A visit to the northern part of Thailand often starts with the journey to Chiang Mai, the second-largest city of Thailand.
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Once it’s time to move on from Chiang Mai’s laid-back vibes, and head to the capital, Bangkok, you have a variety of ways to make the 690 km (428 mile) journey.
It’s quite a long journey, you’re looking at about 9 hours minimum to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, but don’t worry, you have three comfortable options to get there; you can take a VIP Sleeper Bus - which takes 10 hours - , go by private minivan - and be there in 9 hours - , or take the train - you can choose between first and second class, and it will take 13 hours.
As the journey is long, we recommend one of the sleeper options. Travelling at night means you can sleep through the journey, saving on accommodation costs, and arrive in Bangkok bright and early, and ready to explore.
Bangkok needs no introduction. It’s the capital of Thailand, and is famous for its temples, its beautiful rooftop bars, not to mention the traveler’s hub of Khao San Road, street food, and parties. Whether you’re planning to stay a while in Bangkok, or are just passing through, we will help you book the best journey for you.
What you’ll see depends on the time you travel. We would recommend taking one of the sleeper options, which means there won’t be an awful lot to see outside the window, but you will be able to catch a beautiful sunrise early in the morning, at around the time you start to enter the city of Bangkok. There’s nothing like a beautiful, city sunrise to welcome you to Bangkok.
If you travel during the day, you’ll be treated to long, winding roads, and plenty of lush greenery as you travel from northern Thailand, all the way down south. You can watch the landscape change from the green mountains of Chiang Mai, and become more tropical as you work your way down to Bangkok.
If you’re traveling by road, expect to see small towns and daily life occurring as you travel, which will transform into bright lights and organised chaos as you approach Bangkok, as well as a bit of traffic, and hustle and bustle around the cities.
The fastest way to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is to hire a private minivan, which can pick you up and drop you off where you’re staying, and will take you about 9 hours, and can accommodate up to 9 passengers.
The cheapest option from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is to take the train, which costs $18 for a second class ticket, and takes 13 hours.
The most popular option is to take the overnight VIP Sleeper Bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, it will take about 10 hours and costs $22.
Taking the bus is the most popular way to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, as it’s cost effective, comfortable, and allows you to travel through the night, meaning you can sleep the journey away, and wake up in Bangkok, with a full day ahead of you, saving on money and maximizing your time.
The buses have a variety of amenities including a minimum of reclining chairs, a snack, A/C, and a bathroom on-board, with some even having WiFi, charging terminals (check the specific amenities when you book). There will also be rest stops to stretch your legs and refresh.
Taking a train to Bangkok from Chiang Mai is a smooth journey, which takes 13 hours. You have a choice between first and second class, with the difference being that the first class option is a sleeper with a bunk bed for you, whereas second class is a seat. We’d go for the first class option, especially if you’re planning to travel through the night, as it will be more comfortable when it comes to sleeping.
Most of the carriages will have A/C, and all have a bathroom available. It’s about a 15 minute car journey from the train station to central Bangkok, and you can either get a taxi there, or use the Grab or Uber apps.
Booking a private minivan from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is a great option if you’re traveling in a group, or with young children. The minivan can accommodate up to 9 people, and will arrange with you where to pick you up and drop you off. Breaks and rest stops can also be arranged upon request.
Taking a minivan is the most expensive option, but gives you greater privacy, flexibility, and space, and provides door-to-door service, collecting you from our accommodation in Chiang Mai, and dropping you off at your accommodation in Bangkok.
Chiang Mai to Bangkok bus operators
Chiang Mai to Bangkok train operators
Chiang Mai to Bangkok minivan operators
There are about 9 departure times, consisting of buses, and trains, plus private minivans which can be arranged.