How To Get From Pai to Chiang Rai?
If you want to go from Pai to Chiang Rai in one day, you will first need to travel to Chiang Mai.
Once you arrive in Chiang Mai, you can take a van to Chiang Rai which takes approximately 3.5 hours. The entire trip is over 300km and will take 6-8 hours.
Pai does not have an airport so flying direct isn’t an option. The only option would be to fly from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, but all flights make a stop-over in Bangkok, making the flight time a minimum 4.5 hours. And at the end the bus ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai only lasts 3-4 hours, so even with a drict flight you won’t win any time.
|Bus||6.5 hours||430 THB ($14.50)||Read the article for more info|
View itinerary from Pai to Chiang Rai
Pai to Chiang Rai by Bus
Duration: 8.5 hours
Costs: 430 THB ($14.50)
When traveling from Pai to Chiang Rai, you will first need to travel by van to Chiang Mai.
From Chiang Mai, you can continue with a 3-4 hour bus trip to Chiang Rai.
Another option is ask a local travel agency in Pai for a connecting option. Some companies do the entire route, which means you don’t need to switch or book two different buses.
Step 1: Pai to Chiang Mai by Van
Duration: 4 hours
Costs: 200 THB ($7)
To travel from Pai to Chiang Mai you can take a van for the first leg of the journey. There are also buses, but this is not recommended as the road is full of hairpin turns. This makes it a very unpleasant journey, the larger the vehicle.
We recommend traveling this route during the day due to the curvy roads and poor lighting in the evening.
If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to have some anti-motion sickness pills on hand. Also keep in mind the drivers maneuver this trip twice a day and might drive extremely fast, which can make it a scary journey.
For a complete overview of this route, visit our page about Pai to Chiang Mai.
Van with Prem Precha
Prem Precha operates multiple trips along this route every day. The journey to Chiang Mai will take about 4 hours and expect to pay 200 THB ($7) for the van ride.
The final stop is at the Arcade Bus Station, which is the same station where the buses to Chiang Rai depart from.
- Departs from the Pai Bus Station in the city center, near Pai Walking Street
- Arrives at the Arcade Bus Station in Chiang Mai, 5km northeast of the Old City
Prem Precha is well-known for van trips along the Pai-Chiang Mai route.
Step 2: Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by Bus
Duration: 3h 40min
Costs: 230 THB ($8)
Once you arrive at the Chaing Mai Arcade Bus station, make your way to the Green Buses in the parking area. this is where you will find the buses heading to Chiang Rai.
We recommend booking your tickets for the bus to Chiang Rai in advance as tickets sell out quickly. Booking your bus ticket online costs 230 THB ($8).
If you haven’t purchased your bus ticket in advance, you can head to the Green Bus ticketing counter to purchase.
For more details, read our article on going from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.
Here is what your itinerary may look like:
|Method of transport||Time||Duration|
|Van from Pai to Chiang Mai||08:00-11:55||3h|
|Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai||12:30-16:10||3h 30m|
- 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 center, next to the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
Green Bus is known for its good service along the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai route.