We planned to spend a day on our own visiting local crafts shops so we decided to rent a motocycle. And it so happened that there the guest house across street from where I stayed had mopad for rent.
First of all, the cost was low. For under $3 USD, you get to own the bike for 24 hours. This is a very economical way to travel considering it costs more than $1 each time you hop on a tuktuk.
The second, you get total freedom to travel wherever and whenever you want.
The trick is, however, the mopad I rented had gears. It was kind of scary at first but in less than an hour, I got used to it and was able to manage it well. But I am sure there are other easier to ride mopads for rent.
The next obstacle was traffic. There is obviously no bike lane and motobikes aren't supposed to be on the middle of the lane; it's customary for motobikes to be driving on the side of the road to make it easy for cars to pass you.
The last one and the one I hated the most often was helmet. It's very hot outside and it would be really nice if I could enjoy the breeze kissing my face. Yet, for safety reason, I had to keep the helmet on and couldn't really enjoy it as much as I could.
So if you are not afraid of riding mopads in somewhat chaotic streets, it's a very interesting and economical way to enjoy Chiang Mai.
To see central Chiang Mai I recommend going on a pedicab tour for an hour or so. You will visit Chiang Mai's most important Wats and areas and it is just a different way to see the city. These tours range in price, but are rarely above 150 Baht.
There are several flights daily from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, for only US$40 each way!! If you have more time, the overnight train is a great deal as well, and very cheap.
As in Bangkok, there are numerous TukTuks in Chiang Mai, but they are not as pushy here.
I rented a tiny motorscooter to get around town for only US$3 per day. A good deal.
You can also catch a Songthaew (see photo above.) They don't have set routes, just flag one down and tell them where you want to go. You will ride with others going in the same general direction. It's an example of Para-transit at it's finest.
There are no taxis or bus routes in Chiangmai. The system here is streets filled with small converted red pickup trucks with benches in the back that take you where you want to go. Flag them down, tell them where you want to go and if they are going in that direction (their direction is dictated by the riders on board), they might take you along. The price for this is 10 baht per person. If they are taking you specifically to where you want to go and not winding around to pick up or drop others off, then the price is usually 20 baht per person, unless you are going quite far.
Rides from the train or bus station, and to or from the airport are usually more if you are by yourself.
Annunciating your destination in your best Thai possible is necessary as drivers seldom speak English. Drivers know most destinations that tourists like to go however, so you should have little trouble.
It's the usual way to get around unless you're walking or taking a jumbo. The usual fare within the city seems to be 5o baht, so beware of tuk tuk drivers that will ask you for more. Anyway if you can find an alternative mean of transport, pls do so without hesitating. In three days drivers got me lost twice, had 2 near-misses and 1 crash. i would not say they're the safest way to get around
Special Thai vehicle.
Transformed from motorcycle.
1 driver and max. 2 passengers.
Cost from 10 THB.
From Chiang Mai airport you can go by public bus (unfortunately we didn’t find its station) or you can take a Taxi Lanna for about 80-100 THB to the city centre.
Renting of motorcycles are outrageously cheap! All u need is some identification and ur driver's license and cash. Don't forget ur helmut...just in case if the police stops u.