There are several ways to travel between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, but if you’re backpacking and on a budget then it’s probably best if you take the overnight sleeper train or an overnight bus. Not only will this mean you don’t waste any of your days travelling, but you combine the cost of transport with saving the cost of a hostel or hotel for the night, too.
There are more than a few trains that travel overnight between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, leaving between 3 and 7 in the afternoon and arriving in Bangkok early the next morning. The second class beds consist of four bunks per area, with space above the doorway to store suitcases and bags. There are plugs in each of the small sleeping areas, a trolley that passes through several times with both meals and snacks and a curtain to pull around your bed for privacy. A Second Class bottom bunk bed costs 881 THB (around £17) and 791 THB (around £15) for a top. There is a communal toilet in each coach, air conditioning and fresh pillows and linen are provided for each bed. A smooth, peaceful train journey which is over in just more than eight hours.
There are tens of flights daily which take just over an hour and cost anywhere between £25 and £90 each way with airlines like AirAsia. If you don’t want to lose hours to travelling on land then flying is absolutely the way to go, but be sure to book far in advance and get a reasonable rate for the flight. It’s also worth noting that transport costs between the cities and the airports should be taken into consideration as well as cost of checking baggage onto short haul flights.
There are both daytime and overnight buses between the two cities, both taking 9.5 hours. A First Class seat will cost 759 THB (£15) or a Second Class 569 THB (£11). First Class bus company runs two buses in the morning and then three in the late evening, whilst the Second Class buses only run overnight. Again this is a great way of saving money on a hotel and by travelling First Class you know you’ll be travelling in luxury. Tickets for both classes can be purchased online by clicking here.clicking here.