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

Should you visit Chiang Mai or Nakhon Ratchasima?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima. 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.

Nakhon Ratchasima

If you're planning on traveling from Bangkok to Isaan, you'll likely make Nakhon Ratchasima your pit stop or home base. However, there is so much more to this sprawling metropolis than just a layover. Underneath the chaos of it all, is a charming and traditional Thai city.

Which city is cheaper, Nakhon Ratchasima or Chiang Mai?

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 Nakhon Ratchasima is $35. 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 Nakhon Ratchasima in more detail.


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 prices for places to stay in Nakhon Ratchasima can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $17, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $34.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chiang Mai $23
    Nakhon Ratchasima $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chiang Mai $46
    Nakhon Ratchasima $34


The average traveler spends about $9.02 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.

On average, meal and food prices in Nakhon Ratchasima cost around $13 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $5.20.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Chiang Mai $9.02
    Nakhon Ratchasima $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)
  • Roti Snack (Bread)
  • Casual Breakfast
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
  • Mangoes
  • Coffee

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
  • Khantoke Dinner with Show: $35
  • Full-Day Cooking Class Including Market Tour from Chiang Mai: $35

Local Transportation

To get around in Chiang Mai, the average visitor spends $3.21 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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Nakhon Ratchasima than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $3.98 on transportation in Nakhon Ratchasima on average per day.

  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chiang Mai $3.21
    Nakhon Ratchasima $3.98
Typical Local Transportation prices in Chiang Mai

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

  • Tuk Tuk Ride
  • Moped Rental

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: $200
  • Transfer in Chiangmai: $27
  • Transfer from Chiang Mai Hotel to Chiang Mai Airport: $24
  • Transfer from Chiang Mai Airport to Chiang Mai Hotel: $24
  • Thai Massage Treatments - Luxury Spa with Hotel Transfer: $53
  • Thai Luxury Spa Packages with Hotel Transfer: $57
  • Sukhotha Private Transfer To Chiang Mai Town: $200
  • Siam Dragon Cabaret Show : Ticket + Transfer Service: $24
  • Private Van: Chiang Mai Airport Arrival or Departure Transfer: $26
  • Private Transfer: Chiang Mai to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX): $22
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX): $13
  • Private Car: Chiang Mai Airport Transfers: $22

Typical Local Transportation prices in Nakhon Ratchasima

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Nakhon Ratchasima:

  • Tuk Tuk
  • Bus to Vientiane

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nakhon Ratchasima

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

  • Private Transfer from Nakhon Ratchasima to Ayutthaya: $174

Is it cheaper to fly into Chiang Mai or Nakhon Ratchasima?

Prices for flights to both Nakhon Ratchasima 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.


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

Sightseeing expenses in Nakhon Ratchasima, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $5.13 per day, per person.

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chiang Mai $11
    Nakhon Ratchasima $5.13
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
  • Doi Suthep Entrance Ticket
  • Kratong Lessons
  • Pedicure
  • Chiang Mai Museum (for Two)

Tours and Activities in Chiang Mai

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

  • 1 Day Doi Inthanon Private tour ( Hiking and Sightseeing ): $118
  • 1 Day Private Sightseeing Tour at Doi Inthanon: $115
  • 1 Day Private Tour Morning Buddhist Almsgiving , Doi Suthep ,White Temple: $144
  • 1 Day Private Tour The Best Temples and Northern Food Style in Chiang Mai: $94
  • 1 Day Private Tour to The Best Hidden Trekking and The Temple: $134
  • 1 Day Sukhothai Historical Park from Chiang Mai Private Tour: $180
  • 1 Day Tour - Samoeng Loop Highlights: $241
  • 1 Day Tour – Doi Inthanon, Riding High: $255
  • 1 day Private Tour to Unseen Temple in Lampang: $122
  • 1-Day Bike and River Kayak Adventure from Chiang Mai: $66
  • 2 Day Trekking Tour: $100
  • 2 Days 1 Night Pai+Lod Cave Private Tour: $177


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 $5.97.

Typically, people visiting Nakhon Ratchasima spend on average $8.99 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chiang Mai $5.97
    Nakhon Ratchasima $8.99
Typical Alcohol prices in Chiang Mai

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

  • Wine

When comparing the travel costs between Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima, we can see that Chiang Mai is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Chiang Mai vs. Nakhon Ratchasima Travel Comparison

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