Get around Chiang Mai

How to get from Chiang Mai airport to your room


Chiang Mai isn’t as well known or popular for guys as Bangkok and Pattaya. Those Thai cities are famous for women and nightlife. Chiang Mai also has a lot of women and nightlife. Plus it’s a lot cheaper and the weather is usually better too. Many people have already discovered how cool Chiang Mai can be. Male travelers are starting to notice too. If you’re going to Chiang Mai, you’re probably going to take an airplane. So, you are going to want to know how to get from Chiang Mai airport to your room.

The cost of living is really reasonable in Chiang Mai. That’s why so many digital nomads have chosen to make it their home for at least some of the year. If you move to Chiang Mai or even visit, your biggest expenses are going to be lodging and transportation.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

As a guy, there are really only two places you want to stay in Chiang Mai. If you want to hang around with organic vegan backpackers and digital nomads, you want to stay around Nimman Road. If you want to check out the nightlife and meet girls in Chiang Mai, you want to stay in Central Chiang Mai. That means you want to stay somewhere near the moat.

Chiang Mai was built around a square central complex long ago. A square moat was built all around it. You can see the square on any map. You want to be somewhere around there for convenience. Probably the most well known part of Chiang Mai is Tha Phae Gate. It’s actually not much to look at, but it’s right in the thick of things.

Central Chiang Mai moat map

Hotel M is located just across the street from Thai Phae Gate. It’s a decent girl friendly hotel if you find a room cheap. It used to be really inexpensive, but now the rooms seem to be getting more expensive. That might be because Chiang Mai is getting more popular, especially with Chinese people.

Hotel or Airbnb in Chiang Mai?

Nowadays it usually makes the most sense to use Airbnb to get a room in Chiang Mai. There are all kinds of brand new condos located around central Chiang Mai. They come with security, swimming pools and gyms. Many condos on Airbnb going for around $25 a night. That’s a deal, and it sure beats staying in a stinky hostel with a bunch of snoring hippies. Having a condo also increases your odds of getting laid!

Unlike Bangkok and Pattaya, there are no motor-sai taxis in Chiang Mai. That means you can’t just find a guy on a motorcycle to take you on a quick jaunt. There are some tuk tuks around like you see in Bangkok. They usually ask for high and crazy prices though. Locals avoid them completely. Taxis aren’t all that common and they don’t want to use their meters. You should download the Grab App for your phone to hail a grab taxi when you need to get somewhere. Staying somewhere convenient eliminates lot of the hassle of trying to get around.

There are condos and hotels all around Chiang Mai. As long as you book a room anywhere in Central Chiang Mai you should be okay. Central Chiang Mai is pretty easy to get around on foot. The sidewalk can be cluttered or even disappear from time to time, but it’s easier to walk around than Bangkok or Pattaya. But if you’re far away from Central Chiang Mai, walking can be difficult or even impossible.

You wouldn’t want to walk from Nimman Road to most of the nightlife hot spots. If you want to bring a girl back to room from central Chiang Mai, she’s not going to walk with you to some far off distant hotel that you booked to save a dollar either.

How to get from the airport in Chiang Mai to your room

Once you book a room, you are back to square one. No matter where your room is located, you need to know how to get there from the airport. You can’t expect anyone to know where your room is either. Taxi drivers are surprisingly aloof.

Find out where your room is before you arrive. Get the address in Thai and English. You should also see where it is located on the map. When you arrive, look at where the hotel is on Google Maps. You always want to know where you’re going.

Once you get off the airplane, you see that the airport in Chiang Mai isn’t that big. On the ground floor there are many exits. You don’t want to just wander outside. Instead, find one of the taxi booking booths. They have big signs. You can’t miss them.

Once at the taxi booth, just tell the attendant where your room is. You may have to show them the location on the map. From there you have to negotiate a price. As long as your room is in central Chiang Mai you can tell them you want to pay 180 Baht. They may demand 200, but it shouldn’t cost any more than that. At the current exchange rate of 1 US dollar to 32 Thai Baht, that means you’ll pay between $5.50 and $6.10 to travel to your room in a comfortable air conditioned taxi with curb drop off service.

When you agree to a price in advance, you know the taxi will take the shortest route. You don’t have to worry about them taking the long way. Taxis in Chiang Mai rarely turn on their meters anyway, so you don’t have many options.

GrabApp is cheaper than riding in taxis. But Grab drivers don’t want to pick people up at the airport. They are afraid of the taxi drivers, and for good reason.

Some people walk outside of the airport and keep going on foot for five or ten minutes. At the main road they hail one of the passing red songthaew trucks. Songthaew follow set routes though, and the drivers speak Thai. So this isn’t a good option.

Some people even walk all the way to their room to save money. Central Chiang Mai isn’t huge, but this still isn’t advisable. Do you want to lug heavy bags through streets you don’t even know in the heat? Since taxis cost less than ten bucks, you’re better off going with them.

If you don’t have a few bucks to spare on a taxi, you’re probably not in any condition to be traveling. It’s best to figure out a way to make some money and try again later. Most chicks arne’t into cheap charlies anyway.

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