By Taxi -- Chiang Mai has metered taxis but taxi drivers are generally unwilling to use the meter, so rates are commonly fixed. Trips in town are generally less than 160B. While Uber left Southeast Asia in 2018, the popular ride-hailing app GrabTaxi performs the same function (www.grab.com; available in the iTunes store and Google Play). You can take taxis from Chiang Mai to neighboring cities, but it will be pricey.

By Public Bus -- There's frequent, inexpensive bus service between Chiang Mai and other northern cities. You'll also find songtaews (shared pickup trucks) fitted with long bench seats (also known locally as seelor) along the streets of Chiang Mai as well as all the major roads throughout the north. They have no fixed schedule, stopping points, or price; just flag them down and ask how much they are.

By Car -- Renting your own car offers you freedom and the chance to see some beautiful countryside at your own pace; main roads are well-paved with frequent petrol stations. It must be stressed, however, that upcountry driving regulations do not really exist, and in some seasons -- especially during festivals -- drunk driving, passing on blind bends, or overtaking in the lane reserved solely for uphill drivers is especially common. Both Budget Car Rental and Avis have branches in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. While these larger rental companies have better insurance policies, they will cost more. Patronizing local companies in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai will save you money, but cost you dearly if you end up in an accident or hospitalized. If you're driving out to mountain destinations, select the best-maintained car on the lot (older cars are only for in-town driving). Consider hiring a car and driver from a smaller private company for around 2,000B per day, depending on the distance traveled and fuel used.

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By Motorcycle -- Motorcycle touring in northern Thailand is another option and best considered in the dry season (Nov-May). For up-to-date info on the best routes to follow, check out the Golden Triangle Rider website (www.gt-rider.com). Inexperienced riders should stick to day trips, and all should arm themselves with up-to-date information about the weather. Hot, precipitous roads doused in monsoon showers make for an early (and easy) death. Stay left, expect the unexpected (such as head-on traffic, putrid exhaust fumes from farmers' trucks, and total abandonment of road rules), and keep your speed steady. No one in his or her right mind would dream of riding here without full medical insurance. In Chiang Mai, Tony’s Big Bikes (www.chiangmai-motorcycle-rental.com; tel; 083865-0935) is the place to go for well-maintained motorcycle rentals, lessons, repairs, questions about where to ride or to join a guided tour.

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By Scooter -- Scooter rental places are common in the region with hires averaging an affordable 250B per day. If this entry-level two-wheeled option is appealing, get at least a 150cc motorbike, so it has the pep to get up the hills.



 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.