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Proposed Road Trip - Khon Kaen to Chiang Mai


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After looking at prices for flights from Khon Kaen to Chiang Mai which are not cheap I am considering going by land. I am also just confirming how many will be going to Chiang Mai as it will be myself, Porn, Kataleya, Porn's mum and dad and possibly Porn's 12 year nephew. So could 5 or 6.

Thinking about the cost (quite high by plane) I am considering bus or hire car as alternate. Porn doesn't want to go by bus as will take too long (she says 11 hours) and she says the buses have many accidents on the route.  Kind of a bit ironic then that she says why don't I drive so that is my question, what are the roads like, is it a good or bad experience.

Has anybody experience of the Khon Kaen to Chiang Mai route.  If not what about the road from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai. The main roads seem to be the Highway 12 from Khon Kaen to near Phitsanulok and then the Highway 11 from near the city to Chiang Mai.  Google Maps advises it is 9 hours 15 minutes from Porn's house near Khon Kaen airport to Chiang Mai which is quite a trek but I have done similar times from Hua Hin to Khon Kaen many times.

I am interested in the pitfalls of the route, is it mainly single road or dual carriageway, is it mountainous and prone to traffic snarl ups.  I love driving so not a major problem but just need to know if it is a good viable option.

Last question, a pick up will take 5 or 6 people. I know we are talking Thailand but is  a group of 4 adults and 2 kids in a pick up OK. I had a pick up and probably had 6 inside but if I hire a pick up what are they insured for?

By the way I have been to Chiang Mai before and will be staying again at the M hotel. Probably be good I suppose to already have a car as Porn wants to go to some White Temple near Chiang Rai.

Appreciate any comments.

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5-6 in a pick-up? Ehmm, you mean 2 adults on the front seat, 2 kids in the back seat and 2 adults on the truck bed with the luggage? 🙂

Haven't travelled in many pick-ups, but most have rather emergency seats on the back where my GF (1.4 m height) already feels squeezed during a longer trip.

Check-out some car rental companies such as https://budget.co.th/Car

They show how many seats are in each model.

Better go for a 7 seater like the Toyota Fortuner or Isuzu Mu-x. Some CR-V models have a 7-seat version as well.

For an hour trip to the next tempel a pick-up might be sufficient, but for a 9 hours trip? 

Edited by CampariO
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If you have not been there, take a detour South to Phi Mai in Nakon Ratchasima.

Went there before around twenty years ago, went to a girl's village near Korat and stopped off there.

Beautiful place, similar to the Angkor temples in Siam Reap.

 

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28 minutes ago, CampariO said:

5-6 in a pick-up? Ehmm, you mean 2 adults on the front seat, 2 kids in the back seat and 2 adults on the truck bed with the luggage? 🙂

Haven't travelled in many pick-ups, but most have rather emergency seats on the back where my GF (1.4 m height) already feels squeezed during a longer trip.

Check-out some car rental companies such as https://budget.co.th/Car

They show how many seats are in each model.

Better go for a 7 seater like the Toyota Fortuner or Isuzu Mu-x. Some CR-V models have a 7-seat version as well.

For an hour trip to the next tempel a pick-up might be sufficient, but for a 9 hours trip? 

Most decent modern pick ups have a normal saloon car style seating, my Toyota Hilux 4 door did but probably not insured or meant for 6. Toyota Innova seems to cater for 6-7 and is an option. Looking at Budget at Khon Kaen airport and rates not bad for about 6 days. I am not a great lover of picking cars at small provincial airports as they usually have limited vehicles or older models. I used Budget at Khon Kaen before and it was a bit tired. 

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4 minutes ago, galenkia said:

If you have not been there, take a detour South to Phi Mai in Nakon Ratchasima.

Went there before around twenty years ago, went to a girl's village near Korat and stopped off there.

Beautiful place, similar to the Angkor temples in Siam Reap.

 

That is a pretty long detour, about 2.5 hours south of Khon Kaen and I need to be heading north west not south lol

Phi Mai is a lovely place, have stopped there before but on the way south to Bangkok.

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1 minute ago, Horizondave said:

That is a pretty long detour, about 2.5 hours south of Khon Kaen and I need to be heading north west not south lol

Phi Mai is a lovely place, have stopped there before but on the way south to Bangkok.

Time and miles are just numbers lol.

But if you have been there fair enough. One of the places up North I'd recommend seeing. Love North Thailand, people are so nice.

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7 minutes ago, Horizondave said:

Most decent modern pick ups have a normal saloon car style seating, my Toyota Hilux 4 door did but probably not insured or meant for 6. 

Wouldn't worry about insurance but number of seatbelts.

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1 hour ago, galenkia said:

Time and miles are just numbers lol.

But if you have been there fair enough. One of the places up North I'd recommend seeing. Love North Thailand, people are so nice.

Not a problem solo on a bike but in a pick up with 4 adults and 2 children I want an easy life. Too be honest I would rather take the plane but there are 6 of us and my wife and I will be paying. A motor reduces the price but increases the fatigue. Not sure my knees will be able to do it lol

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Not sure if this is helpful or not but Nam Nao National park is lovely and en route to CM and the roads were fine over to there. That said it’s only a little over 2 hours drive from KK so may not be far enough progress for you in one day.

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28 minutes ago, Sangsom said:

Not sure if this is helpful or not but Nam Nao National park is lovely and en route to CM and the roads were fine over to there. That said it’s only a little over 2 hours drive from KK so may not be far enough progress for you in one day.

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Thanks for the info, we will no doubt pass there but that will be a visit for another time so appreciate the photos.

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13 minutes ago, boydeste said:

Have you looked at a train option Dave? No experience myself but Larry may have taken one.

@Yesitisdakid

That journey would be murder as well as you have to go via Bangkok, 7 hour train followed by a 12 hour train.

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1 minute ago, Sangsom said:

That journey would be murder as well as you have to go via Bangkok, 7 hour train followed by a 12 hour train.

Yes I asked my wife where the train goes, think from Khon Kaen it would just go up to Nongkhai, not sure it would go west

 

17 minutes ago, boydeste said:

Have you looked at a train option Dave? No experience myself but Larry may have taken one.

@Yesitisdakid

Not sure there is a route from Khon Kaen to Chiang Mai but I will check.

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I would do the bus I just logged around 8000k on buses all over thailand and booked all VIP busses. Seats recline and they were all very comfortable. If you can get 14C and 14D ion this carrier no need for VIP loads of space they are upper seats with huge leg room I have used them very good

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/25/2022 at 9:43 AM, boydeste said:

Have you looked at a train option Dave? No experience myself but Larry may have taken one.

@Yesitisdakid

As newlyweds, we took the train from Bangkok to Chiangmai. I booked two tickets in a private cabin.  The cabin had a sink and a couch that folded down and made bunk beds.  There were power outlets, so we watched a couple movies. It was ok price wise, but took 4 hours longer than said when I booked online.8D30AC5E-1E9D-43D5-905B-4CDB8E1DB9B6.jpegF263C893-C3AE-450B-B6DF-75BA3BEE19C8.jpegEAA98581-1217-494E-AECB-C306D2F3B1E5.jpeg32B5F110-DA7F-4EC7-8288-81D368B8F2F2.jpeg

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