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!
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.
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 ($8.50), 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.