Summer In Chiang Mai Part 1 | How To Go, Where To Stay, Budget and Itinerary, Etc.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

More than a month has passed since my summer in Chiang Mai with two of my closest friends. We decided to go to this city because none of us has been on this side of Thailand, and it is something different from the usual places we've been to recently (plus, Ava needed the MomCation, and Paul wants to hug elephants irl!).

First of all, I am so happy to travel again! I enjoyed planning this trip for my friends coz they're all very game with whatever I present to them. Budget hostel? G! Klook activities instead of pure DIY? G! It made creating our itinerary easier and more fun coz everybody's so open to any ideas! Walang stress or diva, hehehe.

So here's the first part of our wonderful wonderful Chiang Mai trip! ❤ Was supposed to just post one blog entry for this, but there's just so much photos to share! Haha!

How To Go To Chiang Mai

Correct me if I'm wrong, I think there are no direct Manila to Chiang Mai flights, all airlines require a layover. My sister took Thai Airways 2 years ago, and they had to transfer planes from BKK for their Chiang Mai flight. 

Meanwhile, my friends and I flew via SCOOT, a budget Singaporean airline. It has a layover in Changi International Airport, and on both to and from Manila, red eye flights sya so we had to sleep in the airport. 

Not a bit worried though, Changi is one of the most comfortable airports in the world! They have paid lounges and free areas where you can sleep and pass the time. Read more on our Changi Airport Lounge Experience, isa syang adventure on its own! 

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai

Here's how I look for accommodations anywhere I go in the world. First, I read up on blog recommendations on what specific AREA is the best place for tourists to stay. I picked Old City Chiang Mai because they have the tourist sites and food areas here. Then I go to Agoda and search for this specific area. At least the choices are now narrowed down instead of just typing "Chiang Mai".

Here are my personal criteria in picking my accommodation other than of course having affordable rates:

1) It must be in a great location, central, near main tourist spots and transportation systems. Okay lang na mas mahal ng onti.

2) Should be near shopping or food district, para long days can end in the neighborhood na.

3) Should have good reviews (at least mga 5 na nagsasabi they had a great stay in the place). I always trust actual traveller comments in Agoda.

Again, it doesn't have to be fancy. Free breakfast is just a bonus for me, but not part of my criteria coz pwede naman bumili sa 7Eleven. I also make sure safe yung place! For Chiang Mai, I think what matched all these points is DD&B Hostel.

What I like about DD&B Hostel

1) PRICE! Deal breaker talaga! For our FIVE NIGHTS in Chiang Mai we only paid PHP 6145 IN TOTAL! Or Php 2000-ish per head, nakaka loka!

2) LOCATION. Our place is only around 20 minutes away from Chiang Mai International Airport! This came to our advantage on our last day when we had to take a half-day tour to go to the Karen Long Neck Village, after a miscommunication from our prior tour.

It is also walking distance to restaurants and a night food market, and quite a number of establishments offering Thai massage.

There's a river bank just across our hostel, na sobrang ganda especially in the morning! Wish we had more time to just walk around this area.

Food spots around our neighborhood. We made sure to eat in a different resto every night:

Temples here and there, spotted when we look for dinner places:

3) Room is nice and big! I think solo namin yung guesthouse at that time, so we were able to use the common toilet and bath ng kami kami lang hehehe. Aircon works well too, super perfect place to rest.

Ava taking a photo of the door to our room:

Our three-bed room, which can fit up to four persons:

Paul took over the bunk beds:

While Ava and I shared the huge bed:

We have a small "balcony" where we hang our wet clothes:

4) Staff are also very nice and polite! We always greet each other Good Morning, or hello! Nakaka miss din sila, hehe!

5) No free breakfast inclusions on the website, but they still have free instant coffee, water, and bananas on the pantry which we availed! We prepare our own meals in the mini kitchen every breakfast. They also have a cafe on the ground floor, where we were able to try Thai instant noodles and Thai beer. Ang sarap din mag hangout sa common area / cafe nila. 😊

My besties, super sipag every morning heating breads and preparing our coffee!

The hostel's cafe:

Our every morning and every night sitch:

I think it was on our second night when we tried the Chang beer and some Thai instant noodles! 

6) Ok ang security. Front door is closed at a certain time at night.

What I don't like about DD&B Hostel

1) It is not super gaduper clean, especially the toilet and bath. Medyo maagiw sya. May night din na nakakita si Ava ng ipis sa isang shower room (buti nalang hindi ako ang naka kita sobrang takot ako sa ipis hahaha), ako naman nakakita ng moth. Iniisip ko nalang na nasa province din kasi kami kaya hindi maiiwasan ang crawlies.

Right across our room is the separate toilet room + toilet and 2 shower rooms. Wala naman kami kashare coz it's off-season.

2) Not so near ang convenience store. You have to cross the busy streets to get to the nearest 7Eleven. 

3) Medyo mahirap din sya i-pin sa Grab. Usually yung mga katabing establishments ang naseasearch. Mabuti nalang GRAB driver din yun hostel owner namin, so most of our malling trips sa kaniya na kami sumasakay. Even our ride to the airport heading home na sobrang buzzer beater na kami coz we still came from a tour, our hostel owner took charge! She closed the hostel, and told us to hop in her car! 😁

Overall though, it was still a very pleasant stay and I will recommend DD&B Hostel for Chiang Mai budget travellers. 

Estimate Budget + Itinerary

Sharing a straight to the point version of our itinerary for Chiang Mai so I can add our expenses for this trip. Will also be posting more about these activities and my personal take on them on my next blogs. 😊


Airport Tax - Php 1620
Flight from Manila to Changi Airport Terminal 2 (Round trip ticket via SCOOT around Php 15,000)
Sleep in airport lounge - Php 1800

 Flight to Chiang Mai International Airport
Withdraw Pocket Money in airport - Php 10,000 (breakfast, snacks, dinner, Grab, shopping)
Check in Hotel: DD&B Hostel - Php 2000 per head for 5 nights
Dinner in North Gate Night Market





Secret Temple + Karen Long Neck Tribe PHP 750
Flight to Changi Terminal 2, sleep again in airport lounge - Php 1800


Estimate Total Expenses = Php 40,252 

Note: We got promo codes for the Klook activities, so hindi talaga Php 40k yun total gastos namin and this is just an estimate. Also, if you are not into shopping hindi naman aabot ng ganito yung gastos--but ako kasi, makaharap lang sa skincare and clothes nag sasara na yung EQ ko hehehe!

Outside Our Itinerary

Sharing pictures of the other stuff we did after every tour. What I like about our Chiang Mai schedule is that after our activity for the day, we still have lots of time to go malling or check out a night market. The nearest mall to our hostel is MAYA, a recommendation of our guesthouse owner. It has restaurants, beauty and fashion shops, and right across the mall are several markets from fashion, food, to art! 

Here's a picture of the riverbank just across our hostel:

Night market scene (food and clothes) during our last night in Chiang Mai. Paul bought a lot of canvass kimonos!

 We also rode the tuktuk twice, from the mall going back to our hostel. The drivers have Waze so madali lang ang navigation.

Inside a beauty store called Boots with Ava, para syang Watsons natin. My bessy and I love to try out new skincare stuff, and we also bought these tube inhalers for pasalubong:

Paul's weakness: There's also an authentic DC store in this mall!

Ang dami din random stores with unique finds! Wish I got this transparent bucket hat:

One of my favorite discovery is an art lane right across the mall. They have small quirky shops offering local crafts from accessories, clothes, to stationeries.

Dito nabaliw si Ava hehehe! Obvious from this picture, kahit hindi na nakatingin kung ano ano nalang dinadampot e hehehe!

I think what I loved most about this Chiang Mai trip is that it is more peaceful than my usual busy city trips, or compared to when visiting Bangkok. Dagdag nyo pa na we don't have internet connection except when we're back in the hostel, so talagang naclear yung mind ko for ilang days. 

Walking outside our hostel, albeit the rush of cars, we had a nice view of the river bank, fire tree branches stooping down the river as if scooping water with its leaves. A core memory for me was one morning just around sunrise. Ava and I had to cross from our hostel to the river bank to the other street for a quick 7Eleven run, just to get breads for breakfast and (TMI) sanitary pads haha!

I saw the sun rays reflected on the river, the sun just peeping in between houses, trees, and temples that we passed by on our way to the convenience store. Sobrang ganda that I had to stop and take a snap from my phone! I was on the verge of bursting into a random song, or maybe even twirling a little just because the simple moment felt just like that: A carefree, happy morning in a beautiful city called Chiang Mai. ❤

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