Last updated: Nov 17, 2019


Overview | Bus | Flight


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 hours and 40 mins. The entire trip is over 300 km and will take 6.5-7.5 hours.

Pai does not have an airport, which means you have to fly from Chiang Mai. However, there are no direct flights from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and even if there were, it wouldn’t save you much time as the journey by bus is only 3.5 hours.

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Van + Bus6 hours and 40 mins405 THB ($13.50)Check van tickets
Check bus tickets


View itinerary from Pai to Chiang Rai


Bus icon

Pai to Chiang Rai by Bus

Duration: 6 hours and 40 mins
Costs: 405 THB ($13.50)

When traveling from Pai to Chiang Rai, you will first need to travel by van to Chiang Mai.

Once you arrived in Chiang Mai, you can continue with a 3-4 hour bus trip to Chiang Rai.

Another option is to ask a local travel agency in Pai for a connecting trip. Some companies cover the entire route from Pai to Chaing Rai, which means you don’t need to switch or book two different buses.

Step 1: Pai to Chiang Mai by Van

Duration: 3 hours
Costs: 185 THB ($6.50)

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 can be a very unpleasant journey in a larger vehicle.

We recommend traveling this route during the day due to the curvy roads and poor lighting in the evening. Also keep in mind the drivers maneuver this trip twice a day and might drive extremely fast, which can make it a scary journey.

Tip: If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to take some anti-motion sickness pills for the first part of the journey from Pai to Chiang Mai.

For a complete overview of this route, visit our page about Pai to Chiang Mai.

If you want to travel with a reliable bus company between Pai and Chiang Mai, we recommend you to book with Prem Precha.

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.

Prem Precha

  • 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.

Check Available Van Tickets

Step 2: Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by Bus

Duration: 3h 40min
Costs: 220 THB ($7.50)

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 your ticket.

For more details, read our article on going from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.

Here is what your itinerary may look like:

Method of transportTimeDuration
Van from Pai to Chiang Mai07:00-10:00
Waiting timedepends on bus taken and arrival30-40m
Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai06:00-09:35
3h 30m
3h 40m

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 center, next to the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

Green Bus is known for its good service along the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai route.

Check Available Bus Tickets

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 3

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!