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Northern Thailand Options

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Hi all,

I am trying to look closer at my options once arriving in Chiang Mai. Here are my thoughts.

Arrival in Chiang Mai via air from Bangkok or Siem Reap. Arrival day would not count as day one in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai: Two days.

Elephant Nature Park. One day.

Rent a car and here's my question:

Mae Hong Son "loop" of Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son (or Pai) as the destination with overnights in between. I would give us a total of 5 days? 6 days? We are fairly flexible for now.

Or alternately, Chiang Rai and Chiang Dao look worth the visit.

Do we add a day in Chiang Mai and do Chiang Rai as a day trip and then the loop? Or do we skip the loop and head from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao and do a drive in that direction?

I believe we will have approximately 1 week in Bangkok, several days at Angkor Wat, and then head to Chiang Mai where we will have approximately a week as well.

Or we could just do Chiang Mai with public transport: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Elephant Nature Park and add Khao Yao Park from Bangkok.

Our time off is flexible, but we will be at the mercy of international flights once we book. We will be doing miles and thus may have less of a choice. We will be travelling, unfortunately, during high season, post-Christmas, with two young boys.

I am just trying to understand our options at this point before booking flights which I won't look at for a couple of more months I don't think.

As much as I want to see Angkor Wat, there appears to be so much to see in Thailand, that I may ditch it in favor of more time in Thailand.

Thank you.

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