Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting Around


By Songthaew

In lieu of a public bus service, locals get around the city on songthaews (meaning "two rows" in Thai). These are covered pick-up trucks with two long bench seats in the back plying fixed routes or to any destination, picking up passengers who are going the same way. The colour of the songthaew indicates its general route and the most common are the red songthaews, which don't follow a specific route and roam the main streets around markets, temples, bus or train stations.

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To catch a songthaew, approach a waiting driver or flag one down on the street. State to the driver your destination and if the driver is going the direction you are going he will nod in agreement and give you a price. On reaching your destination, ring the buzzer on the roof to tell the driver to stop. The driver will pull over, wait for you to get out and pay. The price agreed should be per person and a good idea to confirm this with the driver before you leave. Prices must be negotiated and expect to pay around 20 baht anywhere within the old city walls and 40-60 baht outside.

 Red songthaews in Chiang Mai by Manop

Because of Chiang Mai's somewhat irrational road design, especially inside of the old walls, the driver may be forced to take a circuitous route to get to a nearby destination but will make no difference to the fare. Fixed route songthaews congregate around Warorot Market. From here:

  • White songthaews travel to the eastern suburban city of Sankampaeng,
  • Yellow songthaews travel to Mae Rim situated north of Chiang Mai,
  • Blue songthaews travel to Sarapee and Lamphun in the south, and
  • Green songthaews travel to Mae Jo situated north-east of the city.

The songthaews above charge a flat rate of 20 baht. From Pratu Chiang Mai Market, songthaews also travel to Hang Dong (20 baht) and southwest to San Patong. 

Back of a songthaew by Love Krittaya

Guide to
Chiang Mai
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