Rót daang (literally 'red trucks') operate as shared taxis, and they roam the streets picking up passengers who are heading in the direction they are travelling. There are no fixed routes so the easiest thing to do is to ask if the driver will take you where you want to go. Journeys start from 20B for a short trip of a few blocks and 40B for a longer trip (eg from the old city to Th Nimmanhaemin).
Drivers are also happy to hire out the whole vehicle for charter trips for a higher price, including day trips out into the countryside. If the vehicle is parked by the roadside instead of moving along the street, the driver is normally looking for a charter fare. Either way, there's little hassle involved; indeed, many rót daang are family businesses, with husbands driving and wives sitting alongside dealing with the money and route planning.
Túk-túk work only on a charter basis and are more expensive than rót daang, but they offer that energising wind-through-your-hair feeling and are faster in traffic. Rates start at 60B for short trips and creep up to 100B at night, although you'll probably have to bargain hard for these rates. Some drivers can be pushy and may try to steer you towards attractions that pay commissions.
Chiang Mai still has a few săhm·lór, which offer short transfers around Talat Warorot for 20B or so.
Túk-túk are more expensive and their drivers are likely to rip you off, but they do offer a direct service and most drivers speak English. Sŏrng·tăa·ou drivers are cheaper and less inclined to rip off passengers (because many Thais use them too), but English can be a problem and routes are not always direct. Riding in a sŏrng·tăa·ou is an excellent way to meet local Thais.
Cars and pick-up trucks can be hired from rental agencies throughout the city, particularly along Th Moon Muang, but stick to companies that offer full insurance (liability) coverage and breakdown cover, and check the terms so you're clear on what is and isn't included. Most companies ask for a cash deposit of 5000B to 10,000B.
Standard rental rates for small 1.5L cars start at 1000B per day; prices include unlimited kilometres but not petrol. Well-regarded agencies include the following:
North Wheels Offers hotel pick-up and delivery, 24-hour emergency road service and comprehensive insurance.
Budget Car Rental Across from Central Airport Plaza.
When renting a motorcycle, scooter or car in Chiang Mai, check the insurance small print carefully. Some companies hire out vehicles with only the most basic compulsory insurance, which gives limited cover if you harm somebody else in an accident, but provides no medical cover for you and no cover for damage to the vehicle you are hiring or to any other vehicle you might collide with. If your vehicle is stolen, you could be fully liable. Play it smart and use a company that offers full insurance and breakdown cover, with the level of cover clearly spelt out in the contract.