If you want to experience the varied landscape of Thailand combined with Thai hospitality, there is no better option to travel from South Thailand (Bangkok) to North Thailand (Chiang Mai) than a train journey. With an overnight train with Thailand Railways, you will not only have a comfortable journey at prices far lower than flights, but also get a chance to catch beautiful views of jungles and highlands of Thailand and its rural life through the window panes of your coach. We have always been fond of train journeys and thus booked our Bangkok–Chiang Mai train tickets well in advance, a month ahead. Here is an account of our train journey in Thailand.
How to book your train tickets online with Thailand Railways
There are limited long distance trains and seats get booked well in advance especially during peak season. So, it is advisable to book your tickets around a month ago. In case, you are already staying in Thailand, you can go to any of the train stations and can reserve your seats (60 days in advance). In case, you are not in Bangkok, you can use Thailand Railways online ticket booking facility on their official website (30 days in advance) – http://www.railway.co.th/main/index_en.html. Thailand Railways website is available in Thai and English languages and you can change the language by clicking on the flag on top right corner. Here are links to Thailand Railways website pages for checking schedule, availability and booking tickets online –
- Train Schedule, Time Table and Fares : Click Here
- Seat Availability & Online ticket booking: Click Here
Please note that you have to create an account on Thailand Railways website for booking your ticket and you can pay using any credit/debit card eligible for international transactions.
There are different charges for different class of coaches. Also, rates vary if you select an upper or lower berth. However, even for a second class sleeper berth, rates are far lower compared to a bus journey. Rates will be displayed at the time of booking your tickets online. Please note that you need to carry a print of your train ticket.
Bangkok-Chiang Mai Train Journey Experience
Train to Chiang Mai starts from Hua Lamphong Railway Station which is also the central railway station for Bangkok. Please be on time as train leaves right on time. It may get delayed on the way (around half an hour delay for our train) but it left dot on time.
We were well guided by the train staff to our coach. Soon, we were at our seats in the coach mentioned on our ticket. There were 2 seats on either side of the coach which at night were converted to a sleeper seat by a coach assistant. There is also a rack by the side of seats to store your luggage.
Once train left the station, came ticket checker within 15 minutes to check the tickets. You need to carry the print outs of your train tickets.
At night, coach assistant came to each seat and converted the lower seating seats to sleeper berth, opened up the upper sleeper berth, put bedding for each seat and put curtains. Berths were quite comfortable, good for a sound sleep. Coaches were very clean including seats, bedding and even toilets.
You can also order for food inside the train. We did not try food so not sure of the taste but could easily observe the professionalism in the way menu was handed over to each seat and the way food was served to those who ordered for dinner or soup or snacks.
We had a comfortable journey with Thailand Railways. At night before we went to sleep, we were still crossing through Bangkok and its outskirts. But, in morning when we got up at 6:30 AM, it was beautiful outside. We could see green vegetation all along as train started negotiating through highlands and mountains. Here is the video of views we could capture through the window-panes of our coach for our Bangkok–Chiang Mai Train journey.
Chiang Mai Railway Station
We reached Chiang Mai Railway Station at around 9 AM, some 30 minutes past scheduled arrival. Chiang Mai station was as clean and well managed as was Bangkok railway station. There is also a tourist help desk where you can enquire for attractions, stay options, collect a map and also collect vouchers from different travel agencies.
Cloak Rooms – Bangkok & Chiang Mai
Both Hua Lamphong Railway Station (Bangkok) and Chiang Mai Railway Stations have cloak rooms to store your luggage at reasonable rates. You can see them clearly at the Railway Station Exits. Chiang Mai Cloak room timings were indicated as 4:50 AM to 8:45 PM. Charges may vary from 20 Bahts to 80 Bahts daily depending on your luggage size.
Also to reach anywhere in the city, you can catch hold of a red colour tuk-tuk just outside the station. Standard charges are 20 Bahts per person to reach anywhere within city limits.
Like all our train trips, Bangkok–Chiang Mai Train journey too turned out to be a memorable journey for us. We will certainly cherish this for a long time. Thanks so much Thailand Railways for your hospitality 🙂