Don’t be easily confused when you have to go to or from Chiang Mai Airport because transportation is pretty easy and accessible. There are some options to travel to and from the airport – you just need to know which one would be easily found. Some of them may be quite costly while some are dirt cheap.
1. The Simple and Easy Access
The airport is only 5 kilometres away from the Old City centre which makes it convenient to get the most available and affordable transportation. If you are rather low on the budgets, go with the (red) song-taews which are basically trucks that carry passengers. You can spot it anywhere and just flag it down. This is the cheapest option although you may have to share the space with other passengers. If you don’t want to share and yet you don’t have much to spend, choose the tuk-tuks or the motorized three wheels vehicles.
If you are spending the night at the hotel or you are planning on doing so, they can arrange a taxi or a private transfer. Often times, these hotels also provide free shuttle service from and to the airport. Planning on doing so with your hotel? Check them first before making the booking. Private transfer can cost you 400 baht because not every hotel offers free shuttle service or even the private transfer. Really check with your hotel about this service.
2. The Tuk-Tuk and Song-Taews
If you are travelling to the airport, the song-taew or tuk-tuk is allowed to enter the premise because they have the passengers (it’s you!). But if you want to use the transport from the airport elsewhere, you need to walk to the main street. Then you can flag one down there. The airport doesn’t permit tuk-tuk or song-taew to enter the area without passengers. If you are lucky enough, you may be able to catch one (right in the front side of the terminal) from a passenger who just used the service. The rate is usually 100 baht to 150 baht, but you can always negotiate the price between 100 baht and 120 baht.
Using the song-taew? The fare is 40 baht. Be aware of the driver trying to offer you a private transportation service and charge you 200 baht. Get into the vehicle only if you find other travellers or passengers.
If you are travelling with luggage or kids, which can be a hassle, it is better to use the taxi. You just go to the taxi desk – finding one is easy at the exit area of the terminal zones – and they can make the arrangement for you. There are two services available, the taxi meter or the airport taxi. The airport taxi has a flat rate of 150 baht, covering all destinations within the city. The taxi meter, on the other hand, charges around 100 baht to 120 baht, but don’t forget the 50 baht for the airport service charge. When you want to arrange the trip, go to the employee, tell them where you are heading, and they will give you a receipt. Then you will be shown the direction where you can catch the taxi.
4. Car Rental
If you want more convenient, renting a car is possible. You should be able to find major companies like Hertz, Budget, or Avis there. Feel free to choose whether you want to rent the car only or with the driver.
5. The Bus
In the event that you are travelling from the airport, there is a bus service that leaves once every 20 minutes – usually heading to the Old City. The airport bus is blue and it stops in several spots like Night Bazar, Chang Phuak Gate, Tha Phae Gate, Nimman Road, and Three Kings Monument. The fare is flat, only 20 baht per person. The operational hour is from 6 AM to 10.30 PM.
6. Airport Limousine
This is the most expensive service and yet it is also the most convenient. If you are travelling with many people, with kids, or with heavy loads of cargo, the limo service is the most convenient one. It saves you energy, hassle, and time. And in the overall end, you actually don’t spend too much on a reliable and safe service.
Read also: Visit Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai