A Travel Price Comparison for Thailand Chiang Mai vs. Bangkok for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Chiang Mai or Bangkok?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Chiang Mai and Bangkok. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is both the cultural center of northern Thailand and a launching point for trips into the rural areas, small towns, and lush jungles of the country'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 Chiang Mai (and the surrounding countryside) is quite large.

Bangkok

Bangkok: a name synonymous with all things exotic. The vibrant and exciting capital of Thailand is not just a hub for Southeast Asia, but also a destination into itself. Known for an active nightlife and party scene, as well as great food, historic temples, and busy markets, Bangkok offers a diversity to entertain even the most experienced travelers.

Which city is cheaper, Bangkok or Chiang Mai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Chiang Mai is $40, while the average daily cost in Bangkok is $65. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Chiang Mai and Bangkok in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in Chiang Mai, $46 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Chiang Mai, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $23, such as in a hostel.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Bangkok is $70. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chiang Mai $23
    Bangkok $35
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chiang Mai $46
    Bangkok $70

Food

The average traveler spends about $9.15 per day in Chiang Mai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

The average traveler spends about $16 per day in Bangkok for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Chiang Mai $9.15
    Bangkok $16
Typical Food prices in Chiang Mai

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Chiang Mai:


  • Sit Down Dinner (for One)
    $5.96
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
    $0.73
  • Casual Breakfast
    $1.22
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $6.12
  • Mangoes
    $0.92
  • Coffee
    $1.53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chiang Mai

For Chiang Mai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Evening Thai cooking class by Aromdii Cooking School: $27
  • Half Day Cooking Class Including Market Tour from Chiang Mai: $28
  • Private Dining: Thai family dinner in Chiang Mai: $28
  • Thai Khantoke Dinner & Cultural Dance Show with Transfers: $29
  • Traditional Khantoke Dinner & Cultural Dance Show Tour: $29
  • Khum Khantoke Dinner and Cultural Show at Chiang Mai Admission Ticket: $29
  • Khum Khantoke Dinner and Cultural Show in Chiang Mai Admission Ticket: $29
  • Authentic Lanna Dinner and Shows (Khan Toke) in Chiang Mai: $30
  • Khum Khantoke Dinner and Cultural Show at Chiang Mai Admission Ticket: $34
  • Traditional Khantoke Dinner and Show from Chiang Mai: $34
  • Full-Day Cooking Class Including Market Tour from Chiang Mai: $35
  • Khantoke Dinner with Show: $35

Typical Food prices in Bangkok

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Bangkok:


  • Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (for Two)
    $28
  • Casual Lunch of Prawns (for Two)
    $6.12
  • 2 Rotis (Bread)
    $1.38
  • Mango & Sticky Rice
    $0.92
  • Lunch at KFC (for Two)
    $6.12
  • Pad Thai
    $2.14
  • Airport Lunch for 2
    $17
  • Lunch for 2
    $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bangkok

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bangkok.

  • Silom Village Authentic Thai Dinner and Performance Ticket: $17
  • Baiyoke Observation Deck with Lunch/Dinner Buffet: $23
  • Luxurious Afternoon Tea or Dinner at the Erawan Tea Rooms: $26
  • Skip the Line: Baiyoke Sky Hotel Observation Deck Ticket with Lunch or Dinner: $26
  • Bangkok Thai Classical Dance with Thai Set Dinner Ticket: $27
  • Bangkok Calypso Cabaret Show Tour With Optional Dinner.: $31
  • Bangkok Calypso Cabaret Show With Optional Dinner & Transfers: $31
  • 2-Hour Dinner & Shows on White Orchid River Cruise: $32
  • Skip the Line:Bangkok Calypso Cabaret Show Ticket w/(optional) Dinner &Transfers: $32
  • Bangkok Dinner Cruise on Chao Phraya River: $34
  • Dinner Cruise on Chao Phraya River in Bangkok (Optional Transfers): $34
  • Bangkok White Orchid Dinner Cruise: $34

Local Transportation

To get around in Chiang Mai, the average visitor spends $3.25 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

The cost of a taxi ride in Bangkok is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $4.40 per person, per day, on local transportation in Bangkok.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chiang Mai $3.25
    Bangkok $4.40
Typical Local Transportation prices in Chiang Mai

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Chiang Mai are as follows:


  • Tuk Tuk Ride
    $1.22
  • Moped Rental
    $5.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chiang Mai

Also for Chiang Mai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Chiang Mai : Night Safari tour with round trip transfer from hotel Ticket: $51
  • Chiang Mai Airport Arrival – Private Transfer from Airport to Four Seasons Hotel: $28
  • Chiang Mai Airport Arrival – Private Transfer from Airport to Hotel: $15
  • Chiang Mai Airport Departure – Private Transfer from Hotel to Airport: $15
  • Chiang Mai Airport Departure – Shared Transfer: $6.81
  • Chiang Mai Airport Private Transfer - Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai: $218
  • Chiang Mai Airport Taxi Private Transfer - Pai, Mae Hong Son: $145
  • Chiang Mai Airport transfer: $14
  • Chiang Mai City Temple & Museum tour half day round trip transfer from hotel: $43
  • Chiang Mai International Airport Arrival Shared Transfer: $14
  • Chiang Mai International Airport Departure Shared Transfer: $14
  • Chiang Mai Night Safari Park Admission Ticket with Hotel Transfer: $42

Typical Local Transportation prices in Bangkok

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Bangkok are as follows:


  • Tuk Tuk to bus station
    $2.45
  • Skytrain Ticket
    $4.89
  • Chao Phraya River Express Ticket
    $0.98
  • Ferry Ride
    $0.80
  • Taxi From Airport
    $7.64
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $2.75
  • Boat Taxi
    $1.53
  • Trains to airport
    $4.89

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bangkok

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bangkok:

  • To/From Pattaya 1-Way Private Luxury Transfers: $257
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok to Chiang Rai with 2h of Sightseeing: $220
  • Moto GP Private Transfer Bangkok To Chang International Circuit: $218
  • Private Transfer Laem Chabang/Bangkok: $212
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok to Krabi with 2h of Sightseeing: $205
  • Private Transfer from Don Muang Airport to Koh Chang Hotel: $199
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok Airport to Koh Chang hotel: $193
  • Elephant Haven Kanchanaburi with Private Transfer from Bangkok: $192
  • Elephant World Sanctuary with private transfer trip from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi: $191
  • Private Transfer from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with 2h of Sightseeing: $190
  • Bangkok International Airport Private Transfer to Hotels in Koh Chang: $190
  • Bangkok Airport Private Transfer to Hotels in Trat: $190

Is it cheaper to fly into Chiang Mai or Bangkok?

Prices for flights to both Bangkok and Chiang Mai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

In Chiang Mai, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $11 per person, per day.

Entertainment and activities in Bangkok typically cost an average of $12 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chiang Mai $11
    Bangkok $12
Typical Entertainment prices in Chiang Mai

For Chiang Mai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Thai Cooking Class
    $40
  • Doi Suthep Entrance Ticket
    $1.83
  • Kratong Lessons
    $3.06
  • Pedicure
    $4.59
  • Chiang Mai Museum (for Two)
    $5.50

Tours and Activities in Chiang Mai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Chiang Mai.

  • 2-Hour Araksa Tea Plantation Tour and Tea Tasting: $14
  • Chiang Mai Night Safari Park Admission Ticket: $15
  • Skip the Line: Siam Dragon Cabaret Show -Ticket Only: $16
  • Skip the Line: Chiang Mai Art in Paradise Admission Ticket: $17
  • DON'T miss this halfday tour! Doi suthep temple + Hmong village - must visit!!: $20
  • Amazing Night tour ! Wat umong & Doi suthep at Night - Top Must visit place: $20
  • Miracle Cabaret Chiang Mai Ticket: $21
  • Thapae Boxing Stadium Ticket in Chiang Mai: $22
  • Chiang Mai's Thapae Muay Thai Boxing Stadium Ticket: $23
  • Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium Ticket: $27
  • Traditional Handicraft Craftsmanship Tour from Chiang Mai: $29
  • Traditional Handicraft Craftsmanship Tour from Chiang Mai: $29

Typical Entertainment prices in Bangkok

Here are a few typical costs in Bangkok for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Movie Ticket
    $4.89
  • Grand Palace Entrance Ticket
    $11
  • Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) Ticket
    $1.53
  • Dusit Zoo Entrance Fee (for Two)
    $6.12
  • Club Cover Charge
    $11
  • Thai Boxing Tickets (for Two)
    $73
  • Fish Pedicure
    $4.59
  • Wat Pho entrance ticket
    $3.06
  • Siriraj Museum (2)
    $12

Tours and Activities in Bangkok

Here are a few actual costs in Bangkok for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • "Phra Nakorn Khiri and Kui Buri adventure in 1 day" (Private trip): $322
  • "Two Day one Night for River Kwai Adventure" (Private): $442
  • 04 DAYS CENTRAL HIGHLIGHTS - Joint Tour: $692
  • 1-day Bangkok Old Town Tuk Tuk Tour - Sawasdee Tuk Tuk: $102
  • 10 Hours Private Tour Ayuttaya: $140
  • 11-Day Thailand Tour to Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phuket: $2,921
  • 12-Day Tour Through Cambodia from Bangkok to Saigon: $1,165
  • 2 Days Private Tour To Ayutthaya' World Heritage Site: $428
  • 2-Day River Kwai Experience from Bangkok: $262
  • 2-Day River Kwai Floathouse Experience from Bangkok: $346
  • 2-Day River Kwai Jungle Rafts Experience from Bangkok: $231
  • 2-Day River Kwai and Kanchanaburi Tour from Bangkok: $228

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Chiang Mai, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $6.06.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Bangkok may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.29 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chiang Mai $6.06
    Bangkok $7.29
Typical Alcohol prices in Chiang Mai

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Chiang Mai are as follows:


  • Wine
    $3.06

Typical Alcohol prices in Bangkok

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Bangkok are as follows:


  • Beer
    $1.22

Sample the Local Flavors in Bangkok

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Bangkok:

  • 4-Hour Sukhumvit Bar Crawl: $7.50
  • 4-Hour Thonglor Bar Crawl: $20
  • Guided Bar Crawl: $21
  • From Khao Yai Wine Tasting by Bike: $359


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, we can see that Bangkok is more expensive. And not only is Chiang Mai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Chiang Mai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Chiang Mai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bangkok would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bangkok than you might in Chiang Mai.

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Chiang Mai vs. Bangkok Travel Comparison

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