How to Easily Travel from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

Chiang Rai is my favourite city in Northern Thailand, but it’s very far away from Bangkok. That begs the question what is the best way to travel from Chiang Rai to Bangkok?

The two cities are also 800km apart, so it isn’t as easy as travelling between two cities in the same region (like between Chiang Mai and Pai).

There are two ways you can travel from Chiang Mai to Bangkok: flying or taking the bus. Even though it’s more expensive, flying is the best way to travel to Bangkok from Chiang Rai. It’s way quicker and more reliable.

But just because I think flying is the best way to travel to Bangkok doesn’t mean you will. This post will break down the pros and cons of both flying and taking the bus to Bangkok.

You’ll have all the information you need to decide what the best way to travel from Chiang Rai to Bangkok is for you and your travel needs.

But for me, it’s 100% flying. Taking the bus isn’t worth the time and potential delays. I’ll spend a little extra money and fly to Bangkok.

Taking the Bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

The first method we’ll talk about is taking the bus to Bangkok. It’s first on the list mainly because there is a lot more information you need to know compared to flying.

Buddha in the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

How Long Does the Bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok Take?

The bus to Bangkok from Chiang Rai takes about 12.5 hours.

Yup. It takes more than half a day to travel to Bangkok by bus from Chiang Rai. That’s a lot of time being stuck on a bus that may or may not have a bathroom.

Buses are often delayed because of traffic or longer than scheduled stops. Especially very long bus rides. Your 12.5 hour bus ride may stretch to be closer to 14 hours when it’s all said and done.

It isn’t guaranteed that your bus ride will be longer than 12.5 hours, but I wouldn’t make any plans for the first few hours you’re supposed to be in Bangkok just in case it is delayed.

The worst part is that it’s an overnight bus, so you have to try to get some sleep on the bus.

Luckily, buses in Asia have very large and comfortable seats. It’s easier to fall asleep on the buses in Asia than the buses in Europe, but it still won’t be a very comfortable sleep.

How Much Does the Bus Cost?

The price of a bus ticket varies, but you can expect to pay between 700 Baht and 900 Baht for your bus ticket to Bangkok from Chiang Rai. That’s approximately $19 USD to $23 USD.

That’s a pretty decent price for a 12.5 hour bus ride. It’s definitely less expensive than a flight to Bangkok is, so it’s a good option for people on a very tight budget.

Do You Need to Purchase Bus Tickets in Advance?

Yes! You absolutely do need to purchase your bus ticket from Chiang Ria to Bangkok in advance.

A lot of the blogs I read before my first trip to Thailand said that you didn’t need to book your tickets in advance. That you could just show up at the bus station the day of your departure and get a ticket for the next bus.

I discovered that was very outdated information when I tried to take the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and had to wait 4 hours to get on a bus because everything was sold out.

Now I recommend to everybody that they purchase their bus tickets for travel within Thailand in advance.

This is especially important for trips that don’t have many departures each day (like the bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok). You don’t want to show up at the station to buy a ticket to learn that all the buses for that day are sold out and that you have to try again tomorrow.

That’s a headache if you’ve already planned on being in Bangkok the next morning and have a hotel booked in Bangkok.

Temple in Bangkok

Where to Buy Tickets in Advance

There are two places you can buy tickets in advance: online or at the bus station.

Normally I recommend that people buy their tickets online in advance through 12Go (the most reputable bus ticket seller in Southeast Asia) because it isn’t worth the hassle going to the station to purchase tickets in advance.

My advice when it comes to travelling from Chiang Rai to Bangkok is a bit different.

The bus station in Chiang Rai is super central. Most tourists stay within a 5 minute walk of the bus station, and you’ll need to go to the bus station to get to the White Temple.

Since the bus station is so close to where most tourists stay, it’s easy to purchase your bus ticket at the station either when you arrive in Chiang Rai or a few days before your journey to Bangkok

If you’re not staying within walking distance of the bus station, then it’s probably in your best interest to purchase your ticket online in advance. It’s way more convenient.

Learning Buddha Bangkok

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Chiang Rai?

The bus departs from Chiang Rai Bus Terminal.

It’s right in the heart of the city and is likely walking distance to your hotel. It’s a super convenient location and easy to get to!

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Bangkok?

The bus arrives at either Nakhonchaiair Station or Mochit Station.

From there, you’ll likely use Grab or a bus to get to wherever you’re staying.

Staying Entertained on Your Long Bus Ride

12.5 hours on a bus is a long time. You need a plan on how you’re going to entertain yourself.

I highly, highly recommend you install an esim on your phone. I think esims are way better than getting a physical sim at the airport. You can install it ahead of time, avoid long lines to get your a physical sim, and you keep using your home number while you use your esim.

You’ll be able to scroll the internet and stay entertained while on the bus. 12 hours may not sound like a long time, but I’ve been on bus rides that are 12 hours, and you get very restless the last few hours.

I also want to remind you that you need to install a VPN on your phone to stay safe while using the internet when you travel. Public wifi networks put you at high risk of having your online information stolen, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of cancelling bank cards just because you were careless and someone looked at and stole your private information. Trust me. I know from experience.

So, install an esim and get yourself a VPN.

Also make sure that your chargers are handy, your wireless earbuds are charged, and that you pre-download an audiobook or have a book (or two) to read if you’re a reader.

Flying from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

I think flying is the best way to travel to Bangkok from Chiang Rai. It is a bit more expensive, but it’s so much more convenient.

The flight from Chiang Rai to Bangkok takes less than 1.5 hours and is a direct flight.

There are normally 5 departures a day and cost on average $60 USD. Of course, flight prices vary a lot, so you could pay more or pay less. Flights tend to be less expensive the further in advance you book them so book as early as your travel plans allow it.

The flights to Bangkok from Chiang Rai are about three times as expensive as the bus, but they’re also way quicker. Even when you factor in travel time to the airport, being at the airport early, flying time, deplaning, and getting to your hotel in Bangkok, it’s still way quicker to fly than take the bus.

White Temple, Chiang Rai


I like to overland when I can. I much prefer the bus to flying, but there are times when even I choose to fly over taking the bus or train.

Travelling from Chiang Rai to Bangkok is one of those times.

Convenience outweighs cost in this situation for me.

Thailand is a way bigger country than a lot of people realize. I personally like to take the bus within different regions of Thailand (like taking the bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin in Central Thailand) and fly to different regions in Thailand (like flying from Bangkok in Central Thailand to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand).

It just makes travel within Thailand so much easier.

So, I recommend flying from Chiang Rai to Bangkok. You only have so much time in Thailand, and you don’t really want to be spending the better part of a day on a bus if you can fly.

How to Easily Travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are located in Northern Thailand and are two of my favourite cities in the country. Luckily, it’s super easy to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai!

The easiest way to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is by taking the bus. You can also take a private transfer, go on a day tour, or fly to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai. Although I don’t recommend flying. The two cities are very close, and taking the bus is more convenient (and less expensive) than flying.

Since it is so easy to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by bus, that’s what most people do. We’ll talk about it more later, but there are tons of buses each day that run between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. They’re quite busy, so you need to book your bus ticket in advance.

I’ll explain how to get your bus ticket in detail in the section talking about taking the bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai, but I wanted to mention it up front as well just in case you don’t make it to that section of the post.

Chiang Rai is famous for it’s stunning temples. The White Temple is the most popular, but you also need to visit the Blue Temple.

I know there isn’t tons of things to do in Chiang Rai, but it’s 100% worth a visit. Especially since it’s so easy to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.

No trip to northern Thailand is complete without stopping in Chiang Rai, so let’s go over how to get there from Chiang Mai!

Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple

Travelling from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai by Bus

As I mentioned earlier, I think taking the bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai is the best way to travel between the two cities.

It’s quick, has many departures per day, and is comfortable. I don’t know why, but the seats on buses in Asia are so large and comfortable. They’re way better than taking the bus in Europe, North America, or South America.

top tip

Installing an esim on your phone is a way easier way to get reliable internet access compared to buying a local sim in Thailand.

How Long Does the Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai Take?

The two cities are 186km apart, and it takes between 3.5 and 4 hours for the bus to travel between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

It just depends on how busy the traffic is and the stops along the way. Most of the time the trip is closer to 3.5 hours than it is to 4 hours.

How Much Does the Bus Cost?

The cost of a bus ticket varies based on a number of different criteria.

There are three different buses that run between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (all operated by the same company). They are: Greenbus, Greenbus Express, and Greenbus VIP. The Greenbus is the least expensive, followed by Greenbus Express, and Greenbus VIP is the most expensive.

It doesn’t really matter what bus you choose to take. They’re not that different so grab whatever one suits your time schedule the best.

The price also depends on where on the bus you sit. The first two rows of each bus are more expensive than the other seats. I think they’re more spacious, but I don’t think it’s worth paying more for a front seat unless you have motion sickness issues.

You can expect to pay between 250 Bhat and 450 Bhat for your bus ticket to Chiang Rai. That’s approximately $7USD to $13 USD.

Silver Temple, Chiang Mai

Do You Need to Purchase Bus Tickets in Advance?

When I was figuring out how to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, every blog I read said you can just show up at the bus station the day you want to travel and get a ticket for the next bus.

That was very, very wrong information. There are a lot of people who travel between these two cities- both tourists and locals-, and the buses are busy. I showed up at 8am hoping to get on the 8:45am bus, but the first bus that had available seats was for 1:45! I got one of the last tickets, and there was a long line of people waiting behind me to get tickets.

You absolutely should purchase your tickets in advance for the bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai. Especially if you’re only visiting Chiang Rai for one day and need to arrive at a certain time to see everything you want in the city.

top tip

Install a VPN on your phone to keep your private online information safe and secure

Where to Buy Tickets in Advance

Now that you know you need to purchase tickets in advance, you need to know where to purchase those tickets.

There are two ways you can purchase your bus tickets in advance: at the bus station or online through a third-party provider.

Purchasing tickets at the bus station is pretty straight forward. You just go to the bus station a day or two before you want to travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and purchase your ticket.

The downside to this is that the bus station isn’t walkable from the core part of Chiang Mai where all the tourists hang out. You’ll have to take a Grab to get there and back. Not only does that add to the price of the ticket, but it also eats into the time you have to explore Chiang Mai.

Purchasing tickets online through a third-party provider is easier but a little more expensive. Since you’re purchasing through a third-party provider, there is a bit of a mark up on the price of tickets.

But, in my opinion, purchasing tickets online is worth the small additional price for the convenience. Plus when you add in the cost of a Grab and the time it takes to get to and from the bus station to purchase tickets, it’s probably cheaper to purchase them through a third-party provider.

The most reliable third-party bus ticket provider in Southeast Asia is 12go. They’re honestly the only third-party company I trust to purchase bus or train tickets in Southeast Asia. They’re reputable and reliable. I’ve never had any issue using them.

Purchase Bus Tickets

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Chiang Mai?

The bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai departs from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3.

You’ll have to take a Grab to the bus terminal, and it takes between 10 and 20 minutes to get to the station depending on where you’re staying in Chiang Mai.

The importance of gap year travel insurance

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Chiang Rai?

The bus from arrives at the Chiang Rai Bus Terminal.

It’s right in the heart of Chiang Rai. You’ll likely be able to walk to your hotel in less than 10 minutes if you’re staying in the main touristy area and not across the river. You should definitely stay within walking distance of the bus station in Chiang Rai. It’s close to the night market and amazing restaurants.

Statue of Three Gods in Chiang Mai

Taking a Private Transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Getting a private transfer to Chiang Rai isn’t the best option for everybody, but it can be a good option for larger groups or people on a time crunch.

You can select your pick up time, and a driver will arrive at your hotel and drive you directly to your hotel in Chiang Rai.

The selling feature for private transfers is you can customize your trip. If there is a place you want to stop and explore between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, you can arrange with your driver to stop there.

It gives you the ability to see more of Thailand than you would if you took the public bus.

I think a private transfer is best for three types of people:

  • Someone who isn’t on a strict budget (we love convenience!)
  • People with mobility issues or need to get out and stretch along the way
  • People who want to stop and see something between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

If you’re able to split the cost three or more ways, then it doesn’t feel too expensive and can be within most people’s budgets.

A private transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is definitely more expensive than taking the bus, but I know a lot of people are willing to pay more for the convenience of getting picked up and dropped off at their hotel.

I took my parents to Vietnam for a month, and they loved the convenience of taking private transfers between cities rather than the public bus. It’s hard to say no to convenience someitmes!

Book Private Transfer

Taking a Guided Tour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Booking a guided tour to Chiang Rai is the best way to see Chiang Rai if you only have a day to see the area.

Not only do you get to visit Chiang Rai and it’s famous temples, but you also get to explore parts of Chiang Rai province that are harder to get to with public transportation. You’d need to rent a scooter to get to some of the places the tour takes you.

The guided tour to Chiang Rai packs a punch, and it’s a long tour. You leave at 7am and get back to Chiang Mai around 9pm. You’ll be tired by the end of it, but it’s well worth it. I don’t think you should go to northern Thailand and not see Chiang Rai.

The guided tour takes you to six different attractions:

  • Hot Springs
  • White Temple
  • Black House Museum or Mei Sai city
  • Golden Triangle by boat
  • Karen Hill Tribe
White Temple, Chiang Rai

It’s impressive that they can pack so much into one day. You won’t get to spend tons of time at each location, but you’ll be able to get a taste of them. Seeing them is better than not seeing them.

I do think that spending a couple days in Chiang Rai is worthwhile, but I know not everybody has that type of time in their Thailand itinerary. If you only have time for a day trip to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai, it’s still worth it in my opinion.

Book Guided Tour

Flying from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have airports. You could fly from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, but I don’t recommend it.

It’s not the best use of your time or money.

It’s way more expensive than the bus and likely a similar price to a private transfer. Flying is time consuming, and there are rarely direct flights between the two cities. You normally have to fly to Bangkok then transfer to another flight to Chiang Rai.

It’s a headache that isn’t worth it so don’t fly to Chiang Rai. Take an overland method!

Driving from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

Your final option is to drive to Chiang Rai.

I don’t recommend this option for tourists.

Driving in Thailand (or anywhere in Southeast Asia) isn’t easy. You have to know the local, unwritten rules of the road, and tourists don’t.

I truly believe that tourists driving make the roads more dangerous in Southeast Asia. I don’t recommend it unless you’ve spent a lot of time in the region, are very familiar with the local driving rules, and hopefully have had some sort of instruction on driving in the region.

So, while you can drive to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai, I don’t recommend it. It’s better to take any other option on this list.

Safetywing vs World Nomads

Temple in Chiang Mai


I hope this article helped you figure out the best way to travel to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai.

There are lots of different ways to travel between the two cities. It’s up to you to figure out the best way based on your budget, travel needs, and how much time you have to explore Chiang Rai.

I personally like taking the bus, but I know a lot of people opt for a private transfer because of the convenience and relatively affordable price.

If you only have one day to explore Chiang Rai, taking a guided tour is your best option. You’ll see more and have a more relaxing time than trying to put together a day trip by yourself.

No matter how you choose to get to Chiang Rai, it’s well worth it. I loved Chiang Rai. It’s a beautiful and unique city. I don’t know anybody who has visited Chiang Rai who hasn’t loved it.

Tourist’s Guide to the Blue Temple Chiang Rai

If you’re going all the way north to Chiang Rai, you’re probably going to visit the famous White Temple. It’s absolutely worth the visit, but there is a lesser known and equally beautiful temple you also need to check out. The Blue Temple Chiang Rai is worth spending an extra day in Chiang Rai to visit.

Trust me. You’ll regret not seeing it.

The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai is actually called Wat Rong Suea Ten, but I’ll keep referring to it as the Blue Temple Chiang Rai. That’s what it’s colloquially known as.

Plus it’s easier to remember, and everybody in Chiang Rai knows exactly what you’re talking about if you ask about it.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Blue Temple Chiang Rai, so you can plan the perfect trip to see it.

Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

History of the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Suea Ten is also known as the Temple of Dancing Tigers. It’s called this because the story goes that there was an ancient temple where the Blue Temple Chiang Rai now stands.

It’s said that when the ancient temple still stood, tigers freely roamed around the temple and protected it. The ancient temple was abandoned over a century ago.

The Blue Temple in Chiang Rai is surprisingly young. Construction began in 2005 and was finished in 2008. I had no idea that the temple was so young when I visited it and only learned that after I left.

The temple was designed by Putha Kabkaew who was a student of the artist and designer of the White Temple also located in Chiang Rai. Again, I didn’t know that when I visited, but I did feel that the two temples felt a little similar even though I couldn’t put my finger on why. The main temple has a similar shape as the main temple of the White Temple.

Blue was chosen as the colour for the temple because in Thai culture blue is the colour of healing.

Top tip

Installing an esim on your phone is a lot more convenient than getting a local sim when you arrive in Thailand.

How to Get to the Blue Temple Chiang Rai

Most tourists who visit Chiang Rai stay near the bus station and night market. It’s the most central area of Chiang Rai and where most of the hotels are.

The Blue Temple is located on the other side of the river from the bus station and main tourist area.


You can walk from the bus station area to the Blue Temple. That’s what I did. It takes about 45 minutes. You have to walk on some unpaved sidewalks and down into an underpass to find a staircase to cross the bridge.

It took me a while to figure out how to cross the bridge and thought I might have to give up and call a car to take me, but there is a staircase even though you can’t see it when you first walk up to the bridge.

Even though I walked to the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, I don’t recommend it. It was hot and a much longer walk than I anticipated. There also wasn’t any shade covering.

Luckily, there are other easier ways to get to the Blue Temple.

Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple Chiang Rai

Tuk Tuk

The first is to take a Tuk Tuk. They’re all over Chiang Rai, and your hotel could even arrange one for you. There are also lots of Tuk Tuks waiting in the Blue Temple parking lot waiting to bring tourists back to their hotel.

If you want to take a Tuk Tuk, just be sure to negotiate a price before you get in. Otherwise there is a chance that you’ll be overcharged and end up paying way more than you thought. And once you’ve already arrived at your destination, it’s pretty hard to get the price lowered.


The next option is to take a Grab. Grab is the Southeast Asian equivalent of Uber, and I rely on it a lot when in Southeast Asia. You have to download the app and input your credit card information while you’re in your home country. If you try to add a foreign credit card while already in Thailand, it won’t work.

Once you have the app downloaded, you use it just like you would Uber. A car or bike will come pick you up and drive you to the Blue Temple. It’s super affordable, and I recommend everybody going to Southeast Asia get the Grab app before their trip.

The importance of gap year travel insurance


The final way to travel to the Blue Temple Chiang Rai is by Songthaew.

Songthaew is a form of shared taxi in Thailand. They’re big trucks with a covered back, and you sit on benches in the back. They’re very common in Thailand and one of the most affordable ways to get around.

The downside of using Songthaew is that they don’t always run on a set schedule. Drivers tend to wait until there are enough people wanting a ride to make it worth the money.

If you’re visiting the White Temple, they run every 10 or so minutes, so you never have to wait long, but that isn’t always the case with the Blue Temple.

A Songthaew left about five minutes before I was ready to go. I waited for about half an hour for another one to show up but none did. So I walked home. I’m weirdly stubborn about walking if I can. About 10 minutes into walking, a Songthaew drove past me. I assume it was coming from the Blue Temple.

Just like with a Tuk Tuk, if you take a Songthaew, be sure to ask the price before you get in. I’ve never had a driver tell me the price, and I’ve always had to ask.

Songthaew are very affordable, so they won’t break the bank.

In Chiang Rai, they typically drop the tourists off at the bus station. If there is somewhere else you specifically want to go, you have to ask the driver before getting in.

Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple

Cost of Visiting the Blue Temple Chiang Ria

The Blue Temple is first and foremost a temple for the locals. It was built for the locals because there were no other temples in the area, and it’s primarily used by the locals.

It isn’t a tourist destination like the White Temple. Tourists just happen to visit it.

Since it was built for and used by the locals for their religious practices, there is no costs to visit the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai. Even if you’re just visiting it as a tourist and not using it for religious reasons, there is no fee to enter.

This is a nice change to a lot of the popular temple tourists visit in Thailand that often have entrance fees.

Hours of Operation

Now that you know how to get to the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai and that there is no fee for visiting, I’m sure you’re wondering when you can visit this beautiful temple.

The Blue Temple is open every day from 7am to 8pm.

It gets pretty crowded in the late morning until the early evening. If you want to avoid the crowds, be at the temple as close to 7am as possible.

I got there around 11am, and it was pretty busy especially inside the main temple. It was hard to get good pictures without a ton of people in the frame. I often had to stand around for five or so minutes to get a quick picture without people in it.

The Importance of Being Respectful

I mentioned earlier that the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai is primarily used by the locals. You should be respectful at every temple you visit in Thailand, but I think it’s even more important when you’re visiting a local temple and not a super touristy temple.

No Shoes

This means taking off your shoes before you go inside. There are lots of places to store your shoes on the outside of the temple. There are lots of signs reminding you to take off your shoes before you go inside, and you’ll remember when you see everybody else doing it.

If you’re like me and have a weird thing about not having your bare feet touch the floor, be sure to store an extra pair of socks in your purse or bag just in case you’re wearing sandals when you visit a temple.

Picture Etiquette

The Blue Temple like most temples in Thailand is a Buddhist temple. It’s often considered rude to take pictures of Buddha, but there aren’t signs in the Blue Temple telling you not to take pictures.

Almost everybody is taking pictures of the Buddha in the main temple, so you shouldn’t have any issues if you want to take a pictures.

That being said, if someone asks you not to take pictures of the Buddha or if signs appear in the future saying no pictures of the Buddha, it’s important you respect those signs.

Along the same lines, please don’t take pictures of people praying or of random people. It’s just rude. Nobody consented to you taking their picture.

People end up in the background of photos all the time. That’s not the issue. It’s rude when you make someone who hasn’t consented to being in your photo the primary focus of your photo. Tourists need to stop doing that.

Buddha in the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

Dress Appropriately

There are rules on how you must be dressed to enter a temple in Thailand and normally there is someone watching people who enter and stopping people who don’t meet the dress code.

You have to have your shoulders and knees covered to enter the temple.

A lot of tourists don’t realize this when they plan their trip to Thailand and only pack shorts and tank tops. That’s why you see so many tourists wearing those elephant pants with a shawl over their shoulders inside temples.

There aren’t really any clothing stores or stands near the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai, so you can’t quickly go out and buy something if you don’t meet the dress code.

So make sure you’re wearing the right clothing or have extra clothing packed before you leave to visit the Blue Temple.

Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed and not be able to visit the temple.

Hushed Voices

The final reminded is to keep your voice hushed if you’re talking to someone else. The Blue Temple is a religious place, and it’s respectful to keep your voice down and whisper if you’re going to talk inside the temple.

Can I Visit the White Temple and Blue Temple on the Same Day?

Technically, it’s possible to visit both temples on the same day, but I don’t recommend it. You’ll be rushed and tired. But if you only have one full day in Chiang Rai and want to visit both temples, it is possible.

The easiest way to visit both temples in the same day is by using Grab. You don’t have to rely on the timing of public transportation and can move at your own pace. It is going to be the most expensive way to see both temples though.

The next best option is taking the 8:10am bus from the bus station to the White Temple. The White Temple opens at 8am, and you’ll arrive around 8:30.

Arriving this early also means there won’t be many other tourists, and you’ll get some amazing pictures!

After you’re done at the White Temple, take the bus or Songthaew back to the bus station. From there, take a different Songthaew or Tuk Tuk to the Blue Temple.

Your Songthaew driver from the White Temple probably won’t drive you all the way to the Blue Temple, but you can ask. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

I recommend people allot at least four hours to visit the White Temple. This includes the time to get to and from the bus station to the White Temple and visiting the temple.

This is the minimum amount of time. You can easily spend an entire day at the White Temple it’s such a huge complex with so many things to see and do.

I recommend people allot about two hours to visit the Blue Temple including the time it takes to get to and from the bus station.

So, while it is possible to visit both temples in a day, you’ll be tired at the end of the day and won’t be able to see much else of Chiang Rai.

There aren’t a ton of other tourist things to do in Chiang Rai, but it is nice to not be rushed.

Tips for travelling alone for the first time

The Perfect Amount of Time in Chiang Rai

I think a day and a half is the perfect amount of time to spend in Chiang Rai. Most people come to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai by bus.

Catch a morning bus and be in Chiang Rai by noon. The day you arrive, you can visit the Blue Temple and the next day you can visit the White Temple.

The only tricky part about this is that a lot of people travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai every day.

When I travelled between the two cities, every blog post I read said that you could just show up at the bus station and easily get on a bus to Chiang Rai. That’s not the case anymore.

I got to the bus station at 8:30 hoping to get on a bus that left just after 9am, but the first bus that had an empty seat left at 1pm.

The only way your 1.5 days in Chiang Rai plan is going to work is if you buy your bus ticket in advance and don’t rely on just showing up at the bus station.

Learn from my mistakes!

Blue Temple Chiang Rai

The Importance of Internet Safety

You rely on public wifi when you travel. Even if you have an esim on your phone, which I highly recommend, you at least rely on the hotel’s wifi when you’re there to save your data for when you don’t have access to wifi.

Using publici wifi, especially when travelling, puts you at high risk of having your personal and private online information stolen. Even if you use a wifi network with a password, anybody who knows that password can use it, and it isn’t very secure.

Trust me when I say you don’t want to have your banking information stolen while you’re abroad and have to deal with the headache of cancelling your bank cards while trying to enjoy your relaxing vacation.

It’s a nightmare I wish on no one!

The only way you can protect yourself while using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to access your online information and steal it.

A VPN makes using public wifi networks just as safe as using your home wifi network where you’re the only person who knows the password. It is one of the simplest ways you can stay safe while travelling.

I always say that if you can afford travel, you can afford to protect your online information.


My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel and hated most of them. VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed. I would get frustrated at how slow my internet was and then would turn off my VPN and put myself at risk.

That all changed when I started using NordVPN. It is consistently ranked the fastest VPN on the market, and that’s why I love it so much. I never notice a slow down in my internet speed.

I use my phone a lot when I travel, and I’ve never been tempted to turn off my NordVPN because of internet lagging.

It even works perfectly with my esim.

I’ve been using NordVPN for over 5 years and have no plans of ever stopping. It’s the VPN I make all my friends and family sign up for when they travel as well.

You can protect up to six devices with a single subscription, so you can easily protect all your devices with one account.

The best part is that a two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte.

You really have no excuse not to install a VPN on your devices and keep your online data and information protected and safe.

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Visiting the Blue Temple Chiang Rai is a must do activity in Northern Thailand. It’s one of the most beautiful temples in all of Thailand, free to enter, and easy to get to.

It’s well worth arranging a little bit of extra time in Chiang Rai and adding the Blue Temple to your itinerary. You’ll probably regret it if you don’t!

I put up an Instagram poll after my trip to Chiang Rai asking people if they thought the White Temple or the Blue Temple was more beautiful.

The overwhelming majority of people voted for the Blue Temple. I still can’t decide which one I liked better, but if the poll is any indication, the Blue Temple can’t be missed when in Thailand!