Northern Thailand Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

Northern Thailand Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
Northern Thailand Popular Tour Route by Train, Bus, Car or Tour Mini Van and return by Plane. This trip is extensive and would take two weeks at a minimum to see all the most popular attractions.
Timetable
1 Bangkok Click on each destination number to display details of how to get there and the attractions for each location.
train
 
2 Ayutthaya 
train
 
3 Chiang Mai 
bus
 
4 Chiang Rai 
shuttle van
 
5 Golden Triangle(Sop Ruak)
shuttle van
 
6 Chiang Rai 
plane
 
7 Bangkok 
Select the number buttons above and scroll down for details on each destination.

northern thailand tour maps 100px thumbnail    See the Northern Thailand Tour map for routes.


To reach the Hualamphong (Bangkok) Train Station take a Tuk Tuk, Taxi or MRT train to Hualamphong station where the train station is around the corner from the nearby main road intersection. The Bangkok Transport Map has all the train routes.

 

 



Ayutthaya City Train Station

 

 

 
Take a tuk tuk or taxi from the train station to your accommodation. The city center is on the other side of the river.
Ayutthaya has many attractions and a minimum two day stop-over is recommended.
See Things To Do In Ayutthaya which has a list of all the major attractions and the river tour which ends in the evening at an outside dining food market where on the other side of the river is a magnificient view of Wat Banomyong.


 

Chiang Mai City Train Station

 

 


 
Chiang Mai is a major tourist destination with many attractions within the city and surrounding areas on day trips. Well worth spending at least two or three days of vacation time. See Things To Do in Chiang Mai for the many major attractions to visit and day tour destinations outside of the city limits. Getting around is best done in tuk tuks within the city and songthaew taxi trucks when visiting mountainous destinations such as Wat Doi Suthep.
After Chiang Mai you can use the bus services to reach Chiang Rai which is about 200 km north and takes 3 hours through scenic and winding roads. There are no trains or direct flights but taking one of the large air-conditioned VIP "Green Bus"  services makes it a pleasant journey. Ensure you have booked a ticket that does actually end up at terminal 1 city center of Chiang Rai. Click the "Timetable" button for service times and prices.
 

Chiang Rai City Bus Terminal 1

 

 


 
Ensure you remain on the bus when arriving at terminal 2 on the outskirts of Chiang Rai city because it will continue onwards into the city center to terminal 1. Other services from terminal 2 depart for the longer journeys to other provinces.
Chiang Rai city is smaller than Chiang Mai but also has many attractions within the city and is a good home base for day tours to the Golden Triangle, Mae Sai and Doi Tung Royal Villa. It is also home to the famous and very popular White Temple located a short drive by taxi from the city center. See Things to do in Chiang Rai and don't forget to visit the Night Bazaar which has two entertainment sections, souvenir and clothing shops, restaurants and a large open eating area.


Sop Ruak town

 

 


 
Sop Ruak is a small town on the banks of the Mekong River and is close to the borders of Thailand,  Laos and Myanmar which make up the "Golden Triangle". The larger town of Chiang Saen is a short drive south.
Visiting this area on a day tour from Chiang Rai is easy and best suited by using a local tour company or hiring a private taxi. In this way you can stop along the way to see other attractions. Bus services are available but you will need to time your visit well else get stuck and have to stay overnight or pay for an expensive taxi ride back. See Chiang Saen and Sop Ruak for photos and more details.
 

Chiang Rai Airport also known as Mah Fah Luang International Airport

 

 


After visiting all the attractions around Chiang Rai, the quickest and most comfortable way back to Bangkok is by plane. There are several airlines that fly to Bangkok and it only takes less than an hour and a half. Arrival is either at the local Don Mueang Bangkok airport or Suvarnabhumi International Airport located east of Bangkok city center, depending which airline is taken. Select the "Timetable" button for details on flights.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport Bangkok

 

 


 
Don Mueang local airport Bangkok

 

 


 
 

Train Services From Bangkok to Ayutthaya then Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai, or Bangkok straight through to Chiang Mai


Air-conditioned train services can be very cold and wearing warm clothing is recommended.
Don't get scammed by taxi truck operators when you arrive in the Chiang Mai train station building offering transport to the city center and hotels for hundreds of Baht.
See transport hubs in Bangkok. Prices are Adults as of late 2018.

Class 3 - Bogie with no airconditioning - only fan - bench seats
Class 2 - Bogie with no airconditioning - only fan - bucket seats
Class 2 - Diesal railcar with air-conditioning and meal (much higher prices)
Class 2 (109, 9, 13, 51) - night coach
Class 1 (9 & 13) - night coach - air conditioning (a/c)
Hualamphong (Bangkok) to Ayutthaya
TrainDepartArriveDurationClassPrice
303 04:20 05:48 1 hour  28 minutes 3 15฿
339 05:20 06:44 1 hour  24 minutes 3 15฿
21 05:45 06:58 1 hour  13 minutes  2 345฿
135 06:40 8:25 1 hour  45 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
111 07:00 08:37 1 hour  37 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
75 08:20 09:41 1 hour  21 minutes  2/3 245฿ / 165฿
7 08:30 09:47 1 hour  17 minutes  2 345฿
201 09:25 11:27 2 hours  2 minutes  2/3 35฿ / 15฿
71 10:05 11:24 1 hour  19 minutes  2/3 245฿ / 165฿
3 10:50 12:15 1 hour  25 minutes  2 345฿
209 11:20 13:04 1 hour  44 minutes 3 15฿
233 11:40 13:06 1 hour  26 minutes  3 15฿
211 12:55 14:31 1 hour  36 minutes 2/3 35฿
109 13:45 15:17 1 hour  32 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
207 14:05 15:57 1 hour  52 minutes  3 15฿
145 15:20 16:56 1 hour  36 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
301 16:30 18:32 2 hours  02 minutes  3 15฿
341 17:00 18:57 1 hour  57 minutes  3 15฿
317 17:25 19:12 1 hour  47 minutes  3 15฿
313 18:20 20:18 1 hour  58 minutes  3 15฿
77 18:35 20:03 1 hour  28 minutes  2/3 245฿ / 165฿
139 18:55 20:25 1 hour  30 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
107 20:10 21:43 1 hour  33 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
133 20:45 22:17 1 hour  32 minutes  3 45฿
105 21:00 22:22 1 hour  22 minutes  2/3 125฿ / 45฿
67 21:30 22:50 Seat and Night coach
1 hour  20 minutes
1/2 185฿ Seat 
51 22:00 23:55 Seat and Night Coach
1 hour  55 minutes
2/3 245฿S / 165฿S
141 22:45 00:16 1 hour  31 minutes  2/3 65฿ / 45฿
Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai
TrainDepartArriveDurationTypeClassPrice
7 09:48 19:30 9 hour  42 minutes  Express 2 616฿
109 15:19 04:05 12 hour  46 minutes  Seat
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
2/3
2
2
366฿ / 221฿
666฿
736฿
9 19:45 07:15 11 hour  30 minutes  Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Room
2
2
1
1
1
916฿
1016฿
1398฿
1598฿
2398฿
13 21:07 08:40 11 hour  33 minutes  Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Room
2
2
1
1
1
746฿
816฿
1198฿
1398฿
1898฿
51 23:36 12:10 12 hour  34 minutes  Seat
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Night Coach Upper a/c
Night Coach Lower a/c
2/3
2
2
2
2
516฿ / 261฿
536฿
606฿
726฿
796฿
Hualamphong (Bangkok) to Chiang Mai
TrainDepartArriveDurationTypeClassPrice
7 08:30 19:30 11 hours 0 minutes Express 2 641฿
109 13:45 04:05 14 hours 20 minutes Seat
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
2/3
2
2
391฿ / 231฿
691฿
761฿
9 18:10 07:15 13 hours 05 minutes Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Room
2
2
1
1
1
941฿
1041฿
1453฿
1653฿
2453฿
13 19:35 08:40 13 hours 05 minutes Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Room
2
2
1
1
1
771฿
841฿
1253฿
1453฿
1953฿
51 22:00 12:10 14 hours 10 minutes Seat
Night Coach Upper
Night Coach Lower
Night Coach Upper a/c
Night Coach Lower a/c
2/3
2
2
2
2
541฿ / 271฿
561฿
631฿
751฿
821฿

Bus services from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

The most comfortable way to travel between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is by airconditioned bus services. The largest service providor is GreenBus. There are no train services between these cities. 
Air-conditioned bus services can be very cold and wearing warm clothing is recommended. The jouney takes about 3 hours or more through scenic countryside.
Ensure the bus you book has a toilet, but this is usually always the case except for the very cheap bus services on low class services. Take some food and drink because there is no stopping except to pick up and drop off people along the way at small towns, and only the possibility of a light snack provided.
Take your passport with you in the coach in case the bus is stopped at a checkpoint. Also take some form of quiet entertainment as there is typically no Wi-Fi available.

Chiang Mai's new Arcade Bus Terminal 3 is directly opposite the old terminal. See transport hubs in Chiang Mai.

In Chiang Rai there is the newly built bus terminal (Terminal 1) located in the centre of Chiang Rai city near the Night Bazaar. It can be still referred to as the "old" station. The other bus station (Terminal 2) is also a modern new building located on the outskirts of Chiang Rai city. Most buses from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai will stop at Terminal 2 on the outskirts of Chiang Rai and then continue on to Terminal 1 into the city center. Terminal 1 in the city provides local and provincial transport services while the larger terminal 2 on the outskirts of the city is for long distance services and transfers. There is songthaew (taxi truck) or tuktuk transport available between the two stations. See transport hubs in Chiang Rai.

Prices are direct from GreenBus as of late 2018. Purchases can be on the day at the station for cash, or up to 30 days in advance. Call centre, website and Mobile app bookings at least 4 hours before departure and paid within 2 hours of booking.
Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai
BusDepartArriveDurationTypeClassPrice
GreenBus 07:15 10:50 3 hours 35 minutes  Express 1 166฿
GreenBus 08:15 11:25  3 hours 10 minutes  VIP   VIP 258฿ 
GreenBus 09:15 12:55  3 hours 40 minutes  Express  129฿ 
GreenBus 10:00 13:35  3 hours 35 minutes  Express  166฿ 
GreenBus 10:30 13:40  3 hours 10 minutes  VIP  VIP  258฿ 
GreenBus 11:00 14:35  3 hours 35 minutes  Express   1 166฿ 
GreenBus 12:15 15:25  3 hours 10 minutes VIP  VIP  258฿ 
GreenBus 12:30 16:10  3 hours 40 minutes  Express  129฿ 
GreenBus 13:00 16:10  3 hours 10 minutes  VIP  VIP  258฿ 
GreenBus 14:15 17:50  3 hours 35 minutes  Express  166฿ 
GreenBus 15:00 18:35  3 hours 35 minutes  Express  1 166฿ 
GreenBus 15:45 18:55  3 hours 10 minutes  VIP  VIP  258฿ 
GreenBus 17:00 20:35  3 hours 35 minutes  Express  1 166฿ 
GreenBus 17:30 21:10  3 hours 40 minutes  Express  129฿ 
GreenBus 18:00 21:10  3 hours 10 minutes  VIP  VIP  258฿ 
 

Flight Services from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

Flight services from Chiang Rai go to Don Mueang Domestic Airport north of Bangkok city or Suvarnabhummi International Airport east of Bangkok city.
Prices are of late 2018, one way, approximate and times can change. Chiang Rai Airport is also called Mae Fah Luang International Airport.
Chiang Rai (CEI) to Don Mueang (DMK) (Bangkok)
AirlineDepartArriveDurationClassAprox. Price
Nok Air 09:15 10:30 1 hour  15 minutes Lite  1600฿
Nok Air 13:45 15:25 1 hour  40 minutes Lite  1700฿
Nok Air 16:00 17:15 1 hour  15 minutes Lite  1700฿
Nok Air 18:45 20:00 1 hour  15 minutes Lite  1900฿
Nok Air 21:30 22:55 1 hour  15 minutes Lite  1700฿
Chiang Rai (CEI) to Don Mueang (DMK) (Bangkok)
AirlineDepartArriveDurationClassAprox. Price
Thai Air Asia 09:45 11:10 1 hour  25 minutes Low Fare  1900฿
Thai Air Asia 13:50 15:15 1 hour  25 minutes Low Fare  1900฿
Thai Air Asia 15:50 17:10 1 hour  20 minutes Low Fare  2100฿
Thai Air Asia 17:50 19:20 1 hour  30 minutes Low Fare  1700฿
Thai Air Asia 18:20 19:45 1 hour  25 minutes Low Fare  1900฿
Thai Air Asia 22:35 23:55 1 hour  20 minutes Low Fare  1500฿
Chiang Rai (CEI) to Don Mueang (DMK) (Bangkok)
AirlineDepartArriveDurationClassAprox. Price
Thai Lion Air 06:00  07:20  1 hour  20 minutes  Economy  1360฿ 
Thai Lion Air 07:20  8:45  1 hour  25 minutes  Economy  1360฿ 
Thai Lion Air 10:35  11:55  1 hour  20 minutes  Economy  1460฿ 
Thai Lion Air 19:25  20:50  1 hour  25 minutes  Economy  1660฿ 
Chiang Rai (CEI) to Suvarnabhumi (BKK) (Bangkok)
AirlineDepartArriveDurationClassAprox. Price
Thai Vietjet 08:25  9:50  1 hour  25 minutes  Eco  910฿ 
Thai Vietjet 15:50  17:15  1 hour  25 minutes  Eco  1050฿ 
Thai Vietjet 19:55  21:20  1 hour  25 minutes  Eco  1050฿ 
Chiang Rai (CEI) to Suvarnabhumi (BKK) (Bangkok)
AirlineDepartArriveDurationClassAprox. Price
Bangkok Air 9:45  11:15 1 hour  30 minutes  Web Promo  1590฿ 
Bangkok Air  16:20 17:50  1 hour  30 minutes  Web Promo  1990฿ 
Bangkok Air 20:40  22:10  1 hour  30 minutes  Web Promo  1590฿ 
Chiang Rai (CEI) to Suvarnabhumi (BKK) (Bangkok)
AirlineDepartArriveDurationClassAprox. Price
Thai Airways 10:45  12:15  1 hour  30 minutes   Smile Value  2800฿ 
Thai Airways 13:40  15:10  1 hour  30 minutes   Smile Value  2800฿ 
Thai Airways 17:55  19:25  1 hour  30 minutes   Smile Value  2980฿ 
Thai Airways 20:45  22:15  1 hour  30 minutes    Smile Value 2450฿