After Bangkok, most travellers either head south to Thailand’s coastline or to the country’s northern capital Chiang Mai. Here, I’m going to talk about the latter route. And as it’s such a popular one, there are lots of ways to easily hop from one city to the other. Below you should find all the information you need on how to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, so you can decide which option is best for you.


Option 1: Catch a flight – The fastest way

This is by far the fastest way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, with the average flight time taking just 1 hour 15 minutes. There are over 50 flights leaving per day, giving you great flexibility on departure times. Plus it’s not wildly more expensive either, you can usually book a flight a few days in advance from around 1200 TBH (£28, $37) dependent on season. So if you’re short on time, or just want a quick and easy journey, then I would say flying is your best way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.


Option 2: The train – The best experience

Catching the train is another popular way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Although the journey takes much longer than flying (around 12 – 15 hours depending on which service you choose), it’s a great way to see the picturesque countryside as you speed past. There are 5 trains in total leaving daily from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station, with 3 of them being night trains. Don’t be fooled into thinking all the trains are the same standard. They’re not. The number 9 night train, leaving Bangkok at 6.10 pm is the newest route, and probably your best bet at getting an okay nights sleep. It’s electric train so is reasonably quieter, has comfy beds and private room options in first class.

This option is popular with budget travellers with a bottom bunk in 2nd class costing around 950 TBH ($29, £22). Although you could possibly get a flight for only a little bit more, the night train is ideal for travellers looking for a bit more of an experience. Plus you’re saving money on 1 night accommodation too!


Option 3: The bus – The cheapest way

This is certainly your cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The average bus ticket costing just 650TBH (£15, $20). And although the journeys are generally shorter than the train, lasting between 11 – 12 hours, it will probably be a lot less comfy. Though similar to the train, most of the buses leave Bangkok in the early evening and arrive in Chiang Mai in the early morning. So you can at least spend some of your journey sleeping. For people travelling on a shoestring budget, the bus is definitely the best option. Just don’t expect it to be the most relaxing night of your life, and perhaps invest in a decent neck cushion.


Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea of the different ways you can get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and helped you decide which one is right for you. In the end, we opted for the night train, and are glad we did. Although we didn’t get the best sleep of our lives, it was amazing to wake up to views of the mountains and northern countryside. For more information on the different routes, timetables and costs for the train or bus has everything you need.


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