I am planning a trip to Thailand this June with three friends.
We intend covering Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket in 12 days. We will probably want to fly directly from Chiang Mai to Phuket. What are the flight options and is the airfare very much different from flying via Bangkok? Thanks a lot for your reply! Andreas
Both Thai Airways and Air Asia operate direct flights between Chiang Mai and Phuket. Thai Airways has only one direct flight daily between the two cities and it leaves Chiang Mai at 8.55am, arriving in Phuket at 10.50am. The airfare is just under Bt5,000. AirAsia offers a twice daily service on this route with departures at 1.10pm and 10.45pm and the fare, providing you book early, is almost Bt2,000 cheaper. So it really depends on your time and budget. For a group of four, travelling AirAsia will obviously mean greater savings. I also think it's worth spending money to fly directly from Chiang Mai to Phuket if you have only 12 days in Thailand. If you don't find the available direct flight schedules flexible enough, you can also consider flying via Bangkok with another domestic airline. Air Asia is based at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, and if you fly via Bangkok, you can connect with other low-cost carriers, such as Orient Thai and Nok Air, for the Phuket leg. Do note that even if you are connecting to Phuket with Air Asia, you will have to pick up and check in your luggage again so make time for that.
If you want to fly via Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi Airport, it’s also possible to use Bangkok Airways, which offers a lounge even for economy class passengers with really good service plus snacks and refreshments to make your travel more relaxing. It is, however, more expensive.
I will be in Chiang Mai for just three days in the first week of May, arriving at noon on the Thursday and returning Saturday evening to Bangkok. What should I see? Thanks, Barb
There are many things to do in and around the northern capital, but with a limited time, it’s best not to try and do too much. I'd suggest taking your first afternoon easy with a city tour. If you stay in the old city, you can walk from temple to temple. If you are staying in another area, charter a tuk tuk. It’s also possible to cycle and sightsee, stopping at a few temples along the way. You can even go up to Doi Suthep in the late afternoon to pay respect to the city's most sacred temple or enjoy a Thai massage.
For dinner, there are so many restaurants to choose from, but as you are there for the first time, it’s best to head to one along the Ping River. Charoenrat Road has a number of riverside restaurants and bars, the oldest being Riverside, which features live music every night. Not far from there are the Night Bazaar and Anusarn night market, which you can look around before going back to your hotel.
On the second day, make a day-trip outside the city centre. Many people opt for the Mae Rim- Sameong route, which offers a variety of nature-related activities. You could also go to the ancient ruins of Wieng Khum Kham and a pottery village on the outskirts of the city. It’s also possible to head up Doi Inthanon mountain. In the evening, you can sample a traditional northern Thai dinner with Thai dancing. After that you can head to Nimmanhaemin Road for some Chiang Mai nightlife.
On the last day, take the shopping route to San Kamphaeng district to discover Thai handicrafts before leaving Chiang Mai. Have a great time.