Siam First has been operating since 1978, making it one of the most established bus companies in the whole of Thailand. Based in Bangkok’s Morchit bus terminal, Siam First focuses on running services between the capital and the north of the country.
All the buses used on the company's routes are the more exclusive VIP buses that you've probably seen making longer trips up and down the country.
Routes served by Siam First Bus Company
Siam First connects Bangkok with northern cities such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, as well as heading towards the borders with Laos and Myanmar.
There are two buses each day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, arriving at the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal to the east of the old town. Leaving at 20.02 and 20.32 each day, this trip should take around 10 hours costing approximately THB630 each way.
Chiang Rai is even more well-connected. There are 11 services per day running from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, taking 11 ½ hours, three of these buses terminate in Chiang Rai with the others heading towards towns closer to the border such as Chiang Khong (crossing to Huay Xai in Laos) and Mae Sai (crossing to Myawaddy in Myanmar). The three buses that finish at Chiang Rai depart Bangkok at 19.00, 19.20 and 19.50, each costing around THB660.
Bangkok–Lampang & Phayao
Siam First also runs two buses a day to Lampang, departing at 20.21 and 20.51, and Phayao (leaving Bangkok at 19.20 and 19.50). These trips should cost 9 ¼ hours (THB540) and 11 ½ hours (THB620) respectively.
Siam First is one of the most well respected companies across Thailand with an enviable safety record. VIP buses are used on all routes which means there are fewer passengers aboard than is the case with many of their competitors, making for a more peaceful night. Not only are VIP buses more comfortable than the train, the journey is also much quicker so is a fantastic option if you're planning on a cross-country trip.
When boarding one of Siam First’s VIP buses, you'll be welcomed with a complimentary snack and drink and on some of the newer vehicles there is even a built-in seat massager to relax you throughout your trip. These buses are about as comfortable as an overnight bus trip gets!
For those heading to Laos or Myanmar, Siam First runs regular services north which will suit anyone looking to exit Thailand and explore some of the neighbouring countries.
Unfortunately, there is no wifi aboard Siam First’s services which can be a pain during such a long trip. Also, with the price of domestic flights continually falling, it may sometimes be better value to book a budget flight as well as being far quicker! It's worth checking flight prices before you book a VIP bus in case there is a great deal on.
Keep in mind
All of Siam First’s services depart in the evening, meaning that you will arrive at your destination in the early morning. Frequent budget travellers will know that arriving at night is usually a hassle, so a morning arrival is handy, although, bear this in mind when booking accommodation as you might not be able to check in until later that day.
If you're planning on crossing into Laos from Chiang Khong or, from Mae Sai into Myanmar, then arriving in the morning allows you to cross the border and travel to your next destination on the same day, so you won't need to book a hotel in a border town, which can often be expensive.
Customers are pleased with the reliable service offered by Siam First and are attracted by its reputation as a well-established transport provider.
The standard of the VIP buses is also praised by travellers as it is often a much more comfortable journey than that experienced with some of their competitors. How can you not be happy with massaging seats?!
It is disappointing that wifi is not available on board these buses, a perk that is offered by some of the company's rivals, but hopefully this will change soon!