“Chiang Mai Arcade Bus station is the main long-distance bus terminus for this Northern City, located on the Eastern side of the city about 15 minutes distant by tuk tuk. A new terminal building and ongoing gentrification of the area has improved the services considerably.
From this bus station VIP buses depart hourly to Bangkok, including overnight services and pre-booking online is advised since they are regularly full up for busy dates. You can often show up 30 minutes before but it’s a risk. There are two terminals servicing different routes, with the newer (South side) building set aside for departures to the capital.
Other long distance buses run as far as Udon Thani, Chiang Rai (Mae Sai) and even Luang Prabang in Laos. Within Chiang Mai province itself, local buses (mostly used by locals) run from the Chang Puek Bus Station just North of the moat. Minibuses to Pai depart from the main Arcade Station.
Within each terminal are vendors selling snacks, but international travellers will feel more comfortable in the new Star City Arcade which is a few minutes walk to the east and has a selection of restaurants, international names such as Subway and McDonalds, a pharmacy, a supermarket and shops.
From the Arcade Bus Station you can take a songteaw minibus into the city (20 baht) or hire a tuk tuk to take you to your guesthouse (100 baht), it’s too far to walk. Although there are a few guesthouses nearby they aren’t really recommended, it’s easier to go into the city for a better selection.
The train station is also on this side of town, a tuk tuks can take you between the two for a reasonable fee, in less than 10 minutes. Remember to dress warmly for the super cooled VIP buses to Bangkok. On the whole the station area is safe, if a little chaotic and grubby in places.”