Traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: A Guide for Every Traveler

Thailand’s journey often begins in Bangkok, a vibrant capital where ancient temples mingle with modern marvels. Yet, nestled in the north, Chiang Mai beckons with its serene charm, majestic mountains, and a slower pace. Choosing between these two gems can be tough, but fret no more!

This guide unlocks the different ways to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (and back), catering to every preference. Whether you are planning to travel by plane, train, bus, or private taxi, we’ve got you covered.

How do you get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

With its popularity among travelers, journeying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is an easy path. This translates to smooth and often budget-friendly options for hopping between these two Thai hotspots.

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Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

If you want a quick journey, taking a flight is the easiest way. It only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Airlines like Air Asia, Nok Air, and Thai Lion Air offer direct flights, with ticket prices starting at around $25. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Bangkok Airways provides complimentary checked luggage up to 20kg. Book a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

  • Duration: 1-2 hours (fastest option)
  • Cost: Starts from ฿800 ( ~$23 USD) excluding baggage fees
  • Convenience: Quick, comfortable, readily available flights
  • Best for: Time-pressed travelers, luxury seekers
  • Booking: Numerous airlines like Thai Airways, AirAsia, and Nok Air operate frequent flights between Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) and Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). Book in advance, especially during peak season, to snag the best deals.
  • Airport transfers: Metered taxis and ride-hailing apps like Grab are available at both airports. Public transport options like buses and trains are also present but take longer.

Taking the Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

For a scenic experience, consider the train. It’s a longer ride (about 11+ hours), but you’ll see breathtaking views along the way. Second-class tickets come with air-conditioning and sleeper berths, offering comfort similar to flights, and the cost is around $30. Book a train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

  • Duration: 11-15 hours
  • Cost: ฿210-1,600 ( ~$6-46 USD) depending on seat class and amenities
  • Experience: Scenic countryside views, comfortable seating, unique atmosphere
  • Best for: Budget-conscious travelers, train enthusiasts, those seeking a relaxing journey
  • Booking: Trains depart from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Chiang Mai Railway Station. Choose from various seat classes, including fan-cooled, air-conditioned, and sleeper options. Book online via the State Railway of Thailand website or at the station.
  • Onboard experience: Trains offer a glimpse into Thai life, with vendors selling snacks and drinks. Opt for sleeper carriages for a comfortable overnight journey.

Traveling by Bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

If you’re on a budget, direct buses are a great option. They take about 12 hours and start at just $18. Companies like Bangkok Bus Line and Sombat Tour operate this route. VIP buses even provide extras like complimentary snacks and blankets. Book a bus ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

  • Duration: 9-11 hours
  • Cost: ฿490-1,100 ( ~$14-32 USD) depending on bus company and amenities
  • Convenience: Frequent departures, various budget options, comfortable seating
  • Best for: Budget travelers, those seeking a direct journey
  • Booking: Several bus companies operate from Bangkok’s Mochit Bus Terminal and Ekkamai Bus Terminal to Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station and Chang Phuak Terminal. Choose from standard AC buses to VIP coaches with reclining seats and onboard entertainment. Book online or at the terminals.
  • Bus amenities: Most buses offer air-conditioning, reclining seats, and onboard toilets. Some VIP buses have TVs and meal services.

Taking a Private Car or Taxi from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

For a personalized journey, private taxis are available. They’re more expensive (around $275), but you’ll enjoy a scenic 9-hour ride. Plus, you can make pit stops along the way. Book a taxi from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

  • Duration: 8-10 hours
  • Cost: ฿2,250+ ( ~$65 USD+) depending on vehicle type and distance
  • Convenience: Door-to-door service, flexible itinerary, comfortable ride
  • Best for: Groups, families, those seeking privacy and customization
  • Hiring: Car rental companies and taxi services are available at airports and around Bangkok. Negotiate fares beforehand and ensure the driver is licensed.
  • Benefits: Enjoy stopovers at interesting attractions along the way, travel at your own pace, and avoid public transportation hassles.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider the time of day you’re traveling. Overnight journeys can save time and accommodation costs.
  • Factor in luggage fees when comparing prices, especially for flights.
  • Book tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons and holidays.
  • Carry essential items like water, snacks, and entertainment for longer journeys.
  • Research visa requirements and currency exchange rates before your trip.

Flight, Bus, Train Schedule

Flight Bangkok - Chiang Mai ฿ 1,660–6,290 1h 15m – 6h
  •   Economy 06:10, 06:15, 06:30, 07:00, 08:00, 10:00, 10:35, 12:25, 12:40, 14:25, 15:05, 16:05, 16:30, 17:35, 19:05, 19:30, 20:35, 20:40, 21:30, 22:35
  •   Business 06:30
Bus Bangkok - Chiang Mai ฿ 651–1,016 8h 55m – 17h 21m
  •   Standard 07:25, 18:10, 19:50
  •   VIP 16:00, 18:30, 20:45
  •   Express 06:00, 07:00, 12:00, 14:00, 18:30, 18:50, 19:00, 20:00, 20:35
  •   Express 44 08:00, 09:00, 13:00, 18:00, 18:30, 19:35, 20:10
  •   VIP 33 07:00
  •   VIP 24 20:00
  •   First Class 10:00, 10:15, 20:01, 20:16, 21:15, 21:30, 21:45
  •   Gold Class 18:30, 18:45, 20:31, 20:46, 22:20, 22:35
Taxi Bangkok - Chiang Mai ฿ 9,614–16,091 8h – 10h
  •   Luxury VIP Van 9pax
  •   Comfort Car 3pax
  •   Luxury SUV 4pax
  •   Comfort 3pax
  •   Van 9pax
  •   SUV 4pax
  •   VIP Van 9pax
  •   Economy 3pax
  •   Van 10pax
  •   VIP Van 8pax
Train Bangkok - Chiang Mai ฿ 278–1,138 10h 10m – 13h 50m
  •   2nd Class Sleeper AC 14:32, 18:40, 18:57, 20:22, 22:30, 22:47
  •   2nd Class AC seats only 09:05, 09:20
  •   2nd Class Fan seats only 14:15, 14:32, 20:05, 20:22, 22:30, 22:47
  •   Class 3 Fan 14:15, 14:32, 20:05, 20:22, 22:30, 22:47
Flight Don Mueang Airport - Chiang Mai ฿ 1,377–2,185 1h 10m – 1h 20m
  •   Economy 05:10, 06:00, 06:50, 07:50, 08:00, 08:30, 09:20, 09:30, 10:20, 11:50, 12:00, 12:45, 13:25, 14:40, 15:20, 15:45, 18:30, 18:45, 19:30, 19:50, 21:50
Taxi Don Mueang Airport - Chiang Mai ฿ 9,900–14,960 8h – 9h 25m
  •   Comfort
  •   Van 9pax
  •   SUV 4pax
  •   VIP Van 8pax
  •   VIP Van 9pax
Taxi Suvarnabhumi Airport - Chiang Mai ฿ 8,800–24,024 9h – 10h
  •   Comfort
  •   Van 9pax
  •   SUV 4pax
  •   VIP Van 9pax
  •   Economy
  •   Van 10pax
  •   VIP Van 8pax

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With its diverse transportation options, getting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is an exciting part of your Thai adventure. Choose the mode that best suits your budget, timeframe, and travel style, and get ready to experience the magic of Northern Thailand!

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