As the north's major tourist destination, Chiang Mai is quite easy to get to. The city is even being promoted as something of a hub. Whether its planes or buses, you have several travel times a day to choose from to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai's international airport is served by just about every domestic air carrier in Thailand, as well as a few international airlines based in the region. See our comprehensive Chiang Mai airport guide at Asia-Airports.com for more information about the airport and which airlines fly there.
The airport taxi service is cheap and easy to use. Just visit the counter just outside the baggage claim area. Transfers to most city hotels are just 120 Baht (3.12 USD). There is no need to book in advance. However, if you're traveling in a small group that may need a van or mini-bus, you may want to consider booking one in advance through one of the services below:
- State Railway
- The state railway operates at least two trains a day to Chiang Mai. It can be an amazingly cheap way to get around the country, if you have the time. You can go by first class almost anywhere for under 1,000 Baht. First class is only available on the overnight train from Bangkok.
- Eastern & Oriental Express
- The very definition of luxury from days gone by. Operates special trips from Bangkok to Chiang Mai as an extension of their train from Singapore.
Thailand has an extensive network of inter-city buses. Bus service is available in two classes. Second class is not air conditioned, while first class services have air conditioning, and often much more. A few of the longer routes, such as Bangkok to Chiang Mai, even have a sort of super-first class service with fully reclining seats and other amenities. Bus service is generally inexpensive, but be sure to watch the bags unloaded at intermediate stops, as theft is rather common. Buses for Chiang Mai leave from Bangkok's Mor Chit bus station in Chatuchak.