street vendors without signs in English, or those away from the main tourist drags.

Thailand Bus and Train Prices
The best prices for buses and trains in Thailand can be found on 12Go. They let you search across all bus, train, and airline routes throughout the region.

Read this guide for more information on taking the bus or train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Local buses in Chiang Mai come in the form of songthaews, which are pick-up trucks with covered backs for the passengers. Some act as taxis (the red ones, specifically), while others plow a variety of set routes rather efficiently, so don't be afraid to hop on. (More info on Chiang Mai public transport is here.)

Tuk-Tuks are also common (but not always cheaper than a car taxi). They can be quick and fun, but always negotiate the price.

A samlor is a form of tricycle that acts as a rickshaw taxi. They can be cheap, but are slow. They make a good option for a short trip or a relaxing tour.

Always negotiate prices, or demand the usage of the meter if the vehicle has one.
Partying in Chiang Mai or other parts of Thailand?
Going to the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan?
Hitting the beach in Koh Samui?
1 Categories averaged on a per-item basis.
2 Categories averaged on a per-day basis.
For example, the Food2 daily average is for all meals for an entire day, while Entertainment1 is for each individual purchase.

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Chiang Mai Travel Cost - Average Price of a Vacation to Chiang Mai: Food & Meal Budget, Daily & Weekly Expenses |

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