If you’re looking for a local experience and don’t enjoy being part of large tour groups, I’m probably what you’re after. My emphasis is on giving you a local experience and catering to your unique travel interests. I offer exclusive, tailor-made tours of Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand for small groups. I’m a native of Thailand and fluent in Thai and English, and dabble in French, Italian, Spanish and Cantonese. I’ve been living in Chiang Mai since 2010. Great food and shopping along the way is also key!
Giving Paula Newton of CNN a tour of Chiang Mai.
My tours are fully customisable to suit your needs and budget. My service is designed to accommodate you and what you expect from your trip. I’m not a fan of mass tourism so like to keep the groups small and intimate. I’m always open to accommodating a flexible number of guests but a maximum of 6 is easiest for me to manage.
Here are some options:
1) A TAILOR-MADE ITINERARY
I could start as simply as making a 1-day itinerary and organise a private driver/van depending on how many there are in your group. This would include a list of locations based on what activities you’re interested in with recommended food stops along the way. You will have no guide for this, just the driver and an itinerary (how fun!). I would need to have a skype/phone conversation with you first before I can suggest an itinerary.
100 USD per day (not including driver/car)
2) A GUIDED TAILOR-MADE TOUR
Expanding on this idea, I will be your guide on the tour, doing all the activities with you, being a translator, explaining cultural aspects of our activities, ordering your meals for you (with dietary requirements in mind of course!), being your local contact. I will take care of all logistics. Again, we would need to have a chat first and I will create an itinerary for us to discuss further. I will also make hotel recommendations if you like.
300 USD per day (not including driver/car)
3) A GUIDED TAILOR-MADE TOUR WITH LOCAL EXPERTS
This would be an opportunity to delve further into any areas of interest you have. If you’re wanting to know more about Northern Thailand’s rich heritage in textiles for example, I could arrange for a tour of weaving villages with a notable textile historian. If you’re interested in learning more about Thai cuisine, we could start off the day with an excellent local Chef leading a fresh market tour followed by cooking classes in the afternoon. Another idea could be to explore the local craftsmen and carpenters, guided by an established local furniture designer. Anything is possible!
~600 USD per day (price depends on the expert as well – not including driver/car)
Prices for private cars vary from 2,000-5,000 baht (60-160 USD) depending on length of itinerary and whether it’s a sedan, van and degree of luxury.
“Thank you Marisa for a great tour! Having you clue us in on the gems of Chiang Mai was more like having a good friend taking you around than having a typical tour guide. You have great taste – both in food and crafts – and knew just where to take us. And it was much fun to spend the day with you!”
– Benita Naschold Sills from USA
“We had an amazing day with Marisa – she showed us a well selected variety of interesting places of Chiang Mai and shared her insider knowledge with us. Thanks again!”
– Sara and Stefan from Switzerland
“We really appreciated having you as our “guide”. We certainly felt we were being introduced to Chiang Mai by a friend rather than a tour guide. You helped open up the city to us as visitors in a wonderful way, helping take us to places that we wouldn’t have found on our own, ordering and explaining local foods, showing us specific shops & market places as well as arranging logistics for the trips out of town. We really enjoyed the day out in Doi Suthep Temple. It felt as though we were visiting with a knowledgeable, local friend. Mr. Day, our driver, was terrific all three days; he made it relaxing to be a passenger and never tried to take us to places or shops we didn’t want to visit. In Chiang Dao we really enjoyed the elephant camp, in particular just wandering around before and after the show, and afterwards appreciated the smaller local temple inside the cave. The fact it was completely unoccupied – other than one monk sweeping leaves – gave it a very different feel from the other temples. Thanks so much for arranging everything. I would highly recommend your tours to anyone looking for a personalised introduction to the Chiang Mai area.”
– James & family from Kuala Lumphur
“My husband Chris and I have been to Chiang Mai over 5 times on business but we discovered parts of Chiang Mai we had never seen or knew existed while out on a fabulous day of shopping with Marisa (and let me tell you, this woman knows how to shop!)
She was right on time to pick us up at our hotel (she even brought us coffee) and off we went. Marisa’s English is perfect, her Thai is perfect, and she is a whole lot of fun to spend the day with. In addition to bringing us to exactly the kinds of shops we wanted to go (and bargaining for us with the shopkeepers), she also knew where to stop for a delicious lunch and later took us to the best coffee shop in Chiang Mai. It was a lot like spending a day with an old friend.
We were leaving town on the last flight that same night and remembered that we needed an extra suitcase. At the end of the day when we remembered this, Marisa took us to the nearby shopping mall and drove up the parking garage to the exact floor where the suitcases are sold. The whole thing, including choosing the perfect suitcase for our needs, took 10 minutes. Marisa was more than happy to go the extra mile for us and not only that, made it easy and stress free.
We’re already planning another trip back for a more serious shopping trip early next year, and we plan on spending several days with Marisa visiting not only shops but also some of the other great CM attractions that we have never found on our own. It’s always great to have a local show you around when you are traveling no matter where you are, but in an country where we can’t read or speak the language, it was a huge plus to spend time with such a knowledgeable person. Thank you SO MUCH Marisa, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!”
– Kristen Daniels, owner of Kamibashi String Doll Gang from North Carolina