One friend has warned me about taking Grab in Chiang Mai. She said because the region is still less established than Bangkok, and the maps are misleading at times, it can be dangerous.
I went ahead with Grab anyway.
The rides felt safe, the drivers are friendly. And the taxi prices are so cheap it’s unbelievable!
Tip 1: Take Grab with a friend, never alone
To be fair I took Grab with another girl I’m travelling with, so I’m never alone on a Grab ride. We stayed at the quieter but hipster Nimmanhaemin area. Most rides were out to Chiang Mai Old City, which takes about 15 minutes on the road.
These 15 minutes’ rides cost between 77 baht to 91 baht, which is only SG$3 to 4 per ride! Woohoo!
Tip 2: Make sure your hotel owner/caretaker sends you off
There is another ride we took that could make some people nervous. We were staying at a villa that is closer to the mountains and away from civilisation. Our villa caretakers were very sweet as they know that Grab drivers do get lost coming to the villa (which means that it is quite off the beaten path).
The ladies cleaning up the villa after us came out to wave us goodbye. I always feel safer when the driver has been recognised or acknowledged by another local whom we already know.
Tip 3: Make sure that the driver has good ratings, and that he’s the real deal!
Even after you’ve successfully booked the Grab ride, you can cancel if the driver has a low rating. Check that the car plate number is correct before you hop on! And when you do, see that the driver looks like the one in your Grab app before you shut the door. It just takes a quick 30 seconds of alertness!
Tip 4: Do not go back to your hotel too late or drunk
This is probably the most important advice. DO NOT GET INTO UNKNOWN VEHICLE DRUNK. Chiang Mai does have a few nice spots for late night beers, and of course a beer or two is always wonderful on vacation. We recommend, especially to our female solo travellers, that if drinking till drunk is part of the travel itinerary that you book an accommodation walking distance from the bars. Our awareness is our best bodyguard!
Now that you are ready for your Grab ride, go off the beaten path to The Baristro for amazing coffee, desserts, architecture design and beautiful riverside view! http://thetravelzombies.com/2019/07/01/the-baristro-chiang-mai/