How to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

As the gateway to Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is one of many choices when visiting to Thailand. You can easily travel 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 best 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.

>>> View tour: Bangkok To Chiang Mai 4 Days

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 260 to 360 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.
Chiang Mai International Airport
Chiang Mai International Airport

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 tour. Every day, there are currently 5 direct trains per day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The fastest train is Train #7 which is scheduled to complete the journey in 10 hours 25 minutes. The best overnight train is Train #9, which lasts 12 hours 35 minutes to arrive.

How to book?

From Bangkok, you can go to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to catch a train to Chiang Mai. Train tickets can either be booked in person from any train station in Thailand or online. To purchase the tickets, you will be required to present your passport, and it is advisable to have cash as a backup since card payments may not always be accepted at the station.

Note: Since 2023, there has been a significant change in the departure point for trains to Chiang Mai. Previously, travelers would board their trains at Hua Lamphong train station, conveniently located near Chinatown in Bangkok. However, with the introduction of the new Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal (formerly known as, Bang Sue Grand Station), all trains heading to Chiang Mai now depart from this modern and upgraded facility.

Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station to catch a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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 100-220 TBH, depending on the time.

Trains to Chiang Mai and vice versa

  • Nakhon Phing Express 1/2 Bangkok  Chiang Mai – Bangkok
  • Super Express 9 Bangkok – Chiang Mai
  • Super Express 7 Bang Kok – Chiang Mai
  • Express 51 Bangkok – Chiang Mai
  • Super Express 13 Bangkok – Chiang Mai
  • Express 52 Chiang Mai – Bangkok
  • Super Express 14 Chiang Mai – Bangkok
  • Rapid 109 Bangkok – Chiang Mai
  • Super Express 12 Chiang Mai – Bangkok
  • Rapid 102 Chiang Mai – Bangkok
  • Local 407/408 Nakhon Sawan – Chiang Mai – Nakhon Sawan
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train
Traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train

>>> Suggested Thailand tour by train: Classic Thailand 7 Days

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 duration of the bus journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is approximately 9 hours for overnight buses or around 11 hours for day buses, taking into account potential traffic conditions.

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, Sri Tawong Tour, Sombat Tour, Bangkok Bus Lines, Siam First Tour with each departure an hour apart.

Tickets for a VIP bus are usually about 594-924 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. 

bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus
Another option that travelers often choose is night buses

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 100-2 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 travel from Bangkok to 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 or well-designed and customized itineraries. Take it fast or take it slow, the choice is yours!

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