Photo: The Golden Triangle from above.

How to get to and from Sob Ruak

Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Sob Ruak.


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Bus

When we checked in mid-2018 the Green Bus Company had seen fit to suspend its Sob Ruak service leaving public transport in these parts in the hands of a few blue songthaew drivers who maintain a link between Mae Sai, The Golden Triangle and Chiang Saen.

These depart approximately every 40 minutes or so in each direction, costing a flat 20 baht, but note that it is basically a morning service and the last ones are scheduled for 14:00. They leave from by the tourist immigration booth in the riverside carpark.

This means that, despite whatever is printed on the sides of their buses, the closest Green Bus gets is either Mae Sai or Chiang Saen so any onward travel will have to be done through connections at one of those two destinations.

There did used to be a rickety old green fan bus running up and down the Mekong from Chiang Saen too and while we did see some of these in the latter town they didn’t appear to be going anywhere and with tourist information dismissing these, we assume that service has been suspended as well. Whether either service will be reinstated for high season is anyone’s guess and neither tourist information nor Green Bus themselves could confirm or deny.

The good news is that if you do make it to town under your own steam it is very compact and the hilltop temple, Opium Museum, boat jetty and cafes and our accommodation suggestions are all within easy walking distance. The Hall of Opium is a little way out of town so if you don’t have transport your best bet would be to hop on one of the Mae Sai-bound songthaews while remembering not to leave the return too late.

We didn’t see any surplus to requirements pick-up trucks hanging around the songthaew station either so if you’re looking for an afternoon taxi you’ll have to hope there’s a moto-dop up on the main street somewhere.

The songthaew station is in front of the tourist information booth and jetty in the riverside carpark.

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Boat

There aren’t any public boat services from the Sob Ruak jetty although we can’t see why you couldn’t charter one to take you to Chiang Saen if you fancied it. We’re guessing it ought to cost about the same as the standard boat trips—it is only 9 kilometres each way—though you’d have to negotiate with the boatmen first or check at tourist information.

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Where to next?

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


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