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Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Z X
Miami, Florida
6 posts
1 review
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Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Hello

Very excited for my upcoming trip. For this part of my journey, I would like to travel from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. From my search so far, I think there is a bus that regularly departs to CM, and it's ~3hr trip. However, I still had a few questions.

Is Greenbus the only carrier? How often/how late does the Bus run (I would be leaving on a Friday)? I can't seem to figure out based on the schedule listed on their website. I would ideally like to enjoy the day then leave at the end for CM. (And at that - is that risky? I HAVE to be in in CM by the following morning). From my search thus far it appears that Bus is probably the best way to travel unless there is another way?

Thanks for the clarification!

Z X
Miami, Florida
6 posts
1 review
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1. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

The other thing I wanted to get some input was on my last day in CR (i.e. the day I leave CM). I will be out and about outside of CR most of the time, but want that last day to see the sights in CR (i.e. the white temple, and others). Would it be a good idea to hire a car/guide for a day to drive around to some of these sites, enjoy some local food, then hop on the bus back to Chiang Mai?

Thanks again!

Chiang Rai, Thailand
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2. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Hi ZX

Welcome to the Chiang Rai forum.

The White Temple is on the way to Chiang Mai, I would be tempted to hire a car/guide and get him to take you where you want to go and drop you in Chiang Mai afterwards. It might cost you another $60 but it will take the stress out of the day and save you a couple of hours.

Or you might like to consider hiring a self-drive car one way, driving to Chiang Mai is a doddle. North Wheels opposite Le Patta Hotel do one way rental, also you can book with an aggregator like www.FASTcarhire.co.uk who have a fleet rate and there is (used to be! probably still is) no surcharge for one way hire.

I would normally recommend a GPS Navigation unit too, but there is only one turn to make on the journey and it's well signposted (it's actually the White Temple).

Bruce

Z X
Miami, Florida
6 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Thanks for the quick reply - certainly appreciate it! When you say an extra $60 - I assume you mean USD, correct? I guess where might I be able to find a guide/car in general and even one that would take me to Chiang Mai?

You know I never thought about driving myself but that would be an interesting idea. I wonder how that drive is? It might be an epic road trip! I'm leaning away driving myself however tempting it sounds...

Chiang Rai, Thailand
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4. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Well... we do drive on the wrong side of the road here. I hired a car from North Wheels about 6 years ago, one way, Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. It's a fairly easy drive and we got to stop at an excitingly signed hot springs near Chiang Mai. Reality was a little different. Think concrete walled 15m circle bubbling with noxious water and sulphur fumes.

You can hire a guide/driver using the FAQ on the top right of this page FAQ - Finding a guide. Be sure to book well in advance. Yes, I meant US$, but it was just a guess. The bus is going to cost you about $20 for 2 people anyway and if you went directly to Chiang Mai from the White Temple, you will save at least an hour, probably 2.

Bruce

lewes uk
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5. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Hi,

Driving yourself is not a bad idea. I have done the CR - CM drive a few times, the last time I did it I stopped off at the White Temple and then did the turn off to Phrao, which is a lovely drive over the mountains until you descend into Phrao. From there the road south to CM is very good with much less traffic that the main 118 and you pass some nice lakes and reservoirs and drop into Chiang Mai through Mae Rim, a very pretty drive.

The main 118 is quicker but relatively dull driving.

Cheers

Z X
Miami, Florida
6 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Thanks for the helpful replies. A scenic drive definitely does sound like a good plan. I really do enjoy scenic drives and enjoy driving in of itself, but for some reason I'm a little more hesitant when it comes to this trip.

Just to keep my options open, does anyone have any of the details regarding the bus trips to Chiang Rai? Frequent/departure times/ how early do you need to buy a ticket? Etc.

Thanks again for your help it is very much appreciated

lewes uk
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10,151 posts
205 reviews
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7. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Hi,

Green Bus run the scheduled services. A class, X class and VIP buses, A class 144B, X class around 170B depending on seat choice, VIP 288B. They take 3-3.5 hours with mostly hourly departures from 7am until 6pm ish. Not all classes run every hour but there are about 20 departures a day.

VIP buses tend to sell out in busy times so book a couple of days before if possible. If you're flexible seats are usuall available in the day of travel for A&X class.

PS, driving in the north is pretty nice with good roads and light traffic, although in and out of CM and CR Is busier traffic wise.

Cheers

Brynmawr, United...
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601 posts
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8. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Sorry to jump on the thread but am very keen on the driving idea. When I get to CM how easy is it to find the drop off point for the car. Would it be possible to programme it into the sat nav.

Thanks

Kerrie

lewes uk
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9. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Hi,

Yes, pretty easy if you hire from the likes of north wheels or the majors. Most offer sat nav and most will pick up from your destination, ie hotel. North wheels office is rght by the moat slightly north of the Tha Phae Gate and the majors all have drop offs at the airport.

Cheers

Edited: 02 April 2014, 23:32
Australia
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10. Re: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Thanks for this thread. I've now decided we'll drive from CR to CM in December. It'll allow us to stop when we want with the kids and see things along the way. Really looking forward it!