###Car Hire in Chiang Mai This information is correct as of July 2015
Chiang Mai is a popular tourist destination, from where you can also explore many parts of Thailand. Public transportation is available, but renting a car is definitely the most comfortable and convenient way to get around. Not only that, it can be very cost-effective, especially if you book your rental car in advance!
###Where to hire a car in Chiang Mai Car rental companies offering their services in Chiang Mai include Journey and North Wheel around Tha Phae Gate, and Avis, Sixt Rent a Car, and Thai Rent-a-Car which have car hire desks at Chiang Mai Airport. Others include Chiang Mai Alpha Car Rental, Budget, National Car Rental, Boss Car Rent, Journey Rent-a-Car, Pop Car Rental, North Wheels Rent-A-Car, Napat Tour, Lanna Focus. Usually, rental vehicles available in Chiang Mai are Toyota Vios, Honda City and Jazz, Altis, Fortuner SUV, and Yaris. It is also possible to rent minivans and even 4WDs. Rates vary depending on the duration of rental, season, and model of the car. Larger rental agencies usually charge more, but you'll be in safer hands than with small independent agencies. Always check the comprehensive insurance and the company's policies, and note down any dents, scratches, or other damages on the vehicle you're renting prior to driving it so they can't charge you for these damages.
###What to expect when hiring a car from Chiang Mai First of all, in order to drive in Chiang Mai, a foreigner is required to have a valid driver's license from their country of origin. It would be more advantageous to acquire an international driver's license before flying to Chiang Mai though, if only to be in a better legal position in case of any incident. Driving in Chiang Mai can be difficult for newbies, or anyone not used to driving in chaos. Traffic has increased in the recent years, especially during public holidays. Rush hour is usually between 8 and 9 in the morning, and 4:30 in the afternoon. The evening rush hour can last until 9 PM. Turning left is not allowed when the traffic light is red. Be very wary of other cars, motorbikes, bicycles, rickshaws, pedestrians, and even vendors and stray animals on the road.
###Getting to your destination
Pai is a small town with a nice, relaxed atmosphere for backpacking tourists. Since it is popular with foreigners, Pai now has many guesthouses and hotels, as well as Western-style restaurants and souvenir shops. Its main attractions include the Chinese Village, Pai Canyon, and the waterfalls Mae Yen, Mo Paeng, and Pam Bok. There are also cooking classes at Isara Gardens Cookery School and therapeutic baths at the Tha Pai Hot Springs.
To drive to Pai from Chiang Mai, you can either take Route 1095 directly or go through Route 121 then Route 1095.
Chiang Dao, meaning City of Stars, is a town featuring impressive 2,186-m high limestone peaks. Activities include birdwatching, lounging in the hot springs, exploring the Chiang Dao Cave, trekking Doi Luang Chiang Dao, a limestone mountain and the highest peak in the area (2,225 m), and of course, eating local dishes.
Chiang Dao is 87 km north of Chiang Mai. It is accessible via Route 3029 and Route 107.
The town of Nan is an ancient city, once a separate autonomous kingdom. Nan features several tourist attractions, such as the Nan National Museum, King of Nan's Teak House, the House of Chao Fongkham, and The Old Wall.
Nan is accessible from Chiang Mai via Route 11 and Route 101 or via Route 118.