Travel and Transport within Chiang Mai is cheap and quick, not only reflecting the low cost of the whole province but also because the city itself is quite compact and you will never have to travel too far between the major areas of the Mae Ping River, Tapae Gate and Night Bazaar. For travel and transport in and out of Chiang Mai there are three alternatives, bus, train or airplane.
Tuk Tuk and Songteaw
Tuk Tuks and Songteaw are the most used form of transport for tourists in Chiang Mai, the former providing transport at a varied cost as you have to haggle for the correct journey price, whilst the Songteaw are the like small buses that can be flagged down on the road and will provide transport around town for as little as 5-20 baht a journey. The Songteaw undoubtedly provides the cheapest means of transport in Chiang Mai though the tuk tuks are faster and will take you exactly where you need to go if your destination is a little off the major songteaw routes.
Motorbike and Car Rental
Chiang Mai visitors can also hire transport for the duration of your stay with car rental being available from international car rental chains. A cheaper alternative and a fun way to travel around Chiang Mai is by hiring a motorbike that can be had for as little as 150 baht a day from many shops in the Chiang Mai. Be aware that if you are not a good driver that Chiang Mai can get busy traffic at some times and it may get a little hectic for the novice motorbike rider. Helmets are required and you may be stopped by police if you do not have one which will end up costing you a few hundred baht if you get fined.
Bus and Train Travel
There are two main bus stations for Chiang Mai, one is for local bus travel within the city and the other one called the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal provides inter provincial buses. The Chiang Mai Railway Station is located close to the town and provides daily trains going south. For long distance journeys to Bangkok for example you will end up taking the sleeper trains which come in first and second class.
Chiang Mai Airport
Chiang Mai has a busy airport and receives many flights every week from Bangkok, Singapore and China as well as some other destinations. Flights to and from Bangkok are cheap provided you book early with one of the many new budget airline carriers. There are licensed taxis available at Chiang Mai airport that will transport you straight to your hotel in comfort, saving you from the clutches of the many tuk tuks and touts outside the airport departure area.