Traveling the 686km from Bangkok to Chiangmai can seem an exhausting journey, so you might think to take a flight. Sure, its an easier trip and if booked at the right time, could be fairly cost effective – but taking the overland option by train is an enjoyable experience.
From Hua Lamphong Station to Chiangmai, regular trains daily
700 baht for 2AC class
If you have some time to play with, then taking the overnight train can be advantageous. You’ll save a night’s accomodation and you’ll get to see some of Thailand by night and the sunrise coming in to Chiangmai in the morning.
There’s a daily train at 6:10PM and another at 7:30PM. The later train is the most popular, so it is advisable to purchase your ticket the day before if possible. Otherwise, it is totally possible to buy your ticket on the day – but the airconditioned carriages may be booked out.
From Hua Lamphong station, you can board the train 45 minutes before departure time. Settle into your seats and get comfortable. If you’re on the upper berth, you’ll have to sit on the lower seats until around 9-10PM, only then will the train officers prepare the beds.
The train is fully catered, so dinner and breakfast is available for order. There’s a restaurant carriage on board and you can eat your meal there if you like – but the norm is to have the meal at your seat.
There’s a ladies only carriage and the doors to the carriage are locked after 11PM for security. I do think it is safe enough to travel as a solo female in the general carriage, but the option is there if you wish.
What about the toilets? There are usually two at the end of each carriage. One is a squat toilet and the other is a western toilet with a seat. However, both of them are piped directly onto the tracks, so whatever you do, don’t lose your phone or wallet in there!
Lastly, every berth in all carriages are fitted with privacy screens, curtains you can draw shut. The airconditioning doesn’t really penetrate the curtain, so its best to keep the curtains slightly open for good ventilation.
Feature image credit: Tim Lim