Chiang Mai, Thailand Travel Part 2: Getting to Chiang Mai
There’s no direct flight from the Philippines to Chiang Mai. So from Manila I still have to pass by Bangkok International Airport. Bangkok International Airport is one of the busiest airport I’ve ever seen.With the thousands of people at the airport you cannot see anymore signages . I was a bit scared because I only have 1 hour before my flight for Chiang Mai and with the thousands of people lining I was pretty sure I cannot make it. I was happy because Bangkok is really tourist friendly and anywhere you can see help desk for tourist.Unfortunately their facility of the English language is quite limited so communication is quite a challenge.
I started to panic but then I realized that with the time zone in Bangkok , they are 1 hour delayed compared to the time in the Philippines. Whew, what a great relief. The reason why I panicked so much is the fact that I don’t have a connecting flight.I will be getting a different Airlines going to Chiang Mai. Actually, whenever possible a connecting flight on the same airlines is really an advantage, because the airlines will take care of you no matter what. And bring 2 wathces with 2 different time zones.
After having my passport being stamped,I have to literally run to the next gate because I only have few minutes left and Bangkok Airport is really Big.Finally,I got more relaxed the moment I got into the place going to Chiang Mai. I only got the time to enjoy Bangkok Airport on my way back to the Philippines.
Actually there are many ways to go to Chiang Mai when you are from Bangkok.
From Bangkok, drive to Nakhon Sawan using Highway 32, then Highway 1 through Kamphaeng Phet and Tak to Lampang. From there, take Highway 11 to Chiang Mai. Total distance: 695km.
Many bus companies run the route from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Total journey time is about 10 hours. Both air-conditioned coaches and non-air-conditioned buses depart from the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2). The local Chiang Mai people recommends Nakornchai Air (www.nca.co.th). Their website is only available in Thai.
You should arrive in Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station. To get to your hotel or guesthouse, you can either follow the locals and share a red songtaew (pick up) that will be around 20 baht per person. Or you can take a tuk-tuk for anything between 60-80 baht.
The State Railways of Thailand operates daily services from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station. Overnight sleepers are available too and they are quite popular. Trains leave for Chiang Mai 6 times a day between 08.30 to 22.00. Air-conditioned seats/sleepers range from 500 to 1300 baht. Check train schedules and prices with: www.railway.co.th
Train journey time: 12-14 hours.
On arrival, from Chiang Mai train station on Charoen Muang Road, again you can take either a tuk-tuk or songtaew to get to your hotel. From here into town will take approximately 10 minutes.
There is a good choice of many domestic and international flights to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). These airlines include:
Air Asia – from/to Bangkok; also Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
Air Mandalay – from/to Myanmar
Bangkok Airways – to Ko Samui (flights from Ko Samui are indirect) and from/to Sukhothai; also Jinghong (China)
China Airlines – from/to Taipei, Taiwan
Lao Aviation – from/to Laos
Nok Air – from/to Bangkok, Mae Hong Son & Udon Thani
One-Two-Go (part of Orient Thai Airlines ) from/to Bangkok
SGA – from/to Chiang Rai (once daily) and Pai (once daily)
Silk Air – from/to Singapore
Thai Airways – from/to Bangkok and Mae Hong Son; also Kunming (China); in addition, flights from and/or to Phuket & possibly Nan may also be available seasonally.
You can do your currency exchange at the Thai bank counters in the airport. The rates are quite reasonable. If you exchange in town, you may get slightly better rates, but usually not more than 1% better.
To get into town, there is a taxi/limousine counter where you exit the baggage area. The fare anywhere into town is about120 baht. The Airport Authority does not allow tuk-tuks or songtaews to wait in the airport. But you can hop onto one that has just dropped a passenger off. There is also a public bus but the fixed route may not be suitable to get you to your guesthouse.
CHIANG MAI,THAILAND TRAVEL SERIES:
Chiang Mai, Thailand Travel Part 2: Getting to Chiang Mai Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 3 – Chiang Mai: The Rose of the North Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 4 – Alpine Golf Resort My Home for the Whole of March Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 5: Central Airport Plaza Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 6: Kantoke Traditional Dinner Show Chiang Mai , Thailand Part 7: Night Market Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 8: Doi Suthep Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 9: What to Buy Chiang Mai, Thailand Part 10: Elephant Chiang Mai, Thailand Travel, Part 11: Wat Prah Singh Chiang Mai , Thailand Travel Part 12: The Walking Street Market