On this page we give you details of how to get to and from Chiang Mai Train Station by the various forms of transport available in the city.
The train station is about 2 - 3 kilometres east of the city centre, with the Ping River running in between the two.
The centre corresponds to the Old city which is surrounded by a moat and by the remains of the old city wall.
It is where most tourist attractions are located and the area where most people choose to stay.
For people who like walking and who don't carry too many bags, it is actually possible to go by foot from the train station to the city.
If you are heading for the Ping River or the Night Bazaar, it is just a 25 - 30 minute walk.
If you are heading for the city moat and the Eastern gate named Thapae Gate, it takes you around 40 minutes.
Guidelines to go by foot to Thapae gate:
- Exit the train station on "Rot Fai Road” (ถนนรถไฟ = Train Road) and walk to the main road known as Charoen Muang Road (ถนนเจริญเมือง)
- Turn left and follow the road for around 1,5 km until the Ping River
- Cross the river and keep walking straight for around 1 km along Thapae Road (ถนนท่าแพ) until you reach the city moat and Thapae Gate.
There are many Hotels and Guest-Houses around this area as well as a McDonald’s Restaurant, a Starbucks Café, an Air Asia shop...
The cheapest way to go to the station is by taking a local "Songhtaew” which are pick-up trucks turned into passenger cars with two benches in the rear and used as a shared taxis.
In Chiang Mai these cars are just called Red Cars ( รถสีแดง = "Rot See Daeng") and can be found literally everywhere.
These cars follow a specific fare system:
- For any destination within the city area, the fare is set at 20 THB per person.
- For any long distance destination such as from the city centre to the train station, the fare has to be agreed in advance with the driver.
A reasonable price to the train station is 30 - 40 THB per person, but as a foreigner it might be hard to get the driver to agree on that price and they may ask you for as much as 100 to 150 THB per person.
To take a Red Car: just hail one of them / tell the driver your destination / go to sit in the rear / when arriving at your destination ring the buzzer / get off and pay the driver.
At Chiang Mai train station, you will find many Red Cars outside on the parking lot.
Like anywhere else in Thailand you will find many Tuk-tuks in Chiang Mai and like anywhere else in Thailand you will have to be a very good bargainer to get a fair price!
Right outside the train station you will find Tuk-Tuks: either on the parking lot by the Red Cars or on Rot Fai Road.
From the train station to the city centre expects to pay from 80 to 200 THB depending on your destination and your bargaining skills.
Estimated Tuk-Tuk fares from the the train station:
- To Thapae Gate which is a popular area with travellers and where you will find many hotels / guest houses = around 120 THB
- To Chiang Mai Gate = around 150 THB
- To Chang Puak Gate and Chang Puak Local Bus Station = around 150 THB
- To Arcade Bus Station = around 80-100 THB
- To Chiang Mai International Airport = around 200 THB
Unlike in Bangkok, there are very few taxis in Chiang Mai and it is very difficult to make them go by the meter!
If you manage to convince a taxi driver to go by the meter, you might want to know the following:
- Meter starting fare is 50 THB up to the first 2 kilometres
- After that it costs 10 THB per kilometre
Flat rate taxi in between downtown and the train station should be around 120 - 150 THB, however at nighttime you might have to settle for 200 THB.
Unfortunately for a beautiful city like Chiang Mai, the public transportation system is kind of nonexistent as well as inadequate and very difficult to fathom!
This situation is difficult to understand, especially because air quality in Chiang Mai is often bad.
Moreover every year from February to April it becomes even hazardous because of the widespread practice of slash and burn agriculture in Northern Thailand and in its neighbouring countries (Laos and Myanmar).
There are a few city bus lines and a few years ago the city even introduced a fleet of eco-friendly buses, but your major problem will be to find where the stops are as well as the bus routes!
It is really not the best option to travel from or to the train station, but if you really want to explore that possibility: we wish you good luck!
Good to remember!
The city moat that surrounds the Old city has the form of a square and has 5 gates.
It can come as handy to remember the names of these gates to direct yourself and to ask for directions:
- The Northern gate is Chang Puak Gate
- The Eastern gate is Thapae Gate
- The Southern gates are Chiang Mai Gate and Suan Prung Gate
- The Western gate is Suan Dok Gate