When travelling to and from Chiang Mai Airport you have 4 options: you can take the airport bus ($0.70), get a taxi ($4.90), ride a songthaew ($1.30), or hop on a tuk-tuk ($3.30). Travel time for the 5km distance from Chiang Mai Airport to the city center is 15 to 20 minutes.
Airport Bus, Taxi, Songthaew, Tuk-Tuk or Shuttle Bus?
The airport bus is the cheapest way to reach the city centre from Chiang Mai Airport. A ticket only costs 20 THB ($0.70) and you can choose from 2 routes. These are R3 buses red and yellow, which both head to central Chiang Mai, but on different directions.
Route R3 (Red) heads to Nimman Road first before going to Tha Pae Gate. Route R3 (Yellow) takes the opposite route as it goes to Tha Pae first before heading to Nimman Road. These buses run from 6:30 to 23:30, every 25 to 30min.
You can find the airport buses just outside the arrivals hall. Look for the white bus stop sign.
You can find the taxi service counters just before you exit the arrival hall of Chiang Mai Airport. There are two types of taxis for you to choose from: the Chiang Mai Airport Taxis and the metered taxis, both offer similar prices.
The Chiang Mai Airport Taxi charges a flat rate of 150 THB ($4.90) to the city centre.
A metered taxi will cost approximately 100 THB – 120 THB ($3.30 – $4) plus the airport surcharge of 50 THB ($1.70).
There is also the option of booking a private car in advance or ordering one with the taxi app Grab.
You can book a private car in advance via Klook. A 3-seater car costs 315 THB ($10.50). Click the link below for more information on booking a private taxi:
The taxi will only cost a little more than the other options and is a very comfortable way to travel directly to or from your hotel.
Chiang Mai Airport by Songthaew
Duration: 15 minutes Cost: 40 THB ($1.30)
Songthaews are the most popular mode of transportation in Chiang Mai. A songthaew is basically a small pick-up truck that’s been customized to seat passengers in the box of the truck. In the Chiang Mai area, all songthaews are red in colour and can be easily spotted along the main streets.
When leaving the airport, you can find songthaews outside of almost every exit of the arrival hall. Advise the driver, in advance, where you would like to be dropped off as he may not be going in your direction.
When travelling to the airport, you can easily find songthaews on any main street around the Old City.
The standard rate for travelling to and from the city center is 40 THB ($1.30) per person.
Be aware that the driver may ask you to pay an increased rate if there are not many passengers on board as this is considered a ‘private ride’. The increased rates will cost you 100 THB ($3.30) to 200 THB ($7), be prepared to negotiate. You also have the option to wait for more passengers to board the songthaew and pay a lower rate.
Just outside of the Chiang Mai airport you will find numerous tuk-tuks. They look the same as the tuk-tuks in Bangkok, although they usually run at a slower pace.
Tuk-tuks charge a standard rate of 100 THB – 120 THB ($3.30 – $4) for a trip to and from Chiang Mai Airport.
Be aware that some tuk-tuks may try to charge you a higher rate of 150 THB ($4.90). Be prepared to negotiate to get the best price or walk away and ask the next driver.
Tuk-tuks do not offer a lot of space, keep this in mind when travelling with your luggage as this may not be the most comfortable ride.
Chiang Mai Airport by Shuttle Bus
Duration: 20 minutes Cost: 60 THB ($1.90)
There is also the option of taking the airport shuttle bus, although it runs very sporadically and only stops outside of the Old City.
If you choose to take this shuttle bus, you can find it at the southern end of Chiang Mai Airport. The shuttle begins running at 17:00, which is not a great option if your flight lands in the morning or early afternoon.
The fare is 60 THB ($1.90) per person.
Be aware that there have been instances when passengers were charged more than the standard rate of 60 THB ($1.90).