Chiang Mai International Airport is located about 15 to 20 minutes away to the city center by car, depending on traffic. There is no train to the airport.

When you land at Chiang Mai International Airport, you’ll have a few choices of transportation for getting to your hotel.

This article will explore your transportation options and recommend the best fit for your budget and travel group size.

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1. Taxi

At Chiang Mai International Airport you have two taxi options. The first is the Airport Taxi, which offers a flat rate of 150 Baht to anywhere within Chiang Mai city. These taxis are usually sedans that can comfortably seat 3 adults. If your group is larger, you can take a bigger car that fits up to 6 passengers for a slightly higher fare of 200 Baht to the city.

The other option is the metered taxi. These taxis charge based on the distance traveled, with an additional 50 baht airport service fee on top of the meter fare. While the metered fare shouldn’t be much more expensive than the flat Airport Taxi rate, expect to pay a little extra due to the airport service charge.

Finding a taxi is easy after you arrive at Chiang Mai International Airport. There’s a taxi booth right after you pick up your luggage, near the arrival gates.

Finding a taxi is easy after you arrive at Chiang Mai International Airport. There’s a taxi booth right after you collect your luggage, near the arrival gate. Just tell the staff at the booth where you’re going, pay the fare, and they’ll give you a receipt with instructions on where to find your taxi.

There might be a short wait in line, especially if you arrive during peak hours when many flights land at once. If you arrive at midnight, no need to worry about a midnight surcharge because the taxis charge the same rate day or night.

2. Pre-booked Airport Transfer

If you’re arriving in Chiang Mai International Airport, a pre-booked airport transfer is the best choice to get you from the airport to your hotel. It’s similar to taking a taxi, but with some added benefits.

You can book this airport transfer service online here before your trip. Just fill up your flight information, your hotel name or your travel destination, and choose the kind of car you prefer. The price is usually around 10% more than the airport taxi, but the convenience is worth it. For instance, the fare to the Old City is only 168 Baht.

If you’re travelling with a bigger group you can book a van. The fare to the Old City for a 9 seater van is only 360 Baht. Want a more comfortable ride or some extra legroom? Choose an SUV.

A standard sedan car like this cost only 168 Baht from Chiang Mai International Airport to the Old City. Book here

If you prefer a little more comfort, choose a SUV. It can accommodate more passengers and the cost is only 264 Baht going to the Old City.

A tourist van like this costs only 360Baht to the Old City. Choose this if you’re travelling with a big group, or if you have a lot of luggage with you.

Your driver will be waiting for you at the arrival gate with a sign displaying your name. They’ll help you with your luggage and take you straight to your car. That means you don’t have to wait in line for taxi in case you’re arriving during peak travel times.

Plus, if you’re staying outside the city center, you’ll know the exact cost of reaching your hotel right when you book your airport transfer. This way, you can easily factor it into your travel budget.

And when you are leaving Chiang Mai you can also pre book an airport transfer service. The driver will come pick you up at your hotel at the specified time and take you to the airport. This is especially useful if your flight is at midnight, or early in the morning. You won’t need to worry that you’ll miss your flight because you can’t get a taxi on the day of the departure. Book here.

3. GRAB Taxi

While taxis and private transfers are readily available at Chiang Mai Airport, another option is using the ride-hailing app GRAB. While GRAB is a great way to get around the city itself, it might not be the most convenient choice for your initial airport transfer.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the cost of a GRAB ride to the city center is similar to the flat rate charged by airport taxis. Secondly, you might have to wait for your driver to arrive, especially if they’re busy with another customer or stuck in traffic.

Since the airport already offers a well-organized taxi service with both airport taxis and private transfers, I wouldn’t recommend GRAB as your first choice. It’s also worth noting that sometimes, the car you get with GRAB might be a regular taxi anyway.

GRAB’s fare from Chiang Mai International Airport to the Old City. Note that for GrabTaxi, there’ll be an additional 20Baht charges in the end of your trip.

4. Bus

When you arrive at Chiang Mai International Airport, the most budget-friendly option to get to the city center is by taking the bus. They charge a flat rate of 30 Baht to any point within Chiang Mai, making it a great choice for travelers on a tight budget. However, it’s important to consider a few things before you hop on.

These aren’t fancy airport coaches; they’re regular city buses with designated stops throughout the city. This means they won’t have a luggage compartment, and you might need to walk a bit after getting off to reach your hotel. So, if you have bulky luggage or are short on time, a taxi or the airport transfer service might be a better option.

You’ll find the buses waiting at a designated location about 40 meters outside Gate 1. There are three different routes, each with a distinct color: yellow, red, and green.

Take some time to study the routes carefully before deciding if the bus is the best way to reach your destination in Chiang Mai. (click the picture to enlarge)

For light packers who are comfortable navigating with their bags, the bus can be a perfect choice. Look for the buses waiting about 40 meters outside Gate 1 of Chiang Mai International Airport. Please note that these buses depart and arrive at an interval of approximately every 2 hours.

The buses come in three different colors, each with a distinct route:

Yellow bus: Travels along Nimmanhaemin Road and the northern part of the Old City.

Red bus: Goes within the Old City and extends a bit further to the Night Bazaar area.

Green bus: Ventures farthest east, passing by Chiang Railway Station and Central Mall Chiang Mai.

5. Songthaew & Tuk TUk

Upon arrival at Chiang Mai International Airport, you’ll find songthaews and tuk tuks among the transportation options available. While these might seem appealing at first glance, there are a few things to consider before hopping on.

Songthaews, known for their low fares of around 40 baht, function more like shared rides. The driver will likely pick up other passengers along the way, extending your travel time. While you can negotiate a fixed fare of around 200 baht for a private songthaew ride, it might not be much cheaper than an airport taxi.

Songthaews become a good choice if you’re on a tight budget and traveling with a large group. For 200 baht, your entire group (up to 10 people) can reach your hotel together.

Songthaew is good for commuting to some places of attractions but it’s not recommended for your airport transfer transporation.

Tuk Tuks, on the other hand, are a fun way to experience local transportation in Thailand. But while they might be tempting for a short trip from your hotel to a nearby restaurant, they’re not the most ideal option for airport arrivals. Tuk Tuk drivers often quote high prices to tourists, and haggling can be stressful after a long journey.

In short, while Songthaews and Tuk Tuks are part of the Thai transportation scene, for a smooth and hassle-free arrival at Chiang Mai, consider taking an airport taxi or private transfer, especially if you have luggage or are traveling solo.

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