Northern Thailand Itinerary

Old Aug 29th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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Northern Thailand Itinerary

Hi Fodorites,
We are an older active couple who travel easily and have been to Thailand before, but not north of Chiang Mai. We are considering the following itinerary and hotels and would like your comments. Also what is the best way to rent a car in Chiang Mai?
day 1 and 2 Chiang Mai (to jet lag) - Chiang Mai Plaza
day 3 - pickup car at airport then drive to Mae Sariang - Good View Guest House
day 4 drive to mae hong song - Imperial Mae Hong Song Resort
day 5 Mae Hong Song
day 6 drive to Pai - Belle Villa Resort
day 7 drive to Chiang Dao - Marissa Resort and Spa
day 8 drive to Mae Salong via Fang then on to Mae Sai - Poonyamantra Resort
day 9 drive to Chiang Rai - Wiang Inn
day 10 - back to Chiang Mai
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Old Aug 29th, 2013, 07:51 AM
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What month are you planning on doing this? I'm asking because the best time to do this drive will be from November - February.

For rental car check with Thai Rent a Car, Avis, Hertz etc. A good rate, inc full coverage insurance should be around 1,000 - 1,200 Baht per day.

If your plan is flexible then I would like to suggest that you do the drive the other way around. From Chiang Mai go to Pai first and then Mae Hong Son and then Mae Sariang will be nicer IMO.

Also, your hotel choices are OK but not great and I would like to suggest the following instead.

Chiang Mai - in the same vicinity as your hotel = Yaang Come village, Dusit D2, Shangri La, Le Meridian.

Pai - Hotel De Artist.

Mae Hong Son - Fern Resort. The Imperial is OK close to town but the Fern will be uniquely different.
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Old Aug 30th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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We did the CM, Pai Mae Hong Son in the direction described by Hanuman and really enjoyed it. We didn't do the same loop as you, just drove to Mae Hong Son and then returned. Also stayed at both Hotel des Artistes which we loved -- ask for a riverview room -- and Fern Resort which has lovely grounds. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Hanuman and Yestravel, thank you for your replies. Sorry we have been so long in getting back. We have been torturing over the best way to drive this trip. First, we’re arriving in CM on December 14 and departing CM for India on December 27.

Why are you both suggesting taking the MHS loop counter clockwise? Is it practical to do this and still go up north to the other places we listed? Aside from the scenery we are also planning on spending about a half day or so in Doi Tung and that is why we were thinking of staying in Mae Sai overnight and going up to the Opium Museum, which we understand is very worth a visit. We have been to both Laos and Myanmar and are not planning to cross into either country.
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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Hi,

I suggested the direction because I think the drive going to Pai is spectacular and will take you around 3 to 3.5 hours from Chiang Mai. If you are coming back from the "loop" with Pai as your last destination and going to Chiang Dao then the drive will take around 4.5 - 5 hours and not as relaxing IMO.

After doing the loop then I would go to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai (around 3 hours driving) and used that as a base to explore the surrounding area. Both Mae Sai and Chiang Dao are not that interesting IMO and you would be better off spending the nights in Chiang Rai.
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