I've got scribbled on some notes that there's a scenic journey to be had by bus/boat from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, going via Fang & Tha Ton (and potentially Chiang Dao), but I'm struggling to find much information about it.
Can anyone help out with any details such as boat times, route etc and whether it's the sort of thing which could be done in a single day if necessary?
#1 kmc has been a member since 27/5/2011. Posts: 13
The scenic boat ride leaves Thaton at 12:30 every day costs 350 baht and takes about 4 hours to Chiang Rai .
photo of ticket counter here
You could make it as a daytrip from Chiang Mai if you get the first bus from the Chang Puak bus station at the north side of town, but then you won't have time to stop at Chiang Dao which is well worth a couple days (Chiang Dao Nest or Malee Nature Bungalows). Forget Fang it's a nowhere town I drive right past/through it every time. Buses from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai run until 530 or 730pm depending on the day. Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai bus schedule here
Just to clarify there are 2 buses in the morning you can catch and still make it to Thaton before the 12:30 departure. There is the early one at 5:30, and then another at 7:20am (which they don't start selling tickets for until about 20 mins before departure) My partner and I did this last week and it was absolutely Beautiful!!! It takes about 3-4 hours to get to Thaton from Chaing Mai, and then a 3 hour longtail boat ride to get to Chiang Rai. A few notes- Our boat did break down once, but after it cooled for about 10 mins, it started back up just fine. There is a stop at a little place about halfway for food/drink/bathroom which sells picture opportunities with a variety of reptiles. (I didn't partake but if you like snakes they are pretty big!!) Also when you arrive to CR dock, there weren't any tuk-tuks or saengthaws into town, and it was about a 20 min walk to the clock tower. We didn't see any packages that sell it, we just arrived at the bus station 30 mins before the bus left, bought our tickets to Thaton, and then bought the boat tickets at the dock in Thaton (they drop you off 1 block past the dock). The bus was about 80B I believe (can't remember if it was for both or one), and the boat ticket 250B.
Also want to note that the bus to Chang Dao and the bus to Thaton aren't on the same route, they are 2 different buses completely. I'm not sure if you can get to Thaton from Chang Dao.