Taking the bus is an easy way to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or vice versa. It is also a popular alternative to train travel.
Chiang Mai, the biggest city in Northern Thailand, is located about 700km from Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Every day there are thousands of people travelling between these two cities, either by taking the train, bus or flying. Many tourists fly into Bangkok and then head north to Chiang Mai as part of the same holiday.
Every day thousands of people travel between Bangkok and Chiang Mai by bus, as well as to the other provinces in Northern Thailand.
The quickest mode of traversing from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or vice versa is, of course, by taking the one hour flight. And tourists love the overnight sleeper train for the fantastic countryside views they can get from the scenic train ride.
The cheapest way to travel between Chiang Mai and Bangkok is by taking the bus, and it is faster than train travel. The 700 kilometres bus route is a 9 hours journey whereas, by train, it takes between 11~14 hours depending on which train service you use.
Bus travel isn’t really as bad as it sounds so please don’t be scared by the long travelling hour and distance. Select the correct bus and buy the right ticket, you’ll find that travelling by bus is a surprisingly comfortable experience.
This article will discuss extensively the luxury coach, particularly the overnight sleeper bus, about the schedules, tickets, bus stations, and other useful information that helps plan your trip in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Travelling by bus is a comfortable experience if you choose the right bus company and buy the correct ticket.
“SUPREME CLASS” Bus by Sombat Tour
The “Supreme Class” bus by Sombat Tour bus company is one of the best bus travel experiences you could have in Thailand. FYI, Sombat Tour is a very reputable bus company that provides excellent luxury coach services travelling to many provinces in Thailand.
The Supreme Class’s bus fare to Chiang Mai, or Bangkok, is 823 Baht one way. There are ten departure times for these buses each day, for both Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Most of them leave the bus terminal in the evening between 6.00pm ~ 10.00pm. That means you’ll arrive at your destination the next day morning between 5.00am ~ 8.00am.
The SUPREME BUS operated by Sombat Tour is one of the best bus travel experience you could have in Thailand. They are comfortable, reliable and cheap.
If you are travelling on a small budget and don’t mind paying less for the lower class bus type, there is also the Super Class (617 Baht) and Star Class (529 Baht) to choose from. The travelling hour is still the same but comes at a cheaper fare. Seats are smaller and without some of the luxurious features and facilities of the Supreme Class.
See the timetable below for the bus schedules. You can see that most buses depart in the evening and arrive in the next day’s morning.
Timetable for departure and the estimated time of arrival for the bus leaving Bangkok for Chiang Mai.
Timetable for departure and the estimated time of arrival for the bus leaving Chiang Mai for Bangkok.
The Bus’s Features & Facilities
The Supreme Class bus is a luxury coach equipped with first class facilities. In Thailand, this type of luxury coach is commonly called the “VIP First Class” bus.
The bus has 24 spacious seatings, with the seat setting being one on the left and two seats on the right. Seats can be reclined 135-degree and with adjustable leg rest, which helps passengers to fall asleep faster and more soundly. Each chair has a built-in massager (adjustable) so that you can be pummelled for 9 hours if you want.
The bus also comes with free onboard Wi-Fi and 2 USB charging ports at every seat (1.0 Amp and 2.1 Amp) to charge mobile phone and tablet. Every seating has its own touchscreen personal entertainment system with English and Asian movies, interactive games and music. You’ll be given a USB headphone for watching movies and listening to music, but you can also use your 3.5mm headphone if you wish.
The personal entertainment system with English and Asian movies, interactive games and music.
Complimentary water and snacks, as well as a blanket and neck pillow, are provided onboard. The blanket is a lifesaver, as it can get quite chilly on the bus thanks to the air conditioning. Much like in an aeroplane, we recommend you bring additional layers of clothes to stay warm. An onboard lavatory is available for light usage throughout the 9-hour journey.
The check-in baggage service is also available, with each passenger is allowed two pieces of luggage not exceeding 25kg in total. If the luggage is too big or exceeds the weight limit, an extra transportation fee will be charged. For security purpose, passengers will be given a luggage tag for their checked-in baggage. Small hand carry bag can be stored in the overhead compartment.
The complimentary water and snacks are served twice, usually, during the first and the last 30 minutes of the journey.
Passengers won’t have to wait until the rest stop if they wish to ease themselves because there is an onboard lavatory at the back of the bus.
Where To Buy The Bus Ticket
Because Sombat Tour is a famous bus company in Thailand, you should book the bus ticket ahead to avoid disappointment, particularly if you are visiting Thailand during the high tourist season. The bus ticket can be purchased up to one year in advance of the actual travel date.
The easiest way to purchase bus ticket is through Sombat Tour’s official website here. However, at the time of writing, the booking system is only available in the Thai language, even if the site is multi-lingual. You can try to proceed with the help of Google Translate as we find the booking process quite straight forward.
Choose the desired date and time, followed by your contact information and finally be directed to the merchant’s payment page, which is in ENGLISH to complete the payment with a credit card. You’ll receive a booking confirmation when payment is successful.
The online booking system is only available in the Thai language, for now. But the process is pretty straight forward and can be easily completed with the help of using Google Translate.
When book online, you have the options to pay either by credit card or over the cashier counter at 7-11 stores in Thailand.
If you don’t feel secure to pay with a credit card, you can choose the option to pay at 7-11 store during the online checkout page. You may walk into the nearest 7-11 store (in Thailand) with the booking code you received during the booking process and pay at the cashier counter either by cash or credit card.
Note that the payment must be completed within three hours upon the booking code is issued, and there will be a service charge of 25 Baht on top of the ticket price. You’ll receive a payment slip when payment is successful.
You can then bring this booking confirmation or the payment slip to the bus station’s ticket counter at least 30 minutes before the actual time of departure to claim your bus ticket.
Another way to book Sombat Tour’s bus ticket is to buy it directly from their ticket counter. If you are in Bangkok, you can go to any of their five ticket counters here. In Chiang Mai, their ticket counter is located at Arcade Bus Station 3. Payment can be made either by cash or credit card.
Sombat Tour’s Bus Terminals
In Bangkok, Sombat Tour have their own bus terminal located at Vibhavadi (Vibhavadi Rangsit Rd, Lat Yao). Take note some of their buses depart from Mo Chit Bus Terminal, which is the biggest bus station in Bangkok. In Chiang Mai, the bus will arrive and depart from Arcade Bus Terminal 3. You can go to these bus terminals by using GRAB.
Please be at the bus terminal at least 30 minutes before the actual time of departure to find your boarding platform. For bus ticket purchased online, you would first need to claim your ticket at the ticket counter.
If you arrive early at the bus terminal (Vibhavadi and Chiang Mai terminals), you may sit and relax at the terminal lounge which comes with free Wi-Fi, and public announcement for boarding.
Other facilities at the bus terminal include shower rooms, convenience store, massage centres (not free), a cafe, ATMs, coin-operated public telephone, etc.
In Bangkok, Sombat Tour has its own bus terminal at Vibhavadi. Some of their buses also use Mo Chit Bus Terminal.
Passengers can rest at the terminal lounge while waiting for the bus departure. Wi-Fi and charging stations are available here.
The Rest Stop
Halfway into the journey, there will be a quick rest stop at Kamphaeng Phet Province where everybody can get down the bus for 30 minutes. Passengers may wash-up, walk around to stretch their legs, smoke a cigarette, buy souvenirs, or eat. The rest stop also has a minimart for passengers to replenish on snacks and drinks, if necessary.
Supreme Class bus ticket holder is entitled to free buffet-style Thai meal at the restaurant. Of course, you may remain seated or sleep on the bus as the air-conditioner is always turned-on throughout the 30 minutes rest stop.
The minimarket at the rest stop where passengers can buy water and snacks, as well as souvenirs.
The Supreme Class ticket price is inclusive of a free buffet style Thai meal inside the restaurant.
The Wiang Ping Super VIP Class Bus
Every day there is one trip of a super luxurious bus departing from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It’s called the “Wiang Ping” Super VIP Bus. The bus is a 20 seater luxury coach aims to give its passengers the comfort feel comparable to the first-class airline experience.
The seats are bigger and more spacious. There are only two rows of seats, separated from each other by the aisle so that you won’t be bothered by a chatty seatmate. It’s suitable for people who want to be left alone, the single/solo traveller, the heartbroken … The bus leaves Bangkok at 9.19pm and Chiang Mai at 7.20pm daily. The fare is similar to Supreme Class bus ticket, i.e. 823 Baht one-way.
The “WIANG PING” Supreme Bus has only 20 seats. The chair is wider and the aisle is also bigger even though the ticket price is the same as the usual Supreme Bus.
Other than Chiang Mai, Sombat Tour also provide Supreme Class bus service to the other Northern Thailand provinces.
Many tourists combine their visit to Chiang Mai with detours to the neighbouring provinces such as Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Phayao, Chiang Khong and Chiang Rai. Sombat Tour has daily bus service (direct) travelling from these cities to Bangkok and vice versa.
There is also the bus going from Chiang Mai to Khon Kaen (Northeastern Thailand), and to Hua Hin (Southern Thailand) daily. You may refer to the bus schedule here as well as buying the bus ticket online.
The Arcade Bus Terminal 3 at Chiang Mai. Besides Bangkok, you also can take Sombat Tour’s bus from here to Khon Kaen and Hua Hin.
WHEN IN CHIANG MAI, YOU MAY NEED A RIDE:
GRAB (UBER) RIDING in Chiang Mai. Taxi Service via Your Phone App
20Baht TO EVERYWHERE in Chiang Mai by RTC Public Bus
LOCAL TRAVEL Guide to taking Songthaew “Two Rows” in Chiang Mai