From Bangkok's Mo Chit Station to Chiang Mai's Arcade Station, the bus ride takes around 10 hours and is the cheapest mode of transportation.
There are three options for the bus:
-VIP (600-700 baht): adjustable massage seats, A/C, snacks and water, meal, wet towel, TV, pillow, blanket and washroom.
-First Class (500 baht): adjustable massage seats, A/C, snacks and water, meal, wet towel, TV, blanket and washroom. The difference between VIP and First Class is that you get bigger seats and more leg room in VIP.
-Second Class (375-400 baht): adjustable seats and A/C.
We ended up taking the First Class bus because the ride was cheaper and shorter than the train. It wasn't too bad since we had recently gotten off a 12-14 hour flight, with similar conditions. When you purchase your tickets, you can choose your seats. We opted for the front seats on the second level. It offers a section to place your bags in front of you. Plus, you get a better view, which is nice if you get car sick.
About halfway through the ride, the bus makes one stop at a restaurant for your free meal. You just have to show them your ticket at the food stand. There are different options you can choose from, but most were a broth-based noodle. As a heads up, the washrooms at the stop are squatting toilets, so be prepared. Also, remember your toilet paper!
Once you get to Chiang Mai, it should only cost 40 baht/per person to get to the city centre!
- If you take the last bus out of Bangkok, you can save on shelter accommodations for that night.
- You can also take the train to Chiang Mai, but it takes 14 hours to get there and costs closer to 900 baht for the second class sleeper. But, the view is much better and you can save on accommodation if you take the sleeper train. I personally got confused about how to purchase a ticket. Some sites explained that you needed to buy tickets in advance in person or online. If you purchase online, you'll have to pay service (200 baht) and PayPal (3.4 % + 11 baht) fees. You could also risk it and buy it when you get there, but it might be sold out.
- Flying is the most convenient method, but costs the most. It only takes an hour and 15 minutes to get there. It's a great option if you don't have the time.