Our five days in Chiang Mai were some of the most enjoyable on our trip so far. We rode elephants, went bamboo rafting, did a bicycle tour of Chiang Mai and spent a day learning to cook Thai food. On our bus out of Chiang Mai I was daydreaming, thinking about how much fun we’d had while updating my notebook where I keep track of our spending. When I totted up what we’d spent in Chiang Mai I checked and re-checked my numbers and verified the amounts with my husband because the low total was such a surprise.
In Chiang Mai $600 Will Buy
The breakdown of our spending over those five days is pretty simple. Our 4-bed dorm room at the Green Tulip hostel was 800 baht (~$28) per night. We ate breakfast daily at the hostel for 400 baht (~$14) each morning. Typically we ate lunch at a local cafe – cheap, tasty Thai food for about 500 baht (~$16) for a simple meal each. However, we only bought lunch on two days since lunch was included as part of the days’ activities on the other days so the average daily lunch cost was 200 baht (~$6). Dinner was “street food” from vendors along the street outside our hostel or at the night-time food market near the center of Chiang Mai for the super-economic price of about 450 baht (~$15). All meals included at least one drink (soda, water or beer) each.
If you total all that up, the resulting daily costs for food and accommodation for a family of four (including one continually hungry teenage boy) for five days in Chiang Mai comes in at 1850 baht (~$61).
Chiang Mai Activities
The menu of available trips, tours, lessons and activities in Chiang Mai is enormous. We bought a package of activities for 2,300 baht (~$77) each. Our package was:
– A one-day “trek” including elephant riding, a 2-hour hike, a visit to Hmong and Karen villages – with explanations about these communities from a Karen guide – and a leisurely couple of hours bamboo rafting.
– A half-day cycle tour of Chiang Mai with Bangkok Biking.
– A full day at the Siam Rice Cooking School learning how to cook some yummy Thai dishes.
The final tally of food, accommodation and activities for a family of four for an excellent five days in Chiang Mai was: 18,450 baht or approximately $600.
As I said, we had a truly enjoyable few days in Chiang Mai. Nine and Stella, the managers of the Green Tulip were excellent hosts. Their hostel is spotlessly clean with spacious rooms and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Meeting the GotPassport (and TeamCM) folks in person at the Sunday Night Market was a special treat for me. We were impressed by the professionalism and quality of service of all of the activity vendors that we interacted with and their guides, it really did feel as if Nine had introduced us to a bunch of locals who she trusted to show us around. If Thailand is on your family’s bucket list, it’s absolutely worth the effort to include Chiang Mai on your itinerary.
Information on traveling to Thailand with Children.