Phayao has the usual suspects for a north Thai bus station with Sombat Tour and Green Bus offering services to Bangkok and Nakorn Chai Air with its I-San options. Green Bus have a bargain 1st class bus leaving daily at 20:15 costing 493 baht whilst the top of the line is Sombat’s classy VIP bus departing 20:00 for 773 or a 1st class at 19:45 for a competitive 497 baht.
Nakorn Chai (T: (054) 480 926) services include a Khon Kaen and Udon Thani run with a choice of day or night buses. They also offer no less than 6 departures per day for Khorat costing 585 1st class and 683 VIP, (night bus only) stopping at Phrae and Phitsanulok among other towns en route. Finally Nakorn Chai also have air-con buses for Mae Sai, (stopping at Chiang Rai), at the following times: 17:35, 00:15, 02:05, 04:05, 05:15 and 06:20 VIP. 1st class, 126 and VIP 147 baht. The unusual departure times are because the buses originate in Bangkok and you may just as well hop on a local bus to Chiang Rai and catch one of the hourly departures from there.
Green Bus (T: (054) 410 664) have hourly departures for Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai as well as frequent buses for other regional destinations such as Nan, Phrae and Lampang. Chiang Rai is 62 baht 1st and 79 VIP class and Chiang Mai 113, 146 and 227 baht for 2nd, 1st and VIP respectively.
Phayao’s small enough to make most of the centre easily walkable while songthaews departing from around the bus station serve outlying villages and districts such as Chiang Kham, Phan and Mae Chai. We couldn’t find any motorbike hire though you could try asking your guesthouse and we wouldn’t be surprised if Win could dig one up but several spots did offer bicycle rental. There is an office for Fat Free Bikes at the lake end of Don Sanam Road, if you wanted better quality ones and they have various options starting from around 100 baht a day upwards, plus information and suggestions on routes.