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How to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chiang Rai is well connected with Chiang Mai. You can get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by bus, private transfer, or rental car.

Chiang Rai is a province in the northern part of Thailand filled with mountains, culture, and natural beauty!

Chiang Rai offers many interesting cultural attractions, such as Wat Rong Khun and Mingmuang Temple, the oldest temple in Chiang Rai! 

Universal Traveller recommends the following websites to plan & book your trip

  • Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to.

Those who enjoy the outdoors can ascend to Doi Pha Tang in the morning to witness the beautiful sunrise over the Mekong! Feel the cool air, take in the Phu Chi Dao views, and observe the winter flowers in the Mae Fah Luang Gardens surrounding Doi Tung Palace.

Tourists can also see both sides of the Mekong at the Golden Triangle, thanks to Chiang Rai’s location at the intersection of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

Here, you can also experience Lanna Culture and dive into the rich and unique culinary scene that is distinct from all of Thailand!

Traveling between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is easy, and you can choose between a bus, shared shuttle, and rental car!

Check our guide for the best options to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.

Tip: We offer detailed information about how to get around in Thailand for all main tourist destinations, like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, and Pattaya.

How far is Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai?

The distance from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is 115.6 miles or 186.1 kilometers.

Transportation Options from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

The following table outlines all transportation options from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai:

MethodTravel timePrice
Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai~ 4 hoursUSD 6-USD 9
Private Transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai3 hours 30 minutesUSD 106-USD 164
Rental Car3 hours 30 minutes

Getting to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

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1. Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Journey Duration: ~4 hours

Buses are the cheapest and most popular method of transportation between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The Green Bus, which departs from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3, is also the most practical!

There are two different bus types available. Green Bus operates both an express bus and a VIP bus. 

However, most travelers prefer what is known as the “VIP bus.” The VIP bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai costs USD 9 for a single journey. But if you want to go with the cheapest option available, you can choose the express bus, which costs only USD 6!

The journey to Chiang Rai takes almost 4 hours. The majority of the trip is through stunning mountainous regions with breathtaking views! The bus seats are very comfortable, and there is a lot of legroom.

Some buses provide you with a water bottle and a small snack.

You can get your bus ticket at the bus station, but if you’d like to make travel plans in advance, we strongly advise purchasing Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai bus tickets online!

Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai Bus Schedule:

  • 07:15 AM to 11:10 AM: Express Bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

Total price: USD 6

  • 02:00 PM to 05:55 PM: Express Bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

Total price: USD 6

  • 03:00 PM to 06:55 PM: Express Bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

Total price: USD 6

  • 09:00 AM to 12:20 PM: VIP Bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

Total price: USD 9

  • 10:00 AM to 01:20 PM: VIP Bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

Total price: USD 9

  • 04:00 PM to 07:20 PM: VIP Bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai

Total price: USD 9

2. Private Transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Journey Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

Getting a private transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is the second best alternative after taking the bus! Even though this is undoubtedly the quickest form of transportation, it is significantly more expensive than a bus ticket.

That’s why it’s only recommended for bigger groups of passengers traveling together or for those who want luxury and tons of luggage space.

The private transfer might be a simple standard car, SUV car, and even a VIP minivan! This way, you can also get a more luxurious vehicle that can carry up to 12 people.

You can be picked up from anywhere in Chiang Mai and be directly dropped off almost anywhere you require in Chiang Rai.

There are many vehicle options and companies to choose from, so check them out online and pick the one that fits your needs!

Prices for a private transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai:

  • 1-3 passengers: USD 106-USD 117
  • 1-4 passengers: USD 110-USD 153
  • 1-9 passengers: USD 152-USD 164

Bookaway

On Bookaway, you can check all available transportation options from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform for comparing prices & schedules and making a booking online.

Bookaway1
Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai

3. Driving with Rental Car from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Journey Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

And the last option to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is driving yourself! 

You can get a rental car if you want to drive between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Driving to Chiang Rai in a rented vehicle enables you to travel and explore at your own pace. And also, you will arrive much faster in just about 3 hours. 

With daily rates beginning at just USD 25, renting a car in Chiang Mai is also incredibly inexpensive. Additionally, this route makes getting from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai very convenient!

To rent a car from Chiang Mai, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork. And don’t forget to get ready for the ride waiting ahead!

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Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai

Best day tours in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to. It’s usually the first website I check when I plan a trip to a new place.

The following widget shows some of the best tours in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai

Frequently Asked Questions

Protect your trip: With all our travel experience, we highly recommend you hit the road with travel insurance. SafetyWing offers flexible & reliable Digital Nomads Travel Medical Insurance at just a third of the price of similar competitor plans.

How do I get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai?

The best and most common way to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai without a car is by bus, which takes around 4 hours.

Is there a train from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai?

There is no train service running between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

How long is the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

The bus ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai takes between three and four hours, depending on city traffic and the time you leave.

Is there Uber in Chiang Mai?

Yes, you can use the well-known mobile ride-sharing apps GRAB and UBER in Chiang Mai to call for taxi services at your convenience.

Does Chiang Rai have an airport?

The primary airport serving the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai is Mae Fah Luang – Chiang Rai International Airport.

How do I get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai the fastest?

A private transfer is the fastest method of transport to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. This trip takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.

What is the cheapest way to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai?

The cheapest way to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is by bus, which costs USD 6-USD 9.