5 ways to transport from Chiang Mai Airport to Downtown Old CityNovember 9, 2019
5 ways to transport from Chiang Mai Airport to Downtown Old City
If you are in Chiang Mai Airport, there are lots of things you can do in the city that will be worth your time. So, rather than hurrying to your hotel to relax, you can take the time to explore some beautiful temples in town.
Although the distance between Chiang Mai Airport and the heart of the city is just about 5km, getting around is not quite easy. No thanks to the chaotic scenery at the arrival hall of the Chiang Mail Airport. Seeking help from the friendly-looking people in charge of the tourist information center seems to be the fastest way to navigate the jam-packed arrival hall. That was what I thought as I approached one of them.
I asked for directions to board a minivan and was promptly directed to Exit Number 2 at the exterior end of the hall. Well, I thought my ordeal was almost over. Unfortunately, it was just the beginning! Upon arrival at the other exit, I was told that the Minivans have not commenced operations. I was advised to wait for about 45 minutes to board the first service of the minivans.
You can take a cue from my experience -do not ask the staff at the tourist information center for direction. You are better off reading a reliable guide like this one to help you navigate your way through the Chiang Mai Airport to the city center.
Without further ado, lets discuss five different ways to transport from Chiang Mai Airport to the town center within the old city walls.
Do you know that you can board an airbus right from the arrival hall to various locations in the city center? Yes, it’s quite easy; the fare is just 20 Baht to any location you choose to drop off. You can take this airbus to locations such as Three Kings Monument, Nimman Road, Phuak Gate, Chang Tha Phae Gate, and the Night Bazar. The Airbus operates from 6am to 10:30pm.
Take the Chiang Mai Airport Taxi
Look out for the taxi booths at the arrival hall and give operators the details of your destination. If you are not in a hurry, you can stop by at one of the mini bars to relax and sip a cold beet or beverage.
You can either choose to use the Chiang Mai Airport Taxi or the Taxi Meter. While the airport taxi charges a flat rate of 150 Baht to any destination in the city, the Taxi Meter can be relatively cheaper (between 100-120 Baht). However, with the Taxi Meter, you will still have to pay an additional airport service charge of 50 Baht. Invariably, the cost is almost the same at the end of the day.
All you need to do is to narrate your destination to the employee of the Taxi Booth. The employee will give you a ticket and describe your destination to the taxi driver.
Use the Tuk Tuk Service
This is the option that I settled for at the Chiang Mai Airport. It is a relatively cheaper means of transporting to the Chiang Mai Old Town from the Airport. Rather than waiting for the bus or songthaew, you can board the Tuk Tuk quite easily. The Tuk Tuk drivers will usually request about 150 Baht to take you to your destination hotel, but you can easily beat down the cost to 100-120 Baht.
The shared taxi, commonly referred to as Songthaew is another fast and easy means of transporting from the Chiang Mai Airport to Downtown. To use this service, simply exit the arrival hall through any of the exit doors, and you will see the shared pick-up taxis waiting for passengers.
This service charges only 40 Baht to all destinations in the Old City. However, you should be careful, as some of these drivers will want to pitch a chartered taxi service for you at 200 Baht. Don’t take the bait, the Songthaew are multi-passenger vehicles, and considerably cheaper.
Board a Minivan: the Chiang Mai Airport Shuttle Bus
A minivan is an excellent option if your destination hotel is located on the outskirts of the city. These vans usually park towards the south of the terminal building. At 60 Baht, the minivan service is relatively cheap, but much slower compared to the other options. The Minivans commence their operations by 5PM and only take off whenever it is filled up with passengers.
I recommend these five transport services for moving from Chiang Mai Airport to the town center. Although you can still use another option that entails catching a local bus by the roadside for 20 Baht. Is it really worth the trouble? Songthaews are available easily and will cost you just 40 Baht. If you like the executive treatment, you can call your hotel and find out if they offer private transfer. Such a service can cost at least 400 Baht.
Now that you know the various transport options from the Chiang Mai Airport to the town center, you do not have to wait more than necessary at the Airport Arrival Hall.