I have a lot of free time now as I am currently waiting for my domestic flight to Chiang Rai while typing this. Good way to pass time is to write something while I wait.
I promised to update on how to get to Maesai so here goes. By the way, this guide is only applicable for Singaporeans actually so apologies to those who are not.
The nearest airport to Maesai is actually Chiang Rai International Airport. Maesai is in the province of Chiang Rai which is at the northern tip of Thailand. Although branded as “International” The only flights that crossed borders are actually to Burma so I guess still can pass. So there are no direct flights to Chiang Rai. You die die need to transfer at Bangkok.
The easiest way and most expensive is to get Thai airways ticket. The pros is that you do not need to get out of the airport and go through customs until you are in Chiang Rai. You also do not need to get your bags and re-check-in for other flights (only Thai airways automatically transfer your baggages to the next connecting flight in BKK). So basically you are stuck in the transit area for 2 to 4 hours. The good thing is that if the plane is late.. Die die your next flight will wait for you, if not Thai airways will re-arrange another flight for you. The bad is expensive and you can’t get out of the airport. (The cheapest food is actually get out of the transit area and proceed to the basement, there’s a food court there where you can settle your lunch with just 50baht at most)
Another option is to travel budget which is my style. There are 3 budget airlines. Tiger, Airasia and Jetstar. For domestic, there’s Bangkok airways, Airasia, Thai airways and Nok air. So far the best match (may not be the cheapest but have the shortest waiting time) is to travel by Tiger air from Singapore to Bangkok in the morning. 630 am flight. which you will reach BKK at 0750 or 8am local time. Then you proceed to clear customs and immigration and go all the way up to departure hall to checkin for domestic. For domestic, I only fly Airasia and occasionally Thai airways.. Never tried the Bangkok airways and Nok air as their timing are weird. The flight I normally book is the 1135 flight. (Today the flight delayed so I’m still waiting for my flight) and will reach Chiang Rai at around 1pm or earlier.
So at Chiang Rai airport, you just need to get your bags (if you checked-in)and then proceed outside and look for two taxi stalls on your left when you exit. Ignore those touts and avoid the limousine service. Expensive like hell. A ride to Maesai will set you back 800 baht. and takes 45mins to an hour to reach. Just tell them the hotel you are going and the stall will assign a driver who knows that area well for you. If you have not book a place to stay. Some hotels you can try are Rong Raem (Hotel) Piyaporn. (think is about 1000baht or more per night during peak seasons) Its the newest and cleanest hotel in Maesai. Or if you want budget. Tai Tong is not bad also. Old but at least cheap and clean. Forget about Wang Thong (the pics on the Internet looks good but its bloody shabby).
So there, just a basic guide to get to Maesai as promised. :)