Travelling between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is relatively straightforward. There’s no train line connecting the cities and no direct flights, therefore the only way to travel is by bus. A company called the Green Bus Company seem to monopolise this route (we didn’t see any alternatives), so you’ll probably end up travelling with them. Below you should find all the information you need about how to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and vice versa.


What are the bus times?

The buses from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai run regularly throughout the day. The first departure leaves around 6 am from Chiang Mai and the last one around 7 pm. Whilst the first departure from Chiang Rai is 6.15 am and the last one at around 7.30 pm. Between those times buses leave both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai at least every 30 – 45 minutes or so.


How long is the journey?

The journey time of each bus is different depending on how many stops it makes along the way and the time of day it is. The average journey time is around 3 – 4 hours and both buses we took had a similar journey time to what was advertised. However, some buses can take as long as 5 hours so make sure you check your estimated arrival time before booking.


Where do I catch the bus from?

If you’re departing from Chiang Mai then you’ll need to catch the bus from bus terminal 3, which is sometimes also called the Old Arcade Bus Station. When arriving in Chiang Rai, there are two bus stations you can get off at – Bus Station 2 and Bus Station 1. The bus will stop at the former first and then the latter. If you are just visiting Chiang Rai for the day to visit the White Temple then it’s better to get off at Bus Station 2, but if you’re staying in town then make sure to stay on until Bus Station 1 or you’ll just have to pay for a taxi the rest of the way. The same goes, just in reverse if you are travelling from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai.


How much are tickets and where can I buy them?

Ticket prices range depending on which bus you choose. Prices start from around 260TBH (£6, $8) for the standard buses, whilst VIP buses are around 400TBH (£9, $12) and include a comfier seat and a slightly reduced journey time. You can buy tickets either at the Green Bus Company booths at any of the bus terminals mentioned above, or you can buy them online on up to 24 hours in advance.


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