While in Chiang Mai, we planned to ride the Mae Hong Son loop by motorbike. As the Mae Hong Son loop is a relatively difficult journey to make by motorbike, we wanted to find the best place to rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai to ensure that our motorcycle was well serviced and reliable.
With motorbike rentals virtually at every corner of Chiang Mai, you might think hiring a motorbike in Chiang Mai would be a easy exercise.
However, many foreigners in Chiang Mai have bought themselves a night in hospital due to renting a motorbike through a cheap 100-Baht-a-day-dodgy-dealer who doesn’t take adequate time to ensure that their vehicles are in good working order.
Due to the horror stories we read online, we were determined to hunt out the best place to rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai.
What should you look for when renting a motorbike in Chiang Mai?
On the crazy roads in Thailand, your safety should be your number one priority when choosing a motorbike rental company in Chiang Mai.
In order to find the best place to rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai, look for a rental company that offers the following:
- Motorbikes with good tread on the tyres;
- Relatively new motorbikes;
- A full helmet that covers the front & back of your head;
- A motorbike company with good insurance protection;
- A motorbike company with great reviews; and
- Helpful and trustworthy owners.
The company we rented a motorbike through in Chiang Mai offered all this and much more!
Where is the Best Place to Rent a Motorbike in Chiang Mai?
In our search for the best place to rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai, we stumbled across Cat Motors (previously known as Chiang Mai Scooter Rental) a well reviewed motorcycle rental business in Chiang Mai with very reasonable prices.
The Motorbike we Rented in Chiang Mai
Cat Motors have a range of different motorbikes available to rent.
They provided us with a relatively new Honda 125CC Model to use while riding in Chiang Mai and the Mae Hong Son loop.
The motorbike was in perfect condition with good tread on the tyres. We were also each provided with a full protective helmet (as shown in the picture above).
It is very important to rent a Motorbike that is in good working order with good tread on the tyres, working brakes and a full protective helmet for your safety while driving around Thailand.
The 125 CC engine also proved to be the ideal choice for completing the Mae Hong Son loop. It had enough power to make the many twists and turns of the route with no problems.
The company indicated that a 125CC engine is not enough power to use off road.
As there are no off road areas of the Mae Hong Son loop, we found 125 CC to be perfect for what we were after!
What we particularly liked about Cat Motors is the extra services that they provide to go above and beyond what is expected by a motorbike rental company.
In addition to the motorbike, each customer is given a first aid kit, riding mask and a raincoat.
Luckily, we did not have to make use of the first aid kit but the raincoat proved very handy!
As you would expect from picturesque green countryside, it rains quite often in northern Thailand!
Cat Motor’s Previous Reviews
It is vital to select a company with great reviews.
You want a company with great reviews to be sure that you are getting an extremely safe and reliable motorbike.
We felt very reassured that our motorbike was in top condition by the fact that Cat Motors is extremely well reviewed.
Here is one of the many facebook reviews that inspired us to enquire with them about a good, reliable motorbike to use while making the Mae Hong Son loop.
Note: The company was previously known as Chiang Mai Scooter Rental and their facebook page is still under this name.
The Insurance provided by Cat Motors
It is also important to select a Motorbike company in Chiang Mai that offers a good & comprehensive insurance policy.
While Thailand is a relatively inexpensive country, great medical care can be quite expensive.
Many motorbike rental companies in Chiang Mai do not offer a comprehensive insurance policy.
We appreciated that clients are insured for life and health insurance. A full copy of the insurance policy can be found here.
Like most Motorbike companies in Chiang Mai, Cat Motors insurance does not extend to repairing the Motorbike if you have a crash. In the event that this happens, they have dealer prices for spare parts if your own personal travel insurance does not cover you.
Tip – In the unlikely event that you are injured, make sure you get a copy of the police report of the accident as you are unable to claim for insurance without it.
Cat Motor Motorbike prices
The prices differ based on what motorbike you are going to rent.
The prices of a 125 CC motorbike (what we used for the Mae Hong Son loop and city driving in Chiang Mai) are as follows:
One day – 250-350 Baht
More 1 day – 200 – 250 Baht
Weekly – 1100- 1300 Baht
Monthly – 2800-3500 Baht
The prices offered by Cat Motors are very competitive for a reputable motorbike rental company in Chiang Mai.
The prices of motorbike rental per day in Chiang Mai range from 100 – 600 Baht a day.
However, if you hire a motorbike as cheap as 100 a day it can potentially be a fatal experience.
We enquired with a company in the city who was renting their motorbikes at 100 Baht a day. The motorbikes they were renting were old, run down bikes and they did not offer an insurance policy if you got into an accident.
Renting unreliable motorbikes was not a risk we were willing to take!
We also investigated a company that offered bikes at 600 Baht a day. While these bikes were good quality and the company did offer insurance, we did not see any reason to pay 350 Baht a day more for the same bike!
Note – All motorcycles are automatic, which makes for easy riding. We read you should hire a semi-automatic motorcycle in Chiang Mai as it’s cheaper on gas. To this we would say don’t worry with the hassle – 8 days riding the Mae Hong Son loop only cost 520 baht (15 USD) in gas!
How to Rent a Motorbike in Chiang Mai?
Cat Motors are located inside the Old City of Chiang Mai at the following address – 197/1 Ratchamanka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Here is the exact location in Google Maps:
Cat Motors (previously known as Chiang Mai Scooter Rental) offer free delivery around the old city for weekly and monthly rentals.
If you want to just rent a motorbike for less than a week, you will need to make your own way to the store. The store is located in a convenient location in the old town. If you are located near the old town it will probably cost about $2-4 USD to reach it by a Grab from the airport.
If you have not previously signed up with Grab you can use the code GRABX342VV0L to get a free ride!
To reach Cat Motors from the train or bus station costs about 60 Baht. If you are ready to jump straight into action, a bus from the airport is only 4 stops and costs 20 Baht.
The contact details of Cat Motors are as follows:
- Phone: +66 (090) 729-90-90 (touch to call)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://catmotors.net/contact/
What do I need to rent Motorbike in Chiang Mai?
In order to rent a Motorbike in Chiang Mai you will need to bring the following with you:
- A valid drivers license. Police will fine you if you drive without a license in Thailand;
- A copy of your passport (A copy can be taken a copy for you);
- A refundable deposit of 3000 Baht (or $100, or €100).
Overall, we had a totally stress free motorbike rental and would recommend the Cat Motors to any of our family and friends wishing to rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai.
In our opinion, it is definitely the best place to rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai!
How long should I rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai?
This question all depends on what you want to see!
Here are a list of attractions that you can access by motorbike from Chiang Mai:
The Mae Hong Son Motorbike loop (1 week Motorbike Rental)
This motorbike loop covers the towns of Pai, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang and can also include the Doi Inthanon National Park.
As it takes around a day to comfortably drive between the towns, you need at least a week long motorbike rental.
We recommend at least 3 nights in Pai and at least 1 night each in Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang and Doi Inthanon National Park.
Pai (4 day Motorbike Rental)
If you don’t have time to complete the entire Mae Hong Son motorbike loop, you may want to just visit the best town of the journey, Pai!
We absolutely loved this hippie town as there is so much to do – from visiting waterfalls, to canyons to hot springs, the list of things to do in Pai is endless!
Pai is located around a 3 hour drive from Chiang Mai.
To comfortably see the best of Pai, allow for at least a 4 day motorbike rental.
Doi Inthanon National Park (2 day Motorbike Rental)
The Doi Inthanon National Park can be added to the Mae Hong Son loop or completely separately from Chiang Mai as an overnight trip.
Doi Inthanon National Park is located around a 2 hour drive from Chiang Mai.
If you are looking for breathtaking waterfalls and amazing hikes, this trip is for you.
Allow for at least a 2 day motorbike rental to complete this trip.
Things to see by Motorbike closer to Chiang Mai
There is also quite a few activities closer to Chiang Mai to enjoy by motorbike. Here is a list of our favourites:
- Bua Thong Waterfalls otherwise known as ‘Sticky Waterfall’ – Located around an hour outside of Chiang Mai, you can actually walk up this waterfall as the mineral components in the falls allow your feet to stick!
- Tiger Kingdom – Located around 45 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, Tiger Kingdom allows you to get up close and personal with some giant cats.
- Mae Sa Waterfall – If you would like to see a gorgeous (non sticky) waterfall near Chiang Mai, Mae Sa waterfall is a good option. It is located around 10 minutes drive from Tiger Kingdom.
- Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep – For temple lovers, this temple is the ‘must see’ temple in Chiang Mai. It is located around a 45 minute drive from Chiang Mai.
- Huay Tung Tao Lake – A favourite local lake hangout located around 40 minutes outside Chiang Mai. Here you can sip beer and eat until your heart is content in bamboo huts on the water.
- Visit an Elephant Sanctuary – You don’t necessarily need a scooter to visit but if you love your scooter you might rather scoot there than take a shuttle with other passengers. We found (in our opinion) the best elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai which is ethical and an enjoyable experience.
We would suggest a maximum of 1-2 of these activities a day. Therefore, how long you rent a motorbike for is really up to how active you wish to be!
Note: It is also handy to have a motorbike to scoot around the old town of Chiang Mai so you may want to add an extra day or two for that!
If you have any questions about renting a motorbike in Chiang Mai we would be happy to help. Write us a comment or question below and we will reply!
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Disclaimer – This was a sponsored trip. However, it does not in any way influence our views or opinions of the experience. Our review is 100% honest and a true reflection of our experience.