Chiang Mai is home of many appealing attractions, delicious food as well as the wonderful Yi Peng lantern festival. If you are planning a trip to this beautiful city, you may wonder which is the best way to get to there. Well…there are varied means of transportation available, however, it is necessary to take into account your budget, distance and even the weather in Chiang Mai to make the right decision.
And of course, the article below is going to help you with this.
1. How to get to Chiang Mai by bus
Traveling by bus is the least expensive way to get to Chiang Mai, but it’s also the least comfortable means of transport in Thailand. However, if you don’t want to spend a whole day on a flight, opt for a night bus then you will save your daytime to explore the city. There are many different bus routes through the country all day long. The first departure starts at 5:30 am and the last starts at 10:00 pm. Each departure lasts for about 10-12 hours, which is very long, but if you choose a night bus, you can sleep until it reaches Chiang Mai early in the morning.
There is a variety of choices of the bus route from Bangkok to other destinations in Thailand. It’s hard to find out any single province that travelers cannot get to by taking a direct bus from Bangkok. Here are some typical bus routes from other places to Chiang Mai:
#1: Buses from Bangkok to Chiang Mai:
|Departure from||Arrival destination|
|Bangkok Morchit Bus Terminal||Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal|
|Sombat Tour Vibhavadi Office||Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal|
|Bangkok Morchit Bus Terminal||New Viriya Yan Yon Tour Office (Ban Tha Ton)|
|Bangkok Sombat Tour Vibhavadi Bus Station||Chiang Mai Bus Terminal|
|Bangkok (Khao San Road)||Chiang Mai (Sunny Hostel)|
|Bangkok Sombat Tour Vibhavadi Bus Station||Chiang Mai (Wiang Ping)|
#2: Buses from Phuket to Chiang Mai
There’s only a bus company that offers a direct bus route from Phuket to Chiang Mai: the Green Bus in Thailand.
|Departure from||Arrival destination|
|Bus Terminal 2||Bus Terminal 3|
Here is the detailed route:
Phuket -> Surat Thani (Co-op) -> Chumphon -> Prachuap Khiri Khan -> Nakhon Sawan Tak -> Lampang -> Chiang Mai
#3: Buses from Doi Saket to Chiang Mai
Only Yellow Car company provides direct buses from Wat Phra That Doi Saket (Doi Saket) to Chiang Mai. If you miss a yellow bus, don’t worry because there will be other ones that arrive frequently. A ticket costs about 35 THB ($2) which is very cheap.
2. How to get to Chiang Mai by train
Particularly, the rail system in Thailand is one of the best rail systems in the world. Trains here are punctual, safe and comfortable to travel. In addition, travelers will be able to admire the scenic beauty of greenery outside during the departure. The ticket prices are quite reasonable for most of the people, ranging from $8.26 to $40 for about 700 km.
When you buy train tickets, you have to choose your booking class:
- Third-class seats are made of wood, set in pairs and face each other. Most of them have fans but still very tough for those who are sensitive passengers. Ordinary and some rapid trains provide tickets for third-class passengers.
- Second-class seats offer more cushioning. You have many choices: second-class seat, second-class sleeper with air-conditioning or non-air-conditioning. An overnight second-class sleeper with air condition is a good idea if you are traveling as a couple or on your own.
- First-class sleeper carriages offer private AC cabins and you have to share the carriages with one more person. So if you travel with a friend, make a plan and try to buy your tickets in advance or you will have to share with a stranger.
You can buy your tickets at any train station in Thailand such as State Railway of Thailand or Hua Lamphong train station. Today it’s common to book a ticket online via websites like 12go.asia or www.thairailwayticket.com or www.railway.co.th
3. How to get to Chiang Mai by plane
Flying is the most convenient and popular way to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. Traveling by air helps you to save time (a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai lasts only about 1.5 hours, ten times faster than going by bus or train). Therefore, the plane tickets are also higher, about $50 from Bangkok to Northern Thailand. There are a variety of airlines in Thailand especially Bangkok airlines that provide non-stop or 1-stop departures from different destinations in and outside of Thailand to Chiang Mai. Here are some typical airlines:
#1: Thai Airways/Thai Smile
Thai Airways is the country’s flagship carrier. It is considered as a four-star airline, which provides passengers with food or entertainment during the flights. Thai Airways and Thai Smile are members of Star Alliance – the largest airline alliance in the world.
#2: Bangkok Airways
Bangkok Airways is a small airline which offers limited flights, with a higher level of service and higher price than other competitors. One of the best things about this airline is they have their own lounges at many airports, where you can enjoy snacks, drinks or even peace before departures.
#3: Thai AirAsia
Thai AirAsia is based at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. This Malaysia-based airline is kind of a budget-friendly carrier. With AirAsia, you can freely book a domestic flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai sometimes as cheap as $20, equals the price of a train or bus ticket. The extra fares include choosing a seat, checking a bag or using a credit card online.
#4: Nok Air
If you love the cuteness and those cute things, then Nok Air is the number one choice for flying. Not only are the planes designed based on the appearance of a bird but the flight attendances also sell a lot of bird-themed items. The ticket price is not very expensive, including choices for snacks, drinks, and regular seats freely.
Other popular airlines are Thai Lion Air, Thai VietJet Air, Orient Thai.
Booking flight tickets online is also a convenient way for travelers. Even though there are often many flight deals on these above websites, we suggest you access expedia.co.th, traveloka.com or tripadvisor.com to look for a ticket with a reasonable price first. There are also some websites where you cannot directly buy a ticket but to compare all the available flights such as Google Flights (highly recommend), Skyscanner or Jetrada.
However, you must be careful of fraud websites which try to break your bank account when paying online. Fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad. So you had better not paying directly into a private individual’s bank account. Instead, it’s safer to choose to pay with credit card or debit card whenever possible.
To sum up, travelers will find it easier to buy a ticket to Chiang Mai today than before as you’re provided with many kinds of engines. But please carefully make sure everything is perfect before the time you go unless you want a bad departure.