Bangkok to Chiang Mai: 5 Ways to Safely Get There304
BY Destination Bear

Bangkok to Chiang Mai: 5 Ways to Safely Get There

Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) and Chiang Mai are two of the best and most popular destinations in Thailand, with each city offering unique attractions and cultural experiences for travelers πŸ“ If you're planning a trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, several options exist for getting there safely. Whether traveling by air, train, or bus, each transportation mode has its pros and cons πŸ“

Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) serves as the main departure point for Chiang Mai, with several transportation options available for travelers looking to make the journey πŸ“

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Whether you prefer the speed and convenience of a flight or the scenic views offered by a train or bus ride, there are options to suit all preferences and budgets πŸ“ By considering factors such as cost, time, comfort, and safety; you can choose the best transportation method to take you from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

However, with many options finding the best and most reliable way can be overwhelming. πŸ“That is where we come in. We have researched and selected only the five safest and most guaranteed modes of transportation from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) to Chiang Mai. To assess the most fitting mode of transportation for your requirements, let's break down each option individually πŸ“

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How Far is Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

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Nestled in a lush valley on the banks of the Ping River lies Chiang Mai, a city north of Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (also known as Bangkok). The distance between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is approximately 597 kilometers by air πŸ“ The estimated flight time is 1 hour and 20 minutes. The approximate distance is 700 kilometers by road, and the driving time is estimated to be about 15 hours.

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Why Visit Chiang Mai?

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Chiang Mai is often considered one of the best destinations to visit in Thailand. For a good reason πŸ“Β The city offers a unique blend of modern amenities and rich cultural heritage, making it an ideal place for travelers looking for a mix of urban and natural attractions.

Chiang Mai is a great destination to visit because of these reasons:

  • A large number of historic temples and monuments, including ancient city walls and historic Buddhist temples like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang
  • A vibrant and bustling city center with a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options
  • Surrounding natural beauty, including lush jungle, rolling hills, and scenic waterfalls
  • The nearby mountains and national parks in Chiang Mai offer various outdoor activities, including trekking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

  • A thriving creative community with many local artists, musicians, and artisans
  • A variety of wellness and spiritual activities, including yoga, meditation, and traditional massage

These attributes, along with its relatively low cost of living compared to other cities in Thailand, make Chiang Mai an appealing destination for travelers from around the world πŸ“

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What are the 5 Best Ways to Safely Get to Chiang Mai?

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Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, or Bangkok as it is commonly known, offers various hassle-free options to travel to Chiang Mai. Whether you are on a romantic honeymoon, backpacking to the beaches and national parks in Khao Sam Roi Yot, or exploring the city's landmarks, ensuring a secure and safe journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is essential πŸ“ Luckily, numerous modes of transportation are available, including buses, trains, planes, and private taxis, each with its own set of advantages. It's essential to consider your budget, schedule, and personal preferences when deciding on the best mode of transportation from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Taking into account the benefits and drawbacks of each transportation option, you can make an informed decision and pick the one that aligns with your requirements and preferences πŸ“



#1 Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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Most probably, taking a flight is the easiest and quickest way when traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. You have plenty of daily flights from Don Mueang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport πŸ“ But these airports are pretty far away from the famous backpacker hangout of Khao San Road. This can be a somewhat expensive option when adding the cost of getting to the airport and the cost of the flight itselfΒ πŸ“

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  • Don Mueang Airport
    You will first need to get from Bangkok to Don Mueang Airport, approximately 30 kilometers from the backpacker’s paradise of Khao San Road. There are several options available for transportation, such as taking a bus, hiring a taxi, or utilizing the convenience of the Grab mobile app. It is generally known as the budget airport in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) πŸ“ Therefore, budget airlines fly from here as expected. Don Mueang Airport serves as the primary departure point for major airline carriers, including Air Asia, Thai Lion Air, and Nok Air. In addition, Thai Lion Air makes as many as ten return flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai alone! πŸ“

  • Suvarnabhumi Airport
    To get to Suvarnabhumi Airport from your current Bangkok location, you must travel approximately 30 kilometers πŸ“ If you live near Khao San Road, you can easily access the airport by taking a taxi, using the rail link, or booking a ride through the Grab car app. The well-facilitated Suvarnabhumi Airport is frankly the nicer out of the two. Thai Airways and Bangkok Air fly from here to Chiang Mai daily πŸ“


  • Chiang Mai International Airport
    Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) is located in the northern region of Thailand. It serves the city of Chiang Mai πŸ“ It is the second largest airport in Thailand, offering domestic and international flights to major cities in Southeast Asia and direct flights to cities in China and Hong Kong. The airport has various facilities for travelers, including duty-free shops, restaurants, cafes, and currency exchange services.

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#2 Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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Taking the train from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) to Chiang Mai is considered one of the best and safest ways to travel between cities. The scenic journey offers breathtaking views of the Thai countryside. It allows you to experience a unique mode of transportation πŸ“; Additionally, trains in Thailand are equipped with modern safety features and are well-maintained, making them a reliable mode of transportation. However, booking your train tickets in advance is advisable, as trains can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season πŸ“

If you travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train, you can expect the journey to take approximately 12 to 14 hours, depending on the train you choose. Several classes of trains are available, including air-conditioned sleeper cabins, first-class cabins, and second-class cabins πŸ“ The train departs from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Station and arrives at Chiang Mai Railway Station. When backpacking through Southeast Asia, the overnight train fromΒ Bangkok to Chiang Mai is often considered a rite of passage. The primary options for the overnight train between the two cities are a first-class or second-class ticket πŸ“ Β Once you arrive in Chiang Mai, you will find the railway station located on Charoen Mueang Road, just across the river. Hiring a songthaew or tuk-tuk here is cheap enough to take you to your accommodation.

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#3 Bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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πŸ“Taking the bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is another popular and safe way to travel between the cities. There are two different bus options the public bus and the 'VIP' deluxe bus. Tickets will range from 500 – 800 baht depending on the type of bus and the travel agency it is booked through πŸ“

Although the public bus is the cheaper option, it will make stops in every township for passengers. It will also take longer, as the journey last 12 hours πŸ“ The so-called β€˜VIP’ buses are more spacious and comfortable. The journey is direct, with a couple of food/toilet breaks along the way. You will be provided snacks and water for the journey as well.Β 

These buses often depart from the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, and to get here from Khao San Road, it is best to use a taxi. When you arrive in Chiang Mai at the Arcade Bus Station, plenty of public songthaews will be waiting near terminal 3 πŸ“ However, the journey by bus takes approximately 10-12 hours, depending on the type of bus and route you take. It is generally comfortable and convenient, and tickets can be purchased through travel agencies or the bus terminal.Β 

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#4 Taxi from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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If you are looking to relax, love your freedom, and have some cash to burn, a private car or a taxi might be the best option to travel πŸ“ This allows you to leave your accommodation at any time of the day and arrive whenever you want.

You can also stop wherever you would like to appreciate the gorgeous scenery πŸ“ The journey between Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) and Chiang Mai by taxi generally takes about 9 hours. If traveling in a group, this might be the perfect option and a unique way of traveling between these two cities πŸ“

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#5 Self-drive from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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Self-driving from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a good option for those who prefer to have control over their itinerary and the flexibility to make stops along the way πŸ“ It's worth mentioning that driving in Thailand can be challenging, particularly for those who are not aware with the local roads and driving conditions.

So, before embarking on a self-drive journey, you should obtain an International Driving Permit and a GPS or maps for navigation πŸ“ To ensure a safe driving experience in Thailand, it's crucial to get acquainted with the traffic laws and regulations in the country. This is especially important when driving in rural areas where the driving conditions may differ from what you are used to. Driving cautiously and being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid potential hazards and ensure a smooth and safe journey πŸ“

However, if you ensure safety, self-driving is the best option for travel from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) to Chiang Mai for those who enjoy a sense of adventure and independence πŸ“

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Best Route Between Bangkok and Chiang MaiΒ 

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The route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is significant for several reasons πŸ“ Firstly, it connects two of Thailand's most important cities, with Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) being the capital and largest city in the country, and Chiang Mai is a cultural hub and center of northern Thai life. Secondly, the route passes through some of the country's most stunning landscapes and cultural landmarks, offering visitors a unique and memorable travel experience πŸ“Β 

The journey is also an excellent opportunity to see more of the country and appreciate its diverse and rich cultural heritage πŸ“ Furthermore, the route is popular among travelers due to the many attractions and opportunities for adventure that can be found along the way, such as scenic drives, ancient temples, and outdoor activities. So, the significance of the route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai lies in its ability to connect travelers with the history, culture, and natural beauty of Thailand πŸ“

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Best Stops Along Bangkok to Chiang Mai Drive

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  • Ayutthaya
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    The former capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient ruins and temples, including the Wat Phra Sri Sanphet Temple and the Wat Mahathat Temple.


  • Lopburi
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    A city known for its monkey population, Lopburi is home to several historic temples, including the Khmer-style Phra Prang Sam Yod Temple and the Wat Phra Si Mahathat Temple πŸ“


  • Sukhothai
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    Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sukhothai, is the birthplace of the Thai Kingdom πŸ“ It is famous for its well-preserved ancient ruins and temples, including the Wat Mahathat Temple and the Wat Si Chum Temple.


  • Lampang
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    A charming town that is known for its horse-drawn carriages and well-preserved traditional wooden houses, Lampang is one of the most excellent places to stop for a break and explore its historic temples, including the Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao TempleΒ πŸ“


  • Chiang Rai
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    A city in northern Thailand known for its stunning natural beauty and cultural attractions, Chiang Rai, is home to the iconic White Temple and the Black House Museum, as well as several hill tribe villages and national parks πŸ“

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These are just a few highlights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. There are many other interesting places to stop and explore along the way πŸ“

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Bangkok to Chiang Mai  5 Ways to Safely Get There

Traveling from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) to Chiang Mai is easy, thanks to the many convenient transportation optionsΒ πŸ“ Whether by plane, train, bus, taxi, or self-drive, each mode of transportation offers its unique advantages and disadvantages.

When choosing the best option for your trip, it's essential to consider your personal preferences, budget, and travel itinerary. Regardless of your transportation mode, a trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will be an unforgettable experience filled with stunning scenery, rich cultural heritage, and plenty of opportunities for adventure and discovery.

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Written by
Destination Bear

Hi! I'm Destination Bear, your guide to seamless exploration around the world. Through captivating posts, I craft dynamic travel itineraries and unveil the art of efficient sightseeing from one destination to another. Let my expertise lead you to unforgettable journeys, one place at a time.

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