Chiang Rai has two bus stations, the New and Old Bus Station. To travel from one bus station to another, songthaews or minibuses are available and the journey takes around 15 minutes.
The New Bus Station or the Bus Terminal 2 is located south of Chiang Rai and buses from other parts of Thailand arrive at this bus station. The Old Bus Station or Bus Terminal 1 is located in the city centre and buses to Chiang Mai, Mae Sai and Phayao depart from this bus terminal.
Hourly buses to Chiang Khong, which is located on the Laos border, depart from Bus Terminal 1 and the journey takes around three hours. The information on the boards is in English for the convenience of tourists.
Inside the main terminal building is an information desk with all the routes, departure times and prices. There are different types of buses available; regular, air-conditioned and VIP air-conditioned with luxury reclining seats.
Fare is to be paid to the Ticket Collector after boarding the bus.
Two good bus services in Thailand are the 32-seater VIPs and the 24-seater Special bus from the Morchit Station. From Bangkok to Chiang Rai, the 24-seater charges 904 Baht for the 801 km to Chiang Rai and this takes about 11 hours.
The 32-seater to Mae Sai charges 806 Baht and takes twelve and a half hours. Other 40-seater, 50-seater and 55-seater bus services available charge a minimum of 452 Baht.
One can reach Chiang Rai by taking Highway 1 and Highway 32. A popular option is to avail car rentals provided by companies like Avis. From Chiang Mai, one should take Highway118 to reach Chiang Rai.