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Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

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Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Hello My Husband and I are traveling to Chiang Mai for the first time on Jan. 1- Jan. 5, 2014 and are hoping you could help us review our itinerary and provide any suggestions. Our hotels/ flights are booked, but we haven't booked any tours/ activities yet, so all dates for those are flexible.

Arrive Chiang Mai (from Bangkok) on Jan. 1st around 2:00 pm

-Check into hotel (Ratilanna Riverside)

-Perhaps go to night bazaar if we get there in time or walk around old city (what time should we get to night bazaar?)

-find someplace for dinner (I am a vegetarian, any suggestions for our 4 nights with good ambiance and not extremely far tuk tuk ride from our hotel would be appreciated)

Jan. 2nd (Thursday)

-Elephant Nature Park (haven't booked yet - all day from around 8:00 am to 6:00 pm)

-Find dinner somewhere easy/ not too far away from hotel

Jan. 3 (Friday)

- Cooking Class (Deciding between Siam Rice, Thai Farm, or May Kaidee's ...any opinions on which is best for vegetarian (myself- Husband is not vegetarian)?)

-afternoon/ evening walk around city/ browse shops (any suggestions on what to do here?)

Jan. 4 (Saturday)

-Morning go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. (what time should we leave in morning to catch a songthaew?)

Which place is closer to get a Songthaew to Doi Suthep from our hotel Ratilanna Riverside (zoo area or Chang Puak Gate?) Will the songthaews stop at the waterfall near Doi Suthep (is this waterfall even worth visiting?), or will we need to hire a songthaew or driver if we also want to go to the waterfall? I saw another post mentioning hiring a songthaew, do you hire those at the same place where the public songthaews leave from? How far away is Doi Suthep from the city?

-Afternoon visit Wat Chedi Luang

-Perhaps massage at spa (will we have time for this, or can we squeeze it in another day?)

-Saturday evening market (what time should we get to this?)

Jan. 5 (Sunday)

-Flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket leaves at 1:00 pm (What time should we leave to get to airport from Ratilanna Riverside hotel? Will we need to arrange for a taxi in advance to pick us up from our hotel?)

Other General Questions:

Do we need to make reservations for restaurants in advance?

Thanks again!

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The Chiang Mai Riverside
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Melbourne Australia
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1. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

My advice...relax :) It is different from "home" and things don't have to be super planned out. I'd probably suggest to check out the Chiang Mai restaurant reviews for vegetarian options. It is a very casual place to vacation. Go to the night bazaar whenever...from 5.30pm+. They are still setting up stalls then so maybe 7-ish. Doesn't matter. You will only be a $2-3 ride from your hotel no matter what you decide or change your mind to do. I wish I could help more. The airport is not far from the city, maybe 10 mins? Ask the hotel reception staff to order a taxi for you. Depends on the airlines rules as to how far you should book in. Chiang Mai is not that big an airport. Leave time to walk and wander and enjoy. The old town is great for that. Massages, there are plenty for 30 minutes, you decide on the spot, they are always looking for business. There are a lot around, see if they look clean and go for it. Relax :) I will leave it up to the experts to comment more!!!

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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Gold Coast
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2. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Make sure you have a meal at least once at Whole Earth Restaurant, a little bit pricey but a lovely experience.

www.wholeearthrestaurant.com/about.php

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3. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Thank you both for the excellent advice! I see my itinerary as more of a rough plan that we can change once we get there if we feel like it (except for things that have to be booked ahead of time), but I am a planner and part of the fun is planning for me, so I find (for me) I have a better trip usually if I at least have a rough/ flexible itinerary and then I can just enjoy my vacation and not worry so much about what to do next once I'm there. I will definitely make sure to take some time to go with the flow once we 're there though.

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4. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Just bumping to see if anyone else has any suggestions/ advice. Thanks it is much appreciated!

Chiang Mai, Thailand
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5. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Your choice of hotel makes things further away. Yes, you are somewhat close (but not walking distance) to the night bazaar (which doesn't really get going until around 7pm and goes to late), but besides a few restaurants. If you want things to be close to your hotel, then by all means change your hotel to something centrally located, around Thapae gate or further inside the moat area.

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6. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Thanks, but we are locked into the hotel choice. I looked for something within the old city, but all my top choices were either booked up or above our budget. I know the hotel is a little further away and not ideally located, but all the reviews seem like it's not that big of a deal for people who have stayed to take a quick tuk tuk ride into the city, so I'm hoping it works out okay for us too.

Does our overall plan look okay? Anything else we shouldn't miss while in Chiang Mai? Thanks!

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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
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7. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Your hotel looks lovely and they can probably help arrange transport to the different places that you want to see. I think they also have transport into the city so there really isn't any problems. Yes, it is a bit further out but tuk tuks are a great and fun way to get around and I'm sure there are some going past the hotel.

Most of the cooking classes will have vegetarian options so I wouldn't worry about this as will a lot of the restaurants.

We loved the zoo and also went to Wat Umong which is so different from the others. Also the silver temple is good as well.

It is probably best to get to the Saturday market around 5. If it's anything like the sunday market, it will get busy early.

Doi Suthep from memory is about 20 minutes out of the city and we did the zoo on the way back down the mountain.

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Wat Umong
Wat Umong
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Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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8. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

You've done this backwards and will be tacking on additional fees, as tuk tuk rides are not free. Whatever money you saved on the hotel will be spent on more transportation, not to mention extra time spent driving around on them. The Saturday walking market is better later on say around 7pm. Same for the Sunday walking market, where people are still setting up at 5pm, so early doesn't make as much sense. Also, most restaurants don't take reservations (unless you are going to very high end or on a holiday).

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9. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Don't stress too much, you can easily find plenty of vegetarian options everywhere around Chiang Mai (my hubby is vegetarian but I'm not and we managed to find heaps of restaurants where we could both eat). Sorry, havent looked up where you hotel is, but hopefully a short tuk tuk ride will get you where you want to go. No need to book, part of the charm of Chiang Mai in my opinion is just having a stroll around and finding a little place to eat or drink. You'll also find a lot of food to eat at the markets.

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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
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10. Re: Please review my itinerary for Chiang Mai early Jan. 2014

Thanks, no stress here at all : ) just excited for our trip! The silver temple did look interesting as well maybe we will add that in to see on Saturday evening when we go to the market.

I'm still not clear on the best way to get to the Wat Doi Suthep and if we could stop off to see the waterfall if we take a songthaew there? If anyone can offer any help on that or any other suggestions on our itinerary are welcome!

Thanks!