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How to get from Chiang Mai Airport to Chiang Rai

If you are travelling in north Thailand a visit to the city of Chiang Rai is an essential travel destination. Chiang Rai is on the Thai side of the golden triangle, made up of the borders of Myanmar and Laos. Here you will experience even more dramatic mountainous landscapes, stunning architecture made famous by the White Temple – Wat Rong Khun, and the opportunity to learn about the Lanna Kingdom and civilization that ruled the area centuries ago.

Chiang Rai is frequently visited by travellers who are either already in the city of Chiang Mai or directly from Chiang Mai airport. Chiang Rai is located 186 km northeast of Chiang Mai airport and there are two options to travel to this destination. The direct and most convenient option involves taking an airport taxi or private shuttle. The alternative option involves taking a bus, but you first have to travel to the Chiang Mai bus terminal in the city of Chiang Mai and then travel to Chiang Rai, increasing the travel time considerably.

Welcome Pickups offers meet and greet services and a friendly introduction to Chiang Mai at the same price as a regular taxi. Click here to see the cost.

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  • 20 minute gap between transfers

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Comparison of the options

PRICE FOR 2PASSENGERS
OPTION PRICE DURATION AVAILABILITY
Taxi €110 195min 24/7
Bus €15 270min 07:15–16:00

How to get from Chiang Mai Airport to Chiang Rai by taxi

Taking a taxi from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai is the only direct method of transport, making it the most convenient, rapid and hassle-free way of travelling to this destination. Taxis can calculate the cost of the journey using a taximeter, however, most taxis can offer a fixed rate fare, which in some cases may even be negotiated. The journey from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai by taxi should take about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

How much is the taxi fare from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai?

The cost of a taxi from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai should be approximately €110 (THB 4020) depending on the taxi company you take. It is recommended to discuss the cost before the start of the journey to avoid any misunderstandings that may occur when you arrive at your destination. For a guaranteed fixed rate fare with no hidden costs that you can arrange and pay for in advance, you can pre-book an airport taxi with Welcome Pickups.

Cost

€110

Trip Duration

3h 15mins

There are currently three taxi companies offering their services at Chiang Mai airport to choose from for your transfer.

Convenience
Safety
Value for money

Taxis at Chiang Mai airport are available 24/7.

Where do I get a taxi from?

The taxi desk at Chiang Mai airport is located after the baggage claim area by Exit 1 and there are three taxi companies that offer their services for transfers to the city. Alternatively, you can book your transfer in advance with Welcome Pickups and have your driver meet you as soon as you collect your baggage.

Convenience

Since taxis or private shuttles are the only direct methods of transport to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai airport, they are also the most convenient, and the fastest way to travel to this destination. The bus route option to Chiang Rai requires that you first travel to the Chiang Mai bus terminal which is in the city centre.

Editor’s Note

Due to the long duration of this journey, if you are planning to travel to Chiang Rai directly from Chiang Mai airport, we highly recommend that you arrange your taxi transfer in advance. This will allow you to avoid any time delays or queues that you may experience at the airport when acquiring your taxi.

Useful Tips

Due to the long travel time associated with this journey, you should also consider the time of the year that you decide to make this trip in order to minimise any travel risks. This trip could ideally be conducted during the drier months of the year, which are usually from November to February.
If you are paying a flat rate fare for this transfer make sure that the price has been discussed and agreed upon, with either the driver or the taxi operator, before the start of the journey.

How to get from Chiang Mai Airport to Chiang Rai by bus

There is no direct airport transport from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai by bus. In order to travel to Chiang Rai by bus, you first have to take Route R3 of the ‘Chiang Mai City Bus’ operated by RTC from the airport into the city of Chiang Mai. You then change buses at Waroros Market and take Route R1 of the same operator to the Chiang Mai Arcade bus terminal. The bus for Chiang Rai leaves from Chiang Mai Arcade bus terminal 2 or 3 and is operated by the Green Bus Company. They run three Express bus services (07:15, 14:00 and 15:00) and four VIP bus services (09:00, 10:00, 12:45 and 16:00) to Chiang Rai daily. The Express service is a little cheaper, takes 40 minutes longer and carries more passengers.

How much does it cost to travel from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai by bus?

The Chiang Mai City Bus route from Chiang Mai airport to the city centre costs €0.55 (THB 20) per trip.

The Green Bus Company ticket from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal to Chiang Rai will cost between €7 (THB 255) to €9.50 (THB 355) depending on whether you take the Express service or VIP service route, per passenger. So the total cost will come to a minimum of €7.50 (depending on the currency exchange) per traveller.

Cost

Approx. €7.50-10

Trip Duration

4h 30mins

Bus route R3 to the city costs €0.55 (THB 20) per trip and the Green bus service to Chiang Rai starts from €7 (THB 255)

Convenience
Safety
Value for money

The Chiang Mai bus route from the airport to the city runs every 25-30 minutes from 06:30 to 23:30 and the Green bus service runs 7 trips a day to Chiang Rai from 07:15 to 16:00.

Where do I get the bus from?

The Chiang Mai City Bus stop at the airport is located outside the arrivals hall as you leave the terminal from Exit 1.

The Green Bus Company bus route that will take you to Chiang Rai, leaves from the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal which is located in the northeast part of Chiang Mai city.

Convenience

Taking the bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai airport is an affordable transport option, however, it is not a direct service and involves taking two bus routes to get to the Chiang Mai Bus Terminal, where you will then take the Green Bus service to Chiang Rai. This in itself is somewhat inconvenient, especially for a long journey and also increases the total travel time to approximately 4h 30 mins, which does not include any waiting times that you may experience between the two bus services.

Editor’s Note

Passengers wishing to take the Green Bus Company service to Chiang Rai can book their tickets online and in advance, in order to guarantee a seat on their preferred service.

Useful Tips

The baggage allowance on the Green Bus service is one 20 kg bag plus a 7kg hand luggage per passenger.
The Green Bus service offers air conditioning, reclining seats and a toilet on board the bus.
All Green Bus Company services to Chiang Rai will make a stop to allow passengers a toilet and food break. The bus will specifically stop halfway through the journey, for about 30 minutes.

Frequently asked questions

How much is a taxi from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai?

A taxi from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai will cost about €110 (THB 4020) on average. For a guaranteed fixed rate fare with no hidden costs, book a Chiang Mai airport taxi with Welcome Pickups.

How far is Chiang Mai airport from Chiang Rai?

Chiang Mai airport is located 186 km away from Chiang Rai. The journey by taxi will take approximately 3h 15 minutes, depending on traffic and travel conditions.

What’s the best way to get from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai?

The best and most convenient way to get from Chiang Mai airport to Chiang Rai is by taxi or private shuttle. The alternative involves navigating a combination of three different bus services (two connections), adding to the total travel time significantly.

Pre-book online