Although driving a sporty convertible through the winding scenic roads of Chiang Rai sounds ideal, an economy or compact car is usually the best type of rental in Thailand.
Finding Cheap Car Rentals at Chiang Rai International Airport
A number of reputable international car rental companies are available to choose from at Chiang Rai International at Arrivals including Budget Car Rental, Avis and Hertz. Hours of operation typically vary, but locations are usually open at least 12 hours daily. Thai Rent A Car is the largest and most well-known domestic car rental option at Chiang Rai Airport, with office hours from 6:00 a.m. until 11 p.m. (UTC+7) every day.
Fuel prices are rather expensive and a smaller or eco-friendly vehicle will consume less gas. Most of the car rentals are automatic, though some offer models with a manual option. Some of the cheapest car rental rates in Chiang Rai are found at the airport but easily compare prices of various companies on Skyscanner.
Gas Stations and Traffic Conditions Near Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai International Airport is right off of Phaholyothin Road, the main avenue that connects the airport to the city center. This is also the road that has the only gas stations near the airport, so it's best to plan accordingly to fill the gas tank before returning the rental car at Chiang Rai International. The airport is also about 10 kilometers (approximately six miles) from the downtown area and minutes from the Kok River bank, which also has a one or two places available for gasoline refills.
Rush hour is typically in the morning and afternoon, but traffic is not nearly comparable to cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai. However, drive with caution during heavy rains and especially around motorcyclists, who tend to weave in and out of traffic. Be aware that Thai drivers typically drive on the left side of the road and police checkpoints are common in the northern part of the country near the border.
Driving Around Chiang Rai
Travelers can see most of what Chiang Rai can offer in a day or so, with attractions like Wat Rong Khun (the "White Temple"), a mere 30-minute drive outside of the city of Chiang Rai. Opt to visit the expansive Khun Chae National Park, a mere two-hour drive that takes visitors to the "virgin jungles" of the Chiang Rai province. The park boasts camping grounds for those who'd like to spend a day or two in the tropical outdoors.
One of the most popular and scenic routes that tourists like is the drive from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, the mountainous capital city of the Chiang Mai province. The drive itself is rather pleasant via a four-lane highway and lasts between 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on the route taken. Take caution and maintain distance between other vehicles as the roadways tend to become somewhat hilly as the drive approaches the outskirts of Chiang Mai and can be slippery after periods of heavy rains.
Search and filter preferences in Skyscanner for cheap rental car options in Chiang Rai and use these savings to take a few short day trips outside of this culturally rich city.