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Driving in Chiang Mai

Posted by darrenh on 3/12/2007 at 02:46

hi,
anyone got any info driving in chiang mai? im thinking of renting a car for a few days.

is it a good/bad idea?
is car rental cheap?
would i be better just to forget the idea??!!
any information would be much appreciated.
cheers

#1 darrenh has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 14
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Posted by marianwarren on 3/12/2007 at 03:10

See my Nth Thailand Nov 06 trip report - once you study how the one way system works in Chiang Mai it's easy - but so scarey the first time.

Regards

Marian

#2 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270


Posted by exacto on 3/12/2007 at 10:03

darren,

car rental can be a great idea for trips out of town, particularly if you are used to driving on the left side of the road. car rental isn't necessarily cheap, however; 900 baht per day for a small jeep-like thing comes to mind. also, the city isn't all that big, all things considered, so car rental isn't really necessary for just moving around the city. it will be cheaper and more fun to just figure out how the song thaew truck taxis work and take those instead for trips within the city.

another option for two or fewer people is to hire a motor scooter, but this is only a good idea if you are already a good motor scooter driver. the pace of traffic in chiang mai means that is isn't a good place to learn. have fun. cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,686
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Posted by realalaskan on 3/12/2007 at 10:26

I wouldn't drive in Chiang Mai if you paid me. At least not a car. Spent a few weeks there last winter. Drove a motorcycle a fair bit and that was OK but scary too. Marianwarren is right about studying how the traffic flows around the moated city. Get that down and it is not too bad, but still, traffic can be horrendous. Also rented bicycles and got around quite nicely. Songthows are a great way to get around cheaply. We did rent a rig to go to Doi Inthanon for a few days and that was ok but getting in and out of Chiang Mai was a nightmare, IMHO.

#4 realalaskan has been a member since 12/11/2007. Posts: 7

Posted by khunwilko on 3/12/2007 at 14:43

Driving can be a boon in Thailand you get to see a lot more in less time....don't blame others for your bad driving though....driving is different in Thailand but any reasonable driver should be able to work it out.....however,f you are a crap driver then you will have an accident (incident)

#5 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by marianwarren on 4/12/2007 at 15:12

Me again Darren

As you are from Ireland I assume you drive on the left hand side, same as Thailand. While traffic in Chiang Mai is daunting I feel that as long as you are a confident driver ie not defensive, you should have no problems. Hire a car at the end of your stay, once you have a feel for how it all works. Certainly it is very chaotic but slowly, slowly works very well - no radical moves and you should be fine. As we were based in the old city we had to come to grips with getting in and out of the moated area. After the first, almost paralysing effort, it was easy. It's great to go to the lesser touristed spots - well worth the effort. So go for it!

#6 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 5/12/2007 at 21:43

Hi, I have spent some months living Chiang mai and I think you can get used to the traffic within a few days. We are going back up there next month and will be hiring a car from the airport. I will also rent a hoda moped for shorter, everyday trips to the shop/bar etc.. :)

#7 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464
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Posted by cybervlad on 10/1/2008 at 18:38

My first experience with driving in Thailand was in ChiangMai. I can't say that it was easy, but affordable.

p.s. 3 weeks ago i occasionally drive into Bangkok, this was real nightmare :)

#8 cybervlad has been a member since 6/6/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 182
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