One of our favourite journeys while travelling through South East Asia was the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. We chose to take the overnight train as it would save us paying for a night of accommodation and it was something we had not done before.
The morning of our train we took a Tuk Tuk to Bangkok train station to get our tickets. There are about 5 trains a day to Chiang Mai, 3 leaving in the evening and arriving the following morning. You can use the following link to check the fares and times: www.railway.co.th/checktime/checktime.asp
We were originally going to get the 10pm train however there were no sleeping berths free so opted for the 7:30pm train. This arrived into Chiang Mai around 8am. If you are set on getting a particular train, I would advise getting your tickets the day before although there is no price difference booking them on the day.
Bangkok train station is pretty straight forward and the boards tell you which platform to go to. We got to our train 15 minutes before it was due to depart and the train staff were happy to direct us to our beds. We noticed the majority of our carriage were Westerners and the two beds directly opposite ours were another couple from the UK.
The train left about 10 minutes late and as expected it was nothing like a Virgin train. It didn’t pick up much speed but at least it was relatively smooth.
The beds were spacious and came with sheets. Next to the top beds there was space to put our bags. There was only one plug socket between the 4 beds so we would recommend charging your phone before you travel or bringing a power pack with you. The only problem we did have with the train was it got quite cold at night because of the air conditioning so its worth having a jacket handy to sleep in.
The staff onboard were really friendly and came around with drinks and food to buy. We had already brought food with us so didn’t get to try anything they had on offer. There was also a restaurant carriage however we also didn’t have the chance to check this out.
We both got a really good night’s sleep on the train and we woke up to beautiful views of Northern Thailand.
This is a method of travel that we would both recommend as it only took up time when we would otherwise be asleep, obviously if you travelled during the day you would have great views but miss a day you could spend doing actual activities! We paid around 750-800 baht for each ticket so that at our time of travel was roughly £15/€20. Very reasonable to get you from one side of the country to the other, and saves you buying a night of accommodation and gives you beautiful mountain views in the morning.
Love Josh & Elisa x