Rent a Bicycle or Motorbike?

Hi guys,
moving soon from China to Chiang Mai and not sure if taking a Bicycle to move around or a motorbike, or just walk?
I have read about so many accident on the streets there plus never drove a motorbike so i guess a licence is needed?And bit worried of driving on the other side. Maybe i'd feel safer with a bicycle for short distances, center, bars etc.
Is there a place to lock the bicycles too?

My advice is to  walk until you get used to your surroundings. Bicycles can be as dangerous as motorcycles. Take a while  then maybe a 125CC  motorbike is the  best just be very careful and always expect the unexpected.

Regards Stuart Hansen

Hey, I rented a bicycle when I visited last time.
Now I am not the number one cyclist, and the bike was not totally awesome, but I did it. I got around to places that my feet alone would never have taken me. I put my head on a swivel, main thing. I had a chain lock, but I would get a more secure lock if I had a valuable bike, even here in the States.

With a better road bike and me in better shape, I think I would have done well. I'm sure there are lots of good bikes; I'd probably look for a "mountain bike" since you can't count on the roads or sidewalks being flat and level.

However, I took a motorcycle safety class here in California, and now I have a motorcycle license. When I get my international license/permit, it will have the motorcycle option on it. From what I hear, it's not advisable to ride a motorcycle or scooter without that on your license. And certainly some safety training helps, and I'm sure that the unwritten rules are all different in Thailand.

Thailand's roads are more than dangerous. Depending on where you are you could be confronted with motorbikes without lights, buffaloes crossing the roads, nobody seems to use the blinker when turning, and the list goes on and on and on.

  When you come to a roundabout, you'll have to turn left, not right. Find somebody who can give you lessons on a road without traffic, then watch how an experienced driver is driving with you as the pillion driver.

  There are no laws on the road, the bigger vehicle is usually the one that may drive first.

  Best of luck!

Hi dear,

just took a sentence out of your text :
"plus never drove a motorbike so i guess a licence is needed?And bit worried of driving on the other side."

Think about it a little bit: would you, in your home country, drive a motorbike, on your known side of a road, without adequate licence and experience? This is the best receipe for a major desaster when in Thailand. Never forget that tourist travel insurance will never ever pay a single dollar if you have an accident....

God so many westeners like you (no experience, no licence, no insurance, "on the wrong side") are killed every year, please don't be part of the long list.

Your decision, your responsibility

Well, What not buy a bicycle ?

I buy one for 2.300 baht when i move to Thailand in 2011, And it still working fine.
Sure i change tire and brake a few time over the years, But that it.

Even if you only here for short time, Then give it a way to some of the Thai you going to learn to be friends with here if / when you have to leave.
Or keep it, if you staying here for a long time.

I have live in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and now Bang Saen, And i bicycle every day.
I never fell danger on a bicycle even in Bangkok & Nonthaburi, Even on very trafik roads.

I rent motorbike in CM and again fell total safe ride it, But i have +10 years driving experience from my home country on Big Motor bikes.

I like bicycle more then motorbike, It is very easy to stop and talk to the many Thai that want to talk to a foreigner bicycle around.
I being invite so many time to sit down and share some food, Get some water and so on.

Have fun what every you choose to get.


Chiang Mai is a bike-friendly city. Just be prepared for a few potholes here and there.

Being from the u.k we drive on the same side of the road and driving in pattaya taught me a lot, very exciting and loved way get on and go just be aware of everything around you it's great.

I would recommend getting a bike for sure. It's cheap to hire and easy to get around

I have motorcycled around Phuket and Ko Samui, no problem but agree with the need to be very aware of your surroundings, Canberra when I started riding I picked up some good advice, just because you think you have the right of way never assume you'll get it.

Yes indeed this is the difference between the right to do things and the right things to do.. difference could be death

I'm noticing that at the stoplights, when the motorcycles sneak in front of the cars (because they can accelerate a lot faster than the cars) they are often joined by some bicyclist who thinks he belongs there. Then the light turns green and even the cars leave him in the dust. Know your limitations.

I think you will find it is human nature to do things simply because you can, even when it is not in your self interest, like smoking and drinking.  Two wheeled vehicles wind their way to the front of the line simply because they can.  It also seems to be codified in Thai driving etiquette as it is part of the driving test.  I remember having to balance on a narrow slab of raised concrete to simulate passing through cars and not scratching the paint or knocking off mirrors.

When I was riding a Ninja 650, I definitely had the power to leave cars far behind at the stoplight, leaving a safety cushion between me and other vehicles.  Few scooters have that ability and I now find myself threading my car through the slow scooters who so eagerly jumped the light and played chicken with the stragglers running the red light from the other direction.

Just observe and adjust while not excepting anything to change.  If you think about it, being at the front where people can see you and not dispersed amongst the cars where you might get crushed from four different sides, does make an odd kind of sense.  When riding my bicycle, I know I feel safer up at the front than I would at the back of the line sucking fumes.  There is not much traffic where I live, however.

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