Chiang Mai has grown as a city and has developed into what is known as the prime digital nomad city of the world. Chiang Mai Biking is one of the most popular ways of getting around the place. It’s a city of aspiring traditional vibrant Thailand culture, is a perfect place to cycle. The weather here is not as intense as it is in the Southern parts, although still very hot at times.
Cycling in Chiang Mai
The terrain across Chiang Mai amounts to testing the most physical peaks of a very fit rider. There are mountains and hill ways through the jungle with steep inclines. Some routes can go one for as long as you want them too. On the other hand, there are some very calm and breezy rides on flat plains near the lakes. Generally, you do your research before heading out and see what suits you best for your fitness level. You don’t want to be stuck in any danger while cycling in Chiang Mai with the climate in Thailand.
The weather here is not as intense as it is in the Southern parts, although still very hot at times. The terrain across Chiang Mai amounts to testing the most physical peaks of a very fit rider. There are mountains and hill ways through the jungle with steep inclines. Some routes can go one for as long as you want them too. On the other hand, there are some very calm and breezy rides on flat plains near the lakes.
Generally, you do your research before heading out and see what suits you best for your fitness level. You don’t want to be stuck in any danger while cycling in Chiang Mai with the climate in Thailand.
On the other hand, there are some very calm and breezy rides on flat plains near the lakes. Generally, you do your research before heading out and see what suits you best for your fitness level. You don’t want to be stuck in any danger while cycling in Chiang Mai with the climate in Thailand.
Chiang Mai Biking: going solo or booking a tour?
Choosing whether to go on a guided bike tour or to go solo. This is entirely up to you, and both can have its advantages and disadvantages. The bike tours can be arranged through tour outlets/operators, some hotels and other shops, or simply booked online. They may cost, but you would get all the equipment needed in most cases. You will also most likely meet fellow bikers who are doing the same tour so that it can be more social.
Going solo, you can just rent a bike, grab a map, GPS, and head off at your own desire. The options for biking in Chiang Mai are plentiful. If you plan to head off into the jungles and wilderness of Chiang Mai, then it would be wise to go with someone else. Conditions change rapidly and can be dangerous especially for the non-experienced rider.
Chiang Mia Mountain Biking
Chiang Mai has numerous mountain biking tours which test your stamina and endurance. These tours take you through some fabulous scenery. There are many options, but a highly recommended route is through the banks of Ping River. This enchanting location is surrounded by mountains, countryside and rice fields that ooze that beautiful nature feeling.
You can head off the beaten path at your own accord to explore the wilderness. But be sure you know the way back, getting lost isn’t a fun thing when you run out of amenities. For example, running out of water in this type of climate. As with all sports, thus cycling/biking, you should always stay hydrated.
Chiang Mai Road Bike
Cycling in the city of Chiang Mai can be quite daunting if you are not used to busy roads at times. There are literally thousands of motorbikes, bicycles and cars, tuk-tuks, and the style of driving is very different from that of the western world. For instance, always be aware that motorbikes go in and out of traffic. There has been many cases of motorcycle accidents and crashing into cyclists and cars alike.
The best thing to do is just be 100% aware when riding and always take precaution. Another wise thing to do, which is a life saver is always to wear your helmet! It can get scorching amidst the tropical climate, but making safety your top priority while riding is paramount.
Chiang Mai Biking Tours
Chiang Mai has literally hundreds of cycle routes and many that take you off on the beaten path. The routes take you through some fascinating scenery. Whatever you choose to ride, be it mountain biking or road biking, there are always places you will pass that will make you want to stop. Stopping to take in the traditional culture be it passing a temple, or shrine, or some other trademark feature of Thailand. Take your camera along with you as you will see places that will be picturesque perfect.
Another upside to cycling in Chiang Mai is apart from the bike rental costs (unless you have your own), it is free! No petrol costs, no fines from police as long as you are not silly. Whereas motorbikes, you can get fined from 500 baht ($) to 1000 baht ($) for numerous things. The number one reason for fines is people not wearing helmets. Then comes the licence issue, and international driving permit. It can also depend on the Police at checkpoints, some are plain greedy and will find any way to get money from you. Just keep this in mind. Usually, if you follow the rules and you are kind, then things will be ok.
Chiang Mai Biking Routes: the Doi Suthep Biking Route
Doi Suthep is a moderate cycle route that is around 13 kilometres. The thing wth this route is it is mostly inclined, and you will be cycling up a hill for the majority. But this means you will have a nice trip on the way back downhill.
The Doi Suthep route starts at the zoo, and you will cycle up the mountain to a beautiful temple at the end. For a moderate fit cyclist, this ride would take just over an hour usually. It is advised not to start the climb (ride) after 8 am, as the traffic and heat of the sun can be very harsh. But this is a beautiful evening ride if you decide not to cycle in the morning.
For the more fitter rider, once you head up the 13-kilometre mountain face, you can carry on a little more. Roughly about 4 kilometres further from the temple you will come across to the Phuping Palace. Another beautiful site to check out if you feel up to it while on this adventure.
Huay Tung Tao Reservoir and the Canal Road
This cycle route is a nice breeze, and fairly easy for the moderate rider. You start a the Chiang Mai University and take the canal road north. This road takes you around the stadium and past the canal until you reach a very nice lake.
The setting here is best seen when it is sunset time. It’s pretty much a flat ride with some small incline hills but nothing too drastic. It is definitely worth a ride if you are near this area of Chiang Mai.
The Samoeng Ringroad is a very hard ride. It basically loops around the national park taking you through some hard terrain and very steep inclines. For the moderate to fit cyclists, this would on average take 10-12 hours to complete. For a fit rider around 7-8 hours.
If you plan to do this route, it is probably wise to stop off halfway and split the ride into two parts. You can stay in accommodation in Samoeng for the night and do the second part of the ride the next day.
The route takes you through Doi Phu National Park, and the scenery here is amazing.
A bit of advice, take some mosquito repellant here if you plan on cycling through the night, and especially if it rains. None the less, this is a beautiful bike ride in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai’s cycle route through the River Ping next to the river bank is very nice indeed, especially on a beautiful day. You shouldn’t get too lost doing this route. It’s pretty much following the river bank north or south. Quite an easy ride for the average cyclist.
The routes mentioned above are mainly unguided cycle routes. There are many guided routes with sign posts etc. These days you can also use GPS for tracking, so you don’t get lost.
Renting A Bike (bicycle) in Chiang Mai.
There are many places in Chiang Mai that you can go to rent a bike. When renting a bike, usually you wouldn’t have to leave your passport. If this is the case, head over and find another rental shop. A deposit should suffice, and on the return of the bike, you receive the deposit back.
The bicycle’s in Chiang Mai can cost anywhere from 100 baht a day up to 300 baht a day for the more professional lightweight aluminium framed bikes.
There are also many types of bicycles you can rent. Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes, Racing Bikes, and touring bikes with baskets on the front. The choice is all yours, and it depends on what you want to use the bike for.
Most people from research usually opt for the mountain bike because it is more versatile and has more gears than a road bike.
Prices do vary and depend on the duration that you would like to rent the bike. For example, if you rent a bike for a month or more, then the price per day will be much lower. If you are to rent the bike for just one day, then the price would be considerably more. In this case, if you plan to rent a bike for more than a month, it may be a good idea to just buy a bicycle. There are bike shops a plenty around Chiang Mai.
This is the same as if you were to rent out a motorbike. There are many different types of motorbikes like sports bikes, Harley Davidson, and the average scooter. The average scooter is the most popular bike you will see in Thailand, and everyone has them. They are cheap to run, cheap to maintain, cheap to fix, and cheap to buy pretty much.
Conclusion of biking in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is simply a beautiful place to cycle around. There are easy, medium to very hard routes which will test all enthusiastic cyclists. Chiang Mai Biking is probably the best way to see the northern part of Thailand in all its glory. Cycling through the jungles, on cycle routes specifically designed for biking is great fun. There are many routes throughout the jungles and city of Chiang Mai. Strava Route Guide is a helpful guide to show you the majority of popular biking routes in Chiang Mai.
Seeing this beautiful place, passing through strawberry fields, rice fields, lakes, jungles, forests, it doesn’t get much better. Taking the harder routes up hills, up mountains will really test your endurance and fitness levels. Even for the seasoned, experienced biker/cyclist, this can be very tough.
There are waterfalls and spring water that is drinkable but do take precaution. In extreme circumstances, it can be ok to drink from the spring water running down the mountain waterfall. But of course, there is always a danger of dead animal upstream which could infiltrate the water and cause illness.
Cycling on the main routes in Chiang Mai, you will come across many coffee shops, and nice food outlets to refuel your energy levels. The restaurants are very reasonably priced, and the food in most cases is very tasty and healthy depending on what you choose. Stir fried rice and vegetables, local Thai cuisine and pad thai is the norm. You will also come across a lot of western food and the usual family marts or seven eleven shops.
The country side of Chiang Mai is a cyclist haven! One last tip is always to prepare yourself when heading out on a long bike ride. Wear the helmet, take a puncture repair kit, and water and light snacks. Sun cream and mosquito repellent is always a good idea for anywhere in Thailand. – (Especially if heading through the jungles).
For now, enjoy the experience if you intend to go biking in Chiang Mai. It is one of the best places to bike ride in Thailand.