As one of the north's major tourist destination, Chiang Rai is quite easy to get to. The city is even being promoted as something of a hub. Whether it's planes or buses, you have several travel times a day to choose from to get from Bangkok to Chiang Rai.
Chiang Rai's international airport is mainly served by Thai Airways, although it's also the prime target of many of the budget airlines now entering the market.
- Thai Airways
- The national flag carrier flies to and from Chiang Mai more or less hourly. Onward and return flights for Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai also fly out of Chiang Mai. Thai's web site allows you to view schedules and seat availability.
- Air Asia
- The Malaysian budget carrier is now flying domestic routes in Thailand, including Chiang Mai. If you book on-line well in advance, you can get some really low fares.
Thailand has an extensive network of inter-city buses. Bus service is available in two classes. Second class is not air conditioned, while first class services have air conditioning, and often much more. A few of the longer routes, such as Bangkok to Chiang Rai, even have a sort of super-first class service with fully reclining seats and other amenities. Bus service is generally inexpensive, but be sure to watch the bags unloaded at intermediate stops, as theft is rather common. Buses for Chiang Rai leave from Bangkok's Mor Chit bus station in Chatuchak.
You can also get a bus to Chiang Rai from most nearby provinces, such as Chiang Mai. Note that the larger VIP buses use the new bus terminal about five kilometers south of town and not the old terminal near the night bazaar. This terminal is used mostly for small buses to nearby towns.