Alternative Route From Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

When visiting northern Thailand there are places like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and their surroundings that you should not miss.

Both cities are the reference for any traveler who wants to know this part of the country, attracted by the history and architecture of the cities or the beauty of the natural landscapes around them. Without a doubt, travelling and exploring these two regions will allow you to get to know everything that is authentic about northern Thailand.

Although they are only separated by just over 3 hours by bus, with daily connections and very often, here we leave you an alternative route so you can go to both cities and discover in the itinerary authentic corners to enjoy a few days lost in northern Thailand, knowing places like Chiang Dao, Fang or Thaton to finish arriving in Chiang Rai by boat … and all this starting from Chiang Mai.

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Our route will have the following stages:


Being a little more than 80 km from the capital, Chiang Dao is ideal to make the first stop and enjoy getting to know the surroundings. In Chiang Dao you should not miss places like climbing Wat Tham Pha Plong, the impressive Chiang Dao Cave, know the reality of the ethnic groups that live in the area and their problems in Baan Tong Luang Eco – Agricultural Village or interested in knowing the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary.


After enjoying a few days in Chiang Dao, the next stage takes us to Fang, another of the most authentic corners of the region. In Fang we will be able to continue enjoying the mountainous landscapes of the region, to continue knowing more about the reality of the ethnic groups visiting the Huai Luk Royal Project, to relax in thermal waters like in the Fang Hot Spring inside the Natural Park Pha Hom Pok or to visit the Wat Tham Tap Tao with its reclining Buddha.


Our next stage will take us to Thaton from where after visiting places like Wat Ta Tahon we will rest before arriving at Chiang Rai enjoying the relaxation of this riverside town and multicultural.


The last stage until we reach Chiang Rai will be done by boat down the Kok River until we reach Chiang Rai. This descent will take us a few hours and in it we will enjoy beautiful landscapes, crossing different villages and especially the pleasure of sailing on the calm waters of the river Kok.

As you can see there is a much more authentic way to go from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.


Each section of the route is easy to connect by bus and will take you no more than 2 hours to complete. Once in each place the best way to move to know the surroundings will be by rented motorbike.
Try to be in each place at least 2 days to give you time to get to know them well. This route does not make sense if you do not have days.
The boat from Thaton to Chiang Rai is usually expensive and there are some for tourists only. Avoid these and travel in a boat where the local people go. These boats do not have a fixed schedule but they usually leave in the morning.

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How To Go From Chiang Mai To Chiang Rai

How To Go From Chiang Mai To Bangkok, North And South Thailand