As the gateway to Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is one of many choices when traveling to Thailand. You can easily go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in many ways, such as plane, train, and bus. In order to start the trip smoothly, join our blog in the guide to get to Chiang Mai.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by plane
The plane is the quickest and easiest way to get to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai International Airport welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from around the world every day, but Bangkok to Chiang Mai is the most popular route. With a range of day trips from many airlines, there are Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways departing from Suvarnabhumi airport; and Nok Air, Air Asia departing from Don Muang Airport. The duration is just about one hour and a half.
From the airport, you can get into the city center by various means
- If you have lots of luggage and want to hurry back to the hotel, you can go to the taxi booth. It is on the left side of the exit gate with a cost of 250 to 350 Baht. This approach is more secure than going out to find a taxi.
- If you want to go with Songthaew or tuk-tuk, wait for these vehicles to return guests and quickly climb up; or you have to go outside because if there is no guest these vehicles can not be put in.
- Or if you go to Old City, find the shuttle bus right away which runs every 20 minutes. You can also rent a private car or limousine shuttle from the airport to the city.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train
Train is another option of transportation, and also a very interesting experience. Chiang Mai Railway Station is a popular destination in the Northern Thailand itinerary. Every day, there are nearly 10 trains and one of the longest, most popular routes is Bangkok to Chiang Mai (about 12 hours in total).
From Bangkok, you can go to Hua Lamphong Station to catch a train to Chiang Mai. Entering the station, the left-hand side is the ticket counter. To buy a ticket, you must have a passport so you cannot buy it online. You can refer to the train time, seat type and fare at www.railway.co.th. If it is not time for the train to run, luggage can be sent at the door opposite the ticket counter. If luggage size is normal, price is 50 Baht/piece/day.
Except for holidays, you can easily buy tickets right at the train station. Before you purchase a train ticket, it’s good to know the difference among the various types of trains and seats available.
Types of trains and seats
- First-class seats are air-conditioned and possibly converted to sleeping berths. The train is quiet, each bed has a very discreet curtain. Seating arrangement is more private, with up to 24 seats or single-passenger compartments.
- Second-class seats are also air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned and some can be converted to sleeping berths; each compartment has from 26 to 40 seats.
- Third-class seats are either air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned. The types of seats are determined by the types of trains as well. Below are the six types of trains available, from the fastest to slowest.
It should be noted that the Thai train uses “car” to indicate the train. For example, the 3rd train will record the car number. Similar to Vietnam, during festival seasons (like Loy Krathong), you will find it difficult to get good tickets; and the price will be much more expensive. Although located in the city, the Chiang Mai station is quite far from Old town. Therefore, you can choose for yourself one of the vehicles like taxi, songthaew, tuk-tuk to enter the center. It will take about 100-200 TBH, depending on the time.
Trains to Chiang Mai
- Nakhon Phing Express 1/2 Bangkok Chiang Mai – Bangkok
- Super Express 9 Bangkok – Chiang Mai
- Super Express 12 Chiang Mai – Bangkok
- Super Express 13/14 Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Bangkok
- Express 51/52 Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Bangkok
- Rapid 109 Bangkok – Chiang Mai
- Rapid 102 Chiang Mai – Bangkok
- Local 407/408 Nakhon Sawan – Chiang Mai – Nakhon Sawan
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus
Fast, compact and quite cheap compared to traveling by plane and train, buses to Chiang Mai are always ready to serve you. The bus station in Bangkok is located at Mo Chit, you can come here from anywhere in the city by BTS. Please note that Mo Chit is N8 station in Sukhumvit line. At the bus stop, you can find a number of bus stations with falling seats, bed and air conditioning, running from 05:30 – 22:30. Here are some bus companies for your concern: Nakhonchair Air, Sombat Tour, Thailand Green Bus, Siam First Tour with each departure an hour apart.
Tickets for a VIP bus are usually about 500-700 Baht, going up in tourist or festive season. You can buy tickets and depart on the same day or buy a few days in advance for good tickets, especially during the holidays. Each ride will take at least 7 hours to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The best option that travelers often choose is night buses to save time and cost by sleeping on the bus.
There are two bus terminals in Chiang Mai so be sure to get to the correct one for your return journey. The Arcade Bus Station, also known as New Terminal, handles buses that are traveling to and from destinations outside of Chiang Mai province.
After arriving at Chiang Mai’s bus stop, you can continue to look for local buses to reach the neighboring provinces or take a taxi, tuk-tuk, and ride to central Chiang Mai. Each trip from the bus station to the center takes about 15-20 minutes and costs about 100-200 Baht (agreement before boarding). Other locations that you can continue from Chiang Mai bus station are Pai for 3 hours, Lampang for 1.5 hours, Chiang Rai for 2.5 hours, Lampoon for 1 hour and Sukhothai for 4 hours.
Here are the three options for transportation between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Like many other things, whether you choose flights, train, or bus will come down to your personal budget and preferences. However, if you would like to stop by other attractions on the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, do not hesitate to contact us – Indochina Voyages for well-designed and customized itineraries. Take it fast or take it slow, the choice is yours!
Suggested Thailand tours
- Jungles And Tribes – Northern Thailand 7 Days
- Bangkok To Chiang Mai 4 Days
- Golden Triangle Tour 3 Days
Nam Lucas – Travel Specialist