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Updated by Lavinia Woolf on Sep 23, 2016
Headline for Modes of Transport in Chiang Rai; Getting Around Chiang Rai
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Modes of Transport in Chiang Rai; Getting Around Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is the commercial hub that lies on the Golden Triangle border of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. As a tourist on vacation, here's what you need to know about getting around in the city.



The Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International Airport is situated about 8 kilometers away from the centre of Chiang Rai. Once you arrive at the airport, there will be a host of car rental services available for you to choose from. It will roughly cost you about 200 Baht to the city centre of Chiang Rai. You could take this taxi to your accommodation or you could ask the driver to help you find one depending on your budget. Pre-paid taxis are the best method of getting into the city as most of the meter taxis try to negotiate a fixed price instead of actually using their meter. Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Airways and Lion Air are the flights that come most often to Chiang Rai whereas China Eastern Airlines fly up to three direct flights a week back and forth from Kunming in China.


Bus – Terminal 1

There are two places where buses could be easily found in Chiang Rai known as the Old and New Bus Stations. The Old Bus Station which is also the Bus Terminal 1 is situated in the centre of the city. Various buses that come in from the towns in the Chiang Rai province will stop here. Greenbus services also operate here and stop for passengers. In case you are worried about the language, there are ample signs that are put up in English and the ticket buying process is quite simple.


Bus – Terminal 2

The Bus Terminal 2 or the New Bus Station is positioned towards the southern part of the city about 7 kilometres away from the centre. Greenbus services operate here as well although it is highly recommended that you book your tickets in advance, especially if it is the busy season or peak times. There are a wide range of bus types that starting with A Class buses which have no onboard services, to V Class buses which comes with a toilet and other onboard services. There is also a minibus service known as the "Songthaew" that links the two terminals. It will cost you about 15 Baht per head and takes about 15 minutes for the travel. The minibus service will only be available till about 5pm after which motorbikes, taxicabs and trishaws or tuktuks will be available.


Train and Car

There are no trains that run to Chiang Rai directly but the nearest train station, should you require one, is in Chiang Mai. You could also travel by car to Chiang Rai which lies about 820 kilometres due north of Bangkok. The city is conveniently reachable from Bangkok through Highway 1 and Highway 32. If you are inbound to the city from Chiang Mai, you could opt to travel along the Highway 118 which will get you to your destination easily. Along the way and in Chiang Rai, you will come across many accommodation options in the form of many a Lanna hotel and resort or even budget accommodation services that might suit your budget and requirement.


Chauffeur Driven Van

There are quite a few tour and transport companies that offer their services from some of the main cities to Chiang Rai. The Toyota Commuter van for example, can seat up to about 9 people and is the most commonly used option. Most business will offer a flat rate and any costs incurred for fuel will be charged separately. There are many accommodation options in the area including but not limited to resorts such as Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and many more.