Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

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How to get from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a city with a breathtaking backdrop of misty mountain ranges and colourful hill tribes. This northernmost city of Thailand offers an incredible experience for travellers who are fascinated with both culture and nature as the city is known for its beautiful ancient temples and wonderful natural attractions.

The distance from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai is 190 km (120 miles). In this post, we compare the 2 options to travel from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai: by bus (3.5-4 hours) or by flight (4-11.5 hours). Ticket prices range from 225 THB ($6) to 2,000 THB ($55).

2 ways to get from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus3.5-4 hours225 THB ($6)Check Bus Tickets
Flight4-11.5 hours2,000 THB ($55)Check Flights

Taking the bus is an easy, fast and cheap way to travel from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. The journey takes about 3.5-4 hours and an express bus ticket costs only 225 THB ($6).

Flying from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai is more expensive than the bus, with airfares starting from 2,000 THB ($55). Note that there are no direct flights from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, as all flights make a stopover in Bangkok. Total travel time takes 4 to 11.5 hours.

TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.

Itinerary from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai by Bus

Duration: 3.5-4 hours
Cost: 225 THB ($6)
Duration: 3.5-4 hours
Cost: 225 THB ($6)

Green Bus is the most popular bus company in both Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. They operate 2 different types of buses for your convenience: VIP and express.

You can buy your tickets online or at the bus station before boarding the bus. Ticket prices from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai start at 225 THB ($6) for the express bus and 350 THB ($9.50) for the VIP bus. Travel time takes about 3.5-4 hours.

We recommend booking in advance as tickets sell out quickly, especially during holidays and peak season.

Departure and arrival stations

Green Bus departs from Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1, located in the city centre just next to the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar.

Finally, the bus completes its journey at Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3. From this terminal, you can easily reach the Old City in just 5 minutes.

You can check the schedules below so that you can plan your trip ahead.

Bus schedules from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Green Bus
(Express)
08:30-12:15
12:00-15:45
13:00-16:45
225 THB ($6)
Check Bus Tickets
Green Bus
(VIP)
09:00-12:20
14:30-17:50
15:30-18:50
350 THB ($9.50)
Check Bus Tickets

VIP buses feature bigger and more comfortable seats, plus they have a toilet on board. Express buses, on the other hand, make a stop halfway through the journey for a bathroom break.

Keep in mind that this extra stop increases the travel time by 15-30 minutes. The VIP buses rarely stop along the way, so you can get to Chiang Mai a bit quicker.

Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai by Flight via Bangkok

Duration: 4-11.5 hours
Cost: 2,000 THB ($55)
Duration: 4-11.5 hours
Cost: 2,000 THB ($55)

Taking a flight from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai is not really a practical option. This is because all flights on this route make a stopover in Bangkok. Total travel time can take between 4-11.5 hours.

There are multiple airlines that offer trips from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, such as AirAsia, NokAir, Thai Airways, and Thai Lion Air. A one-way ticket from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai starts from 2,000 THB ($55).

Check Flights on Skyscanner

Flights depart from Mae Fah Luang – Chiang Rai International Airport, which is a 20-minute taxi ride from the city centre. Outside Chiang Mai Airport (CNX), there are buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, and songthaews that can take you to the Old City.

More routes to Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai Airport

Chiang Mai Railway Station

Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai

Pai to Chiang Mai

Sukhothai to Chiang Mai

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Chiang Rai to Pai

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Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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