Getting Around Chiang Mai

By | June 6, 2013

If you’re a tourist heading to Chiang Mai where there is an abundance of must-see places, but you have got insufficient time to see all of the stunning attractions, what is the best mode of transport to see as much as possible ?.

I have covered Car & Motorbike Hire seperately to provide more details & possible options.

Getting around Chiang Mai Metered Taxis:

There are an ever increasing amount of “metered” taxis operating in Chiang Mai, they tend to run the lucrative Airport – City Hotels route, but you will find more & more of them “straying” into the city centre looking for fares.

More often than not, they will try and negotiate a rate with you “off-meter”, this is ok, but you will pay more, just insist they use the meter. A run from the airport to city centre hotels should not cost more than 100-120 baht.

Getting around Chiang Mai

Local Buses:

There is a very limited local bus service in & around Chiang Mai,but it tends to be very hap-hazard & I would not really recommended for tourists.

Getting around Chiang Mai Songthaew (Song Tow):

The direct translation of Songthaew from Thai to English is literally “two rows”, they are small red coloured pickups fitted with roofs & side benches in the back. They pick up and drop off passengers along a variable route, in a completely informal transport system.The red trucks will take you along the most popular routes in the city for 10-20 baht, and may deliver you to outlying destinations for a little more. Just raise your hand, the Songtaew will slow down and shout out your destination and if it matches the route they are travelling then they will take you. Press the buzzer where you want to stop. You should ALWAYS negotiate the fare with red truck drivers before getting in.

Getting around Chiang Mai Tuk-Tuks:

Tuk-Tuk drivers I swear are reformed Thai “Hells Angels”, they appear to have only one speed, and that is “break-neck”, but they are an interesting way to do a tour of the city, particularly around the old “moated” areas.

They can carry ideally two people, but I have seen them with four adults onboard, not a pretty sight !!.

Tuk-Tuk drivers will usually request around 50 baht per 10 minute journey, but again AGREE a final price BEFORE getting onboard.

Getting around Chiang Mai Saam Lor:

You will find Saam Lor’s (three wheeled bicycle) or Rickshaw’s around a few areas of the old city centre particularly around the Chiang Mai Gate,Warorot & Somphet Markets, they are absolutely perfect if you want just want a leisurely ride around to take in the charm & beauty of the old city. Expect to pay 20-30 baht for a short ride around the centre, longer rides are undertaken by seperate negotiation.


Getting around Chiang Mai Cycling: As you travel around Chiang Mai, you will not notice many bicycles, the few that you do see will either be “mountainbikes” or “bone-shakers” !. With the hilly terrain all around Chiang Mai, for the more adventurous types the mountain bike is a must, there are some VERY testing routes, including the ascent to Doi Suthep Temple, which is a 13km climb up a mountain !!. There are several places particularly around the centre of Chiang Mai that offer bike hire, rates tend to be 25-50 thb/day depending on which “model” you prefer.

Chiang Mai Hotels

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