Find out everything you need to know about taking the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Be prepared for the overnight journey by finding out what to bring, how long it takes, ticket costs, what to expect, and more on this sleeper train!
After checking out the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, it’s time to join the hoards of traveling looking to get amongst nature by heading North. Chiang Mai is the main city in Northern Thailand and is the main starting point for discovering the smaller provinces and their hidden gems.
Now there are plenty of ways to get there, but the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a right of passage for travelers in Southeast Asia. It’s a long journey for sure, especially compared to the other options such to travel to Chiang Mai such as flying. Though it makes for an excellent experience on some modern trains coliving with the locals and enjoying some awesome early morning scenery. The overnight sleeper train is a must for travelers in Thailand and you will find out all you need to know in this post.
Overnight Sleeper Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai: What You Need To Know
- What Station To Catch The Sleeper Train From In Bangkok
- Train Schedule From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
- How Long Does The Overnight Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai Take?
- Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Ticket Cost
- How To Book A Overnight Train Ticket From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
- Staying In 1st Class On The Sleeper Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
- Staying In 2nd Class On The Sleeper Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
- Facilities Onboard On The Sleeper Train
- What To Bring With You
- Chiang Mai Train Station To The Old Town
What Station To Catch The Sleeper Train From In Bangkok
There are a couple of different options for stations when it comes to catching the sleeper train to Chiang Mai. Depending on where exactly you are staying in Bangkok and how much of an adventure you’d like to have before going on your overnight journey will be the deciding factors.
Bangkok Train Station (Hua Lamphung Station)
Per the name, Bangkok Train Station is the main train station in this city. This is the first stop that the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai actually departs from. This station can be found at Rong Mueang Rd, Rong Muang, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok.
Depending on where you are staying it is likely you will need to take some form of transport to access Bangkok Train Station as it is not located in a super touristy area. If you are staying on Khao San Road there are a few different options you could take.
The first is using a Grab car. This may not be the cheapest, but it will for sure be the quickest and easiest method of transportation. The cost should only be around a few dollars and if you have someone else to spilt the fare with even better!
The second option will be via public bus. The closest bus stop to Khao San Road is Wat Chanasongkram. From here you can take the number 15 outbound bus to Wat Chamnihatthakarn. Which should only take around 10 minutes. From here is a 15 minute, 1.2 kilometer walk to Hua Lamphung Station. Though this might be a bit of a hassle if you have quite a bit of luggage.
Lastly, you could take one of the ferryboats. The closest station for the boats to Khao San Road is Chao Phraya Ferry Pier on Phra Ahtit Road. From here you can catch one of the boats down to stop at Pier Number 4, also known as the Marine Department Pier. From here it is again about a 1.2 kilometer walk to Bangkok Train Station.
Now if you want to add in one more adventure before you start your overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai head to Ayutthaya. I did a day trip to Ayutthaya prior to my sleeper train to Chiang Mai and it was a great way to spend a day. It also left me super tired ensuring no matter what I got a good sleep on the train!
Bangkok Train Station may be the first stop, though the train also stops at Ayutthaya Station shortly in so you don’t miss out on too much of the journey!
If you have never heard of Ayutthaya before you’ll be in for a surprise. This is actually the former capital of Thailand until it was burned to the ground in 1767 by the Burmese. Nevertheless what remains in a UNESCO World Heritage site covering 289 hectares. Nowadays you can explore the impressive temples which cover this city. Hire a bike or go by boat, both are good options. Then after a busy day of exploring you can jump onboard your overnight train to Chiang Mai.
Train Schedule From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
There are 5 different trains per day which will take you directly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Each one leaves at a slightly different time allowing for a bit more flexibility depending on your plan.
As you will see the earliest train departs at 8.30am for Chiang Mai. Whereas the latest departs at 10pm. The most popular train times for travelers to take are definitely those which enable them to do the sleeper or overnight train experience. It is the cheaper way of travel as the train you were going to have to take anyway becomes your accommodation for the night. As a result, the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is often sold out a couple of weeks in advance at the best of times.
The number 9 train is also one of the newest in the fleet and is for sure the most popular. This is the one you will need to book if you are wanting a 1st Class A/C Cabin. Also, the train is a lot quieter than the others due to it being electric, helping you get a good night’s sleep.
How Long Does The Overnight Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai Take?
No matter what the overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a long journey. It actually covers over 750 kilometers. There are a couple of different train options as above and one of the other differences, apart from departure time, is the length of time it takes them to travel.
The quickest train is actually the morning train No 7. Even though it may take less time, being only 11 hours. It is still recommended you take either train 9 or 13 for the overnight experience. Both of these will take you 13 hours and allow you to wake up in a new city.
Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Ticket Cost
Now you should know the prices you will pay at the Bangkok Train Station are cheaper than you will online. Though this is because of a third-party agent adding their commission on top. I know this can be a bit annoying, but it’s an evil necessity. Especially when the overnight train book out weeks in advance during the busy station.
There are a few different types of tickets which you can see below on the table. The best options will either be the 1st Class A/C Sleeper or the 2nd Class A/C Sleeper. I will cover the exact differences between these two further down in this post. Though the question to ask yourself is what value do you put on your privacy and how much more are you willing to pay for this?
|Seat Type||Online Price||Station Price|
|1st Class A/C Sleeper||1,753 to 1,903 THB||1,453 to 1,653 THB|
|2nd Class A/C Sleeper||1,011 to 1,291 THB||761 to 1,041 THB|
|2nd Class A/C Seat||891 THB||641 THB|
|2nd Class Sleeper Fan||831 THB||581 TH|
How To Book An Overnight Train Ticket From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
Due to the popularity of the overnight train to Chiang Mai, you definitely will not be able to turn up on the day and expect to buy a ticket. Actually, it will be best to buy it weeks in advance! This is especially so if you’re wanting to book the 1st Class A/C Sleeper or the 2nd Class A/C Sleeper.
If you happen to be in Bangkok for a decent period of time before your journey you can always buy tickets at the Bangkok Train Station. Though if you are traveling around prior it is best to book online.
I and a lot of other travelers use 12.Go Asia to book transport in Thailand. They are one of the most popular services when it comes to booking your overnight train to Chiang Mai journey. What is awesome is that if you have a set itinerary and are 100% sure on the day you wish to depart they allow booking 60+ days in advance. On their booking system, you can also check out reviews of past travelers taking that exact same journey so you know what to expect.
The only thing to be aware of when booking your overnight train journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with 12.Go Asia is that you will need to pick up your tickets from their offices opposite Bangkok Train Station. Though this can be done right before your journey as you are nearby the station anyway. This makes everything super convenient and stress-free for you. They just recommend arriving at their offices at least 1 hour before the train departure time as it’s likely you won’t be the only one picking up your ticket. Remember this is a popular journey!
Staying In 1st Class On The Sleeper Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
The first-class cabins are perfect if you prefer your privacy or perhaps aren’t comfortable sleeping, nearby other people. The First-class cabin is a room fit for 2 people. Though there are only 12 of these rooms on the train so they do sell out fast!
Inside the room, you can find wifi, plug point, a sink, a bench seat that converts into beds (lower & upper berth), a mirror, and a personal LCD touch screen displaying the route and satellite information (in English). What’s super cool is that this LCD display is also a multimedia system for entertainment, an alarm clock. Seriously you can even order food to be served in your room!
You will be sharing a bathroom with the other travelers in the 1st Class A/C Cabins. Though this bathroom also has a shower with hot water. I know I always feel gross after a long transport journey so being able to shower in the morning before arriving in Chiang Mai would be absolutely amazing!
The train personnel will pop around the cabins around 8pm and show you how to convert the seats into your beds for the evening. They will also provide bedding in the form of a sheet, blanket, and pillow. Though be aware the cabins can get cold overnight and you cannot control the A/C so best to bring some warm clothes on board as well.
Staying In 2nd Class On The Sleeper Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai
When I traveled on the sleeper train from Bangkok To Chiang Mai I decided to book a 2nd Class A/C Ticket. The option is a lot cheaper than a 1st class ticket, though it also air conditioning which makes a big difference. Plus personally, for me, the pull across curtains create all the privacy I need.
During the day, up until about 8pm the train looks rather normal. Though after this time the train personnel will start converting all the seats into beds. The upper berth is slightly smaller than the lower berth due to the curvature of the train carriages. It can also be difficult to get up and down without disturbing the person underneath you. Though Thai people are amazing and generally aren’t overly bothered by the disturbance. A pillow, sheet, and blanket are provided for the journey. Though I found that even with the air con it actually got quite hot when you pulled over the curtain. The curtain also does not block out much light as the lights are kept on all night. So if you’re like me who like it pitch black to sleep I highly recommend bringing an eye mask.
Inside the berths themselves, each person will have a couple of plug sockets and a reading light. Once the beds are made you can store your suitcases or bags underneath the lower berth. Though I recommend keeping anything valuable in the bed with you just to be safe.
There are shared bathroom facilities on each carriage. I was amazingly surprised at the cleanliness on board as well as unfortunately that wasn’t been the case on all the train rides I have taken (especially in Vietnam). Though the toilets were always sparkling clean and there was also even toilet paper. Something which is often a rarity.
You can check out my experience below:
Facilities Onboard On The Sleeper Train
Onboard the train is a dining cart where you can buy food and drinks. This is handy if you haven’t brought your own snacks on board. Though prices are a bit more expensive than the regular 7/11 stores so bring a little extra cash with you. The diner closes at 10pm and opens again at 5am just in time for breakfast. You will be able to find a variety of sandwiches, drinks, snacks, and prepackaged frozen meals.
If you are staying in a 1st Class cabin you will also be able to order from the LCD screen and they will bring everything to your cabin. Though if you are wishing to stretch your legs feel free to go for a walk down. You will need to walk down the 2nd Class carriage so it gives you a good idea of the other options you could’ve done when you purchased your ticket.
Update: 25/7/22 On Train 9 to Chiang Mai there was no diner cart. Perhaps this is due to covid restrictions. Best to bring some extra food with you just in case.
What To Bring With You
Snacks: A necessity in any long journey, snacks! Even though there is a diner carriage on board I highly recommend bringing your own food and drink onboard just to be safe. There isn’t too much of a range available in the carriage. So if you bring your own at least you know there is food for you to eat. You’ll probably want something for the evening and if you get super hangry in the mornings like me, something for breakfast. This may be as simple as heading to 7/11 prior to boarding the sleeper train to Chiang Mai and buying a couple of sandwiches and some chips.
Eye Mask: If you are going to be staying in 2nd class I highly recommend bringing along an eye mask. It is still quite light even when you pull the curtain across. So having an eye mask with you will allow you to get a peaceful night’s sleep and be refreshed for your first day in Chiang Mai.
Entertainment: Now if you’re staying in 1st class you will have access to an LCD entertainment screen, though this just has Thai television shows playing. The best bet will be bringing along your phone with Netflix downloaded for some good binging time. Download a few TV shows before you leave your accommodation. Oh and make sure you bring headphones! Don’t be THAT person.
Warm Clothes: This is especially so if you’re in 1st class so feel the cold quite a lot. As mentioned you do not have control of the air conditioner temperature. So, best to bring along a jacket and pants which you in case you get chilly during the night. Even if you don’t wear it onboard best to have them in an easy to reach spot in your bag so you can easily pull them out if required.
SIM Card: Make sure you take advantage of the super cheap internet access in Thailand by buying your own SIM card. You can do this when you arrive at the airport or just visit one of the many phone stores or 7/11’s. Doing so will allow you to use your mobile data while on the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It can sometimes be difficult to sleep on trains, especially while in movement, so being able to endlessly scroll on Facebook until your tired can be a godsend.
Chiang Mai Train Station To The Old Town
Once you have taken the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai you will likely need to find your way to the old town where the majority of travelers choose to stay. This will ensure you are nearby all the popular attractions and restaurants.
The Chiang Mai Train Station can be found at Wat Ket, Mueang Chiang Mai District. This is approximately 2 – 3 kilometers from the old town. Though after traveling all night you likely won’t want to walk so let’s look at your options:
Songthaew: It is easy enough to grab a songthaew from the train station. Just look for a bright red pickup truck and let them know exactly where you want to go. These are the main public transportation in Chiang Mai and provide an affordable and easy way to travel around the city. You will be sharing this ride with other people so you may be driven for a while dropping people off so just be aware of that.
Grab Taxi: If you are looking for a direct ride from the train station to Old City you are best to take a Grab Taxi. Similar to an Uber, you order a ride on the app and the driver will pick you up and drop you off at your Chiang Mai hostel. It’s easy to get around and prices are generally a few dollars per journey.
Where To Stay In Chiang Mai?
When choosing where to stay in Chiang Mai you are spoilt for choice. So, no matter your budget or the type of traveler you are there is something to fit all needs.
I mainly choose to stay within the confines of the Old City when deciding where to stay in Chiang Mai. This is definitely the best location if you are staying for a short period or this is your first time visiting. On my most recent visit, I stayed at De Lanna Hotel. This is a mid-range hotel located in the heart of Old City. Though, if you are thinking about living in Chiang Mai you will want to stay further afield in such places as Nimman. The Old City is within walking distance to many beautiful temples, excellent shopping, delicious restaurants, and the famous Sunday Night Market. Have you checked out my 3 days in Chiang Mai itinerary yet?
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