23 May 2017

Baan Sammi by Public Transport


A seasonal public mode of transportation, starting at a fixed departure point,
destination variable, here arrived at Baan Sammi in the early morning

How to Reach Baan Sammi by Public Transport from the Airport, City, Train Station, and Bus Stations

There is a special arrangement for transfers of guests from the airport, city, train or bus station to Baan Sammi, or reverse direction, with taxi driver Mr. Glid (คุณกฤษ) who speaks English well, or with other drivers engaged by Mr. Glid. This arrangement is restricted to one-way trips or transfers for 1–2 passengers, with moderate amount and size of luggage, usually of no more than 2 big suitcases. You may call Mr. Glid on his mobile phone 092-8928996, send him a SMS, or call or write him via Line on his User-ID Glidkharp. The fixed one-way fare is 700 Baht, payable cash in Thai Baht to the driver in person upon your arrival at the destination. A taxi ride arranged by Mr. Glid is the easiest, quickest and a stress-free mode of transport. Moreover, the driver will stop at a market or department store on the way to Baan Sammi in case you need to buy some ready food or groceries, but the time for shopping should not exceed half an hour. Do get in contact with Mr. Glid several days prior to your desired trans­port date to ensure a driver will be available then. If you cannot contact him by phone, e.g. because you are abroad or traveling, but wish to engage him for transport at a certain date and time, please, write him on Line messenger, or contact us at Baan Sammi by email at least 1 week in advance and provide all relevant data: Your name, number of passengers, pick-up location, date and time, number and size of your luggage, and, if you arrive by flight, flight number, arrival time, and whether you shall arrive by domestic or inter­national flight at the airport (CNX). If any possible, please, reconfirm the data (e.g. during a stopover in Bangkok), about 2 hours prior to meeting time, by phone call with Mr. Glid.


Maps for your local orientation, downloading and printing recommended:
  • BS Route Map 1: Chiang Mai and Vicinity – Route to Baan Sammi
  • BS Route Map 2: Area near Doi Saket – Meeting Points 1-5, and Route to Baan Sammi (text Thai + English)
To reach Baan Sammi by public transportation, you may
  • take a taxi (saloon car with taximeter, photo right, top), or,
  • hire a driver with a red song-thaeo (photo right, center) or tuk-tuk (photo right, bottom) for the whole distance, or,
  • choose a combination of bus and song-thaeo (on fixed routes, within Chiang Mai and towards Doi Saket), and a saleng (3-wheel motorbike taxi, in our area including Doi Saket). This is the more adventurous route and preferred by backpackers.
Thai taxi drivers usually do not know much of the surroundings of Chiang Mai, they loose their orientation when driving off main roads, often cannot interpret maps, and a few cannot read (neither Thai nor Roman script), so be prepared to guide your driver with the help of the maps (as listed above), and, most important, let a Thai driver call Khun Sam on his mobile 089-639517 for guidance.

There is also semi-public transport service being offered in Chiang Mai (for both the city and province). It is a mobile application-based taxi service, or ride-sharing service, which charges low fares. New though apparently well established in Chiang Mai is Uber and Grab. Uber has a good website where you can enter your start location, e.g. Chiang Mai Airport, and your destination, e.g. Baan Sammi, and it will show you the fare estimate, e.g. 311–431 Baht (22 May 2017). Grap apparently requires to download its application to your mobile device, for any further action, e.g. to register and for booking.

Several organisations are responsible for public transportation on fixed routes (bus, song-thaeo) in Chiang Mai, and their information on the Internet is, to put it mildly, unhelpful to foreigners. A meritorious attempt was made by Slice-of-Thai.com to present this information (e.g. routes, time tables) understandably, but it might be of practical use only if you undergo a time-consuming reading combined with good local knowledge of a Chiang Mai city dweller.


From the Chiang Mai Airport to Baan Sammi

The Chiang Mai Airport (CNX) serves both international and domestic flights (Chiang Mai Airport Guide). The airport building is long-rectangular with the International Passenger Terminal at its very left end, and the Domestic Passenger Terminal at its very right end. Each Terminal has an arrival lounge on the ground floor (= "first floor" of the Airport Terminal Map). In case you will get picked up at the airport, meeting point can be the international arrival lounge, or the domestic arrival lounge. The international arrival lounge (left), and the domestic arrival lounge (right) are connected by a several hundred meters long corridor hall. In each arrival lounge there are one or two taxi desks (two in each hall by Dec. 2016) where you can hire a taxi, and outside, a few meters beyond the Domestic Passenger Terminal, there is a small building and taxi stand where you can hire a taxi as well.

Domestic Passenger Terminal on the right side,
International Passenger Terminal on the very left end

The taxi fares are fixed (but different at each taxi desk) depending on distance or destination. Each taxi desk has a map or list of destinations with given fares. Usually, their records are incomplete, or, they cannot locate certain destinations, hence the staff at the taxi desk get confused and will tell you a much higher fare to reduce risk and be on the safe side. An example: Baan Sammi is located in Pa Lan subdistrict of Doi Saket district (ตำบลป่าลาน อำเภอดอยสะเก็ด). If this subdistrict is not on their records, they might assume Pa Lan subdistrict of San Sai district to be the correct destination, which is not. The fare to our location is between 450 and 800 Baht (Jan. 2016), depending on which of the taxi desks you are inquiring, or which of their staff you are contacting.
Taxi stand beyond the
Domestic Passenger Terminal

Taxi fares in Chiang Mai are rather high as compared to Bangkok. If you want safe money, you may get a red song-thaeo or a tuk-tuk at a somewhat lower price. Wait on the platform in front of the terminal building for a song-theo or tuk-tuk arriving to get off its passengers. Then immediately deal with the driver (he is not allowed to stay there after his passengers got off), and he certainly appreciates to get you as a new passenger right away. Alternatively, you may leave the airport area on foot (ca. 600 meters) and stop a song-thaeo or tuk-tuk on the nearby Mahidon (Mahidol) Road towards city.


From the Chiang Mai Airport to the city of Chiang Mai

If you prefer first to go to the city and thereafter to Baan Sammi, you can do so. Just follow the aforementioned guidelines and choose a specific destination in the city. The city is very close to the airport, hence the fare to the city, charged by most regular taxi companies, is relatively low, e.g. 150 Baht to Tha Phae Gate (June 2016). In the arrival hall of the International Passenger Terminal, there is a desk of a new taxi company ("Airport Shuttle Bus", phone 094-8433035), which offers a ride to the city at a fare of 40–60 Baht per person (Dec. 2016). Another option is to take the white bus (bus no. 2, on fixed routes), which can drop you off at the center of the old city (Three Kings' Monument), or at Warorot Market, or at its destination, the Arcade Bus Station. The fare is only 15 Baht (Dec. 2016).

There are two main reasons for going to the city first:
  • Renting a motorbike/scooter in the city. Most rental shops are located in the area of the Tha Phae Gate.
  • Going to Warorot Market, where close nearby, in the Praisani Rd., is the "bus" terminal, or song-thaeo stop, for the fixed-route song-thaeos in direction Doi Saket. From this song-thaeo stop you can get a yellow song-thaeo at the normal fare, 16–20 Baht per person. The Warorot Market is also a good place to buy ready food, fruits etc, so you can get there fully provided with food for your first days at Baan Sammi.


From train station, Arcade Bus Station, or Chang Phueak Bus Station, to Baan Sammi

At the train and bus stations there are many red song-thaeos and tuk-tuks waiting for passengers. Deal with the driver for the fare, which can be between 300 and 500 Baht for the whole vehicle.


From train station to Kaeo Nawarat Road / Arcade Bus Station

Take a red song-thaeo or tuk-tuk from the train station to Kaeo Nawarat Road (= Kaew Nawarat Road, = Chiang Mai – Doi Saket Road, = Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai Road, = National Road or Highway #118), or, to Arcade Bus Station. You will possibly be charged 30-60 Baht.

If you walk off the train station a few hundred meters and try to stop a fixed-route red song-thaeo on the main road (Charoen Mueang Road in direction off city, or, a little farther to Thung Hotel Road, some 20 meters off intersection towards Arcade Bus Station), you might have to pay the regular fare of 15 Baht/person only. Get off in Kaeo Nawarat Road, or, get off at Arcade Bus Station and walk 200–300 meters to Kaeo Nawarat Road.


From Chang Phueak Bus Station to Kaeo Nawarat Road / Arcade Bus Station

Take a red song-thaeo or tuk-tuk from the Chang Phueak Bus Station to Kaeo Nawarat Road (= Kaew Nawarat Road, = Chiang Mai – Doi Saket Road, = Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai Road, = National Road or Highway number 118) next to Arcade Bus Station. Likely, they will charge you 30-90 Baht per person.

If you walk off the Chang Phueak Bus Station less than one hundred meters and try to stop a fixed-route red song-thaeo on the main road (Rattanakosin Road, towards Arcade Bus Station), you might have to pay the regular fare of 15 Baht/person only. Get off in Kaeo Nawarat Road, or, get off at Arcade Bus Station and walk 100-200 meters to Kaeo Nawarat Road.


From Warorot Market towards Doi Saket

Praisani Rd. nr. Warorot Market:
The Praisani Rd. extends on the right bank (downstream) of Ping River.
A yellow song-thaeo is parking, waiting for passengers for direction Doi Saket.
The Warorot Market (ตลาดวโรรส), also called Kat Luang (กาดหลวง), is the biggest market in the city and located in China Town. Nearby the Warorot Market is the "bus" terminal or song-thaeo stop for fixed-route yellow song-thaeos of the route between Chiang Mai and Doi Saket. The exact location of the stop is along the Praisani Road (Praisanee Rd., ถนนไปรษณีย์ = post office road). This is a one-way road parallel and next to the Ping River (แม่น้ำปิง) and easy to find: between Nawarat Bridge and Kaeo Nawarat Bridge, on the side of the old city. This location, part of China Town, is best known by its markets, mainly Warorot Market (ตลาดวโรรส), but also by names like Ton Lam Yai Market (ตลาดต้นลำไย), Nawarat Market (ตลาดนวรัฐ), and Florist Market (กาดดอกไม้), all of which are close to each other.

Fixed-route yellow song-thaeos on Praisani Rd. are waiting for passengers, and depart every 5–10 minutes during rush-hours in the morning and evening, and every 15–30 minutes during the rest of day, until night (about 9–10 p.m.). Ask the driver to stop at the village Ban Rong Khilek (บ้านร้องขี้เหล็ก), or village Ban Nam Phrae (บ้านน้ำแพร่). Ban Rong Khilek is the village on the left side of the highway #118, Ban Nam Phrae is the village just opposite, on the right side of the highway. The driver knows both village names, but he will stop only on the left side of the highway, and you have to cross on foot the highway to enter Ban Nam Phrae.
If you wish to go farther to Doi Saket, ask the driver if he passes the market of Doi Saket (ตลาดดอยสะเก็ด, "talat Doi Saket"). Regular fare is 16 Baht to Ban Rong Khilek (about 12 kilometers), and 20 Baht to the market of Doi Saket (about 16 kilometers).

The route of the fixed-route yellow song-thaeo is from Praisani Rd., then crossing Nawarat Bridge, and entering into Kaeo Nawarat Road (= Kaew Nawarat Road), which passes the Arcade Bus Station, then extends as the Chiang Mai – Doi Saket Highway (#118). Get off at either Ban Rong Khilek, or market of Doi Saket.


From Kaeo Nawarat Road / Arcade Bus Station towards Doi Saket

Kaeo Nawarat Rd. nr. Arcade Bus Station:
Left towards city of Chiang Mai, right towards Doi Saket.
A yellow song-thaeo (center of image) driving towards Doi Saket.
Wait for a fixed-route yellow song-thaeo on Kaeo Nawarat Road (= Kaew Nawarat Road, = Chiang Mai – Doi Saket Road, = Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai Road, = National Road or Highway number 118) next to Arcade Bus Station, in direction off city. Yellow song-thaeos drive on this road every 5–10 minutes during rush-hours in the morning and evening (often crowded), and every 15–30 minutes during the rest of day, until early night. Ask the driver to stop at the village Ban Rong Khilek (บ้านร้องขี้เหล็ก), or village Ban Nam Phrae (บ้านน้ำแพร่). Ban Rong Khilek is the village on the left side of the highway #118, Ban Nam Phrae is the village just opposite, on the right side of the highway. The driver knows both village names, but he will stop only on the left side of the highway, and you have to cross on foot the highway to enter Ban Nam Phrae.
If you wish to go farther to Doi Saket, ask the driver if he passes the market of Doi Saket (ตลาดดอยสะเก็ด, "talat Doi Saket"). Regular fare is 16 Baht to Ban Rong Khilek (about 12 kilometers), and 20 Baht to the market of Doi Saket (about 16 kilometers).
Get off preferably at Ban Rong Khilek, or at the market of Doi Saket.


From Ban Nam Phrae to Baan Sammi

Having arrived at the song-thaeo stop Ban Rong Khilek (บ้านร้องขี้เหล็ก), you have to cross the highway #118 and enter the village on the opposite side, Ban Nam Phrae (บ้านน้ำแพร่), located along the village road connected to the highway. Just the first house on the left side is a food-stall (open daily 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.), where you may ask the owner, Khun Nga, for a saleng (ซาเล้ง, 3-wheel motorbike taxi) to Baan Sammi. If the shop is closed, you may go to another shop and ask. You can also walk a short distance farther, then you may see, on the right side, the house of ลุงจันทร์ (Lung Chan = Uncle Moon), the owner of the saleng, and usually the vehicle parks in front of his house. If you don't see Lung Chan, you may call him in Thai language on his mobile phone 082-3887351, or you may call คุณฮวั้ (Khun Hua), mobile phone 086-9129466, another owner of a saleng, or you may ask any of the shop owners on the village road for a saleng, and the shop owners will call one. Distance from Ban Nam Phrae to Baan Sammi is 3.8 kilometers, the fare is 40 Baht per person (Sep. 2017).

If you ask a Thai shop owner in English for a saleng, he or she might not understand English sufficiently. You can show him or her the following request in Thai. If you are a male person, this phrase applies: "ช่วยโทรหาซาเล้งให้ผมด้วยครับ" (chuai tho ha saleng hai phom duai khrap). If you are a female person, this phrase applies: "ช่วยโทรหาซาเล้งให้ฉันด้วยค่ะ" (chuai tho ha saleng hai chan duai kha).

Alternatively, and if you don't have heavy luggage to be hand-carried, you may call Khun Sam at Baan Sammi from a nearby telephone box, asking him to pick you up by motorbike in Ban Nam Phrae to give you a lift to Baan Sammi.


From the market of Doi Saket to Baan Sammi

Having arrived at the song-thaeo stop near the only crossing with traffic lights in the center of Doi Saket, you might not see at first sight the market which is somewhat hidden by houses along streets. Go to the main entrance of the market next to the canal, where you can see several telephone boxes near the bridge over this canal. A few meters canal upstream, under tall shady trees, there is the terminal for all local motorbike taxis. The taxi drivers are recognizable by wearing a red or orange waistcoat. They are waiting for passengers, and ready to give you a lift. You need to show the driver the address (in Thai script) of Baan Sammi. Distance from the market of Doi Saket to Baan Sammi is 7–8 kilometers. The drivers may choose one of three routes (gray routes on Google Maps): Ban Ko – Ban Pa Sak Noi – Ban Pa Tio – Ban Pa Yang Poi, or: Ban Ko – Ban Pa Pong – Ban Dok Daeng – Ban Pa Tio – Ban Pa Yang Poi, or: Ban Luang Tai – Ban Pa Sak Noi – Ban Pa Tio – Ban Pa Yang Poi. The fare is about 80 to 140 Baht per person, but some taxi driver might try to overcharge you.

An alternative to hiring a motorbike taxi is to choose a yellow song-thaeo from nearby the market of Doi Saket towards Chiang Mai, leave the song-thaeo after about 7 km at Ban Nam Phrae (บ้านน้ำแพร่), and continue your ride with a saleng (three-wheel motorbike taxi) to Baan Sammi (blue route on Google Maps). The advantages: Firstly, it's cheaper, you pay about 10 Baht per person to the song-thaeo driver, and 40 Baht to the saleng driver. Secondly, you can carry much more belongings (e.g. if you shop at the Doi Saket market) than on a ride with a (two-wheel) motorbike taxi.


From Baan Sammi to the market of Doi Saket

For big shopping, shops in the city of Chiang Mai might be favored, but a good alternative is shopping at the market of Doi Saket, the district village, where you can find also many shops, restaurants, banks etc. Using public transportation from Baan Sammi to the market of Doi Saket (blue route on Google Maps) is best by calling a saleng (three-wheel motorbike taxi) for a ride to the village บ้านน้ำแพร่ (Ban Nam Phrae), then continue your ride with a yellow song-thaeo. Having arrived at Ban Nam Phrae, you need to cross on foot the main road #118. Then wait there, at the song-thaeo stop of บ้านร้องขี้เหล็ก (Ban Rong Khilek) towards Doi Saket, for a yellow song-thaeo to pick you up. In Doi Saket, the song-theo will stop near the only crossing with traffic lights, very close to the market. The fare for the saleng is 40 Baht per person, and about 10 Baht for the song-thaeo.