Getting from Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai is made easy by the huge number of buses that operate in the northern parts of Thailand. The distance between these two cities is just under 200kms and the countryside is very picturesque.
There are various options to get to Chiang Rai including VIP buses, government buses and on a private tour, which will stop at many of the attractions along the way.
How to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by Bus, Distance & Tours
Buses are the best option when it comes to travelling between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Head to the main bus terminal, Arcade Bus Station, which is located 3kms north-east of the old city. You will need to catch a public “Green Bus”, there is a ticket office inside the terminal. Alternatively, you can purchase your tickets in advance using the link below.
A regular ticket will cost around 150 THB and does not have a toilet on board. The journey will take around 3.5 hours
The Green VIP bus costs around 300 THB each way and will get you your seat preference, a bottle of water and a small snack. There is also a toilet on this bus and the bus takes around 3 hours. The buses only have 3 seats across (rather than the typical 4) which means that you have wider, more comfortable seats on the VIP bus. Each seat is equipped with a leg rest and drink holder for your comfort.
Note that the Green Buses stop at two bus terminals in Chiang Rai. Terminal 2 is a relatively modern bus station which is located approximately 7.5kms south of Chiang Rai. Terminal 3 is basically a dirt parking lot which is located right in the centre of Chiang Rai city. Make sure to get off at the second stop, Terminal 3, as if you get off at the first stop at Terminal 2, you will be 7kms south of town.
Another alternative is to go on an organised tour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. These tours will take you to some of the sites along the way including hot springs and Wat Rong Khun, the famous “White Temple” that Chiang Rai is best known for. These tours often include hotel pickup, air-conditioned transportation, a tour guide, admission fees to the attractions and lunch.
Tours can cost anywhere between 600 – 100THB, but due to their inclusions and convenience, can be a great option.