Chiang Mai Bus Station welcomes millions of passengers to the city every year from all over the Thailand. Most of the services from other nearby provinces serve the local public while tourist ‘VIP’ buses running from Bangkok (normally overnight) also prove popular.
Do note that there are two terminals (one new, one old) but both are right next to each other just off the main highway. It can be a bit confusing as to which terminal to use, but generally, the more luxurious companies will use the new terminal while the more ‘local’ (and slower) services occupy the old terminal (although this is not a strict rule).
Generally, a ticket on a ‘VIP’ bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai costs in the region of 500-700 baht and takes around seven hours. There are services through the day and night, and whatever time you arrive at the bus station there will always be somebody willing to take you into the city (10-15mins) for around 100-200 baht via tuk-tuk, taxi or songthaew.
While Chiang Mai Bus Station is technically located inside the city, most of the main attractions, hotels and the tourist epicentre of Tha Phae Gate are all the other side of the river, so don’t even think about trying to save yourself a few dollars by making the walk (unless you’ve booked into one of the few hotels which surround the bus arcade area.
If you’re coming from Bangkok, it’s normally possible to buy a ticket on the same day of travel – although it’s advised to book a few days in advance (and more if there is a national holiday coming up). The main terminal in Bangkok is at Mo Chit, and there is a whole host of public and private companies making the 700km journey, setting off from 05.30 in the morning to 22.30 at night (we recommend one of the later trips as you can normally get some sleep in the comfy reclining chairs).
Some of the main companies running to and from Chiang Mai Bus Station are Nakhonchair Air, Sombat Tour, Green Bus Thailand, Siam First Tour (they have massage chairs and inbuilt TVS!). Generally, these leave every hour.
Other popular destinations from Chiang Mai Bus Station across Thailand include Pai (3 hours), Lampang (1.5 hours), Chiang Rai (2.5 hours), Lampoon (1 hour) and Sukhothai (4 hours).
Find Chiang Mai Bus Station just off the main highway that runs around the city (on the eastern side). It is open 24 hours a day, every day.
Chiang Mai Provincial Arcade Transport Station
- Opening Hours: 24 hours a day, every day
- Tel: +66(0)94 746 4729