Taking a bus to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is a safe, comfortable and less expensive alternative for traveling this route. To popular destinations, bus companies operate multiple trips per day, often round the clock at 30-60 minute intervals. To less traveled destinations, there may be only 1 scheduled trip a day. The most common bus types are non-air-conditioned, air-conditioned, and premium buses.
It is best to reserve your tickets at least a few days ahead of your travel date. Check our list of bus companies available for online booking offering Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai tickets. When traveling on weekends and holidays it is recommended to reserve tickets much earlier due to higher numbers of travelers, both vacation-makers and urban workers returning home to their provincial home.
Traveling by bus, the distance from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai depends on the route taken. Most bus companies travel via expressways or tollways. This may not necessarily be the shortest route but it is the fastest one as normally there is less traffic and no traffic lights.
To get to certain island destinations which are not connected to the mainland by a bridge, buses board large car ferries. Passengers are usually asked to get off the bus, but there is no need to take your luggage from the bus. The travel distance from port to port is added to the total distance.
The estimate travel time from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is about 3h 20m. Note that traveling by bus is slower compared to driving your own car or getting a taxi. Depending on the departure time congestion between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai may differ greatly There is usually more traffic between morning until afternoon during weekdays than during weekends.
Another important factor that may affect travel time is the type of bus. Premium or VIP buses are usually faster as they use motorways and call to fewer bus stations (if any) en route. Buses normally make short 10-30-minute breaks after a few hours of continuous travel to allow passengers use bathrooms, stock up on munchies and let bus attendants and the driver have rest.
Some premium buses have onboard toilets and the second driver. Nevertheless, usually they still make en route stops for a quick lunch or fuel refill.
The ticket price from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai can vary depending on the type of buses you choose. For a less expensive ticket consider non-air-conditioned or ordinary buses. Premium or luxury buses are more expensive but you can expect more comfort and some additional services like phone charging ports, personal entertainment system screens and toilets.
To help you plan your trip, here is the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai timetable of bus departure and arrival times.
Bus companies differ a lot in quality and service they provide. When choosing a bus company for you travels, do some basic research before you buy your tickets.
Safety is one of the most important aspects to consider. We also recommend you checking reviews on overall service quality of the bus companies serving this route.
Our service only partners with reliable and trustworthy bus companies. We do our best to provide your a choice of the best operators available on each route.