How to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
Chiang Mai offers a very different assortment of sites and places to visit. Chiang Mai was established in 1296 due to its geopolitical strategic importance by the Lan Na Kingdom. Let’s see together all solutions to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Everyone who visits Thailand always goes to Bangkok which is the capital city of Thailand yet many people who want to explore Thailand while remaining within the confines of a big city decided to visit Chiang Mai the reason for this is that even though it is around 700kms away from Bangkok and is the biggest city in the region.
The city is strategically built-in proximity to the Peng River which allowed the city to control trade in the region.
The area in which Chiang Mai is located is home to Thailand greatest and biggest mountains.
The city is home to over 500 temples constructed at various time periods so it is steeped in history and places to explore.
The city offers a wide selection of great outdoor activities and is more laid back then the compact and congested Bangkok.
The place has a laid back feel to it and for all of these reasons and many more people make sure to visit both Bangkok and Chiang Mai to get a contrast of what life in Thailand is like.
How to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
The approximate distance of Chiang Mai to Bangkok is around 435miles which is round about 700km.
This although seems like a long and arduous journey the country has developed a very good transportation system which will get you to where you need to go in no time.
It is very easy and quite frankly simple to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Below we shall discuss the various ways a tourist can travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
A quick overview:
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai Flying: National flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is usually inexpensive, very easy to find and to book online with the flagship airliners like Bangkok airways or Thai airways and even with the best low costs on the territory, such as Nok Air or Thai AirAsia or Thai Lion Air. There is almost a hundred different flight and timing so you can easily find what fits perfectly for you on this route.
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train: 5 direct trains departing each day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. This is definitely the most scenic way to enjoy this route with comfort, to enjoy many pictures opportunities.
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus: Not really the best choice to enjoy this route on the road. Price-wise can be a good choice to maintain a low budget.
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai taxi: An expensive way to travel to Chiang Mai, I would resort this as the last choice, probably convenient if is shared by 2 or 3 friends.
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai Flying
So if you are in a hurry and do not want a long drive or train ride all the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and do not mind skipping the scenic route then your best bet is to buy a ticket and fly out towards the city of Chiang Mai.
Flying is quite expensive but it is the quickest way to get from one city to the next and both airports are not even that from the city centre.
Our pro tip is to first do a little digging you may not worry about cash but if you do your research you might be able to get a great affordable ticket.
The total flight time is around 70mins give or take 10 mins.
If you do your research you can get a ticket for as low as 1000 Baht which is approximately $32 on some of the low costing airlines.
These flights mostly operate from Dong Muang International Airport and they include budget airlines like Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Air Asia.
These airlines have various flights throughout the day for example
Nok Air has 11 flights per day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
while Lion Air has 8
Asia Air has about 15 flights
Another option you can have for flying from Bangkok with a cheap airline are the flights going out from Suvarnabhumi International Airport which is Thailand’s main airport.
The airlines I prefer, operating out of this airport are Vietjet and Thai Smile.
Vietjet has many daily flights
while Smile operates 5 flights a day
Next, of course, you have the more expensive Airlines that offer a more luxurious flight and cost upwards of 5000 Baht which is approximately $160.
These airlines include Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways.
Once you have decided which airport you would like to fly from and what airlines you want to fly with you will take a short trip from either Dong Muang Airport of Suvarnabhumi Airport or land in Chiang Mai International Airport.
The Chiang Mai airport is situated only 10-15mins outside the main city center
All you have to do is get your hotel or guesthouse to send a car to pick you up or if not you can go via a metered or private taxi or if you want to go really under budget then take the number 4 bus which will take you right to the city center.
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train
So if you would rather experience the long journey where you get to see the scenic beauty of Thailand then another option for you might be taking the train.
The journey is very long it can take anywhere from 11-15 hours for you to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai the journey is really worth it.
First of all, there is a lot of rush on these trains even though there are at least 6 trains running per day.
You must book a ticket in advance so you do not luck out on getting a seat last minute.
The ticket booths provide advance booking do that you can book your tickets 60 days in advance. So it is very easy to do so.
There is a special desk for foreigners were the staff speak English to help guide you to what you want.
Ticket prices vary according to the kind of seat you want. In the trains, you have 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class seats available for booking.
The seats cost anywhere from 860 Baht to 2000 Baht which comes at around $28-$65.
The trains depart from the famous Hua Lamp Hong and will drop you of 11-15 hours later depending on the number of stops the train takes on the way at the station located on the Charoen Mueang road.
One of the most popular trips to take via the train is the night trains which travel through the night and reach at Chiang Mai in the morning.
This is one of the best times to travel simply because you travel around Bangkok as you want in the day and then catch a good night’s sleep and when you wake up you will have arrived at your destination.
Another good thing to do if you like to watch the sunrise is wake up at the right time and make your way to the end of the carriage and look at the sun rising over the horizon.
It is one of the most beautiful experiences one can witness in their lifetime.
Once you arrive at Chiang Mai it’s about a 10 min ride from the train station to the city centre
Hop into a taxi or a songthaew and the shall drop you off at your location or better yet ask your guesthouse or hotel to pick you up directly from the train station and take you to where you are staying.
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus
The bus is the other option left which you can claim. Buses travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai several times a day running both day and night services for the people to use them.
Travelling on a bus might sound like a long and arduous journey but it’s not that bad.
Yes, it definitely is not the fastest option available to you if you compare it with a plane but it still is not that bad. The bus will take around 12 hours to take you to Chiang Mai.
Depending on the type of bus you take your trip can cost you anywhere from around 450 Baht to 850 Baht that is approximately $14-$28.
You should like always book your tickets in advance to do this you can by visiting the many travel agents situated on Khao San road but they usually charge tourists far more money than the tickets are worth or you could simply book the bus ticket directly through the apps available that work in the region.
The buses generally run either from Khao San road or the Mo Chit terminals.
You can either book Public buses or VIP buses.
The public buses take a lot longer to reach because they stop at every bus terminal to pick and drop passengers.
They are the cheapest out of all the options available to a traveller but keep in mind there is no air conditioner.
There is little room for your legs and the seats do not recline so you will have to sit in an upright position for a very very long time.
The other options are the VIP or first class buses.
These buses take less time to travel and are far better than public buses.
These buses include air conditioner and have seats that can actually recline.
Some of the buses even have bathrooms installed in them so you won’t have to worry about waiting until the next stop arrives so you can quickly use the little boys or girls room.
Private buses are by far the best and most reliable buses to use since they have the best comforts available and should be used by travellers if you do not mind spending a little bit more.
You should, however, keep in mind that these buses are definitely not safe when it comes to thieves.
The buses are notorious for people especially the staff that put your bags in the luggage compartments where anybody could open them up and check valuable items which then might be stolen. It is highly advised that you keep all your expensive personal belongings with you in your carry on.
Items like mobiles, passports, wallets, purses, laptops, jewellery anything that might be of value either personal or monetary should be kept with you on board at all times.
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai taxi
Another way to travel which not a lot of people opt for due to its price is the option of taking a private taxi.
A journey via a private taxi can take around 9 hours but it entirely depends on how you want the trip to go. Hiring a private taxi is great for a group of 3-8 people this is because you can split the cost to make it more cost-effective.
Also one of the greatest added bonuses of hiring a taxi is the freedom that comes with it.
You can tell your driver to stop anywhere you like on the way so that you can take photos or just visit a place maybe have some lunch or dinner.
Private taxis offer tourists the ultimate control over what they want to do and when they want to do it.
One of the best parts is you do not even have to go to a special terminal since they will come and pick you up directly from your hotel doorstep.
A 4 seater sedan will generally cost around $300 which is around 9000 Baht and a 9 seater Toyota Commuter taxi costs somewhere around $400 which is approximately 1200 Baht.
So, if you do not mind spending a lot of money to travel via the scenic route you should take a private taxi. You can even stop off at many petrol pumps and restaurants to use the bathroom or get a quick bite to eat which is great.
Some more relevant comments
Travelling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai may seem like a daunting task but as you can see it is not that difficult you have a variety of transportation options to choose from and all depend on how much you want to pay and how much time do you want to spend travelling.
If you want to take a quick trip but do not mind-blowing money then opt for the expensive airlines like Thai Airways that will take you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in around 70 mins.
If you want to take your time then the train and bus are great options depending on how much money you want to spend.
If you want to spend less then take the bus and if you do not mind spending slightly more then take the train and last but not least just go crazy and hire a private taxi.