How to Travel Cheaply: Transportation in Chiang Mai
In places such as Chiang Mai, transportation information and prices aren’t readily accessible to tourists, making it extremely easy for foreigners to wind up spending two to three times more than they should on a taxi or tuk tuk ride. And after spending between one to two weeks vacationing in this city, the expenditures add up.
Here are some travel trips that are extremely helpful to know upon coming to the wonderful, lustrous city of Chiang Mai.
- Motorbikes: Travelers who are going to be covering a lot of ground and have experience riding motorbikes, should rent one while in Chiang Mai or any other part of Thailand for that matter. It is the most cost effective (anywhere between 400- 800 baht per day) mode of transportation for adventurers. However, it is also important to recognize the different traffic laws here, which are pretty much non- existent, and be heavily cautious while navigating through the city.Side Note: If one does not have experience on motor bikes or if they are simply going to only about two to three places per day, then public transportation is the way to go!
- Red Taxi Trucks: The Thai people have taken red pick- up trucks and added benches as well as roofs to the bed of the trucks, making them into taxis. In Thailand, these red trucks are called songthaews. Songthaews have taken the place of regular taxis in the main city of Chiang Mai, and are the cheapest type of transportation. Within the main city, do not expect to spend more than 60 baht per person in the songtaew. The more people the driver can pack into the truck, the cheaper the price. That being said, if the driver cannot get more than two or three people into the songthaew, the passengers might have to pay the difference to make the drive worthwhile for the driver, or the passengers will have to wait until the red truck fills up.
- Tuk- Tuks: Tuk- tuks are basically motorized tricycles with a little carriage on the back of them. They can usually hold between 2- 3 people in the back, and are also quick and convenient. Beware, they can be triple the price of a Red Truck (songthaew). Many tourists automatically assume they’re cheap and jump into one of them without asking. If one is in a rush and cannot wait for a Red Truck, jump into one of these tuk- tuks, but be prepared to pay the price.
Remember: Always clarify how much the total is going to be with every and all modes of transportation before getting in. It can be easy to jump into the first songthaew or tuk tuk that stops, but it may be worth it to get the best price. Also, they will most likely bump up the price if you aren’t direct and clear from the beginning.Happy and safe travels to all!