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

How long does it take to travel by train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

bangkok to chiang mai train

The relaxing Bangkok to Chiang Mai train ride is perfect for travelers to take in Thailand’s breathtaking mountains while passing through quaint old towns along the scenic railway route.

It’s actually faster if you drive, which takes about eight hours and much faster if you fly, just an hour. But 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 sleeper train.    

New Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal

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.

Normally, the Special Express No. 9 train departs from Bangkok to Chiang Mai at 6.10pm. Even though it will now depart from the new terminal at 6:40 pm, you will still arrive at the 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.

How Much Is The Train From Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

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.

How To Book Bangkok To Chiang Mai Train?

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. 

Night Train Bangkok Chiang Mai

The night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can be booked in advance through other online booking platforms. However, 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.

Train Ride from Bangkok To Chiang Mai

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.

Is The Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai Worth It?

It’s a combination of the cost of cheap hotels and other savings you can have. First class ticket is expensive, but if you get a second class sleeper with air-conditioning, it’s even cheaper.

I’m paying the same price for a first class sleeper train cabin as flying, but I can save on the cost of one night hotel accommodation, enjoy the scenic views and arriving early in the morning before 8am feeling like a daisy. 

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 sleeper train to take

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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