Driver/Guide Hire in N.Thialand

Nov 11th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 20
Driver/Guide Hire in N.Thialand

Is there a web site or some help from experts here to find / book etc a driver guide in N Thailand ? We are coming in over the boarder from Lao probably at Huay Xai which is close to Chiang Rai and Chiang Saen. If anyone has a recommendation I would also be interested to hear (in the area around Dec 27th-30th.

Also we plan to use overnight sleeper to BKK from Chiang Mai on 30th - is booking ahead essential ? (ie: We have no idea if it's a busy route ! )

ukinusa is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 44
Hi Steve,

I am looking for something similar: I need a guide to acompany me and my husband (we will have a rental car with us already) from Chinag Rai to Chiang Mai. I donīt want guides to stay all day(s) long(s) with us, and really enjoy to have a rental car, so we stop and drive as much as we want. I just want a guide for the day we leave Chiang Rai from the Golden Triangle and drive to Chiang Mai, because I want to stop by at as many non-touristy spots as possible (i.e. hilltribes, waterfalls, view points, etc...). I would love if any of you can help or advise me.
Thanks very much for you all, always so helpfull and kind,
Maria Carolina
mariacarolina is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 20
Maria I think you are ahead of us! How much, how easy and where from was the rental car ?

Lets hope someone out there can help both of us !

ukinusa is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 44
I will rent the car in Bangkok (Budget gave me the best price untill now - USD 425.00 all the fess and taxes incl. for a 4x4 Suzuki, 8 days) and drive up to Chiang Mai. I found the "self-drive" commonly used itinerary at a site that (I donīt remember the name), and customized a little bit to my taste. Hereīs my itinerary and the hotels I will be staying in:

10/03/2006- Fri - BANGKOK – AYUTTHAYA – LOBPURI (Total 153km)
Start the route to Chiang Mai drive from Bangkok on route No. 1
Then proceed to route No. 32 to visit the Bang Pa In Summer Palace.
Afterwards continue to Ayuthaya (75 km) to visit Ayutthaya Historical Park and its ruins at your own wish before heading to Lopburi.
Hotel: Pasak Hillside - Lopburi

11/03/2006 - Sat – LOBPURI – SUKOTHAI (316Km)
Self-explore Sarn Phra Karn and Prang Sam Yodd. Proceed to Sukothai on routes No. 12 and then No. 101 to Sukhothai Historical Park followed by Sri Satchanalai Historical Park and Baan Had Seow.
Hotel: Ananda Museum Gallery - Sukothai

12/03/2006 - Sun- SUKOTHAI – LAMPANG (207 Km)
Continue northwards on route No. 101 then turn left westbound to route No. 11 to Lampang. Sightseeing the city on the horse carriage at Wat Phra That e Kaew Don Tao, the Burmese temple in the evening could be a memorable experience.
Hotel: River Lodge – Lampang

13/03/2006- Mon - LAMPANG – CHIANG RAI (225km)
Step back to route No. 1 towards Chiang Rai with a stop at Kwan PhaYao in the central of PhaYao (130km), to admire Wat Sri Khom Khum. Continue on route No. 1 to Chiang Rai.
Hotel: Naga Hill Bungalows – Chiang Rai

14/03/2006 – Tue - CHIANG RAI
Visit Golden Triangle on the Maekhong River where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma meet, and then to Tha Khi Lek Bridge. Afterwards, a boat trip along Mae Kok River.
Hotel: Imperial Golden Triangle Resort – Golden Triangle – Chiang - Rai

Drive to Doi Mae Salong (inspiration:
On the way lies the Akha village Ikoh San Yuek that is worth a detour. Although it is nowadays overrun by tourists its shops nevertheless still offer a good selection of traditional hill tribe handicraft. After the village the road parts - the road to the right should be avoided (it leads into dangerous territory), instead drive ahead.
Drive down to Route 107 highway south out of Chiang Rai. Visit a Long Neck Karen village on the way (Near Chiang Dao) (inspiration: Head for the Mae Rim Valley and turn right onto the Mae Ring-Samoeng (H1096) road after about 12km (just after the Q8 petrol station).
Visit Phra Dhat Doi Suthep overlooking the city from the viewpoint
Visit the famous handicraft village and the factories at Borsang, usually called the Umbrella Village because of its many umbrella manufacturers. Practically the entire village consists of craft shops selling painted umbrellas, fans, silverware, straw handiwork, bamboo and teak, statuary, china, celadon and lacquer ware, along with common Chiang Mai and Northern Thai souvenirs, as well as quality items. Doi Pui Meo Village. Continue to Chiang Mai via Samoeng.
Hotel: Baan Deva Montra

16/03/2006 – Thu- Chiang Mai
My husband will spend the day on a cooking scholl and I will spoil myself at a day spa and shopping textiles.
Hotel: Baan Deva Montra

17/03/2006 – Fri - Chiang Mai
No plans yet ( I bought a Nancy Chandlerīs map and I am enjoying reading it, it is worth the price you pay)
Hotel: Baan Deva Montra

18/03/2006 – Sat – Chiang Mai - Bangkok
Car return at Chiang Mai airport
Flight Chiang Mai-Bangkok Thai Airways 10:15/11:25

I hope I can help you clear things up, And that someone can help us with the guide issue!

Maria Carolina
mariacarolina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63

My husband and I visited Northern Thailand at Easter this year. We stayed at the Anantara Hotel near Chiang Saen.

I would highly recommend our driver / guide - Eric Kok. He does homestays in his home near Chiang Rai and is a really lovely man. He speaks wonderful English, and is very reliable.

If you want any other information about him, I would be happy to answer any questions. Debbie.

His website is

debbieandsimon is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 44
Thanks Debbie.
I Just emailed Erik, and hope he can be my guide on that day that I will drive form Chiang Rai to Chiang Mais, passing trough Doi Mae Salong and Chiang Dao Caves.
How I wish he could help me, Iīd been trying to get a guide for this specific day for weeks, or almost a month now.
Thank you very much,
Maria Carolina
mariacarolina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,943
maria...your trip is very aggressive...that is a lot of will be interesting after you are home if you will write about your trip here on fodors...we would love to hear how it went...

for the person asking about car rentals try this website:

phone: 66-0 2203 0250---that's bangkok

66 0 2973 3852---bkk airport
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 44

I laughed a lot with the "very aggressive", and showed that to my husband. Because thatīs what all my friends here in Brazil say, everytime I travel...And thatīs the truth, LOL!
The thing is I always have small time and usually travel to places sooooooooooooo far from here, I NEED to see the most I can, spending the less time I can. I wonīt PROBABLY be abble to get back to those places (((
This may sound crazy, but thatīs the only way I found to travel (the BIG problem is that just my husband drives!!! Poor him!!!). I had "aggressive" trips to Africa, US, Chile and Europe. It is true that I was never able to have an fully intimate contact with all those different cultures, but what can I do? If I just donīt do that way, I wouldnīt EVER be able to look at a Wat for at least the 30 minutes I will have there.... I donīt know, maybe I am very, very, very wrong, and I am just very young and anxious and will latter travel in different ways. But for now, be sure, thatīs the best I can do!!!!!! But tell me, wich part do you think it is aggressive? I found the distances I chose to travel so reasonable!!!!
I booked the car trought Budget Thailand as you mentioned.

I would appreciate your wise advice on what you think I might be doing wrong!
Thank you very much,

Maria Carolina
mariacarolina is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 44

hereīs what Iīve got untill now regading the guide in Chiang Rai:
I contacted Ratt (who will be my driver and guide in BKK for 1 day) and she contacted her sister Poon, that lives in Chiang Mai. Poon charged me 1,500THB for the one day and a half guidance. As I am doing the opposite direction (CR - CM) the majority of people does(the only reason for that is that I wanted to end the trip in CM, where the hotel and city seems to be nicer), Poon will meet me in Chiang Rai, we will go to the Golden Triangle area (I will have to pay for her hotel room) sleep there, and next morning head to Chiang Mai stoppind at hilltribes and places like Doi Mae Salong, Tha Ton, Chiang Dao and Mae Rim.
I know this is will be a hard day, but I just want to GET to CM in that day, no need to do anything there, but sleep. The CM part of the trip begins oooooonly at the next day
Hope I could help you
mariacarolina is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Posts: 3,237
That's 1500THB for a day and a half of Poon's services? I'm assuming that doesn't include gas? If you look at the ratservice website, it says the charge for a 10-hour day is 2500THB for the Chiang Mai area. I had wanted to get Poon, but had just about decided on Sergeant Kai because he's so much cheaper. But if Poon is just 1500, she's the same (in fact, cheaper if it's a day and a half). Sgt Kai is 1500 for a day. Could you confirm that you meant 1500 for a day and a half with Poon? Thanks!
althom1122 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 03:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 44
Yes, Karen thatīs what ratt sent me in an email, 1500THB for Poonīs service from mid-day March 14th, untill we get to Chiang Mai, the next day probably late afternoon.
But note two things:
- She will be with us in OUR rental car, so gas is on us.
- I am paying for her nightīs sleep at the Golden Triangle

It took me a while to set all this with Ratt, because she had to read my emails, pass it to Poon (I donīt believe Poon has internet access). I want something unusual for her: Poon will meet me in CR and drive with me and my husband to CM.

I donīt know if it is a special price, as I am already paying for the hotel and the car is not hers....I donīt know, but maybe you should write Ratt a msg, she always answer so quickly.

Hope I helped

mariacarolina is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,237
Oh - I'm guessing since you'll have your own rental car that's the difference. But yes, I'll check with her anyway. I thought my daughter and I might enjoy spending the day with another woman.
Thanks for the quick response!
althom1122 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
According to ratt's website Poon's rate is 2500 for 10 hours. If you don't book the full day it's 400 baht per hour. With extra gas charge for out of town trips.
glorialf is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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Gloria - yes, that's what I saw, too, on the website. It surprises me she charges so much more than Sergeant Kai. His website says 1500 baht. I would think because of the competition that the cost would be similar, but evidently not! I think I'll go with Sgt Kai - people have given him positive reviews, as well.
althom1122 is offline  
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