How to Get From Chiang Mai to Bangkok
Most travellers come to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the laidback life, cultural attractions, temples, Northern Thai food and the mountainous landscape. The Northern Thai town is also the getaway to hilly destinations like Chiang Rai and Pai. If you are already in Chiang Mai, you will most likely travel back to Bangkok before you head to your next destination. When we last visited Chiang Mai, we had little time to get back to Bangkok so we opted for a short flight, but we’ve heard from fellow travellers that the train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is a great travel experience.
Chiang Mai is also popular as a great destination for digital nomads. One of our favourite travel experiences in Chiang Mai was joining a Thai cooking class with a wonderful local family. We also visited many temples and joined a glass blowing and a lacquerware workshop. You can read all about our past experiences here.
If you are visiting Chiang Mai, the most ideal time to travel would be the months between October to April when the air is lighter and cold. But because of the same reason, prices are also really high during the season. So book your accommodation in advance. Songkran or Thai New Year is also a fun time to visit when the streets fill with people enjoying and splashing each other with water. From July to September, it rains in Northern Thailand. But it doesn’t rain for the entire day.
Prices are cheaper during this time and rain-fed jungles turn into brighter shades of green during the monsoons. So if you prefer motorbike adventures in the Northern Thai region (while taking precautions on slippery roads), this is a great time to visit. You can rent an apartment slightly out of the main town and soak up the beautiful atmosphere.
Most people stay in Chiang Mai for more than one month as the town offers an ideal place for remote workers. But if you are visiting for vacation, spend at least five days in this vibrant Thai destination.
Now, if you are travelling back to Bangkok from the northern Thai town, there are several modes of transport.
How to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok
In the pre-pandemic era, both Chiang Mai and Bangkok attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. As Thailand gets ready to reopen in July 2021, we can only hope that tourism comes back to normal as soon as possible.
When we visit Thailand, we love to spend our last few days in Bangkok before we head back home, so we can do some shopping. We love shopping for clothes and dried fruits in Bangkok and often fill our travel bags with dried mangoes.
So what is the best way to travel to Bangkok from Chiang Mai?
If you are short on time, like us, we highly recommend you take a flight back to Bangkok. It’s a little expensive than taking a train or a bus, but it saves your time. Now, if you have more time, we suggest you take the train.
Train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok
The train journey takes about 11-14 hours and, oftentimes, it’s an overnight journey which helps you save accommodation costs. There are four different classes, with first-class air-conditioned sleeping berths becoming the most expensive. Second class sleepers are comfortable, and many travellers opt for this option. Seating tickets on trains are the cheapest, but the journey is quite long, so it’s better to opt for a sleeper class.
Taking the bus?
Buses are the cheapest way to get to Bangkok, but they are also known for their notorious rides. Buses aren’t the most comfortable way to travel in Thailand. Usually, buses leave in the evening from Chiang Mai and arrive the next morning in Bangkok. They make one or two stops along the way for toilet breaks and get some snacks. If you are alone, we wouldn’t recommend you taking the bus, but if you are travelling with a group of friends, you can strike a conversation and the buses won’t be too bad.
Want to travel further in Northern Thailand?
If you fell in love with Northern Thailand and want to explore further, take a motorbike and drive to Chiang Rai. The town is home to the popular Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple of Chiang Rai. Go to Pai and chill with fellow nomads. In Pai, you can visit the Pambok falls, explore the Pai canyon and do white water rafting. You can also visit Wat Phra That Mae Yen, which is famous as the White Buddha on top of the mountain. When you are in Chiang Mai, take a trip to Doi Inthanon National Park, which is about 54 km away from the town. The park offers amazing views and it would make for a memorable trip if you have extra time to spend in Chiang Mai.
Thailand is one of our favourite destinations and we cannot wait to return once things get back to normal. Will you be visiting Thailand soon?
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