Posted by: adventuressetravels | August 10, 2012

Getting Around Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of Northern Thailand.  It is big enough to have many things to do and see yet small enough that you can easily explore the center on foot.  Unfortunately Chiang Mai isn’t big enough for an extensive public transit system so if you do want to go a little further or don’t want to just spend your days walking through charming winding streets, there are a number of transportation options.

Tuk Tuks, or three-wheeled motorcycles with a bench in the back, are the most common type of taxi.

Make sure you settle on a price before you get in the tuk tuk.  Ask a resident what the price should be because drivers have different prices for expat residents and tourists.  When the driver quotes you a higher price you can tell him that you live in the area and know it only costs what the resident has told you it should be.   They will usually agree on that price.  It shouldn’t be much more than 50 baht if you are traveling within the city.

Yellow and red trucks  Red and yellow covered pick-up truck with benches in the back take locals to nearby villages or tourists to tigers, elephants, and various sights outside of town.  In my experience the yellow trucks are significantly less expensive than the red.  For 20 baht the yellow trucks parked by the Chinese gate will take tourists to Tiger Kingdom, an attraction just outside of Mae Rim

It can take a little getting used to for North and South Americans, and Europeans because in Thailand you drive on the left side of the road but renting your own transportation can be well worth it.

Scooters The cheapest  and easiest way to travel outside of Chiang Mai is to rent a scooter.  You can take it to the nearby attractions or national park or do whatever you want.  It gives you an enormous amount of freedom.

Scooters are the most popular form of transport for Thai people too, so there’re scooter lanes places everywhere.  They make a lot of sense.  After all, you can park them anywhere and extremely efficient on gas.

You can rent one for 150 baht a day, or about $5 at one of the rental places.

Renting a bicycle  Renting a bicycle is a nice way to get around the city.  Many guest houses have one or two to rent or there are several shops that rent bikes for the day.  Prices vary from 50 baht, about $1.50, to 350 baht, almost twelve dollars.

The down side is that riding bikes as transportation is not popular among Thai people so Chiang Mai isn’t the most bicycle-friendly city. and the droves of scooters and heavy traffic can make bike riding intimidating for the faint of heart.

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