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There are numerous options for getting around the city of Chiang Mai, which can be broken down in to two categories: public or private transportation.
The main options for public transportation are tuk tuks and Songthaews.
Tuk Tuks have many advantages as well as certain disadvantages. First off, a tuk tuk is a three wheeled, window-less hybrid between a motorcycle and a taxi. They are painted in bright colours (reds, blues and greens) making them easily identified, and are found all throughout the city.
The advantages to taking tuk tuks are their inexpensive prices and their convenience. (a ride should cost about 40฿ - 60฿ , with longer rides no more than 100฿ anywhere in the city)TukTuks parked outside shops and hotels are usually less flexible on price, if they want too much, walk away and lag down a moving one.
REMEMBER: The fares must be negotiated, so make sure to bargain and agree on a price before setting off. The main problem with riding a tuk tuk is that breathing in car fumes is unavoidable.
Songthaews are covered, long-bed trucks, outfitted with seats to carry passengers. The Red Songthaews are cheaper than tuk tuks, costing 15฿ to go anywhere in the city. But because they pick up and drop off as they go, direct transportation to a destination may not be an option, unless you engage the driver for that specific purpose and agree to the rate beforehand.
Besides red songtaews, Chiangmai also has yellow, white, green and blue songtaews witheach colour going to a different, outlying area of Chiang Mai.
Private transportation options include, the hire of a car & driver, rent a car, or motorbike. Note that driving is done on the left hand side of the road in Thailand. Motor bikes can be rented from many areas all around town (just follow the signs).
Here's how to stay strictly within the law if operating any vehicle (car or motorcycle) on Thai public roads - LINK
If you choose the convenience of hiring a guide/driver with a car, for periods from ½ a day or longer, you will find numerous guides (recommended by genuine contributors to the Trip Advisor forums) listed here - LINK
Samlors still cruise the streets of the old city, and will go your way for about the same price as tuk-tuks. They are also available for short tours of wats and places of interest. If you're not in a hurry, it's a novel way to see the inner city temples.