Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) Guide

Chiang Mai International Airport or CNX is one of the key access points for travellers heading to northern Thailand. It provides service to around 2 million people each year. It’s located 10 minutes from city of Chang Mai, which also serves as the capital of the province. If you’re booking a trip to northern Thailand you will need to use Chiang Mai International airport.


Flight Destinations Chiang Mai - akyra Manor Chiang Mai Hotel


Chiang Mai International Airport


International Flights

While Chiang Mai is an international airport, direct flights there are not available from every location. For example, U.S. visitors will need to catch a connecting flight from another international hub, such as Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok or Changi Airport in Singapore. You should build this into your travel planning.



Chiang Mai airport provides both domestic and international terminals. These terminals coexist in the same building. International travellers will enter through the northern part of the building, while the domestic terminal occupies the southern part of the building. Arrivals for both domestic and international flights enter through the first floor. Departures board their planes on the second floor of the building.

You will pass through customs inside the airport and either travel through a Green Channel, meaning you have nothing to declare, or through a designated Declare Channel. Standard customs declaration regulations apply, such as currency exceeding $20,000, dutiable items, or controlled items.



You can find a wide variety of local food and more common international fare inside the airport after your arrival. Some of the local food options include Khao Soi House, which is great for a local noodle experience, and Wawee Coffee offers local coffee blends for arriving travellers.

For more familiar foods, you can visit the Bill Bentley Pub, which offers local and international beers as well as western-style food. You will also find a number of familiar international fast-food restaurants on offer.




One of the first things you’ll want to do on arrival is convert some foreign currency to local currency if you had not already exchanged before travel. While large businesses such as hotels will accept credit cards, there are many open-air markets and bazaars where cash is the primary or only form of currency accepted. In other words, if you’re wanting to pick up a few souvenirs or gifts, you’ll want some cash available.

You will find currency exchanges available in the international terminal for both arrivals and departures. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also access local currency through ATMs located in the international terminal.



Chiang Mai International Airport is located very close to the city centre. It typically takes around 10 minutes by car to make the trip. There are several options for transportation.

One of the more popular options is a minibus or songthaew. These minibuses typically transport multiple passengers to their local destinations for a discounted rate. If you prefer traveling solo or just with your family, you can get a dedicated songthaew for a higher rate.

There are also plenty of taxis available, but you don’t want to try to hail one. Instead, you’ll find booking stations inside the airport. There are two main options for booking taxis. You can go with the Chiang Mai Airport Taxi. These taxis offer service to any destination in the city for a flat rate. There is also Taxi Meter. Taxi Meter also offers service to destinations across the city for approximately the same cost.

For an experience that’s a little more traditional, you can also find Tuk Tuks standing by outside of the airport. Tuk Tuks are a modernized version of a rickshaw with open-air seating for passengers in the back and a driver in the front. Tuk Tuks don’t provide service to the city at large. They typically transport passengers from the airport to downtown destinations.

There are also public buses and car rentals available, although most international travellers prefer other options.

If you are staying with akyra Manor Chiang Mai airport transfers can be arranged for you.



Visitors to Chiang Mai typically book rooms in a local hotel and use that as their base for local exploration. There are multiple hotel options available ranging from luxurious five-star hotels to more economical three-star and four-star hotels. You can find hotels across Chiang Mai from the downtown core to the Old City.




There are many shopping opportunities available to travellers both at and after arrival. You can find basic shopping opportunities inside the airport for essentials, clothing, and souvenirs. You can also visit the duty-free shop on the second floor of the international terminal.

For a local shopping experience, you can head over to the Warorot Market. This is a multi-floor, indoor market. Other local market options include the Flower Market, the Amulet Market, and the Sunday Walking Street. For pure variety, head for The Sunday Walking Street. You can find everything there from soaps to musical instruments.

For a more unique experience, you should plan a trip to the Sanpatong Buffalo Market. This market is located outside of Chiang Mai proper and caters to the farming community. Farmers quite literally go there to buy buffalo. You can also find local foods, clothing, and even a motorcycle or two for sale.



Local Attractions

For those who are interested in local culture, there are many opportunities. You can visit historical temples, such as:

  • Wat Umong, also known as the Tunnel Temple
  • Wat Suan Dok
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

You can also pay a visit to the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center. There you can experience a traditional Khantoke dinner and watch a traditional Lanna dance performance.

For something a bit more nature-based, there is Doi Inthanon International Park. This park allows for hiking and trekking and also contains Doi Inthanon Mountain. Doi Inthanon Mountain is part of the Himalayan mountain chain and is Thailand’s highest peak.

For people who enjoy a new food experience, you can spend an evening at the Chiang Mai Gate Market. This market specializes in Thai street food like mango sticky rice, pad thai, and satay. Take it slow, though, or you’ll run out of room in your stomach before you run out of delicious options to try.

Chiang Mai has a vibrant local nightlife. For music lovers, you can find numerous live music venues. Well-known options include Zoe in Yellow, the North Gate Jazz Co-Op, or 48 Garage.



If you’re interested in getting out of the city but not taking another flight, consider the Mae Hong Son Loop. This is an approximately 375-mile road trip that sets out from Chiang Mai and brings you full circle after a few days of sightseeing. The trip lets you visit a number of local villages and towns. It also provides opportunities for trekking, rafting, and even elephant riding. Most visitors make this trip via motorbike, but it can also be done by bus.


Nearby Points of Interest

In addition to providing immediate access to the city of Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai international airport also serves as a point of departure for other areas of interest in Northern Thailand. One of the must not miss locations is Chiang Rai. While not as urban as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is home to Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple.

Another popular option is the city of Nan, located in the Nan Province. Nan hosts a White Temple of its own called Wat Ming Muang. You can also visit the Wat Phumin temple and see its famous murals. Thai Lue artists painted these murals in the late 1800s as part of a restoration project.


Planning Your Trip

Northern Thailand is both a popular tourist destination and an area rich with Thai cultural history. There is so much to see that you can’t possibly fit it all into a single trip. The good news is that the Chiang Mai International airport can help you access both the local options and nearby locations such as Nan and Chiang Rai.



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