Dear all, my wife and I are planning to visit Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son this December. We will arrive by plane in CM at 12.30 in December 25, and fly back home from Chiang Mai at 13.20 in December 28. I understand that distance between CM and MHS is far enough, but unfortunately we an not take flight from CM to MHS and return due to tight budget. Is there any public transportation that can suit our flight schedule? If we have to stay 1 night in CM is OK, but we prefer to do it on the last night to make sure we will not miss our flight back. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you.
Wow, you don't have much time. I have done this route manytimes and there are buses that leave Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station that will go to MHS but when i used to go it involved changing buses in Pai which involved a 7 hour trip. There are also minibuses that leave from the same terminal which will cut up to 2 hrs off of the traveling time, but looking at your flight schedule i suggest you find some other destination as i would be worried about returning to Chiang Mai for your lunchtime flight. I would never consider what you intend to do.
Perhaps a better plan would be just to visit Pai and arrive back in Chiang Mai the night before your flight at lunchtime.
here are the bus times from CM to Pai
In your case I would suggest that you detour to Chiang Rai then to Golden Triangle. This loop is much shorter which suits your time constraint.
NOT CM-MHS-buses run via 2 routes, Pai or Mae Sariang, but take at least 6-7 hrs for the full trip+time to get to airpt+check in etc. Generally, in TH buses do not run much after dark=18.00.
CM-CHiang Saen for that golden triangle also takes at least 5-6 hrs/single trip.
If you have never been to CMai-see that town, would not that be the most logic in such a tight time available?
To davidjo, limkahwan and wentbytrain, thank you so much for all your suggestion. I will reconsider our plan to visit MHS. Actually our main reason to visit MHS is just to visit the sunflower field and to experience the cold weather. Maybe any of you know other sunflower field which is not far from CM? Thank's again guys.
The Sunflower field (Bua Tong is out of MHS, about 1 1/2 hours by road. You can rent a bike (per day THB 130-150) and head to Khun Yuam. Follow Route 108, 85 KM heading south, 1 km before you reach the town Khum Yuam change the route to Route 1263 on your left and ride another 26 km,(If you are lost ask the people where you can see Bua Tong). Remember to fill up your petrol tank, bring along a rain coat, the only place you can refill your petrol is from small sundry shop along side the main road. After Bua Tong (Sunflower) travel further down hill you will come to a nice waterfall where you can rest and take some photographs.
Thank you so much for your reply. As suggested, finally we decide to forget our plan to visit the bua tong and instead we will visit Doi Suthep, Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai and Long neck tribe. I still have 1 free day actually and am wondering about where to go on this 1 free day (27 Dec). Is Pai worth to be visited (one day trip)?
Avoid the Longnecks, businessmen make money from this and the Longnecks (Padang people of the Karen tribe) get next to nothing as they are almost kept in captivity. Pai is 3 hrs away, but you would be advised to spend a night there should you decide to visit.
If you are going to the Golden Triangle perhaps stay a night in Mae Sai and spend 10$ to cross into Tachiliek, Myanmar. Once you cross the bridge there is a huge market but avoid this and walk around the outskirts of the town---many interesting temples and extremely friendly people. You can buy a map of the town on the bridge.See my tips
[original VT link]
Since you are visiting Doi Suthep, you might as well visit the Doi Suthep Pui National Park and the Hmong Village. For this trip IF you can ride a Motor-cycle it will be very easy for you to travel there, all are in the same route. I advise you to visit the National Park first then the village and finally the Temple. (The National Park is closed during lunch time.). For Pai I cannot advise you because I have not been there. For the trip to Chiang Rai, there are a few Places of interest you shouldn't miss, White Temple, Black Temple, Night Market for the food(there are two section of entertainment one is classical Thai music and song and the other is modern and much cheaper) , and there is a government boat at Kok River cruise to Wat Taton that depart daily at 12.30 for the 5 hours rite at BHT350 per person. see : [original link]. See my page on Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.