First Motorbike Experience In Chiang Mai, Thailand

December 16, 2014
Rob on the motorbike in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Rob on the motorbike in Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the best moments of our time here is the first time we rented a motorbike and took it around town. I will admit, the thought of getting into, what seemed, madness on the roads of Chiang Mai was not very thrilling to me at first. Looking through the filter of an American driver, all that can be seen is chaos on the roads. You see mototrbikes darting out  of every alley and driveway and weaving through the bumper to bumper traffic. Pedestrians walk alongside the road (sidewalks seldom exist) and try to make their way across the traffic. There are red pickup trucks that are the public transportation of this town that make sudden stops and starts. There is almost always traffic on the main roads.

Aside from all of this, you have the fact that Thais drive on the left side of the street. So, trying to get your mind wrapped around driving on what it has been trained to know as the “wrong” side of the road is a whole battle in itself!

song thaew

Red Truck – song thaew

Nevertheless, we needed to experience it. Not to mention, walking everywhere was limiting us and taking the red taxis, called song thaew, although very cheap (20 THB, $0.63 per person to most destinations in town), was starting to add up. We decided to start off with renting a motorbike for a week to see how useful it would be. Turns out it has been very useful.

The song thaews are great for going to known, popular destinations, but it is a hassle sometimes trying to ask them if they will take you to a particular place. There are “tuk tuks” that can do more personalized routes since they don’t stop to pick up other passengers. Tuk Tuks, however will charge you more (100 THB, $3.13 to go a couple of miles), especially being a tourist. While they are fun to ride, and I would encourage anyone visiting to hop on one, they are not very practical for everyday transportation.

Rob inside tuk tuk in Bangkok, Thailand

Rob inside tuk tuk in Bangkok, Thailand

inside view of tuk tuk

inside view of tuk tuk

Ok, back to our motorbike experience. We found a place called Buddy Internet (yeah they rend motorbikes AND have internet and faxing services!) right across the street from Kad Suan Kaew shopping center. There, we learned that he had limited choices since it was the weekend, but we decided to get one of the bikes that was left anyway. It required a deposit, which could be paid in Baht or Dollars, so we gave him $100 to save our Thai Baht. They also require a copy of your passport and full payment for the duration we are renting for. Our week’s rent came out to 700 THB,  100 THB a day ($3.13 a day). This includes insurance for the passengers but not for the bike.

Rob took it for a test drive first in the back ally and it wasn’t long before we were on the road with the wind in our hair. Here is our experience:

The drive back home in the evening:

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Taiss Nowrouzi

About the Author

Taiss Nowrouzi

Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!

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