The best way to travel the 190 km distance from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai is by bus. The bus takes about 3.5 hours and tickets start from $12.50. There are no direct flights from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. All flights make a stopover in Bangkok and take 4 to 5.5 hours.
Taking the bus is an easy, fast and cheap way to travel from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. The journey takes about 3.5 hours and an express bus ticket costs only $12.50.
Flying from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai will create much more pollution compared to taking the bus. Flight take-offs and landings account for more than 25% of all flight emissions and having a stopover doubles this amount. This is in addition to the emissions which are already about 10 times higher than the bus.
Going from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai is very simple, you can easily hop on the bus and enjoy the views along the way.
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.
VIP buses feature bigger and more comfortable seats. They also 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, making them the faster option.
You can purchase your tickets online or at the bus station before boarding the bus. Ticket prices from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai start at 220 THB ($7.50) for the express bus and 360 THB ($12) for the VIP. We recommend booking in advance as tickets sell out quickly, especially during holidays and peak season.
We have provided the schedules below to help you plan your trip. If you want more information, you can also check the Green Bus website. Fares displayed are a little higher due to online booking fees.