Chiang Mai’s roads get quite busy, and getting caught up in the congestion can be a frustrating and exhausting experience. I have considered traveler literature about the city accentuating its peaceful quality, and although masses of such locations exist (mainly backyard Chiang Mai), you will no longer locate them on its highways. This article attempts to describe the types of accessible transport in Chiang Mai, the satisfactory methods of getting around and the professionals and cons of every mode of transport, with private anecdotes included.
I. Public transport
a. Metered Taxi
A misnomer, as taxi drivers do now not switch their meters on — simply now not in the journey of my companion and I! As a non-Thai, you want to come to an settlement with the driver before mountaineering in, as foreigners are robotically overcharged. Every time we asked for the meter to be turned on, we had been advised that it was once broken. Do not hesitate to stroll away in search of every other taxi if you feel you are being had. There are lots around, and the taxi driver might even lower back down and supply you a decent price. Eventually we began reducing the asking rate in two, and to negotiate from there. It did no longer constantly work, however at least we did no longer come throughout as definitely green.
The one and solely time we effectively caught a metered taxi was at Chiang Mai airport, the place we had flown in from Bangkok. Ensure you go to one of the two reputable taxi counters positioned in Arrivals interior the airport, where you will be handed a ticket; indeed, the unmarked vehicles idling outdoor for unwary vacationers are now not licensed. The 30-minute fare into city fee us 60 Baht, plus the wellknown 50-Baht airport tax (payable at the airport).
Tuk-tuks are fun and a one-time ought to for everybody new to Thailand. However, I would no longer suggest them on a everyday groundwork as they are additionally noisy and passengers are at the mercy of noxious auto fumes, now not to mention the occasional heavy smoke in late spring and summer when farmers burn land and bush to foster new growth. Glorified motorcycles (three wheels + manage bars), they are reasonably steeply-priced when compared to Songthaews (see below). Suitable only for brief trips, foreigners are charged extra as a rely of course. To get a lift, definitely flag a tuk-tuk down and give your destination. Bear in mind that most tuk-tuk drivers communicate restrained English.
Powered by means of very agile and older men, pedicabs grant sluggish however scenic excursions of the Old City, specifically inside the moat area. Rates are negotiable. The descendant of rickshaws, they are no longer as numerous as they as soon as were, but they are none-the-less nonetheless around. Flag one down to get a lift.
d. Truck (Songthaew)
Songthaews (literally ‘two benches’) function like buses in that they tour on chosen routes. You flag them down, inform the driver your destination, and he will tell you to hop in if he is going that way. Quick, environment friendly and cheap, Songthaews pick out up different passengers on the way. They are a correct way to get around, and in contrast to tuk-tuks and taxis, do no longer have a tendency to overcharge: it is a flat 20 Baht per grownup if you are traveling inside the city (look out for the red-coloured Songthaews); if you are journeying outside the city, the vehicles are yellow, and of direction fee more.
e. Buses and Trains
Public transport in Chiang Mai is uncommon in that it does no longer consist of a bus service. Nor are there any commuter trains, increased trains or subways as in Bangkok.
NB If you do now not speak Thai, one way of ensuring you get to your destination is to existing the driver with a enterprise card carrying the address and map of your destination. However, it wants to be in Thai as not all drivers speak or examine English.
We have heard stories about drivers pretending to be short of exchange in order to avoid paying returned the difference. This has in no way been our experience, but it appears vital to mention. So make sure that you have lots of 20-Baht notes on you at all times.
II. Rented transport
Chiang Mai has masses of condominium companies to pick from, whether for cars, motorcycles or scooters. Whatever your vehicle, if you do figure out to go for it, ensure you have your driver’s license and an International Driver’s License with you at all times. Take a photograph of your rental to confirm that you are not charged for damage you are not responsible for. You will additionally want to depart your passport as security. Please undergo in idea that you will want to return the vehicle if you are due for a visa run (unless you have a second passport, of route — in which case make sure that the ID you hand in to the condominium agency is NOT the one with your Thai visa!).
a. Scooters and motorcycles
Scooters and motorcycles are one of the pleasant methods to get round Chiang Mai, in particular as site visitors can get quite congested. However, you want to be at ease with the Thai way of driving, which is ‘flexible’, to say the least. Mandatory third celebration injury is included in the condominium price of a motorbike however there is no 0.33 party insurance on hand for vehicle damage. An more 50 Baht per day will restrict prices associated with any damage to your rental. There are unique fees for daily/weekly and month-to-month rental, but do now not hesitate to negotiate an even higher deal. You can get a 110cc scooter for 150 Baht per day (with more insurance; a hundred Bath without). A 125cc is a better desire if there are two of you on the bike, and some firms additionally lease larger bikes. I would recommend an automated to a manual, as it handles easier in traffic.
Once you have made your choice, check the scooter/motorcycle out entirely before you go (particularly lights and brakes) and ask to take it on a take a look at run (to take a look at out the steering). Always wear a helmet (normally thrown in for free; take a look at it suits and that it is proper quality). Most accidents here tend to contain motorcyclists, and I have been informed that horrific motorcycle accidents are suggested in the Thai-speaking press, but not in the English-speaking papers. I can’t think about why, except it is to avoid a droop in the bike condo business. Helmets are compulsory, no matter the truth that few Thais put on them. The fantastic for driving besides one is 200 Baht (the value of a new helmet!), even though it rarely looks to be enforced.
Hire locations are plentiful alongside Moon Muang road (east side of the moat).
To hire a car, the fine course is to go to a identified dealer (Avis/Budget, etc) as the automobile will, in theory, be higher serviced. You will additionally get full insurance plan (but test the great print; notice that Visa playing cards generally cover collision damage) and they will more likely supply an alternative if your automobile fails for some reason. Although less sensible in heavy traffic, there is no doubt that automobiles offer greater protection, alleviation (especially on lengthy journeys) and…air conditioning!
Rental of a car or 4-wheel power will set you lower back about between seven-hundred and quite a few thousand Baht per day, and mini-buses truly more. Monthly condominium provides a higher deal (do not hesitate to good buy hard) and online gives grant the great quotes of all.
You can also hire a car with a driver. The every day value is roughly 1,750 Baht for a auto and 2,000 Baht for a mini-bus (this does now not consist of fuel). After 5pm, the charge per hour is approximately a hundred Baht. You will also need to pay for the driver’s food and accommodation in the match of in a single day trips. It is well worth mentioning, though, that we have been wandering round Chiang Mai when we had been approached with the aid of a taxi driver who presented us his vehicle and his offerings as a driver at a every day rate of 650 Baht.
They are without difficulty reachable everywhere, however particularly in traveler areas of the Old Town (guesthouses, travel agents, serviced apartments, etc). They generally cost between 150-200 Baht a day. I individually would no longer rent one for getting round city (too dangerous), but they are convenient and quite magical in the quieter parts of Chiang Mai. Helmets do no longer show up to be compulsory, but it is a very exact idea to put on one.
To conclude, transport in Chiang Mai takes many forms. What you are most blissful with will rely on your age and your experience, but you be able to locate a way of getting around that suits you. Do not hesitate to method other foreigners for their experiences. To my mind, the most necessary matters to take note are safety, and, the place appropriate, tough bargaining for a better price.