Chiang Mai is one of the destinations that follows Bangkok in any travel itinerary through Thailand, and is located about 800 km north of the capital. To get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok you can go by train, bus or plane. Both the train and the bus trip can be made overnight, which is the best option if you’re looking to save the money you would otherwise be spending in a night of accommodation in a hotel, and to make the most out of the day, instead of spending it travelling.
Below you’ll find some additional information and helpful tips regarding each of the ways to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok.
How to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok
If you lack the time or if adventurous (and more time-consuming) travel is not really your style, then the plane is unquestionably the best option for you. There are about 51 flights a day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and several airlines that operate this route such as Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways, Thai Smile, Air Asia, among others. Chiang Mai Airport is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre.
Travel time: 1h10.
Ticket: You can look for flights here: Flights Bangkok-Chiang Mai
A train ride, especially an overnight train, is one of the most interesting experiences you can have on a trip to Thailand and one of the best ways to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok.
Trains that travel overnight to Chiang Mai (and vice versa) turn into real mobile hostels in the blink of an eye. Two normal seats turn, in a matter of minutes, to a bunk bed with a pillow, sheets and a blanket. The 12 hours go by flying since you spend most of it sleeping. When you wake up you are entitled to a fantastic view of the Thai countryside. You can also order dinner or breakfast from the staff who walks up and down the carriages or, alternatively, you can always go to the bar, which is an experience in itself!
Travel time: 12 hours
Ticket: The ticket can be purchased at Hualamphong’s train station in Bangkok, but it should be done well in advance as tickets run out fairly quickly. Alternatively you can do it through the website 12go.asia, a ticket purchasing agency for all sorte of transports in Asia. I’ve already resorted to their services for this same route and I got a very efficient service. You pay a small additional fee (not significant considering the convenience of the service) and you can collect the physical tickets at their offices, right in front of the Hualamphong train station, until 8pm of the day of the trip. Very simple and efficient.
Price: A lower berth is around 821 Bahts, while an upper berth sits at 751 Bahts.
Additional notes: You should always prefer the lower berths (low beds). They are more comfortable, have more space and you won’t feel as much the cold air conditioning and constant light on the train.
Alternatively to the train, one of the options to reach Chiang Mai by land is to go by bus on a trip that takes about 11 hours. In Bangkok buses leave from Mo Chit bus station between 6am to 10pm. Once again, I recommend you travel overnight to make the most out of your time. Most of the buses that do this route show movies during the trip (they are dubbed in Thai, but hey, you can always entertain yourself with the images) and include snacks and water.
Travel time: 11 hours
Ticket: The ticket can be purchased directly at the Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok or online via the website 12go.asia.
Price: Ticket prices go from 558 to 866 Bahts.