Go by Bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok – VIP or Express?

Last updated on April 26, 2024

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Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second-largest city and the hub of Northern Thailand, offers a distinct urban experience compared to the bustling capital, Bangkok. Rich in history and culture, Chiang Mai acts as a gateway to the scenic northern countryside, attracting numerous tourists and locals. The bus journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is a favored route for its accessibility and affordability. Below, find essential details on bus types, schedules, fares, and travel tips to enhance your trip planning.

Read about:
Why Take a Bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok?
Bus Schedule From Chiang Mai to Bangkok
Bus Types and Amenities
Departure and Arrival Terminals

Overnight Bus Thailand

Why Take a Bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok?

Taking a bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok offers several advantages:

  • Most affordable option, with tickets starting at around 580 baht
  • More frequent departures compared to trains
  • Some buses are faster than trains
  • Opportunity to enjoy the scenery during the journey

While there are faster options like flying or taking a private taxi, buses provide a cost-effective and convenient way to travel between these two cities.

Bus Schedule From Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Bangkok Busline Express Seats
Bangkok Busline Express Seats with 4 people on each row.

Buses from Chiang Mai to Bangkok depart throughout the day, with morning, afternoon, and evening options available from various bus companies.

Departure TimeBus CompaniesBus TypesPrice (THB)Duration
(07:30 – 10:00)
Transport Co, Sombat Tour, Nakhonchai Air, Bangkok BuslineStandard, Express, VIP, First Class, Gold Class650 – 1,00010 – 15 hrs
Sombat TourExpress76010 hrs
(18:00 – 21:30)
Transport Co, Sombat Tour, Bangkok Busline, Nakhonchai Air, Budsarakham TourStandard, Express, VIP, First Class, Gold Class650 – 1,0009.5 – 11.5 hrs

The cheapest tickets are available with Transport Co, the Thai government-run transport company, while the most expensive are VIP buses with Sombat Tour. The fastest buses take around 9.5 hours and are operated by Bangkok Busline and Nakhonchai Air.

Bus Types and Amenities

Sombat Tour VIP 20 seat
Sombat Tour VIP 20 seat

When choosing a bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, you’ll have the option of Express or VIP buses, each with different seating arrangements and amenities.

Bus TypeSeatingAmenitiesBest For
ExpressRegular seats, 4 across (2×2)AC, toilet (some)Budget travelers
VIPWider seats, more legroom, 3 across (2×1)AC, toilet, snacks, blanket, TVAdded comfort

VIP buses offer more space and comfort, with fewer seats per row and additional amenities like snacks, blankets, and personal TVs. Express buses are more basic but provide a cost-effective option for budget travelers.

  • Transport Co VIP 31 buses have generously sized seats with leg rests, but are not as luxurious as private companies.
  • Sombat Tour VIP 31 buses are the most expensive, with TVs and food/snacks available.
  • Nakhonchai Air Gold Class buses are standard buses, while their First Class (VIP) buses have comfortable reclining seats and personal screens.
  • Bangkok Busline VIP 24 buses have fewer seats, more space, and onboard toilets.

Departure and Arrival Terminals

Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 2 (Arcade Bus Terminal)
Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 2 (Arcade Bus Terminal) © Amnat Phuthamrong / Shutterstock.com

Buses from Chiang Mai to Bangkok depart from several terminals in Chiang Mai and arrive at different stations in Bangkok, depending on the bus company.

Bus CompanyDeparture Terminal (Chiang Mai)Arrival Terminal (Bangkok)
Transport CoChiang Mai Arcade 2Mo Chit Bus Terminal
Sombat TourChiang Mai Bus Terminal 3Sombat Tour Chatuchak
Nakhonchai AirChiang Mai Nakhonchaiair StationNakhonchaiair Station
Bangkok BuslineChiang Mai Bus Terminal 3Mo Chit Bus Terminal
Budsarakham TourChiang Mai Arcade 2Mo Chit Bus Terminal

Departure Bus Terminals in Chiang Mai

Arcade Bus Terminal 2 and Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3 are located on the edges of the city, close to Highway 11. Terminal 3 offers modern facilities, food and drink options, air-conditioned waiting room, shops, and massage services. Chiang Mai Nakhonchaiair Station is located next to Arcade Bus Terminal 2.

To reach the Arcade Bus Terminal 2 and Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3, you can take a songthaew (red shared taxi) or a tuk-tuk from the city center. The journey takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic.

Arrival Bus Terminals in Bangkok

Mo Chit Bus Terminal
Mo Chit Bus Terminal © paisan sangjunrung / Shutterstock.com

Mo Chit Bus Terminal (Northern Bus Terminal) is the most popular terminal for buses arriving from Chiang Mai. It is located in northern Bangkok, close to the new Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. Sombat Tour Chatuchak and NakornChai Air Bus Station are located in the Chatuchak area, a few kilometers from Mo Chit Bus Terminal.

From Mo Chit Bus Terminal, you can take the MRT (metro) or BTS (skytrain) to reach central Bangkok. The nearest MRT station is Kamphaeng Phet, and the closest BTS station is Mo Chit. Taxis and motorcycle taxis are also readily available at the terminal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the bus ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok?

The bus journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok takes between 9.5 to 12 hours, depending on the bus company and type of service. The shortest journey time is around 9.5 hours with Bangkok Busline and Nakhonchai Air, while some buses can take up to 12 hours.

How far is Chiang Mai from Bangkok?

The distance from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is approximately 700 kilometers (435 miles) by road. Buses cover this distance in 9.5 to 12 hours, while trains can take up to 14 hours. Flights are much faster, taking just over an hour.

By considering these factors and tips, you’ll be well-prepared for a comfortable and enjoyable bus journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. Happy travels!

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Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun
About Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun

My name is Kamolchat - a writer with a passion for travel who loves sharing stories of new destinations and unforgettable adventures. I was born and raised in Thailand and I have always been captivated by the beauty and diversity of my homeland which inspired me to venture out and discover the world.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of contributing to various travel publications and websites, such as Lonely Planet and Viator. I strive to provide an authentic representation of the places I visit, get into the heart of local cultures and finding authentic experiences that nourishes the soul.

As I continue to journey across the globe, I want you to join me in experiencing the wonders of our world through my stories. Together, we can learn, grow, and be inspired by the incredible people, places, and cultures that make our planet such an extraordinary place to explore.