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Budget-friendly 4-day itinerary in Chiang Mai

In this blog post, I’m gonna talk about the perfect budget-friendly 4-day itinerary in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand, with PLENTY of budget-friendly things to do. It’s surrounded by luscious mountains, tribal villages, and full of ancient temples. 

You will be transported back in time by exploring its many temples. Feel like one with nature by taking a tour through the jungle and playing with elephants. And even enjoy the modernities of the city by cooling down at the beautiful MAYA mall.

But if you plan on visiting more cities in Thailand, and only have a few days in Chiang Mai, you want to do the best of the best. Based on conversations I had with locals, and my own experience, I recommend spending 3 to 4 days in Chiang Mai. This will give you enough time to do the best budget-friendly things there and explore a bit outside the city.

NOTE: If possible, try booking a flight that arrives early in the morning in Chiang Mai. That way you still have lots of time on Day 1 to see and explore. But, of course, keep in mind that jet lag is a very real thing, especially coming from the US which is on the other side of the world. So if you need to rest on Day 1 or maybe take it slow, do what feels right for your body.

4-day itinerary in Chiang Mai

This 4-day itinerary is a suggestion based on the most popular (and my favorite) budget-friendly things to do in Chiang Mai. And most things can be done any day of the week unless specified otherwise.

With that being said, if you’re in Chiang Mai on a Sunday, you HAVE to explore the Sunday night market. It’s such a wholesome experience and you’re gonna find super budget-friendly food, shopping, and massages.

Day 1

🔹 Explore Buddhist Temples in the Old City – there are over 100 Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai’s Old City so you’ll find one in almost every corner. But I highly recommend visiting: Wat Phra Singh Waramahavihan, Wat Phantao, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Rajamontean, Wat Sri Suphan, and Wat Chiang Man.

🔹 Have lunch at a restaurant on Rachadamnoen Rd

🔹 Get a Thai massage in the afternoon/evening

Wat Chedi Luang
📍Wat Chedi Luang

Day 2

🔹 Take a half-day tour to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – play, feed, bathe, and learn about elephants and how they are taken care of in these sanctuaries.

🔹 Explore the night bazaar OR hang out in Zoe in Yellow

Elephant sanctuary
📍Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Day 3

🔹 Take a day tour to temples in Chiang Rai OR take a day tour to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle – these tours usually last all day long so you won’t have time for anything else, except dinner at the end of the day.

White Temple
📍White Temple, Chiang Rai

Day 4

🔹 Take a morning or evening tour to Wat Doi Suthep – a temple in the mountains overlooking Chiang Mai

🔹 Depending on the time of your Wat Doi Suthep tour, take a morning or afternoon cooking class

Doi Suthep
📍Wat Doi Suthep

Quick tips:

🧳 Pack lose and comfy clothes since Thailand has all-year-long tropical weather (meaning it’s always hot and humid)

👚 Bring long loose pants and shirts that cover your shoulders to enter the temples

💸 Take cash out at a local ATM (they don’t take credit/debit cards in many places)

🔌 Don’t forget to bring an international charger converter for your electronics

📲 Get a SIM card at the airport or at a 7-eleven to always have phone service and not depend on WiFi. Don’t forget to unlock your phone before you leave though.

For more ideas on budget-friendly things to do in Chiang Mai, read this blog post.

Got any questions about this itinerary or need help planning your trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand? Let me know in the comments below!

Heads up: As a way to earn passive income, this post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy something through one of those links, I might get a commission at NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support! 💕

Chiang Mai

August 18, 2022

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