Renting vs. Buying a Used Motorcycle in Chiang Mai
How easy is it to get around Chiang Mai?
Getting around Chiang Mai is very easy. You can take a Songthaew, a Tuk-Tuk, or rent a bicycle. Songthaews (red “Baht Buss”) circle the Old City continuously and go up and down all the main routes in and out of the city. You can simply jump-on-jump-off as you please for around 20 THB per person per trip. A Tuk-Tuk will set you back a fair bit more and if you’ve lived here longer than a week, you will know to stay away from them if you can help it.
However, what do you do if you need to get around a bit more independently? Getting to work, weekly or monthly shopping trips to Tesco’s or if your apartment is not on a route with many public transport options?
You can rent a car, but that’s not really a budget friendly option for us, so I will skip right over that one.
That leaves renting or buying a motorcycle. Note this is NOT what we’d normally call a motorcycle! They are essentially mopeds or scooters, depending on where in the world you come from. They range in engine sizes and you can get them with manual, semi-automatic or full automatic transmission. The most common brands are Honda and Yamaha.
We rented a motorcycle for the first month or so. We now own the same Honda Click model. Depending on your negotiation skills, a long term or monthly rental will set you back around 2500 – 3000 THB. We drive a fair bit since Cynthia’s school is about 30kms round trip every day. I do a bit of driving around during the day getting to various coffee shops that I use as my “office”. Our fuel bill, so far, is between 1500 and 1800 THB per month.
Since we will be living here for a minimum of a year, we opted to buy a motorcycle. You can buy new or second hand and there are tons of options in both categories. If your budget allows, and you want peace of mind, I guess buying new would be the preferred option. Again, this was not an option for us so we went shopping for a second hand one.
Where do I buy a second hand motorcycle in Chaing Mai?
We tried researching online, but didn’t really find too much. We heard and read that there is a big second hand bike market every Saturday and Sunday, but no one seemed to know the exact location. The rumour was that you could pick up a decent motorcycle for around 10000 THB. Sounded good…maybe a bit too good, if you know what I am saying, but maybe worth a look.
Eventually another teacher at Cynthia’s school gave us directions. He had bought a motorcycle there the previous weekend. We couldn’t find it on our first attempt, but eventually found it the next weekend. It is right behind the Meechok Plaza, North East of the city.