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For any new Chiang Mai residents, I’m thinking of you Jay if you are reading, or even for visitors it is useful to get an image of the road system in your head to make getting around easier. I am just about to write a blog on a trip we did yesterday on the 106 and that has prompted me to quickly write this blog on Chiang Mai roads in general.

I always describe Chiang Mai as having a half spider’s web road layout. The centre of the web is the square of the Old Town, contained by the moat. Other almost circular roads surround this centre and then there are the webs heading out in all directions. The map below illustrates this well:

The spider's web.

The spider’s web.

The main circular roads are:

The one that surrounds the moat the “centre” of Chiang Mai. This is one of Chiang Mai’s most chaotic places to be in peak hour or evenings. There are actually two roads, one each side of the moat. The outer one traffic goes clockwise and the inner one anti-clockwise. Everyone who visits Chiang Mai will have an experience of this part of town as it is tourist central.

The next circular road out is Highway 11, also referred to as the Super Highway. On the map above the left hand side ends at Nimmanhaemin Road, which I have written about HERE and HERE. Having circled halfway around Chiang Mai it heads out of the city and is the main highway that takes you South. The Super Highway is usually a quick way to go from one side of town to the other as much of it is triple laned and there is only one set of traffic lights at the junction with the 1001.

If you are into mall shopping then you will use the 11 to access big malls like Central HERE, Living Index HERE, Big C HERE and Maya, close to Nimmanhaemin HERE. Please note that access to any retail shops seen from the super highway, except Maya, involves coming off the 11 and onto the access road that runs parallel to the highway.

The other two main ring roads out are the 3029 Rural Road, which is largely a triple carriageway although the inner lane is used for parking, and has beautiful Bougainvillea and trees in the medium strip in the middle for much of its length, and then the 121 a single lane and slower access road. Wall to wall Moo Baans on the Eastern side.

The bougainvillea dividing  the two carriageways of the 3039

The bougainvillea dividing the two carriageways of the 3029.

Underpasses save heaps of time.

Underpasses save heaps of time.

Traffic signs in Thai and English.

Traffic signs in Thai and English.

The “web” roads running from the centre outwards from left to right on the map above are:

1003 – Huay Kaew Road, which you need to remember because it takes you to the zoo, Doi Suthep and Bhubing Palace, the latter two I have written about HERE, HERE and HERE. The zoo will be covered in a blog in mid-October.

107 – also a useful one as it will take you to Mae Rim, which is full of touristy places including elephant camps, tigers HERE, Gardens HERE and “adventure” type activities. Followed to its end the 107 will deliver you into the far North of Thailand and is the road we took for some of the way to the Chinese hill village of Mae Salong HERE and HERE.

1001 – my favourite only as it is the road that runs past our Moo Baan. Realistically it is a road you will never use unless you live in the area. A utilitarian feeder road within the Chiang Mai city confines, very unattractive and only useful for going home! The 1001 does become a lovely driving road once it leaves Chiang Mai and ends up at a small town called Phrao. Blog stories on the 1001 HERE.

118 – a road I know very well as it leads to Chiang Rai nearly 200 km away a path I have taken many times. Just before it leaves Chiang Mai it passes a temple well worth seeing called Doi Saket. Nice little village at its base too. My blog on the 118 trip HERE.

Doi Saket on the right as you leave Chiang Mai on the 118.

Doi Saket on the right as you leave Chiang Mai on the 118.

The 1006 and the 1317 are roads I haven’t explored but I believe they are mainly feeder roads and doubt you will use them unless living out that way.

Following the web clockwise we hit Highway 11 again as it leaves Chiang Mai on its journey South. You will then see a windy road numbered 106 and this is one of the most interesting driving roads in the city as far as I’m concerned. I have published a post on the great day out we did yesterday travelling the 106 to a small town called Lamphun HERE.

The final road to complete the spider’s web is the 108 heading South. Many farang live out this way in an area called Hang Dong. It is also the way to the main furniture and handicraft centre I wrote about HERE and the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, which I covered HERE.

A useful online map for Chiang Mai city, good for printing out is this one HERE.

Safe riding, driving or tuk tuking and enjoy the journey.

Thanks for reading


My thanks to fo the photo.