If you are coming from Manila, there are several ways of getting to Chiang Mai, Thailand. There are direct flights from Manila to Chiang Mai, easily available via Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. As of the last check, though, these may be a bit pricey. But, considering the time that you would be able to save, I would say that this is the most efficient way of getting to Chiang Mai. However, since I already booked my round trip tickets to and from Bangkok, I took the more roundabout (and cheaper) route. But, hey, it’s not as much of a hassle as I thought it would be.
Fly from Manila to Bangkok
I took the first flight out of Manila to Bangkok via Cebu Pacific. Upon arrival at Bangkok and after going through the routine immigration process, I had my first 100.00 USD changed at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, which was not a very good idea, I found out later on. If you’re taking the same route as I took and if you are not planning on buying food or anything else at the airport, I suggest that you have your money changed at the Don Mueang Airport – the rates are better and similar to Chiang Mai’s. I cringed when I saw that this was the case because I didn’t spend on anything from the time I had my money changed at Suvarnabhumi Airport until such time that I saw the exchange rates at Don Mueang. But, yes, I just charged it to experience. :D
Take the free shuttle to Don Mueang Airport
I then looked for the free shuttle offered by Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Mueang Airport (just ask the airport staff and they will happily point you to the right direction). I found this very useful as this would only require you to show them your printed boarding pass or ticket from Don Mueang on that day and you can avail of the free shuttle service.
It was not crowded when I took it and was only with about seven (7) more people. To be honest, I was a bit scared because of the recent news of bombing in Bangkok. But, considering my budget and ease, I thought that this was the best option. You know, you only live once and if it’s your time, it’s your time. So, best to just make the most out of what you have. I just prayed the entire trip in between naps.
I arrived at Don Mueang Airport and checked my bags in right away. There would be AirAsia staff who would be there to help you out and show you to the right counter. Not only once was I spoken to in Thai LOL. So, I would just smile and say, “I’m sorry?” Then they would ask where I’m from. This was also the case in other countries – Indonesia especially. So, I guess we all look alike, yeah?
The Don Mueang Airport was quite big. It was a good thing that I checked my bag in and was not carrying it the entire time ‘cos, man, that was one heck of a walk. I arrived at our gate and whiled the hours there. It was also refreshing to experience that strangers would ask you to watch over their bags while they go to the loo, trusting you with their belongings. While I don’t advice this as this can result to not-so-nice experience, I was still grateful to experience people who believe in the goodness of everyone. That was really refreshing.
Take the taxi to your hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand
From Chiang Mai International Airport, I took the taxi to my hostel, D-Well Hostel. There’s a kiosk where you can show your destination (make sure that you have your accommodation’s address printed in Thai as this makes it easier for them to determine where you’re going). They set the amount to 150 THB and will give you a paper that you can show to the drivers waiting outside. This was very convenient and so much less of a hassle for me. In other countries, you would be bothered by taxi drivers who would want to take you to your next destination and, since the price isn’t fixed, the amount set usually is a bit higher than normal. If you didn’t do your research well, there’s a big possibility that you will get ripped off. I think Thailand is a bit more organized in that sense. :)
I spent a total of 13.5 hours traveling from Manila to Chiang Mai, which is almost the same amount of time I would’ve spent on the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, if I chose to take that option.
- Backpacking Thailand: Bangkok, what happened?
- Backpacking Thailand: Into the soulful city of Ayutthaya
- Backpacking Thailand: Solo-ing it out in Chiang Mai
- Backpacking Thailand: Stay at D-Well Hostel in Chiang Mai
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