bangfkok to chiang mai train ride

First-Timer’s Guide Bangkok To Chiang Mai Train Ride

Traveling by train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a perfect short getaway for travelers to take in Thailand’s quaint old towns, rural villages, lush jungles, and fascinating mountains.

The relaxing journey takes around 11-14 hours, depending on the type of train you choose, and it’s actually faster if you drive, about eight hours and much faster if you fly, in just an hour.

So how does a train ride from bustling Bangkok to enchanting Chiang Mai better than flying? If you want a totally laid-back experience, then this is a great way to travel.    

Many travelers believe the most scenic way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is by embarking on a leisurely pace journey aboard a train. 

Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The largest railway station in Southeast Asia, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, also known by its former name Bang Sue Grand Station, finally opened its doors on January 19, 2023.

Actually, the Special Express No. 9 train still departs from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the evening. Even though it will now depart from the new terminal at 6:40 pm, you will arrive at the same scheduled time in Chiang Mai.

The Bangkok to Chiang Mai train service departs on the same lines as the Red Line electric trains from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal which is super easy to board.

Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train

There are different types of trains you can choose and the Special Express is my best choice. It runs every day between Bangkok and Chiang Mai on Thailand’s northern railway route.

These revamped trains with new cabins are powered by electricity, they are quieter and more soothing than older conventional trains. It’s the newest and fastest overnight train.

The Special Express train has 12 individual rooms as well as common shower and toilet facilities with hot water. WiFi, power point, washbasin, bench seat that folds into beds (lower and upper bunk)

The bathroom is pretty tiny like an airplane bathroom, but it is very clean and smells good. There is soap and shampoo dispenser too. Clean and fluffy towels, bed sheets and blanket with pillows are provided.

A 14-inch personal LCD touch screen displaying route and satellite information (in English) are all available within the room.

The first class train cabin side-door connects you to the next cabin. But if you are on a couples vacations and need total privacy, keep it locked at all times.

There are panel just like in a plane for music channel, and even indicates if the toilets are busy or not including the shower. There is also a room service option. Last order for meals closes at 9pm. 

Breakfast set at 170baht and 190baht. Spaghetti set at 120baht. So, it is not too expensive, Same price or cheaper than you would find at restaurants. Alcohol of any kind are not allowed in the train.

Bangkok To Chiang Mai Train Schedule

bangkok to chiang mai

New Train Schedule

There are only Second Class and First Class sleeping coaches on this route, which is an all-air-conditioned Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train.

You can select a “lower” or “upper” berth from the daytime couches that can be turned into beds for the 2nd Class.

With first class tickets, you can reserve a lower or upper berth in a two-bed cabin. Booking the whole cabin for yourself will cost you more. 

Bangkok to Chiang Mai train duration

I was initially impressed by how cool the train looked when I boarded the train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. After a few selfies, I proceed to sleeper train’s first class compartment which was at the rear of the train.

The onboard WiFi password was the first thing the conductor mentioned. That’s a sight to behold while traveling to Chiang Mai, especially when you’re on your laptop most of the time.

The conductors visit each cabin in first and second class around 8.00 pm to demonstrate how to adjust down the beds for the night. Before calling it a night, I watched the sunset and took in the spectacular sites of rural Thailand.

My only issue was the nights gets pretty cold. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to bring enough warm clothes or you’ll be in for a very long chill night.

Passengers can purchase snacks, food and drinks from the train’s cafeteria. Food sold here are chill, similar to that found in a 7-11 convenience store (even the price are almost the same as 7-11)

The canteen is also a nice area to unwind and mingle with other travelers on the train. However, even if your mobile phone connection (3G/4G) is strong, the Wifi speed is slow at this spot.

The train’s cafeteria shuts at 10pm and opens for breakfast at 5.00am.

Around an hour before your arrival, there will be someone at the door to wake you up. The train will pull up into Chiang Mai Station just outside of the old town


  • Most hotels typically allow guest’s check in around 2pm but you can leave your baggage at the reception area if you arrive early.
  • Book your taxi transfer from train station to hotel upon departure from Bangkok as early morning period in Chiang Mai is often busy for taxi booking.
  • Simply book Grab cab on its app for immediate booking. No upfront payment needed.

Booking Bangkok To Chiang Mai Train

The overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can be booked in advance through other online booking platforms. Actually, 12GO.ASIA allows you to book up to 60 days in advance.

They will give you an anticipated price if you book more than 60 days in advance, and will make up the difference on the day you collect.

Book your tickets ahead of time to ensure that you get the best seat/berth and class pick. Tickets for the sleeper train sell out quickly and become more expensive as the departure date approaches.

Bring your booking receipt to the 12GO ASIA office in the DOB building, immediately across the road from the Hua Lamphong station, to pick up your Bangkok to Chiang Mai train tickets.

They advise that you proceed to their office at least one hour before your scheduled departure time as you may not be the only one collecting the tickets.

The way it works is that you choose your night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai train number, travel dates and times with your preferred seating options, and 12GO.ASIA will takes care of the rest.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai train price

For two adults, first class sleeper train cost 8,306Baht (prices subject to change). This includes a booking fee with 12GO.ASIA.

Second-class sleeper is less expensive than first-class travel. It may be worthwhile to upgrade because pricing can be nearly identical depending on factors such as the time of year and demand.

As of 2023 prices, the lower bed is the most popular and comfortable. A small extra fee (upgrade) of 100 Baht will give you a sound sleep for the journey.

Booking the whole cabin for yourself will cost you an additional 1500 Bhat, adding up to the lower berth’s higher fare cost altogether.

Bangkok To Chiang Mai Train Route

There are several train options available from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, ranging from basic seating to comfortable sleeper cabins. Each class offers a different level of comfort and experience.

Curious about the hidden gems along the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train route? If you’re not in a hurry, there are other options than boarding an express night train.

You might want to check out some great vacation spots along the way. Some of the highlights are stopping by to visit ancient ruins, temples and tasting traditional food.

This is a relaxing trip that’s popular with travelers planning to visit top tourist attractions in Chiang Mai on a short vacation from Bangkok.

Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

You can pretty much stop at any spots and explore cultural, historical, natural attractions or delicious food, allowing you to break your train journey.

Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient temples and historical ruins. This is a favorite tourist spot to explore the impressive Ayutthaya Historical Park, and experience the remnants of the ancient capital of Thailand.

Sukhothai is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was the former capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai in the 13th century. Discover the well-preserved temples, Buddha statues, and the super tranquil ambience of this historical site.

Lamphun is the last stop before arriving in Chiang Mai. It’s a small town known for the famous Wat Phra That Hariphunchai Buddhist temple. This stop is great to explore the local markets and experience the traditional local culture.

You might be wondering what is the best way to get to your hotel or accommodations upon arrival in Chiang Mai? There is the Grab taxi app for private ride which is pretty great to short destinations.

For further locations such as Mae Rim, I would recommend The Best Taxi Chiangmai for its clean Sedans/SUVs, and friendly drivers at a competitive price. Booking can be done even before your trip on Whatsapp, and response is super fast. 

What To Do In Chiang Mai

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun upon arrival, Sticky Waterfalls Tour in Chiang Mai is a great experience for couples, group of friends and family with kids to relax or have a great time. The sensation of defying gravity as you ascend the rocks is exhilarating.

The falls isn’t just a typical waterfall expedition; it’s a gravity-defying experience that will leave you in awe. Imagine being able to climb up and down a waterfall with astonishing ease, thanks to the limestone deposits that create a natural grip on your feet.

Each level of the waterfall provides a unique vantage point, a perfect spot to sit and soak in the wonder that nature has to offer. Go ahead and try, and if you enjoy it, let us know your experience on the TripAdvisor’s review page.


Must Know Things About Traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

What to bring on overnight sleeper train?

I suggest that you bring food and snacks before boarding the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, even if you are traveling first class. The train’s food and beverage options are rather basic. 

Stand-by Warm Clothes

It doesn’t matter if you ride the first or second class train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you should be prepared for the cold on board.

If you don’t have warm clothing, the air conditioning will blast all night and that might disrupt your sleep during this trip.

Luggage allowance on board

You can bring up to 60 kg of luggage, or one large suitcase and one smaller bag. Because boarding a train has fewer constraints than boarding an aircraft, it may be tempting to take more. When traveling, less is always better.

Have some fun in the cabin

The first-class sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai has a TV. From the comfort of your sleeping berth, you may want to catch up on the newest Netflix series or complete a good read as the day changes to night and the curtains closes.

If you’re traveling with a group, there are always card games and Uno to play.

Best train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Chiang Mai To Bangkok, the popular belief is that train number 9 is the best.

Thai Railway authorities are always upgrading their trains, so this may change, but based on personal experience and additional research, this appears to be an accurate assessment.

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