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Inexpensive trip from Chiang Mai (not necessarily in Thailand)

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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:16 PM
  #1
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Inexpensive trip from Chiang Mai (not necessarily in Thailand)

This might be the “impossible dream”, but I figured it was worth asking.

I will be in Chiang Mai in early December for a week for work. As long as I’m in SEA already, I would like to add a 3-4 day (2-3 night) side trip, but I can’t afford more than US$300-400 for everything (lodging, meals, sightseeing, visa, transportation – including difference between RT airfare to CMX and cost of flying out of another city, if I do that).

I know that it is possible to book short tours out of CM to a number of places, but I can’t seem to find much on the Internet about them. I’m also sure that people on the forum can direct me either to websites of tour companies or to agents who offer such trips. And I’m sure that you can offer advice on putting together something myself!

To give you some ideas of my interests:

I love CM and am looking forward to going back.

I have been to Mae Hong Son (by road both ways – the scenery was beautiful). I have also been to BKK, enjoyed it, and could go back, but that thought really doesn’t excite me right now (although it's hard to say why).

I have been to Phnom Penh area and Siem Reap (incl. the main Angkor complex and some outlying areas) as well, and to Mandalay and several towns NE of it.

I am interested in beautiful scenery, architecture, markets, people watching, historic sites/tours, and photography.

I am NOT interested in visiting temples on this trip (which seems to rule out LP) or beaches (ditto islands of Thailand). We will probably visit an “elephant site” during the week in CM, so that is not a priority for the side trip.

I don’t have to stay in fancy hotels (obviously!). In fact, everywhere I have stayed in SEA before has been basic – comfortable, clean, but not always with a/c or even ensuite bath. I don’t want to stay in a hostel, though – a little too old for that.

What I would LIKE to do is visit Singapore, but it is out of my price range this trip (or certainly appears to be). I considered KL as an alternative, but wondered what suggestions others might have. If staying within Thailand is the only way to do it, what do you recommend that is not Bangkok, beaches, temples or elephants?

Sorry this is so long, but I figured the more detail you had, the better.

Cranachin
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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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check all the places on line that air asia flies to....maybe that would give you some ideas---like myanmar for instance...
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Jul 19th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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rhkkmk - Thanks for the tip. Actually, I had already looked at Air Asia, and the only direct destinations from CMX are BKK and KUL (so those are the only two choices I get if I choose CMX as the origin city).

If I choose any other destination first and then try to pick CMX as the origin, the site clears the destination and offers only BKK and KUL as choices.

So - if you know how to get the website to allow me to look at those other destinations with a CMX origin, I would appreciate the info! Or would I just have to book two flights: CMX-BKK and BKK-___?
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Jul 19th, 2009, 09:40 PM
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The two destinations by Airasia out of CM is quite possibly because they are the only two destinations.

If you wanted to stay in Thailand, a trip I did once as part of travelling around northern Thailand was from MHS I heade north a bit and stayed at http://www.cavelodge.com/ , beautiful spot in middle of the jungle, run by an Aussie guy, married to a Thai woman.
It seems to be upgraded quite a bit from when I was there but he probably still has one of the sweetest dorm set-ups, just a lean to roof off the side of main eating room/lounge and it was then just mosquito net material on three sides between you an the jungle - about ten people would all fit in there!

You could amongst all the activities available take a hike up some tracks to the Myanmar border where there was a camp of Burmese - and wouldn't hurt to donate a few $$$ if they're still there.

From there I travelled further north to get to Tha Ton I think it is which also isn't far from the Myanmar border, about 1.5 km. upstream on the river but you can take a four boat ride down river to Chiang Rai [smaller version of Mai] and then hire yourself a motor scooter and head over to the Golden Triangle area on the Mekong - beautiful stretch of river and can't remember the name of river town for I was only there on a ride through but near top of my would returns list for a cheap thatched cottage stay.

Sounds like it may not be so much off the beaten track anymore but still be worth going in my book - http://www.1stopchiangmai.com/northe...lden_triangle/ might give some ideas.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 06:39 PM
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Bushranger - thanks for the info! Looks interesting, and the "1stop" websites had lost of good stuff too.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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Just wondering - I notice that I somehow didn't tag Thailand on the original post! I thought I had.

Should I cross-post it under Thailand, so that people understand I am not ruling out places in Thailand as destinations (based on the tags)? Or is it obvious enough?
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Jul 20th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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If you want you can click on the triangle icon and ask the editors to tag your posts with Thailand as well, but I think it is clear from your post. No need to cross-post.

By the way, we very much enjoyed the Golden Triangle area. While we stayed at the Anantara, there are interesting less expensive places to stay.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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you would need to fly to bkk first and then to other places
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Jul 20th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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Kathie--Thanks for the feedback. If I decide to stay in Thailand a few extra days it probably will be northern Thailand.

rhkkmk--I was afraid of that. Sounds like one could get stranded if the flight into BKK is delayed since there is not a "connecting" flight but a separate reservation instead.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 10:22 PM
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" Should I cross-post it under Thailand, so that people understand I am not ruling out places in Thailand as destinations (based on the tags)? Or is it obvious enough? "

Obvious to me that not necessarily Thailand meant that it wasn't also a possibility.

But grab a tiger by the tail and Singapore might just be in calculations, just had an email from www.tigerairways.com announcing a 9 cents [yes just 9] plus fees sale for flights ex Singapore, 9c + $50 to BK.
Not sure if it applies in reverse but could be worth checking out.
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Jul 20th, 2009, 10:25 PM
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'was also a possibility' or 'wasn't also not possible'
I like the first!
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Jul 21st, 2009, 08:30 AM
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Bushranger--

Thanks! That might indeed open up Singapore.
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Jul 22nd, 2009, 03:30 AM
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Mandalay air is supposed to start flying out of CM to Yangon August 2nd. It might be an interesting side trip.
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