One of the things I was looking forward to doing when I added Chiang Mai in my backpacking route last July is experiencing the train ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok in Thailand. There are buses traveling from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and travel time is shorter but I just find trains more appealing. Want to know how it is to take the sleeper train to Bangkok? Read on to know about my experience and to get some tips when taking the train.
Where to Buy Tickets
I have read from another blog that there are travel agents selling train tickets but with a very huge mark-up. To avoid getting scammed, I suggest buying your ticket at the Chiang Mai Railway Station. It is cheaper than buying a ticket online. I bought my ticket there 3 days before my trip. I don’t advise buying your ticket on the day of your planned trip because tickets sell out fast especially during the April Songkran festival and Loi Kratong in November.
The railway station is located at Charoen Muang Road. It is about 3.7 km from Chiang Mai’s Old Town. It is too far to walk from the Old Town so you can either take a tuk-tuk or Grab to get there. Grab ride to the train station from the Old Town costs around 100 Baht.
The ticket selling counters are located on the right side after entering the train station’s front entrance. You will be asked for proof of identity when purchasing a ticket so make sure you have your passport with you.
Below is the location map of Chiang Mai Railway Station:
If you don’t have time to go to the ticket office, you can buy the ticket online through Baolau. Keep in mind though that you’ll be paying an additional charge of around 250 to 300 Baht when you book online.
There are different seat types on the train. The 1st Class A/C Single Sleeper is the most expensive. Basically the difference between the 1st and 2nd Class is that there are compartments in the 1st Class. If you choose the 1st Class but not Single Sleeper, you may be paired up to share the compartment if you are a solo traveler. But they will pair you up only with someone of the same gender.
Most of the blogs I have read though recommend the 2nd Class A/C sleeper lower berth. It is much cheaper and though there are no compartments, you have a privacy curtain. Lower berth because you get a window view, it is much wider than the upper berth, and people who have tried the upper berth complain about having a hard time getting sleep because they are directly under the light. The lights on the train stay on all night.
|Seat Type||Online Price||Station Price|
|1st Class A/C Single Sleeper||2,253 THB||1,953 THB|
|1st Class A/C Sleeper||1,703 to 1,753 THB||1,453 THB|
|2nd Class A/C Sleeper||1,071 to 1,131 THB||821 to 881 THB|
|2nd Class A/C Seat||891 THB||641 THB|
|2nd Class Fan Sleeper||831 THB||581 THB|
|2nd Class Fan Soft Seat||641 THB||391 THB|
There are trains departing from Chiang Mai in the morning and trains departing late in the afternoon. If you want to enjoy the scenery on route, Train No. 8 is the recommended train to take because of its schedule and it completes the journey fastest. If you want to save time and money for accommodation, then take either Train No. 14 or 10. You spend the night on the train (which is very comfortable), and reach Bangkok in the morning. The difference between the two trains is that Train No. 10 is newer, and is more expensive.
|Train No.||Departure from Chiang Mai||Arrival in Bangkok||Service|
What’s the Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train Like?
I took Train No. 14 which left Chiang Mai at 17:00. Just like what was recommended, I chose the 2nd Class A/C Sleeper Lower Berth. Instead of describing to you how the train looks like, I’ll just share with you some photos with descriptions.
I don’t have a picture of the toilet of the train but I was able to use it. It wasn’t that bad and it was clean. As for outlets, in case you need to charge your gadget, I only saw one near my seat. I recommend taking a power bank with you because the outlet might be far from your bed and it’s a first come first serve kind of situation.
The Train Travel from Chiang Mai to Bangkok
I was only able to enjoy the green scenery for about an hour because it started getting dark. But I remember seeing a nice view as the sun was setting and then the train ascended into the mountains.
As for food, there is no free food but they give a free bottle of water. There is a lady selling food inside the train but I didn’t buy because I have read that it is a bit bland and overpriced. Instead I ate the Bakkwa and polvoron that Andreu gave me. (I forgot to buy food for the trip).
I didn’t find it hard to sleep on the train. For me, it was very comfortable. But that’s just me. I can easily sleep anywhere, even on the floor. Others might not agree though. I have read one complaining that she wasn’t able to sleep because of the noise of the train passing through the tracks. If you have this type of problem, I recommend bringing earplugs with you.
After more than 12 hours of travel, we finally reached Bangkok. It was a nice journey, and I don’t mind doing it again.
Hope you liked this post about train travel from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. If you have questions, feel free to comment below. Subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss any of my posts. And please follow my Facebook page @iwentanyways and like my Instagram accounts @iwentanyways and @tnadeperalta for updates. You can also check out my backpacking highlights in my IG @tnadeperalta.
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