Photo: Freighter on the Mekong.

How to get to and from Chiang Saen

Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Chiang Saen.


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Bus

Unusually for a reasonable sized town, Chiang Saen doesn’t have a bus station so transport departs from various points around town. Apparently there were plans to construct a purpose built station on the town ring road but they were cancelled amid fears the laidback locals wouldn’t be bothered to go all the way out there. Indeed at present most buses leave from smack bang in the middle of town on the main street opposite the Kasikorn Bank and convenience stores.

The old hop-on, hop-off fan buses will cost you 37 baht for a ride to Chiang Rai or air-con minibuses are 45 baht. Both officially depart every hour though minibuses will generally wait until they have a decent number of passengers.

For long distance travel, Sombat Tour run a VIP Bangkok bus every evening at 17:00, costing 985 baht for your journey to Mor Chit bus station. Their office is on the main street, north side, approximately halfway between the river and Wat Chedi Luang. A few hundred metres down Sai 2 on the right is 999 company’s office, with cheaper Bangkok buses plus a morning departure if that suits you. They leave at 07:00 and 17:00, costing 680 and 655 respectively. They don’t provide the same luxury as Sombat’s vehicles but they are still air-con with reclining seats.

Unfortunately there isn’t at present any direct public transport between Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong. Songthaews do head out that way but only get as far as Had Bai, around 30 kilometres east on the banks of the Mekong. These may or may not then connect with occasional songthaews running between Had Bai and Chiang Khong or you can alight at the junction village of Mae Ngoen on Route 1129, where the tiny 4007 heads scenically along the riverbank to remote Had Bai. It’s not really a place you want to be stuck in. It is feasible if you’re lucky and patient but we were advised to go back to Chiang Rai if we wanted to bus it to Chiang Khong.

Sombat Tour: Phaholyothin Rd; (053 )650 788; (027) 921 444; www.sombattour.com; open daily 08:20-17:20.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Chiang Saen? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


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