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Although smaller than Chiang Mai, which happens to be the largest city in Northern Thailand, Chiang Rai is still a bustling city with its fair share of traffic and honking horns. This city is also the last stop for visitors on their way to the Golden Triangle, the point on the map where the Thai border meets Myanmar and Laos.
There are no railways or flight routes between these two cities, so to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, you'll need to hit the road either by bus or driving yourself. You don't really need to book your ticket ahead of time unless you're traveling during one of the busy holiday times in Thailand, in which case you should buy your ticket at the station on the day before your departure. Buses leave every hour from Chiang Mai's Arcade Bus Station, in the northern part of the city, which is easy to reach via tuk-tuk. Depending on city traffic and what time you leave, the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai takes between three hours and four hours, 30 minutes.
When you arrive in Chiang Rai, your bus will stop at both of the city's bus stations: Terminal 1 in the north of the city and Terminal 2 in the south. If you want to proceed directly to the famous White Temple , stay on the bus until the second stop at the old station Terminal 1 in the center of town. Many bus lines run routes to Chiang Rai, but the most popular is Greenbus. At the station, you can purchase your ticket from an English-speaking attendant at the kiosk.
Buses to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai are air conditioned and fairly comfortable, with narrow overhead storage and room beneath the bus for larger luggage. Seats are ased at booking, so book together if you're traveling with someone else. If you can rent a car or are brave enough to travel by motorbike , the fastest way to get to Chiang Rai is to drive. The trip takes just a little more than three hours without traffic, but gridlocked ro , particularly during the high season, increase the time required for getting from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.
It's a straightforward route: Simply travel northeast on Highway and then switch to Highway 1, which you can follow all the way to Chiang Rai. Although, these superhighways are often crowded, so it's inadvisable to drive unless you have experience driving in Asia. October to February is considered Thailand's "cool" season, meaning temperatures are on the lower end of the spectrum for Thailand.
However, for most visitors, this is still pretty hot with average highs that fluctuate month to month between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit 21 and 32 degrees Celsius. It's also best to avoid visiting Northern Thailand between January and March, which is the region's "smoky season. Not only does the smoke obscure the views of Northern Thailand's natural landscapes , but it's also not very good for your health, especially if you have asthma or suffer from allergies.
This all-white building is one of the most unique temples in Thailand. Much younger than other temples—it was built in —it is actually a privately-owned art exhibit and the interior is decorated with pop culture references like Superman, Harry Potter, and Kung Fu Panda. One of the most iconic dishes of Northern Thailand, this coconut-based curry dish is served over soft egg noodles and topped with crispy ones.
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By Greg Rodgers. Greg Rodgers. Greg Rodgers is a freelance writer and photographer from Kentucky. He's been covering all things Asia for TripSavvy since TripSavvy's editorial guidelines. Fact checked by Jillian Dara. Emerson College. Jillian Dara is a freelance travel writer and fact checker. TripSavvy's fact-checking. Share Pin . Was this helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Tell us why! Your Privacy Rights. To change or withdraw your consent choices for TripSavvy. At any time, you can update your settings through the "EU Privacy" link at the bottom of any .
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