Chiang Mai Travel Guide -> Getting There & Around


Chiang Mai has an international airport that is serviced by Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways with several flights per day. The airport is about 20 minutes by car out of town. In the arrival hall is a taxi counter with fixed prices where you can book transportation to your hotel. 

Of course you can also travel by train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai - this is very safe, but slow - 8 hours is the minimum time. On the other hand, you will see a lot of Thailand during this long train ride. The trains, especially in the second and first class, are quite comfortable and this can be a fun way of traveling if you have enough time. It is recommended that you reserver your ticket at least one or two days before your trip. The trains leave from Hualompong station in Bangkok.

What is not recommendable are the overland buses to Chiang Mai - the drivers are often very overworked and tired and accidents, even severe ones, are not uncommon. (This goes especially for the night buses). 

The inner city of Chiang Mai is compact enough to be explored by foot, but there are also a lot of tuk-tuks and songthaews (a kind of collect taxi, if you have the choice, a tuk-tuk is better) that can take you around in the old city and also to the outer temples. The fare should be negotiated with the driver before you start!

There are overland buses that can take you to places like Lamphun, and of course you can rent a car, either self driven (only recommendable if you are familiar with driving on the left side of road) or with a chauffeur.

A lot of people rent motorbikes in Chiang Mai and this can be a good idea - but ONLY if you are an experienced driver. It is important to drive very defensively; traffic and road conditions are less than ideal. If you don't, it can be very dangerous - daily there are accidents in Chiang Mai, and the sight of foreigners limping or with bandages around one or more body parts is quite common!

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Last Updated 03.01.2007