A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Chiang Mai vs. Marrakech for Attractions, Food, Old Town, and Couples

Should you visit Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Chiang Mai and Marrakech. 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

Chiang Mai is a temple-filled, laid-back, and friendly city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Marrakech

Marrakech is a fascinating, ancient, 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. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Chiang Mai and Marrakech: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Marrakech than Chiang Mai, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Marrakech is better known for its historical sights, while Chiang Mai is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, and hiking. Chiang Mai is well known for its lively night market, historical temples, local cuisine, and cultural rainforest treks. Marrakech is well known for its colorful medina, festive night market, and beautiful palaces. Also, Marrakech is famous for Jemaa el-Fnaa Square.

How is Chiang Mai different from Marrakech?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Marrakech and Chiang Mai. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Chiang Mai is an unbeatable place for its museums and history. Also, Marrakech is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Chiang Mai has many famous sights for visitors. 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.

Many visitors head to Marrakech specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. While wandering the medina is an attraction in and of itself, there are also several sights that you should specifically check out. The iconic Djemaa el-Fnaa, or the city's main square, is best visited as the sun goes down. Other notable landmarks include Koutoubia Mosque, Majorelle Gardens, and Medersa Ben Youssef.


Is the Food Better in Chiang Mai or Marrakech? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Chiang Mai is an unbeatable place for its restaurants. Also, Marrakech is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

For foodies, Chiang Mai is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. 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.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Marrakech makes for a great culinary experience. Moroccan food is amazing and you'll enjoy grilled meats, tagines, couscous, and more. The city is more touristy than some parts of Morocco so you'll find the quality of the food can vary a bit, but it's still a culinary delight. Marrakesh is also a great city for taking a cooking class.

Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for Nightlife?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Chiang Mai is an excellent place to visit for its evening party scene. Also, Marrakech is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife.

Chiang Mai has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. 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.

Marrakech has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Although alcohol is hard to come by, you'll find it in most western style restaurants and high end hotel chains. The city has more bars and nightclubs than you'd expect. There's also a great nighttime energy with many locals heading outside in the evening. Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square, comes to life with street vendors, performers, and people during the nighttime hours.

Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for its Old Town?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Marrakech is a world-class destination for its historic old town. Also, Chiang Mai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its old town.

The historic old town of Marrakech is revered around the world. The historic medina is filled with spices, antiques, art, and pottery. The culture and experience of wandering the medina will have you feeling like you stepped back in time.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Chiang Mai. The old city is about 1.5 square kilometers in size and it has four gates, one on each side. The most famous area is Sunday Walking Street, which comes to life at 4pm every day when it is lined with stalls and filled with people.


Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for Hiking?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Chiang Mai is an unbeatable place for its hiking trails. However, Marrakech is not a hiking destination.

People visit Chiang Mai specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Many people use this city as a base for a trekking excursion into the surrounding countryside. The land is lush and beautiful and many treks also expose you to the welcoming Hilltribe people of Northern Thailand. Treks can be organized at almost any hotel or hostel as well the many tour agencies around town.

Marrakech is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

If you're looking to go shopping, Chiang Mai and Marrakech both offer plenty of amazing 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 Marrakech make it a world-class shopping destination. Shop your way through the street stalls and sample perfumes, spices, produce, and more. You'll find everything from souvenir trinkets to local items and authentic antiques.

Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for Families?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Both Chiang Mai and Marrakech are superb 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.

Marrakech is a very kid-friendly city. Kids will enjoy exploring a new culture and wandering through the medina. The food is very kid-friendly and during the evening the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, comes to life with street performers, vendors, and entertainment. Families can also take cooking classes or head into the desert for a camel trek.


Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for Couples?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Marrakech is a world-class destination for romance. Also, Chiang Mai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its romantic activities.

Marrakech is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. There are many wonderful restaurants and fascinating places for couples to explores. Wandering the medina or visiting the gardens make for a romantic and adventurous getaway.

Chiang Mai is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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.

Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

For backpackers, both Chiang Mai and Marrakech are amazing 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 Marrakech. The city is very affordable and there are countless riads that are budget-friendly. There are enough backpackers around town that it's not hard to meet fellow travelers.

Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Chiang Mai is a popular place for times when you don't have a car. However, Marrakech is lacking in options for its public transit.

Chiang Mai has some public transit options. Transportation options include red songthaew (converted pick-up trucks), buses, and tuk-tuks.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Marrakech. While there are local buses, most people take taxis around town when they can't walk. Taxis are affordable and convenient.


Is Chiang Mai or Marrakech a more walkable city?

Chiang Mai
Marrakech

Marrakech is a great city for its walkability. Also, Chiang Mai is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its high level of walkability.

Marrakech is very walkable. The medina is the best area to walk around but it's very easy to get lost. Outside of the medina you'll want to keep your eyes open for motorbikes and the occasional donkey.

Chiang Mai is a somewhat walkable place. 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.

For even more information, also check out Is Chiang Mai Worth Visiting? and Is Marrakech Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Marrakech or Chiang Mai?

How long in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Both Chiang Mai and Marrakech have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Chiang Mai has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Chiang Mai than Marrakech. In general, 2-7 days is a good amount of time for Chiang Mai, and 3-7 days is enough time in Marrakech.

Couples should spend more time in Marrakech than Chiang Mai. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Marrakech that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Chiang Mai than Marrakech if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Chiang Mai.


  • How many days in Chiang Mai or Marrakech? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chiang Mai 2-7 
    Marrakech 3-7

One day in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

People visit Chiang Mai because there is so much to do. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

With museums and nightlife around the fascinating city of Marrakech, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the shopping. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

People visit Chiang Mai because there is so much to do. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

With nightlife and food around the big city destination of Marrakech, there's plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. One of the main draws to the area is the shopping. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.


Five days in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

People visit Chiang Mai because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

Marrakech, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Visiting the old town is also a must. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Chiang Mai is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Chiang Mai, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Marrakech is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this city makes for a great vacation. One of the main draws to the area is the shopping. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to Thailand, The Best 3-Day Tours from Phuket, The Best 10-Day Tours in Morocco, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Morocco.


Which place is cheaper, Marrakech or Chiang Mai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chiang Mai is $45, while the average daily cost in Marrakech is $69. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chiang Mai and Marrakech in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chiang Mai $26
    Marrakech $47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chiang Mai $52
    Marrakech $94
Compare Hotels in Chiang Mai and Marrakech

Looking for a hotel in Chiang Mai or Marrakech? 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.

Hotels in Chiang Mai


Hotels in Marrakech


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.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Chiang Mai Hotel Prices and Marrakech Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chiang Mai $3.63
    Marrakech $6.34
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Chiang Mai

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


  • Tuk Tuk Ride
    $1.09
  • Moped Rental
    $4.91

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chiang Mai

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

  • Zipline Adventure at Chiang Mai with Return Transfer: $194
  • Try find your better than us!Airport transfer service in Chiang Mai APT-HTL(CNX): $14
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service Chiang Mai HTL-APT(CNX): $10
  • Transfer: Chiang Mai to Huay Xai City, Laos: $45
  • Transfer : From Chiang Mai to ChiangKhong Border,Chiang Rai: $42
  • Skyline Jungle Luge Ticket + Lunch with Private Transfer: $250
  • Private Vehicle: Transfer from Airport in Chiang Mai: $21
  • Private Van: Chiang Mai Airport Arrival or Departure Transfer : $45
  • Private Transfer: Four Seasons Hotel to Chiang Mai Airport: $24
  • Private Transfer: Chiang Mai to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX): $27
  • Private Transfer: Chiang Mai Airport Arrival or Departure ride: $155
  • Private Transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai: $154

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Marrakech

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

  • One way transfer from Fes to Marrakech: $365
  • City to City Transfer - Marrakesh > Merzouga: $300
  • Marrakesh to Casablanca: Private Transfer (English Speaking Driver): $298
  • Agadir private transfer from Ouirgane to Agadir airport (AGA): $292
  • Transfer Marrakech to Tangier: $288
  • Private Premium Transfert From / To Marrakech To / From Tangier: $286
  • Private Transfer From Marrakech To Tangier: $265
  • Transfert Departure Marrakech City to Casablanca Airport: $265
  • Private Transfer Marrakech - Rabat : $264
  • Private Transfer from Safi to Casablanca (CMN) Airport: $257
  • Essaouira Day Trip From Marrakech With Private Transfers: $255
  • "Marrakech to Chefchaouen: Your Exclusive Private Transfer": $250

Is it cheaper to fly into Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Prices for flights to both Marrakech 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Chiang Mai $10
    Marrakech $13
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)
    $5.32
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
    $0.65
  • Casual Breakfast
    $1.09
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $5.46
  • Mangoes
    $0.82
  • Coffee
    $1.36

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:

  • Cooking Evening Class Chiang Mai Visit Organic Garden and Market: $11
  • Cooking Morning Class Chiang Mai Visit Organic Garden and Market : $11
  • Traditional Khantoke Dinner and Show from Chiang Mai: $20
  • Khantoke Dinner with Traditional Performance: $22
  • Evening Cooking Class in Organic Garden Chiang Mai: $22
  • Afternoon Cooking Class in Organic Garden in Chiang Mai: $22
  • Morning Cooking Class in Organic Garden | Chiang Mai: $22
  • Half-Day Thai Cooking Class at Organic Farm in Chiang Mai: $22
  • Evening Cooking Class and Local Market Visit: $25
  • Cooking Class, Market and Thai Herbs Garden Tour: $25
  • Private Virtual Thai Cooking Class: $25
  • Half Day Morning Cooking Class with Yummy Tasty Thai Cooking School: $25

Typical Food Prices in Marrakech

For Marrakech, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Orange Juice on the Square
    $0.30
  • Breakfast
    $1.20
  • Dates
    $0.60
  • Olives
    $0.90
  • Sandwich
    $1.30
  • Souvenir Spices
    $6.22

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Marrakech

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

  • Dinner In Agafay Desert & Camel Ride with lovely Sunset : $12
  • Agafay Desert Sunset, Camel Ride and Dinner from Marrakech: $15
  • Cooking Lesson at the Ouirgane Ecolodge with Lunch: $19
  • All-inclusive Dinner show & sunset experience in Agafay desert : $21
  • Sunset in Agafay: Dinner, Camel, Quad-Book Adventure with Viator: $22
  • From Magical Dinner with Camel Ride in the Desert!: $23
  • Marical dinner and camel ride at sunset in Desert of Marrakech: $24
  • Marrakesh: AGAFAY DESERT Sunset Tour with Dinner Show: $28
  • Magical Dinner in the Desert Agafay with Camel Ride and Sunset: $28
  • Dinner and Sunset Camel Ride at desert Marrakech Agafay : $28
  • Agafay Desert: Dinner + Show with Quad Bike & Sunset Camel Ride: $28
  • Sunset Dinner in Marrakech Desert with Camel Ride: $28

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chiang Mai $13
    Marrakech $7.05
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
    $35
  • Doi Suthep Entrance Ticket
    $1.64
  • Kratong Lessons
    $2.73
  • Pedicure
    $4.09
  • Chiang Mai Museum (for Two)
    $4.91

Tours and Activities in Chiang Mai

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

  • 9 Hours Nature Tour in Inthanon National Park From Chiang Mai: $71
  • Chiang Mai Thapae Muay Thai Boxing Stadium Ticket: $28
  • Private Tour of Sacred Sakyant Tattoo in Lamphun Province.: $80
  • 1 Day Doi Inthanon Private tour ( Hiking and Sightseeing ): $97
  • 1 Day Private Tour Doi Inthanon And Phachor Canyon: $129
  • 1 Day Private Tour White Temple and Renewed Doichang Coffee: $188
  • 1 Day Sukhothai Historical Park from Chiang Mai Private Tour: $161
  • 1 Hr Chiang Mai Buggy Tour (Off-Road): $151
  • 1 day Private Tour to Unseen Temple in Lampang: $135
  • 1-Day Bike and River Kayak Adventure from Chiang Mai: $64
  • 10KM Inflatable Kayaking Adventure: $82
  • 10km Rafting with 8Adventures from Chiang Mai Include Pickup & Lunch : $103

Typical Entertainment Prices in Marrakech

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Marrakech's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Palace Tickets
    $2.01
  • Golf at Atlas Golf
    $57

Tours and Activities in Marrakech

For Marrakech, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2 days Tour Marrakech-Ouarzazatte: $187
  • 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour From Marrakech ending in Fez city: $253
  • 4 Days Small Group Tour from Marrakech To Merzouga: $187
  • Agafay Desert: Three Valley Guided Tour From Marrakech : $21
  • Atlas Mountains and Berber villages & Waterfalls Day Tour from Marrakech : $25
  • Atlas Mountains, Berber Villages & Waterfall Tour: $25
  • Best Marrakech Private walking tour: $44
  • Desert Agafay & Berber Villages Day Tour From Marrakech including Camel Ride: $50
  • Desert Agafay and Atlas Mountains Day Tour & Camel ride From Marrakech: $18
  • Desert tour small group with luxury tent: $99
  • Experience Spa Hammam Massage and Camel tour: $105
  • Food Tasting Tour in Marrakech medina : $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chiang Mai $6.76
    Marrakech $15
Typical Alcohol Prices in Chiang Mai

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


  • Wine
    $2.73

Sample the Local Flavors in Chiang Mai

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Chiang Mai:

  • Chiang Mai Pub Crawl: The Best Bars & Pubs in Chiang Mai!: $9.54


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chiang Mai and Marrakech, we can see that Marrakech is more expensive. And not only is Chiang Mai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Chiang Mai is in Asia and Marrakech is in Africa, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. 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 Marrakech would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Marrakech than you might in Chiang Mai.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Chiang Mai Expensive? and Is Marrakech Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Chiang Mai or Marrakech?

Chiang Mai has a larger population, and is about 19% larger than the population of Marrakech. When comparing the sizes of Chiang Mai and Marrakech, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.