From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand is full of beautiful places that any traveller should visit.
The vibrant and relaxing atmosphere of Chiang Mai makes it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
One of the most common routes of travel to Chiang Mai is from Bangkok, a route that can be taken by air, train or bus.
If you want a more scenic location and an escape from busy Bangkok, then head to Chiang Mai.
In this guide, I will discuss the several options you have to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
- How Far is Chiang Mai from Bangkok?
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Flight
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Train
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Bus
How Far is Chiang Mai from Bangkok?
Chiang Mai is over 435 miles away from Bangkok but the exact distance you travel depends on the route you take.
Bangkok is in the southern part of Thailand and is officially labeled a being part of the central Thailand region.
Chiang Mai, on the other hand, is in northern Thailand.
A direct flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will take you around 60–70 minutes.
This method of travel is well known to be the quickest and most efficient, but you must factor in the fact that this method of travel is one of the most expensive options.
If the flight is too expensive, you can take the train which will take you between 12–15 hours.
The final option is the bus that will get you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in 9–12 hours.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Flight
If you want to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the shortest amount of time then you should take a flight.
If you book far enough in advance, the cost of taking a flight can be the same as taking the train.
If you find a deal like that then you should take it since flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai instead of taking the train can save you 14 hours of your time.
Ticket prices for a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will cost you on average $55 for a return but you can get tickets for as little as $28 (according to Skyscanner).
This price can be subject to many changes however so it is best to book in advance and look hard to find a great deal.
Flights to Chiang Mai will land at Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX).
This is the only airport in Chiang Mai.
Airlines That Fly to Chiang Mai
Flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai depart from two airports – Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK).
For Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) you can fly these airlines:
There are 209 flights per week flying from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Chiang Mai so plenty to choose from!
For Don Mueang Airport (DMK) you can fly these airlines:
There are 254 flights per week flying from Don Mueang to Chiang Mai.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Train
Another popular option to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is the train.
If you take the train you will be traveling from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station to Chiang Mai Train Station.
There a large number of trains that complete this route daily so being able to find a seat will not be difficult or too expensive.
A train trip from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station to Chiang Mai Train Station should not take you any more than 15 hours and it can sometimes be as low as 12.
On the train, different class seats range from first-class to third-class.
First-class seats are the top of the line train tickets you can buy and feature a separate room with lockable doors, air conditioning, and a comfortable bed.
These tickets will cost you 1,700 Baht or $50+ per trip.
Second- class tickets are also a great option for a safe, comfortable and smooth train ride.
This seat class has reclining seats, can be considered a class sleeper which is a ticket that includes a seat built with the ability to sleep on it and is generally slightly more roomy than the third-class seating option.
Getting second-class seats with air conditioning is slightly more expensive since there is also an option for a carriage with a fan.
If you can stand the humid heat you can book a second-class fan carriage for around 800-1,000 Baht or $25–$30.
An air-conditioned ticket will cost you 850–1,050 Baht or $28-$35 to experience the extra comfort.
Third-class tickets are the cheapest of the three and often consist of wooden benches, non-allocated seating, and a stuffy and crowded cabin that can become quite uncomfortable.
The thing is you get what you pay for since each ticket is only 500 Baht or $15.
There also is an option for third-class tickets to get air conditioning for an additional cost.
How to Buy Train Tickets in Thailand
There are a few methods you can use to buy train tickets in Thailand to take you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Buy at the Train Station
The first method is simply buying your ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the train station itself.
In Thailand, you can buy tickets for the train in all of the major train stations which of course include Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station and Chiang Mai Train Station.
This is a method I would save for last-minute travel since if you book your ticket days in advance you can oftentimes get a better deal.
The second method you can use to buy tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is online.
Buying your tickets online is a great option because you can look around at many sites to find the best possible deal for your trip.
Another benefit of buying your ticket online is that you book it way in advance so you save money and you can pick the best seat in the cabin for you to have a high-quality experience.
Buy Through a Travel Agent
The final method you can use to buy your ticket is to go through one of the many travel agencies who can help you coordinate the trip.
There are many options for travel agent sites but some common ones are Royal Exclusive and 12go Asia.
When booking your train journey via agents they typically require that you pick up your tickets at the agent in person.
This is why 12go Asia is such a popular train ticket agent since they have an office in conjunction with the Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai: Bus
A trip via bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is relatively inexpensive and will take you approximately 12 hours to complete the trip.
Your bus will depart from Bangkok’s Mo Chit Bus Station and arrive at Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station.
There are two main classifications of bus travel which are regular and VIP.
Regular bus trips are broken down even more into first-class and second-class government bus services.
The main difference between these two class levels is that first-class bus services have air conditioning and washrooms onboard the buses while second-class services do not.
They differ in price by about 100 Baht or $3.30 in total.
VIP bus trips are more expensive but feature more luxuries such as reclining seats, a washroom on board, a light snack and beverages.
If you are taking a night trip you also will receive a small pillow and blanket with a VIP ticket.
If you are taking the bus you are normally limited to one small bag that can be put in an overhead compartment above your seat.
Be careful with any valuables you are bringing on the ride to minimize the chances of your items being stolen.
It is advised to keep your most expensive things on your body and not in the overhead compartment bag.
Tickets for bus trips can be purchased similarly to train tickets either at the bus terminal (Mo Chit Bus Station), online or through a travel agent.