The easiest way to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is by bus. It is a scenic bus journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai because the bus would meander through some beautiful natural scenery and hilly landscapes.
There are number of bus operators providing bus service which ply the route between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, with varying prices according to the degree of comfort, speed and number of stopovers.
The journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai takes about 3 to 3.5 hours for a route distance of about 200km. The bus fare for bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is in the range of 185 baht to 288 baht depending on bus type. Generally if you are taking lower class of bus, bus fare would be cheaper and the journey takes longer time to reach Chiang Rai.
Bus schedule is quite frequent with almost every 30 minutes departure from Chiang Mai's new Arcade Bus Terminal. Kindly note this frequent bus schedule partner is inclusive for all classes of bus.
For bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, most of the departures are from Chiang Mai's new Arcade Bus Terminal. If you happen to be going to the old Arcade Bus Terminal, please walk to the opposite new Arcade Bus Terminal to take bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.
There are two bus stations in Chiang Rai. The old bus terminal (Terminal 1) is located in the centre of Chiang Rai next to the Night Bazaar, whereas the new bus station (Terminal 2) is located at the outskirts of Chiang Rai city. Almost all buses going from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai would stop at both Chiang Rai bus stations. Hence, if you are going to the Chiang Rai town area, please stay on until the second stop at Chiang Rai old bus terminal (Terminal 1).
VIP bus has only few departures a day from Chiang Mai's new Arcade Bus Terminal. For those who only want to travel by VIP bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, kindly book the bus ticket in advance in BusOnlineTicket.co.th.