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Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai

Kuala Lumpur
Level Contributor
41 posts
7 reviews
Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai


We will be going to Chiang Mai in early November and and thinking to do a side trip to Chiang Rai. Our plan is upon arrival in Chiang Mai on the 1st flight out from Kuala Lumpur, we would rent a car and drive up to Chiang Rai where we will be staying a night. So, we are thinking to make as many stopovers as possible on the attractions along the way from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and up to the Golden Triangle.

I've gone through a lot of JBRs and most of it were with Jermsak - we would like to know whether would it be possible for us - non Thai and never been there - to manage a trip like this on our own and squeeze all within 2 days 1 night.

The places that are already on our list are only White and Black Temple, Doi Tung Royal Garden and the Golden Triangle. We are not into the hilltribe villages and elephant parks. Upon reading a lot of reviews, Mae Salong or Pai would be good places to do sightseeing the the way - perhaps on our way back to Chiang Mai?

Would really appreciate some insights and recommendations from the seasoned travellers here to make the most of our time there.

Thanking everyone in advance and have a good day ahead!

Level Contributor
3,380 posts
167 reviews
11. Re: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai

I think you are packing an awful lot into your time in Chiang Rai and Mae Sai, especially with kids, but it is workable if you want to keep up a fast pace. I am not sure how old your kids are but I have taken many kids between 11-17 on this trip and this would be a busy schedule for them. I find that everything takes an additional amount of time when I am traveling with kids or with a group.

If you are arriving at Chiang Mai Hot Springs at 10 a.m., on Day 1 and are planning to spend any time at the hot springs, you are not going to be at the White Temple at noon. I think by the time you park and get to the front of the White Temple it will be 1:00 p.m. You will likely be at the White Temple for an hour or so (if your kids are really young you may be there for a shorter period of time). There is a great art museum across the street from the White Temple with many pieces of art by the artist who is building the temple. Worth a stop but you would need more time.

By the time you leave the White Temple, get back to your car and arrive at the Black House it will probably be another 45 minutes. The Black House takes about 45 minutes to get through all the buildings.

I notice you have a stop for lunch before Singha Park. You could save some time by having lunch at Singha Park. There is a lovely restaurant on the grounds.

On Day 2 it will take you longer than an hour to drive from Chiang Rai to Mae Sai. Plan on 90 minutes. It will take about 60 to 70 minutes to get from Mae Sai to Doi Tung, Are you taking the border road? Be sure you have a car that can handle the gravel/dirt road portion. You will probably want about 2 to 3 hours at Doi Tung. The Queen Mother's villa is really lovely to see but when I was there in late June it was closed.

You may just want some time one morning to walk around Chiang Rai, stop at a coffee shop and browse around town.

I will leave it to the Chiang Mai folks to respond to that portion of your trip.

Safe Travels


12. Re: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai

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