Rod Daeng from Chiang Mai International Airport to Chiang Mai Railway Station

Rod Daeng from Chiang Mai International Airport to Chiang Mai Railway Station

Rod Daeng (“Red Car”) is the most commonly found local public transportation in Chiang Mai, which looks like a songthaew truck, but not operating on fixed routes. Think of it like a non-stop GrabShare, or Hong Kong Red Minibus with no route. Mention your destination to the Rod Daeng driver, and he will tell you yes or no, depending on where all other passengers are going, along with the fare. To get to my hotel outside Chiang Mai Railway Station, I opted for a Rod Daeng for the local experience, and also because I couldn’t find the RTC City Bus stop.

Rod Daeng from Chiang Mai International Airport

I flagged down a couple of Rod Daengs along the driveway, but some said no, and others quoted a much higher fare than the fixed-fare taxi which was insane. Perhaps the driver could smell a farang when he sees one.

I finally settled for one Rod Daeng who quoted me 100 Baht for the trip from Chiang Mai International Airport to Chiang Mai Railway Station.

Departing from Chiang Mai International Airport.

I shared the Rod Daeng with a family of 3 which were heading to a further destination.

It was a surprisingly speedy journey on the Rod Daeng with no stops along the way for me.

The Rod Daeng didn’t stop for other passengers waiting along the road too. Maybe my 100 Baht fare was a premium for an express trip.

Ah, a familiar sight.

Approaching Chiang Mai Railway Station.

Chiang Mai Railway Station

Turning into Chiang Mai Railway Station, which was a surprise. I had expected to be dropped off along the main road, since there were other passengers on board.

Turning to the main station building to drop me off.

The fare is paid to the driver upon alighting.

Once done, the Rod Daeng proceeds on to drop off other passengers.

My Rod Daeng fare from Chiang Mai Airport to Chiang Mai Railway Station costed 100 Baht and took me 24 minutes, but your experience may vary since fares and routes are not fixed, especially with more passengers with more destinations. I was lucky to be the first stop on this Rod Daeng route.

In comparison, a fixed-fare taxi may have costed 150 Baht, so if travelling in groups of 2, 3, or 4, a taxi would instantly be cheaper, and comes with doors and air-conditioning.

I headed in to Chiang Mai Railway Station for a short while to welcome myself to Thailand as I know it, and to see the brand new CRRC Qishuyan “Ultraman” locomotives for the very first time. Following this, I headed to my hotel to check-in for my stay in Chiang Mai.

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