Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

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How to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai?

Chiang Rai is home to the famous Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, as well as countless other temples. The area is perfect for those wanting to do some hiking and explore the numerous waterfalls, hot springs and lush mountain scenery.  

Chiang Rai’s walking street market and evening night bazaars offer all the local shopping and traditional Thai foods that any traveller could want!

2 ways to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus3-4 hours220 THB ($6)Check Bus Tickets
Flight4-8 hours2,500 THB ($70)Check Flights

The easiest way to travel the 190km journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is by bus. The bus takes 3 to 4 hours with ticket prices starting at $7.50. We don’t recommend to fly, because there are no direct flights. All flights from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai will fly through Bangkok, making the flight time take up to 8 hours.

Not only will a flight be extremely polluting, but it also won’t save you any time compared to travelling by bus.

Itinerary from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by Bus

Duration: 3 – 4 hours
Cost: 220 THB ($6)360 THB ($10)
Duration: 3 – 4 hours
Cost: 220 THB ($6)360 THB ($10)

Your best option to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is by bus.

Green Bus is the most trusted company along this route. They offer 15 daily trips, starting at 08:15 until 18:00. They also provide extra trips on Fridays and Sundays departing at 18:30 and 19:00.

When buying tickets at the bus station, prices are approximately 185 THB ($5)290 THB ($8), depending on the type of bus you book. Online fares are a bit higher due to online booking fees. However, booking online ensures you a seat, especially during peak season.

Below we have provided the bus schedules with the best travel times for the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai route.

Bus schedules

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Green Bus – VIP08:15-11:25
360 THB ($10)
Green Bus – 1st Class07:15-10:50
260 THB ($7)
Green Bus – 2nd Class09:15-12:55
220 THB ($6)

Green Bus

  • Departs from the Arcade Bus Station in Chiang Mai, 5km northeast of the Old City
  • Arrives at the Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1 in the city centre, next to the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Green Bus is popular for providing good service when travelling from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. It operates 3 different types of buses: these are VIP, 1st class and 2nd class.

VIP buses have larger, more comfortable seats and an on-board toilet. Also, the VIP buses do not make any stops along the way so they reach Chiang Rai a little quicker.

The 1st and 2nd class buses do not offer many differences aside from the seat sizes. Some of the 1st class buses have a mix of VIP and first-class seats. There is rarely an on-board toilet for 1st or 2nd class buses but they make a bathroom break along the way.

Check Available Bus Tickets

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai via Bangkok by Flight

Duration: 4 – 8 hours
Cost: 2,500 THB ($70)
Duration: 4 – 8 hours
Cost: 2,500 THB ($70)

Flying from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is not a great option as all flights involve a stopover in Bangkok. This makes the total travel time at least 4 hours, which is as long as the bus!

In addition to the extra time it will take, flying also produces a lot more (unneeded) emissions. Taking the bus is about 20 times more eco-friendly.

One-way ticket prices from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai range from 2,500 THB ($70) to 4,600 THB ($130). If you choose to fly, book your ticket well in advance to avoid price increases.

Check the latest schedules and cheapest flights by clicking the link below.

Check Flights on Skyscanner

Flights depart from Chiang Mai International Airport, located 5km southwest of the Old City. They arrive at Mae Fah Luang – Chiang Rai International Airport, which can be found 9km northeast of the city centre.


Our favourite places to stay in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai Accommodation

Backpack Hostel

Centrally located in Chiang Rai, within walking distance or a short drive to the sights, the Backpack Hostel is a great choice for all types of travelers. Walking street and the night market are also just a few minutes away on foot.

The hostel is very clean and comfortable and the owners are well known to be very welcoming and friendly. The rooftop patio is the perfect place to relax with a cold drink at the end of a long day exploring and soak in the sights! 

  • Great location
  • Rooftop patio
  • Walking distance to sights
  • Clean and comfortable

Private rooms start at $16 per night

Read more

Chiang Rai Accommodation

Goodtime Resort Chiang Rai

Set just a few kilometers from the main sights, this location is ideal for those looking for some quiet and relaxation.

Take advantage of the bike rentals to get out and explore the town and sights and enjoy the lovely terrace area for guests in the evenings.  The resort is extremely clean, the beds are very comfortable and the staff is wonderful.

  • Great location
  • Bike rentals
  • Terrace
  • Clean and comfortable

Private rooms start at $30 per night

Read more

  Chiang Rai Accommodation


Just a 1-minute walk to the Clock Tower and a 2-minute walk to the Night Market, this hotel is all about location!

Breakfast is included with your stay and the rooms are equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV and a refrigerator. Near Walking Street, bars, restaurants, and all amenities. The staff is known to be very friendly and welcoming.

  • Perfect location
  • Friendly staff
  • Extremely clean and comfortable
  • Walking distance to numerous sights 

Private rooms start at $38 per night

Read more


More routes to Chiang Rai

Pai to Chiang Rai

More routes from Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Chiang Mai Airport

Chiang Mai Railway Station

Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang

Chiang Mai to Pai

Chiang Mai to Sukhothai

Most popular routes in Thailand

Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Bangkok to Koh Phangan

Bangkok to Koh Tao

Bangkok to Phuket

Koh Samui to Koh tao

Koh Phangan to Koh Tao

Phuket to Krabi

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