Renting A Scooter in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Traveling is all about exploring and seeing new and exciting places. The problem most people have when visiting a city is that, getting around is usually limited to walking, public transport or organised tours. Unfortunately, this can only get you so far.

To really see a city you can’t beat renting a scooter or motorbike. The freedom to explore places off the beaten path is priceless.

While renting a scooter in Chiang Mai is relatively cheap and painless, it is fraught with dangers that you need to be aware of; dodgy dealers, faulty bikes, inadequate insurance and corrupt police are common. Thankfully I managed to avoid almost all of these dangers and ended up having many amazing travel experiences with my rented scooter.

Where to Rent a Scooter in Chiang Mai

There are dozens of places throughout Chiang Mai where you can rent a scooter. The highest concentration of these can be found within the old city and around Tha Phae Gate. With so many people offering to rent scooters, who do you choose?

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If you are looking for a recommendation then I highly recommend Mango Bike Rental. The most important thing when looking to rent a bike is quality. Mango’s bikes are well looked after and always in good condition.

What to look out for

  • While you might be tempted to go for best price, it is far more important to chose a place that is trusted and reputable. After all, a scooter can be dangerous and expensive is something were to go wrong.
  • A reputable dealer will have a large selection of scooters/bikes. They will take the time to answer any questions you may have and explain the differences in the types of bikes.
  • The bikes will be in good condition and have proper tread on the tyres.
  • I would also check online to see if they have a website and any reviews or feedback about their service.

Tip: If there is any damage on the bike make sure you ask for them to write it down on the contract. What can happen is that when you return the bike they ask you to pay for damage even though it was done prior to you renting it out.


What to check before renting your scooter


Body Damage

Check the whole bike for any signs of damage, scratches, dents, marks write them down and take pictures if possible.


Make sure that the tires are in good condition and have proper thread. The roads can be very dangerous in Chiang Mai, especially in the wet season.

Test Drive

Take the bike for a quick test drive. Check to see that all indicators and lights work and that the brakes function properly. If you don’t feel comfortable or something doesn’t feel right, ask for a different bike.


Get a helmet that fits properly. Make sure there are no cracks or any major signs of damage. Ask for a full helmet rather than a skull cap as these only provide minimal protection.


Check to see if the tank is full. Generally most places will rent the bike out with a full tank and expect it to be the same upon return. Know what type of fuel to use and how to open the tank.

Insurance policy

Pay for insurance! I can’t stress this enough. Then understand exactly what the insurance covers. Does it cover 3rd party damage and damage to your scooter? Does is cover theft? Make sure you ask all these questions before taking the bike out on the road.

In case of emergency

Find out what you need to do in the event of a breakdown, accident or theft. Do you need to inform the rental company straight away? Do the police need to be informed? Make sure you are given an emergency contact and keep it on you at all times.


Scooter Rental Company Recommendation

As mentioned before we recommend Mango Bike Rental. These guys have been around since 2012 and have a great reputation in Chiang Mai.


The Cost of Renting a Scooter

Renting a 125cc scooter per day with insurance will cost between 200-250 Baht (8-12 USD). If you take it for a longer period you can negotiate a price, for example I rented my 125cc scooter for 2500 (70 USD) for one month. Prices vary slightly from place to place but generally I found them all to be pretty similar.

What you Need to Rent a Scooter

To rent a scooter you will need:

  • Current drivers licence
  • Cash or credit card to pay
  • Passport (or cash for a deposit)
  • Address and contact of hotel or accommodation

If you can provide all of the above then you are good to go. They will write you out a contract that you have to sign and that’s pretty much it. Make sure you read the contract!

Do I Need an International Drivers Licence?

To hire a bike or scooter you do not need an international drivers licence. However, if you are unlucky and get pulled over by the police like we were, they will fine you or ask for a bribe if you don’t have one. Look out for frequent police road blocks targeting tourists, you have been warned!

Although there are a number of precautions you need to take when renting a scooter, it is totally worth it. The freedom it gives you to explore a city makes the traveling experience so much more fulfilling. Just make sure you choose a reputable dealer, avoid the police and drive safely on the roads.

Have you rented a scooter in Chiang Mai or anywhere else? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments.


Written by

radhika fulltimenomad

Johnny H.

As the co-founder of Fulltime Nomad, Johnny really believes the world is too big to stay in once place. In 2013 he broke away from his non-location independent job to chase his passion of travel and living abroad. Now he helps others do the same.




  1. Ashlee


    I will be living in Chiang mai for a month to study – do you have any suggestions on where I can find cheap short term rentals?

    Also thanks for the helpful article on motorcycle rental!

  2. Charles

    Hahaha, that’s my girlfriends Hello Kitty bike at the top of the page – we laughed when I saw this when looking for a cheap bike!! Many happy days sat in that sidecar!

    • Radhika

      Haha, wow that’s awesome Charles! Such a cute bike 😀

  3. Vicrom

    you are kidding… 4500 per month for old carburetor Mio? real price on 2015 not more 2800 in good scooter rental in Chiang Mai

    • Radhika

      Oops! That was a mistake. We actually rented it for 2500 per month, even in late 2016, plus a deposit. Updated the post to reflect this.

  4. Thomas

    So… I have approached two places so far in Chiang Mai, and neither will rent me a scooter because I have no experience. But coming from America, where no one drives scooters, it’s highly unlikely I would have any experience. It’s sort of a catch-22. The only way out of it is to lie or not volunteer the information. Just a head’s up, because lying makes me super anxious and I am in the midst of this dilemma right now.

    • Radhika

      Hi Thomas,

      It’s probably not a good idea to try to rent and drive a scooter in a busy city like Chiang Mai, if you have no previous experience driving one. It’s unsafe for you and for other people on the road.

  5. Czygine

    What can I expect to pay for the repair of a “scrape” on a plastic part of a scooter that happened while I was trying to park?

  6. Czygine

    Sorry, I forgot to mention in my last post that we are in Chang Mai, Thailand:)