If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
We spent 7 days and 7 nights in Vientiane, Laos, arriving on the evening of September 27th from Vientiane, Laos and leaving on the afternoon of October 4th. The flight between Vientiane and Chiang Rai involved a stop in Bangkok, which was a little inconvenient considering it added a lot of extra time, but we did find an awesome airport lounge at the DMK airport that had free food and alcohol which helped :). The connecting flight basically meant we spent the entire day traveling, but everything went smoothly. The flight also cost a little more than we wanted to spend, but it was the best option we had and turned out fine.
Chiang Rai was a really cool place in the mountains of northern Thailand and reminded us of a smaller version of Chiang Mai. The expenses were a little less than Chiang Mai, traffic was better, and the nearby scenery was wonderful, but there was certainly less to do in general. So far Chaing Rai is tied with Chiang Mai, specifically the Nimman area, for our favorite place we’ve visited. We like the smaller town feel but did miss the night clubs, bars, malls, and movie theaters that are prevalent in Chiang Mai.
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on this part of the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while in and around Chiang Rai. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses are how I calculate the numbers below.
Accommodations: Our seven nights in Chiang Rai were at an AirBnB that was in a good location with a great host. We didn’t have a fridge or any appliances there though, and the shower set up wasn’t ideal, which made it less desirable overall than other places we’ve stayed in SE Asia, but still a very good deal for the price. We had several nearby options for food and were within walking distance to everywhere we wanted to go.
- Total for my expenses: $54
Food and drink: We had a huge meal at the Bangkok airport lounge while waiting for our connecting flight prior to arriving in Chiang Rai for free which was nice. Most of our meals we ate from vendors at the night market who had cheap, but very good, food. We did go out to nicer places around the city for a couple of meals including some coffee shops and an Italian restaurant. We met a group of three people from Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands on one of our first nights in the area and hung out at a bar with them which was a lot of fun. We also went out for drinks our last night in the city with another couple we met at the gym, which added a little bit to the costs. Coincidentally, the guy from the couple we met at the gym went to the same high school as me back in Virginia for a couple of years…. which was so crazy for us to meet in Thailand! It’s a very small world :).
- Total for my expenses: $56
Transportation: The flight to Chiang Rai was by far the biggest expense of the week coming in at $96. This flight was more expensive than some others because adding Chiang Rai to our itinerary was a decision we just made about a month ago, so booking this flight was much more last minute than the others. Besides the flight, our only other transportation expenses were for a taxi from the airport and a Grab (SE Asia’s version of Uber) back to the airport. We did a lot of walking around the city to various temples, but all were a 30 minute walk or less. Also, our Airbnb host insisted on taking us to a place about a 10 minute drive outside of the town where we saw a huge Buddhist statue and two amazing temples. This was well worth it even though we would have had no idea about it if it wasn’t for her. She refused to take any money for taking us despite repeated attempts.
- Total for my expenses: $101
Activities: There were some temples further away from the city that we really wanted to see as well as the “golden triangle” where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. Luckily we found a 12 hour day tour that had everything we wanted and more. We went to the White Temple, Black Temple, Blue Temple, a tea plantation, a monkey cave, the golden triangle, and a few other places with lunch included for $30.50/each. We continue to really enjoy these day trip tours in SE Asia, especially with the relatively low prices.
Besides the day tour, the only other money we spent on activities was for three day-passes to a nearby gym to keep working on regaining some muscle mass. The gym was surprisingly nice with a ton of equipment and cost only about $1.50 for each day pass.
- Total for my expenses: $36
My total expenses for 7 days and 7 nights in Chiang Rai, including accommodations, transportation, entertainment, and food were approximately $247!
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $3,619.
We headed to Hanoi, Vietnam next, so stay tuned for my next update. We surpassed the midpoint of our trip while in Chiang Rai and now only have less than 11 weeks left until we head back to the states. Keep an eye on the Facebook page where we are posting much more frequently about the trip as well as our favorite pictures!