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Thailand -- Getting from Chiang Saen to Chiang Mai

Thailand -- Getting from Chiang Saen to Chiang Mai

Aug 15th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 6
Thailand -- Getting from Chiang Saen to Chiang Mai

My husband and I are planning to be in Thailand in late March and early April. We plan to spend a few days at the Anantara Resort and then go on to Chiang Mai. We're not sure how best to get between the two places. Ideally we would like to drive (or be driven) so as to make some stops along the way and take the scenic route. Any suggestions about hiring a car and driver (preferred) or just renting a car? Do we have to do this out of Chiang Rai or can we arrange something out of Anantara or Chiang Saen?
vscp is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
The Anantara can easily arrange a car and driver for you, and even add in a guide if you want, and make your trip into Chia g Mai a tour rather than just a drive. For this service you will pay dearly. Go into the town of Sop Ruak and there are a couple of tour desks on the river side of the street. They can arrange the same for a fraction of the cost.
KimJapan is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
i found it cheapest and most enjoyable to have a car while we were at anantara.... i flew into chiang rai and rented there.. i used either budget or avis...nice new car... the driving is easy with almost no traffic..

not sure how a one way drop off would be pricewise...

there are buses between CR and CM
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 11:21 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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The bus is dead easy but doesn't really provide the means to visit places on the way. A car and driver organised by the Anantara will be HUGELY expensive (at least that is what we found when we stayed there). If you want to be driven then, as KimJapan suggests decide where you want to go and organise a tour in Sop Ruak (as soon as you arrive) and it will be much, much cheaper.

For me renting a car provide a great deal more freedom but, again, best arranged away from the hotel. Not sure where you are flying to/from but Budget and Hertz have places at CR and CM airports and from past experiences, drop off charges were not a problem.

Budget provides a free download of their driving guide to the Golden Triangle at

crellston is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 06:36 AM
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Thank you all for your responses. Maybe renting a car and having the freedom to go where we want is best. How are the driving conditions? We are Americans so are not used to driving on the left side of the road. Also, if we are driving between Chiang Saen and Chiang Mai (scenic route)and want to spend some time exploring, does it make sense to stop overnight somewhere in between or just do it in one day?
vscp is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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It's not that far from Chiang Saen to Chiang Mai. You can do it in a day even with photo op stops.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 05:59 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Driving conditions are fine in the area the roads are good and the traffic is generally light apart from central CM (and even that is not too bad. my recollection is that teh car rental places in CR and CM are at the airporst with representative offices in the cities so they tend to do the paperwork there and then take you to pick up the car - thus avoiding the drive in and out of the city.

as kathie points out it is not too far between the two paces so you could take a reasonably leisurely drive in one day and mybe drop off the car the next morning.

I am English so driving on the left was not a problem for me (although getting used to aouto transmission did take a few hours!). I have driven on the right (i.e. the "wrong" side for me in South America which didn't present any real problems (apart from trying to change gear with the door handle once or twice!!).

If you have the time it is a worth considering a drive from the Anantara to mai sai on the burmese border
crellston is offline  

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