Which city is cheaper, Bangkok or Chiang Mai?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.
Chiang Mai is a laid-back, friendly, and cultural city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, food, and hiking.
Bangkok is a high energy, cultural, and alluring capital city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.
Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Spend time exploring the sights and museums in either Chiang Mai or Bangkok.
Travelers visit Chiang Mai from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The city is filled with culture and you'll find many beautiful temples in the area. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a mountain-top temple that is an iconic landmark in the city. Other famous sights include Doi Inthanon and Wat Chedi Luang.
The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Bangkok are among the most recognizable in the world. The city is filled with golden temples and beautiful statues of Buddha. Famous landmarks include the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and the Temple of the Golden Buddha.
Foodies will find both Chiang Mai and Bangkok both to be unique destinations.
Eat your way through Chiang Mai, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. For many, this city offers some of the best food in all of Thailand. The cuisine is influenced by nearby Burma and China, with ginger and turmeric often used. Curries tend to be a bit milder and dishes are often served with sticky rice. Famous dishes around town include Khao Soi, Larb Kua, and Sai Oua. Cooking classes are also very popular around town and the courses often include a trip to a market.
For foodies, Bangkok is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city is filled with colorful markets, street food vendors, and a range of restaurants from casual to high end. The aroma and beautiful flavors of local dishes are a big part of the experience in this city. Dishes that you must try include Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong (shrimp soup), and Gaeng Daeng (red curry). Many foods are very spicy so make sure you order with "no spice" if that is your preference.
If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
The nightlife in Chiang Mai has something for everybody. It is the largest city in Northern Thailand, so it has the most active nightlife scene in the area. Whatever your style, you can find something to do at night here. Many people head to the riverside to drink and listen to music. You'll also find clubs concentrated around Nimmanhaemin Road and Loy Kroh Road. There's also the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, which is packed with stalls and people sampling food and drinks.
The nightlife in Bangkok is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. Cheap drinks, late nights, and crazy parties make this city a favorite for backpackers and young party-goers. Head to Khao San Road for the biggest crowds and crazy parties. Nana Plaza is another option with a three story building that is filled with bars and clubs.
If you're looking to go shopping, Chiang Mai and Bangkok both offer plenty of spots.
People travel from around the world to go shopping in Chiang Mai. The city is famous for its night markets, which run every night of the year until around midnight. You'll find the streets packed with people and vendors, rain or shine. This is a great place to search for local handicrafts and try some of the city's famous street food. Popular items to buy include rice boxes, silk, and Thai sky lanterns.
The abundance of shops in Bangkok make it a world-class shopping destination. Shopping options range from modern malls to more traditional markets. The malls offer bargain prices for technology and gadgets while the markets offer fabric, food, local goods, and a unique experience. The city also has nearby floating markets as well as night markets, which let you experience a different side to the culture.
Both Chiang Mai and Bangkok are family-friendly destinations.
Chiang Mai is a very family-friendly destination. This city is very friendly and welcoming to kids. There are many cultural and adventurous activities that the whole family can enjoy. One of the most popular kid-friendly places to visit is the Elephant Sanctuary, where kids can get up close and personal with these beautiful animals. Kids will also enjoy heading into the countryside to trek or visit one of Thailand’s Hilltribes. The cultural experience and opportunity to meet a diversity of kids will be an experience your children will never forget. In town, a cooking class is a popular option for budding foodies.
Bangkok is a very kid-friendly city. This city is full of energy and kids will love the vibrant atmosphere. There are colorful temples, spirited markets, and kid-friendly museums. It's good to choose a hotel with a pool, as temperatures can get hot during the day. Kids will also enjoy having new experiences like riding in a tuk tuk or taking a boat ride. There are also a number of amusement parks and entertainment centers around town.
Chiang Mai and Bangkok both fun destinations for a couple.
Chiang Mai is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. Trekking, rafting, temples, and some of the best food in Thailand all make this city a popular destination for a couple's getaway. The region is perfect for adventurous couples who want to experience more of the authentic side of Thailand.
Bangkok makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. This is a great city for couples who enjoy culture, food, partying, and soaking up life. Wandering the grounds of the stunning temples, sampling food at the markets, or taking a boat cruise will all make memorable experiences.
For backpackers, both Chiang Mai and Bangkok are fairly comparable places to visit.
Many backpackers frequent Chiang Mai. This is one of the biggest backpacker mecca's in Southeast Asia, and you'll find the city flooded with budget travelers out to experience it all. There are countless hostels and budget hotels available and most will organize treks and activities for guests. It's easy to meet other backpackers and many visitors end up staying longer than they planned. Prices in Northern Thailand are also much more affordable than many other areas.
Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Bangkok. This part of the world is a mecca for backpackers, and many arrive or depart from this city. It's filled with hostels and budget accommodation, as well as entertainment, bars, tours (and even scams so stay alert). The most famous backpacker area is around Khao San Road, where you'll find parties, bars, street food, and large crowds. If you're looking for a slightly more mellow vibe, you should consider a different area like Phaya Thai.
Chiang Mai and Bangkok both offer public transit to get you around.
While Chiang Mai offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. Transportation options include red songthaew (converted pick-up trucks), buses, and tuk-tuks.
Bangkok has a few public transit options. The Skytrain and Metro are the most efficient way to get around. The city's crazy traffic can make buses and taxis a bit frustrating, but tuk tuks are also a fun option.
Chiang Mai and Bangkok are similar when it comes to walkability.
Chiang Mai is somewhat walkable. Although there are a few walking streets, the city can get very crowded and many places are easier to access with a tuk tuk or taxi.
Bangkok is generally not very walkable. The crowds and size make walking a bit challenging, so it's best to plan your day in advance.
Both Chiang Mai and Bangkok have a number of activities to choose from. You can spend a similar amount of time exploring either.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Chiang Mai is 2-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Bangkok is 2-7 days.
Because Chiang Mai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
With museums and nightlife around the spirited capital city of Bangkok, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.
Because Chiang Mai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Chiang Mai has to offer.
With nightlife and food around the big city destination of Bangkok, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this capital city.
Chiang Mai is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Chiang Mai has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Bangkok, a popular capital city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this capital city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chiang Mai. Because Chiang Mai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.
Bangkok is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this capital city makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this capital city has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Chiang Mai is $39, while the average daily cost in Bangkok is $63. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chiang Mai and Bangkok in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Chiang Mai or Bangkok? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.
Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Chiang Mai are as follows:
Also for Chiang Mai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Bangkok are as follows:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in 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.
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Chiang Mai:
For Chiang Mai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Bangkok:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bangkok.
For Chiang Mai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Chiang Mai.
Here are a few typical costs in Bangkok for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Here are a few actual costs in Bangkok for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Chiang Mai are as follows:
Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Bangkok are as follows:
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.
Both destinations experience a warmer tropical climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.
The summer brings many poeple to Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Chiang Mai throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Bangkok throughout the year.
June to September in Chiang Mai is the rainy season. It's quite rainy in Bangkok. Chiang Mai receives a lot of rain in the summer. Chiang Mai usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Bangkok. Chiang Mai gets 161 mm (6.3 in) of rain, while Bangkok receives 155 mm (6.1 in) of rain this time of the year.
In the summer, Chiang Mai often gets less sunshine than Bangkok. Chiang Mai gets 146 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bangkok receives 176 hours of full sun.
Chiang Mai is around the same temperature as Bangkok in the summer. The temperature in Chiang Mai is usually 30°C (86°F) in July, and Bangkok stays around 29°C (84°F).
Both Bangkok and Chiang Mai are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Plenty of visitors come to Chiang Mai because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Bangkok because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.
The dry season in Chiang Mai is November to February. The dry season in Bangkok is November to February. The rainy season in Bangkok is May to October. It rains a lot this time of the year in Bangkok. It's quite rainy in Chiang Mai. In October, Chiang Mai usually receives less rain than Bangkok. Chiang Mai gets 122 mm (4.8 in) of rain, while Bangkok receives 242 mm (9.5 in) of rain each month for the autumn.
It's quite sunny in Bangkok. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai usually receives more sunshine than Bangkok during autumn. Chiang Mai gets 226 hours of sunny skies, while Bangkok receives 206 hours of full sun in the autumn.
In the autumn, Chiang Mai is around the same temperature as Bangkok. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Chiang Mai in October are around 29°C (83°F), and Bangkok is about 28°C (83°F).
Both Bangkok and Chiang Mai during the winter are popular places to visit. Chiang Mai attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate. Bangkok attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.
November to February is the dry season in Chiang Mai. November to February is the dry season in Bangkok. Chiang Mai usually gets less rain in January than Bangkok. Chiang Mai gets 7 mm (0.3 in) of rain, while Bangkok receives 9 mm (0.4 in) of rain this time of the year.
In Bangkok, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Chiang Mai. In the winter, Chiang Mai often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Bangkok. Chiang Mai gets 283 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bangkok receives 276 hours of full sun.
In January, Chiang Mai is generally cooler than Bangkok. Temperatures in Chiang Mai average around 23°C (74°F), and Bangkok stays around 27°C (80°F).
The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Chiang Mai and Bangkok. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Chiang Mai throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Bangkok throughout the year.
Also, June to September is the rainy season in Chiang Mai. Also, May to October is the rainy season in Bangkok. In April, Chiang Mai usually receives less rain than Bangkok. Chiang Mai gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Bangkok receives 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain each month for the spring.
People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Bangkok this time of the year. In Chiang Mai, it's very sunny this time of the year. Chiang Mai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Bangkok during spring. Chiang Mai gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Bangkok receives 262 hours of full sun in the spring.
It's very hot in Chiang Mai this time of the year. Chiang Mai is around the same temperature as Bangkok in the spring. The temperature in Chiang Mai is usually 31°C (88°F) in April, and Bangkok stays around 31°C (87°F).
|Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)||Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)|
|Jan||23°C (74°F)||7 mm (0.3 in)||27°C (80°F)||9 mm (0.4 in)|
|Feb||26°C (78°F)||5 mm (0.2 in)||28°C (82°F)||30 mm (1.2 in)|
|Mar||29°C (83°F)||13 mm (0.5 in)||29°C (85°F)||29 mm (1.1 in)|
|Apr||31°C (88°F)||50 mm (2 in)||31°C (87°F)||65 mm (2.6 in)|
|May||31°C (87°F)||158 mm (6.2 in)||30°C (86°F)||220 mm (8.7 in)|
|Jun||30°C (86°F)||132 mm (5.2 in)||29°C (85°F)||149 mm (5.9 in)|
|Jul||30°C (86°F)||161 mm (6.3 in)||29°C (84°F)||155 mm (6.1 in)|
|Aug||29°C (85°F)||236 mm (9.3 in)||29°C (84°F)||197 mm (7.8 in)|
|Sep||29°C (85°F)||228 mm (9 in)||28°C (83°F)||344 mm (13.5 in)|
|Oct||29°C (83°F)||122 mm (4.8 in)||28°C (83°F)||242 mm (9.5 in)|
|Nov||27°C (80°F)||53 mm (2.1 in)||27°C (81°F)||48 mm (1.9 in)|
|Dec||24°C (75°F)||20 mm (0.8 in)||26°C (79°F)||10 mm (0.4 in)|
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