You can choose various methods for reaching Chaing Mai. Chiang Mai From Bangkok is a 70 minute flight, or 11hrs by bus or 12hrs by overnight train.
If you choose reaching Chiang Mai by air, Chiang Mai International airport is less than 10minutes drive from the city center. Numerous airlines fly to Bangkok, where connecting flights can also be had to Chiang Mai.
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If you plan on reaching Chiang Mai to Bangkok by train, the train station is a10 minutes drive from the city center. There are at least six trains daily from Bangkok to Chiang Mai from 8.30am till 10.00pm. Likewise at least six trains daily from Chiang Mai to Bangkok from 6.30am till 9.00pm.
The trains are comfy and you save money for a night stay. Take a ticket for a night journey. If you are going day time to enjoy the scenic view you should take the air-conditioned express diesel rail cars (DRC) are an excellent option for daytime travel on Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Bangkok to Hua Hin or even Chumphon & Surat Thani.
Journey times vary from 12 to 15 hours depending on the number of stops. Train fares vary from as cheap as 300THB for a 3rd class upright seat up to 1500THB for a first class sleeper, with various levels in between.
As train transport is popular, it is advisable to make an advanced booking.
1st class only exists as modern air-conditioned sleeping-cars on overnight trains.
2nd class comes in seat and sleeper versions, in air-conditioned and non-air-con varieties, and is very comfortable especially on sleeper trains and the air-conditioned express rail cars. People who like to travel through trains would actually prefer a cosy & sociable 2nd class sleeper to a 1st class one.
The 3rd class is surprisingly clean and acceptable by European standards, and is an enjoyable way to travel on local trains for shorter trips. The photos below will help you decide which is best for you. The sitting and sleeper areas of all trains are non-smoking.
Berths are sold individually, so one ticket gets you one bed and solo travelers will share with another passenger of the same gender unless they pay for sole occupancy. The berths convert to a sofa for evening & morning use. If there are 3 or 4 of you, you can book two adjacent 2-berth sleepers with an inter-connecting door.
2nd class sleepers come in both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned varieties, the air-con ones are usually cleaner and more modern, but the non-a/c ones have windows which open, better for photography. The fare for an upper berth is a fraction cheaper, but the upper bunks tend to be narrower.
During the evening and morning part of the journey, seats are arranged in cosy face-to-face pairs on each side of the aisle, see the photos below. At night, the attendant makes up the sleeping berths by pulling together each pair of seats to form a lower berth, and folding an upper berth out from the wall above.
If you are going day time to enjoy the scenic view you should take the air-conditioned express diesel rail cars (DRC) are an excellent option for daytime travel on Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Bangkok to Hua Hin or even Chumphon & Surat Thani.
Pleasant and comfortable way to travel for long-distance daytime journeys, although slower than the express railcars. There are both air-conditioned and non-air-con varieties. The advantage of the non-air condition coaches is the open windows and unrestricted views.
In spite of its name, 3rd class is a perfectly good option for short trips such as Bangkok to Kanchanaburi or Ayutthaya, as it’s generally clean, not usually crowded outside the commuter peaks, unbelievably cheap, and sitting next to an open window. It’s normally non-air-con, but air-con 3rd class exists on a few long distance routes.
Buses leave Bangkok for Chiang Mai from the Mor Chit Bus Station in the Chatuchak Market area. The buses are fairly frequent, safe, reliable and comfortable. Usually they leave on time, travel quickly and some offer a VIP service, while remaining affordable to budget travelers. Buses travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and back, almost hourly and take about 11 hours.
Local buses can get crowded with locals, so you are advised to arrive a little early, however they depart quite regularly. Be sure to check your times for air-conditioned buses, which are far more comfortable in the Thai heat. Long distance buses offer excellent service, with a hostess offering soft drinks and a small snack as well as a wet towel.
Bus Timings (Tentative) – Bangkok to Chaing Mai
1st Class – 09:00, 21:00, 21:40, 23:00
2nd Class – 05:40,07:25,10:30, 12:30,14:30,19:50
Bus Timings (Tentative) – Chaing Mai to Bangkok
1st Class – 10:00, 10:35, 21:20, 22:10, 22:30
2nd Class – 20:35, 20:45, 21:15, 21:45, 23:00
Also read how to reach Pattaya to Chiang Mai here.