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martina Dec 28th, 2003 12:42 PM

Chiang Mai in March
My husband and I are flying from Bkk to Chiang Mai on Mar 1st arriving at 10.20am. We will stay at the Imperial Mae Ping for 4 nights. Any suggestions on how to fill in these 4 days? Would the 'golden triangle' be too far for a day trip? If it is feasable, can anyone give us the name of a reputable tour company? Any idea of prices? Live in the eurozone, should we bring travelers checks. Are they easily encashable? US$/EURO? We will have a VISA card with us. Should we deposit money to it before we leave home and withdraw from it over there? Are ATM's readily available and do shops/restaurants generally accept VISA? Would also like to have a massage while we are there, any suggestions? What sort of clothing would be advisable in March up north? Also is English widely understood or spoken? SORRY FOR ALL THE QUESTIONS!!

JamesA Dec 28th, 2003 03:07 PM

Tangata, who lives in Chiang Mai and others who know CM better than I sure will answer all those, on the money side, firstly, as 2 of you are traveling bring 2 cars, 1 Mastercard and 1 Visa, if you don't have 2 you can easily ask your bank to give you another card and yes, put money into your Current account so you can draw on it, on the spare card ask them to limit it to say 1,000 Euros. You are then fully safe. traveller's checks I would say are always an excellent 'back-up', the only down side with them is that you need your passport, sign this, sign that, it is a potential 'error zone', by that I mean in addition to checking your money you also have to make sure you retain your passport, the exchange people are not after your passport, don't get me wrong, it's just that at a busy exhcnage place they can be handling several people and these things can fal on the floor, get confused etc, just be extra careful.
Don't change any money before you arrive in Bangkok, you will get much more here locally.
So use ATM's, make sure you have 2 cards ( 1 in the safe, 1 with you ). Also a great tip is to 'scan' your passport and then attach the scan to an email, send it back to 'yourself' and send as copy to a family/close friend. Also keep a record of those Phone numbers for the Card people, many people actually never write down those important numbers!

rhkkmk Dec 28th, 2003 06:52 PM

i have success with both trav cks and atm withdrawals...there are lots of money changers who don't charge a fee and it is cheaper than your hotel changing offers...atms are the best and readily available...but they can breakdown so you need a back-up...

Tangata Dec 29th, 2003 06:35 PM

It is difficult to suggest what to do without knowing your tastes, but whatever they are, you should have no problems in filling four days.

It is possible to visit the Golden Triangle, but frankly, I would consider it a waste of time. There is nothing to see except for a sign and a stretch of rather muddy river.

We often have friends stay for three or four days and their programmes generally looks something like this.

Visit to the Government elephant sanctuary near Lampang ? an early morning start is necessary and it will take up most of the morning. This is probably the best elephant camp around, as an alternative it is possible to visit an elephant camp on the Maerim ? Samerng Road and combine this with a visit to a snake farm, an orchid farm and the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens. To visit everything would take more than a half day and it is possible to do the loop back into Chiangmai with lunch en-route.

Visit to various Wats, probably the most important are Wat Phra Sing and Wat Chedi Luang in the walled town and Wat Doi Suthep on the mountain above Chiangmai. That would fill most of one day.

A day?s shopping would include a drive out along the San Kam Paeng road and a visit to Ban Tawai, off the Hang Dong Road.

Allowing for a walk around the town centre and so forth, this should full most of your days and leave an afternoon free for a Spa treatment ? something that all of our female guests seem to want.

As for the evenings, I would allow for at least one dinner alongside the river or on a boat. On another evening a Kantoke dinner, there are a number of these available, we consider that given at the Old Chiangmai Cultural centre to be the best value for money and finally a visit to the Night market with dinner in one of the local restaurants.

I suggest that when you arrive you get a copy of ?Guidelines Chiangmai? or ?Good Morning Chiangmai? from your hotel. Both publications are free and either will give you plenty of information on shops, tours, restaurants etc.

Probably the best way to get around is to hire a car and driver, although you could drive yourselves. However, a good driver should double as a guide. Your hotel could arrange this for you, but it would be cheaper to arrange it yourself.

If you have any questions please email me at [email protected]

MikeBuckley Dec 29th, 2003 09:32 PM


I'll be in Chiang Mai for the Flower Festival. I'm a serious photographer and would appreciate any pointers about the festival. The best location(s) from which to view the parade? A good place to view the floats before or after the parade? Particular flower festival activities I should be aware of?

Also, my wife and I are avid hikers. Are you aware of any hikes in either of the national parks that we should make a point of taking? (We're fit enough to hike any maintained trail.)

Last, can you suggest an e-mail address to hire a reputable car and driver? We plan on going to both national parks, Lampang and Lamphun.

Tangata Dec 30th, 2003 06:01 PM

Unfortunately, we are normally away when the Flower Festival occurs as it coincides with our annual trip to New Zealand. From reports that I have seen, it is certainly very colourful and should offer many photographic opportunities.

There is a parade, which I believe ends up near to the Municipal gardens that are along side the southern moat. I would expect that if you could get a vantage point on the old wall at the southwest corner of the moat it would be a good place to photograph from. I also believe, and this is hearsay, that the parade is repeated over a number of days, if so you will have several chances.

There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, though I would recommend that you take a guide. There are any number of companies clustered round the Thapae Gate offering treks. If you are experienced hikers, you may wish to consider the additional expense of an individual guide to avoid having your pace determined by the slowest.

I have never rented a car and driver here, so I cannot personally recommend one. Have a look at and and you may turn at something. Alternatively, a ?Mr J? has been advertising his services as long as we have been here. He charges about 1,000 Baht for a nine-hour day plus petrol. He doesn?t have an email but his phone is 096377573. NTP Rent a Car [email protected] offer a car and driver for 23,900 per month and might be prepared to consider a shorter hire. There are many other companies offering car and driver services.

MikeBuckley Dec 31st, 2003 05:52 AM

Thank you, Tangata!

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