Retire at Chiang Mai on 550 USD per month only

Walking, cycling, motorbike, tuk tuk, red taxi, taxi, bicycle with small bench seating , car/truck ownership and car rental. These are your choices.

Let's look at each individually:

Walking - good exercise, recommended for short distances, get good directions and make sure you know where you are going, and bring a bottle of water with you. Buy a large bottle for 5 baht or 13 cents US at 7-11.

Cycling- you can rent a plain ordinary bicycle but I won't get into the cost or where you should rent one out as I personally think this is dangerous especially for first time visitors to Chiang Mai.


This is the fastest, most economical, most common means of transportation with the city of Chiang Mai. A motorbike can be rented for 150 baht/day and you can drive all week for 100 baht or $2.50 U.S. in diesel fuel. Again not for the faint hearted and not recommended for the first timers to the city.

Most of the motorbikes are small 100 - 150 cc. Honda's and standard transmissions. Automatic transmission motorbikes are about 1 in 10 and large bikes are about 1 in 10. Both small and large motorbikes can be rented throughout Chiang Mai. The cost of the larger bikes with engines larger than 400 cc. will run 500 baht a day or more.


We would advise checking into whether the motorbike has insurance and the type of insurance.

If you are in an accident you will likely be at fault if it the accident was the other person's fault. Get it.

In the smaller rental outlets make sure also that every thing works especially the brakes. Best to rent your motorbike from the larger rental dealers in town.

We have one we rent from that has always given us a fair price and provided excellent service and we refer our Retire-on-550 clients there even though we do not receive any fee from the rental firm.

Tuk Tuk-or Touk Touk.

These are motorcycles converted to small taxi's.

Photo of tuk tuk- 3 wheels, seats 2-3 in back Three wheels, bench seating in the back for 3, noisy, stinky, with a canopy. A good choice if the destination is not far away but remember you will have to breathe the air, tolerate the heat and listen to the noise during the trip. But do try one out. It is fun.

Always set the price before you get in.


Red Taxi - "Songteaws"-

These are pick up trucks with a covered section in the back,  Photo's front and rear of red taxi two rows of bench seating, bars to hold on to, buttons to press when you want off. The price varies according to how far you are going. Give the driver or the passenger who may well be the wife of the driver the destination and you will get the price, then get in.

After you get to your destination exit the vehicle and pay the driver or wife the agreed upon fee which is normally 10-20 baht if it is shared use. If the taxi does not have any passengers and if you are in a hurry or if the distance is longer then you may want to negotiate the price for your private use which will run you 40-60 baht for a 5-10 min. trip.


Here we have a front a rear photo of a "red taxi" named so because it is red and it serves like a taxi. Here in Chiang Mai there are different colored vehicles like this one shown. They can be blue, yellow, black, green in color and the color signifies the area that it goes to.

In the city these vehicles are normally red in color and are numerous.

The colour designates the area it travels to. So you will see some other colours such as blue and green as well as red.

If you share it may take longer as the driver knows where each person is going and drops them off one at a time which is not necessarily in a straight line.

The price is very reasonable, more comfortable than the touk touk, quieter, safer, and you know what ... cheaper.


it is rare to see a car with a taxi sign. You would normally see them at the airport and just occasionally in the city. Always get the price first.The price is actually given to you at the airport when you tell them your destination and it is very reasonable. From the airport to your hotel always take a taxi.

Bicycle for 2 or 3-

 Bicycle with seating for 2 - slow This is a bicycle with a small bench seat in back and a canopy. It is very slow, holds up traffic, mainly used by the elderly. This was probably a popular means of getting around years back but not now. I think it is dangerous, and much too slow.

Should you try one out the driver will likely be in his 60's and working all day for a few baht so if you are going to be a generous tipper once or twice in Chiang Mai this is one of the best places to start.


Car/Truck Ownership-

Pick up truck - notice the bumper at the front You can buy a car or truck after you are sure you will be here for a long time. Many farangs here do just that. NOTE: Do not think of bringing your car with you when you move here. It will cost you a fortune in taxes and you are Much Better off buying a car or truck here in Thailand.

Most people buy pick up trucks as they cost less than cars (taxed less by the Government) and are practical.

The popular vehicle brands here are Nissan, Toyota, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and hmm. at times I see a Ford or Chev.



Photo of older Mercedes in excellent condition I thought I would add a photo of a classic Mercedes. The car is in extremely good condition in and out but just so happens when I decide to take a photo it is a bit dirty.
There are Many BMW's here, older ones mainly 525's that are restored meticulously and look like new inside and out. The labor cost is so low here that many have opted to get a luxury brand even though it is a few years old and get it looking like new. After all no snow here and the vehicles do not rust. Also from Nov. to Feb. you may not see a drop of rainfall so it is very easy to keep the vehicle clean.

Car rental-

Rent a car when you want to go out of town and only after you have spoken to someone who will provide you with what to do and what to expect.Trust me driving here is not the same as driving back home, unless you are from Manila.  

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