Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

Chiang Mai Airport Bus (R3 Bus) is a public bus service connecting Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) with the Old City of Chiang Mai. Taking the airport bus is a cheap and convenient way for getting from Chiang Mai Airport to Old City.

COVID-19 Update

Update! Chiang Mai Public Bus is currently not operating because of COVID-19 situation. It's still not clear when the service will be renewed. There were plans to restart the service on 1 July 2020 but it's still not running and there are no new announcements from the company.

Chiang Mai Public Bus

Public transportation system in Chiang Mai depended on red songtaews (pickup trucks with seating for passengers) for many years but a number of public bus routes were opened recently and traveling around Chiang Mai on public transport became much more convenient. Some of these routes let you conveniently reach Chiang Mai Airport from different parts of the city.

Currently there are 6 public bus routes in Chiang Mai:

  • Bus B1 – route from Arcade Bus Terminal to Chiang Mai Zoo
  • Bus B2 – route from Arcade Bus Terminal to Chiang Mai Airport
  • Bus B3 – route from Arcade Bus Terminal to Chiang Mai Provincial Government Office
  • Bus R1 – route from Chiang Mai Zoo to Central Festival Mall
  • Bus R2 – loop route from/to Promenada Mall via Night Bazaar
  • Bus R3 – loop route from/to Chiang Mai Airport via Old Town

Chiang Mai bus routes can also be found on the application CM Transit that is one of must-have apps when traveling in Chiang Mai. Other useful apps for traveling in Thailand can be found here: Top 10 Apps for Thailand.

Chiang Mai Airport Bus

If you are looking for the cheapest way to get from Chiang Mai Airport to the Old City or going directly to the main bus station of Chiang Mai (Arcade Bus Terminal), you can choose to get on B2 Bus that also passes the airport. However, these white buses are not suitable for travelers with large luggage.

Luckily, blue Chiang Mai Airport buses operating on R3 route are much more comfortable and have plenty of space for passengers and their baggage.

Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

R3 Bus is a bit more expensive than B2 (by 5 THB) but it’s really worth it as the comfort of the journey on these buses is incomparable.

Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

R3 Bus Routes

Chiang Mai Airport Bus service provides 2 different R3 bus routes that are running one-way in a circle by starting and ending the loop at the airport:

  • Route R3 Red or Outbound Loop
  • Route R3 Yellow or Inbound Loop

Pay attention that buses on R3 Red route and R3 Yellow route go in different directions. Choose the right bus for getting to your desired destination as otherwise you might need to make a big part of the loop and waste up to one hour before reaching your hotel.

If you are staying near Suan Dok Gate of Old City, on Nimmanhaemin Road or around Chang Phuek Gate, it’s best to take R3-Red bus from the airport as buses on this route pass these locations first. When heading from the airport to the hotel near Chiang Mai Gate, around Night Bazaar or Thapae Gate, normally it’s best to choose bus going on R3-Yellow route.

Check for the bus route color on the front window of the bus to make sure as the stickers will be either red or yellow.

R3-Red Bus Route

Main bus stops and important landmarks from the start to the end of R3-Red Bus Route:

  • Chiang Mai Airport
  • Far Eastern University (Chiang Mai Immigration Office & CentralPlaza Chiang Mai Airport)
  • National Library (Suan Dok Gate & Wat Phra Singh)
  • Wat Suan Dok
  • Nimmanhaemin Road
  • Huay Kaew Road
  • Wat Lok Moli
  • Chang Phuek Gate
  • Three Kings Monument (Sunday Walking Street)
  • Thapae Gate
  • Sompet Market
  • Chang Moi Road
  • Warorot Market
  • Flower Market
  • Wat Upakhut
  • Thapae Road
  • Night Bazaar
  • Anusarn Market
  • Wat Puak Chang
  • Chiang Mai Gate (Saturday Walking Street)
  • Chang Lor Road
  • Electronic Plaza “Siam TV”
  • Wat Puak Pia
  • Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center
  • CentralPlaza Chiang Mai Airport
  • Chiang Mai Airport

Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

R3-Yellow Bus Route

Main bus stops and important landmarks from the start to the end of R3-Yellow Bus Route:

  • Chiang Mai Airport
  • Far Eastern University (Chiang Mai Immigration Office & CentralPlaza Chiang Mai Airport)
  • Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center
  • Wat Sri Suphan
  • Chang Lor Road
  • Chiang Mai Gate (Saturday Walking Street)
  • Wat Sai Moon Myanmar
  • Bumrung Buri Road
  • Sridonchai Road
  • Anusarn Market
  • Wat Upakhut
  • Thapae Road
  • Wat Buppharam
  • Thapae Gate
  • Kotchasarn Road
  • Rachadamnoen Road
  • Rajvithi Road
  • Vocational College
  • Wat Mo Kham Tuang
  • Wat Ratcha Montien
  • Chiang Mai Ram Hospital
  • Kad Suan Kaew
  • Huay Kaew Road
  • Nimmanhaemin Road
  • Wat Suan Dok
  • Maharaj Hospital
  • Suan Dok Gate (Wat Phra Singh)
  • Buak Hard Public Park
  • Bumrung Buri Road
  • Electronic Plaza “Siam TV”
  • Chang Lor Road
  • Suan Prung Hospital
  • Kanjanapisek Public Park
  • CentralPlaza Chiang Mai Airport
  • Chiang Mai Airport

You should board Chiang Mai public bus at one of designated bus stops in the city.

Chiang Mai Airport Bus Fare

Chiang Mai Airport Bus R3 fare is 30 THB per person.

The bus fare can be paid in cash or by Rabbit Card on board the bus. If you are planning to pay in cash, make sure to have some small money with you as the driver might have no change.

Chiang Mai Airport Bus Schedule

Chiang Mai Airport Bus R3 is operating from 06:00 to 23:30 (last bus leaves from the airport at 23:30).

Buses on R3-Red route are a bit more frequent and depart every 20-30 minutes.

Buses on R3-Yellow route depart every 30 minutes from 06:00 to 19:00 and every 45 minutes later.

Chiang Mai Airport Bus schedule is listed below.

R3-Red Bus departures from Chiang Mai Airport:

  • 06:00; 06:25; 06:50
  • 07:15; 07:40
  • 08:05; 08:30; 08:55
  • 09:20; 09:40
  • 10:00; 10:20; 10:40
  • 11:10; 11:40
  • 12:10; 12:40
  • 13:10; 13:40
  • 14:00; 14:20; 14:40
  • 15:10; 15:40
  • 16:00; 16:20; 16:40
  • 17:00; 17:30
  • 18:00; 18:30
  • 19:00; 19:30
  • 20:00; 20:30
  • 21:00; 21:30
  • 22:00; 22:30
  • 23:00; 23:30

R3-Yellow Bus departures from Chiang Mai Airport:

  • 06:00; 06:30
  • 07:00; 07:30
  • 08:00; 08:30
  • 09:00; 09:30
  • 10:00; 10:30
  • 11:00; 11:30
  • 12:00; 12:30
  • 13:00; 13:30
  • 14:00; 14:30
  • 15:00; 15:30
  • 16:00; 16:30
  • 17:00; 17:30
  • 18:00; 18:30
  • 19:00; 19:45
  • 20:30
  • 21:15
  • 22:00; 22:45
  • 23:30

Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

Bus frequency at the bus stops on the way may vary significantly depending on traffic conditions but at least from the starting point at Chiang Mai Airport buses tend to leave as scheduled.

Chiang Mai Public Bus Stops

At Chiang Mai Airport

From Chiang Mai Airport terminal building get out through the Exit 1 where airport taxis are found. Walk straight by the road for about 50 meters and you will find a bus stop. Normally one or two buses are parked there so you shouldn’t miss it.

Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

In Chiang Mai City

You should board Chiang Mai public bus at one of designated bus stops in the city. Bus stops in Chiang Mai normally are just the pole standing on the pavement that might be difficult to notice.

Chiang Mai Bus R3 - Chiang Mai Airport to Old City

The best way for locating the nearest bus stop is by using CM Transit app as it displays the map with all bus stops clearly marked.

Tips

You will need local currency (Thai Baht) for buying a bus ticket as only cash is accepted when paying bus fare. You will find plenty of banks offering currency exchange at Chiang Mai Airport and will be able to exchange your foreign currency there. However, exchange here just a bit of your money as you can get better rate in Chiang Mai City.

If taking a public bus seems not convenient enough for you, book a private transfer from/to Chiang Mai Airport and enjoy hassle-free traveling between the airport and the center of Chiang Mai.

 

Travel Offer 2020