I plan to be in Chiang Mai mid February 2007. I've been communicating with a guide but find that he will charge guide fees but would need me to also hire a driver or rent a car. This becomes rather expensive. Does anyone know of a reputable and safe guide/driver who can take two travelers to less travelled Akha or other hill tribe villages as well temple complexes within day-trip range from Chiang Mai. We do not what a commercial/group tour as one of us is a photographer who wants to be able to stop spontaneously. We would like to make stops at some of the craft factories too. I have visited the Akha in the 80/90's I'm open to other sights which should be on a must-see list for a short Chiang Mai visit.
#1 nitram has been a member since 21/1/2007. Posts: 1
Welcome to Travelfish.
If what you're after is a private tour for two people then I'm not surprised the guide will want you to pay for vehicle hire. Also bear in mind that pretty much any hilltribe village within day-trip distance of Chiang Mai will be pretty well travelled.
One solution would be to approach one of the commercial operators in Chiang Mai when you get there and explain what you want -- they may be able to arrange something immediately for you, but if they don't explicitly charge you for vehicle hire, rest assured it will be padded into the fee.
For some good tips on stuff to do in Chiang Mai, see exacto's Chiang Mai trip report