The town of Mae Sai is located at the northernmost point of Thailand. Thailand’s railway network does not cover Mae Sai and the nearest airport is in Chiang Rai, so this leaves bus as the only direct option on public transport. Mae Sai’s bus station is five kilometres south of the main part of town and the terminus for buses from Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The sections below list the various transportation options for getting to Mae Sai and then getting around after arrival.
Last Updated: September 2018
GETTING TO MAE SAI
Bus from Bangkok
Most buses for Mae Sai depart from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Station, Morchit. Buses take at least 12 hours 30 minutes to make the 855km journey. Sombat Tour is one of the few companies to operate direct overnight services on this route, but with departures from its Soi Vibhavadi Station. An alternation option is to take one of the more frequent buses to Chiang Rai and then switch to a passenger van for the last leg of the journey.
Bangkok Chatuchak Bus Station (Northern Route): #2, Kamphaeng Phet Rd., Lat Yao, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 | Tel: +66 2 936 2852-66 ext. 614, 325, +66 2 936 2841-48 ext. 614, 325, +66 2 936 3670, Call Center: 1490 (24 hour) |
Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Mae Fah Luang Airport and Mae Sai are less than 60kms apart. A faster travel option is to fly to Chiang Rai and then take a taxi to Mae Sai. Thai AirAsia and Thai Smile are two of the airlines offering flights from Bangkok’s two airports to Chiang Rai. There is a reservations counter at Chiang Rai Airport for taxis to Mae Sai and central Chiang Rai|.
Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport: Tel: +66 2 535 1192, +66 2 535 1254, | Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport : Tel: +66 2 132 1888, +66 2 132 1111-2, Chiang Rai Mae Fah Luang Airport: Tel: +66 53 798 000, +66 53 793 071, +66 53 798 171,
Bus from Chiang Mai
Green Bus operates direct buses between Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station (Terminal 3) and Mae Sai. Departure times are staggered throughout the day. The first bus leaves at 06:00 and the last a little after 16:00. Journey times average five hours. All buses are air-conditioned. For an extra fee, passengers can choose a deluxe armchair-style seat for the trip.
Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station #2: Tel: +66 53 246 501, +66 53 241 449, | Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station #3: Tel: +66 53 246 501, +66 53 241 449,
Bus from Chiang Rai
There are two main choices for travel between Chiang Rai and Mae Sai. Both depart from Chiang Rai Bus Station 1 in the city centre. The first option is air-conditioned passenger vans and these take around one hour to travel between the two locations. Slower fan-cooled buses take 90 minutes to cover the same distance, but are slightly cheaper. An alternate option is to get on one of the Chiang Mai to Mae Sai Green Bus services at Chiang Rai Bus Station 2.
Chiang Rai Bus Station #1: Tel: +66 53 715 952, +66 53 711 224, | Chiang Rai Bus Station #2: Tel: +66 53 773 989, +66 53 774 369,
Getting Around Mae Sai
Mae Sai is basically a one-street town with alleys (sois) leading to markets and other attractions. If staying near the Friendship Bridge to Tachilek and Myanmar, there is a good selection of shopping and dining locations within walking distance. For journeys a little farther afield, or from Mae Sai Bus Station, songthaew shared taxis or motorcycle taxis are the choices. From Mae Sai, there are songthaews to the Golden Triangle and down as far as Chiang Saen, but these do not run frequently.
There are no public transport options for trips from Mae Sai to Doi Tung, Doi Mae Salong and other regional attractions. Joining an organised tour or renting a motorcycle or car are the most convenient choices for this. Some hotels offer tour reservations services, but no major suppliers provide vehicle hire in Mae Sai. Hertz and Sixt are among the car hire firms offering service at Chiang Rai Airport while ST Motorcycle Rentals on Jetyod Road near the Chiang Rai clocktower maintains a fleet of small and big bikes for riders of all abilities.