Any apprehension you might harbour about staying in budget hotels is easily dispelled in Chiang Mai, where there are a plenty of highquality lodgings for under Bt1,000 a night.
Just 10 minutes' drive from the airport and inside the perimeter of the city moat, the easily affordable Ping Buri Hotel awaits on Arak Road.
And if you book in advance, they'll pick you up at the airport for free.
Songthaew waft by all day long, ready to whisk you wherever you want to go, but you're already within walking distance of Wat Phra Singh, for example, and not far from the Suan Dok Gate.
In other words, the Ping Buri is ideally situated for getting familiar with the city on foot.
The hotel is a decentlooking, fourstorey converted shophouse on a busy street, with a sign for its Siri Thai Restaurant to one side. The lobby is inviting, with beautiful Lanna furniture.
Ahead of Loy Krathong next month, Chiang Mai's low tourist season is just wrapping up, and the Ping Buri is knocking 30 per cent off all 79 rooms for October.
A standard room goes for Bt800 a night, including American breakfast for two. It's 32 square metres, not too small, with a twin or double bed, satellite television and minibar, airconditioning, shower room/toilet and two complimentary water bottles.
The hotel also has deluxe and deluxe triple rooms and junior and Ping Buri suites. Groups of four are easily accommodated in junior suites, which have two bedrooms and come with breakfast for all of you for Bt2,450.
The Ping Buri Suite on the corner of the top floor has a spacious living room with a view of Doi Suthep, the Ping River and the city moat. The price is still economical given the comfort at Bt3,500. American Breakfast for four is again included.
All the rooms have similar d้cor - white walls and terracottatile floor, wooden wardrobe, desk, bed and bedside tables. They all have free wireless Internet too.
The Ping Buri has no swimming pool, but the terrace garden on the third floor has a lovely ambience for relaxing in the evening.
The restaurant on the ground level provides all the meals. Breakfast isn't very impressive and lacks choices for vegetarians.
There's a laundry service and, at the rear of the hotel, a big conference room.
Being comfortable right in the heart of Chiang Mai is the chief attraction of the Ping Buri: decent room at good prices.
AT A GLANCE
High points: Good location, good price and bright rooms
Low point: Limited selection at breakfast
Pay for it: Rates range from Bt1,000 to Bt5,000 a night, with a third off most of the year, except during festivals like Loy Krathong, New Year and Songkran.
Find it: 49/78 Arrak Road, Tambon Prasingh, Muang district, Chiang Mai 50200
Book it: (053) 814 5602 or email@example.com
Browse It: www.PingBuri.com