Travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a distance of about 700 kilometers and to get to the so-called Rose of the North, there are several options. However, the most popular and beautiful is to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train. Whether you are a backpacker or a sophisticated individual traveler, this trip to Chiang Mai is an unforgettable experience and a great adventure that is guaranteed to be remembered for a long time. The train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is really special and if you have time, you should definitely plan stops at the best attractions and cities on your way to the north. But how to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and what are the best tips for the transfer?
In this travel guide, we give you all the important information about getting by train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. In addition, we share our experiences, show you the most beautiful places of the route, inform you about costs and where you can book your train ticket.
For the train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you basically have two options. Either you take the night train, or you take the day train. Both currently start from the Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok, but in the future will depart from the new main train station Bang Sue. Although the trains such as Sprinter, Express, Special Express and Rapid Train sound quite speedy, but still, for the train ride up to Chiang Mai you can expect a journey time of 11 to 14 hours. A train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai costs between 600 baht – 2,000 baht.
Night Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
The night train is a fantastic choice if you want to travel fast to Chiang Mai, have no stopovers planned, and want to save a night in a hotel. Both 1st and 2nd class are equipped with seats, but these fold down into bunk beds for the night train ride. You have your own place to sleep and arrive refreshed in Chiang Mai in the morning. Here are the timetables for the recommended trains number 9, number 13 and number 51:
- Night train No.9, departure 6:10 pm Bangkok – arrival 7:15 am Chiang Mai
- Night train No.13, departure 7:35 pm Bangkok – arrival 8:40 am clock Chiang Mai
- Night train No. 51, departure 10:00 pm Bangkok – arrival 12:10 pm Chiang Mai
Tip: In our experience, the lower places in the sleeper class are better. It is not as cold as the places above, a little darker, and you have a bit more space to sleep.
Day Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Traveling at daytime is a great way to see the beautiful scenery up to the North of Thailand. Also, if you want to see some places and attractions on the way to Chiang Mai, then the day train is definitely the best choice. On the way to the north, a multitude of impressive cities with unique things to see are awaiting you. The temple city of Ayutthaya, the Monkey Temple in Lopburi, Phitsanulok with Sukhothai and Lampang are the most interesting places on the way up to Chiang Mai. But more of it later. Here are the timetables for the recommended trains number 7 and number 109:
- Train No.7, departure 8:30 am Bangkok – arrival 7:30 pm Chiang Mai
- Train No. 109, Departure 1:45 pm Bangkok – Arrival 4:05 am Chiang Mai
Here you can search for connection and train timetable:
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train
The train journey starts in Bangkok, currently still at Hua Lamphong station. In the future, the trains will depart from the new Bang Sue main station. All important train routes start from here, including the connection from Bangkok to Surath Thani in the south. We’ll show you how to book your ticket and where to find the current timetables a little later. The journey to the north of Thailand is really scenic. It goes past green rice fields, wonderful landscapes and through jungle. Striking are the many small, pretty train stations of the provinces. Colorfully decorated and with many flowers, each station shows its best side.
Lopburi is one of the itinerary’s highlights. Here you pass directly at the famous monkey temple and with a bit of luck you can watch a huge horde of monkeys. If you have time, we recommend that you plan a stopover at this popular Monkey Town. Already directly at the train station, one is greeted by some funny monkey figures.
The incredibly beautiful train ride allows you to enjoy the changing scenery from Bangkok up to the hilly north. The more north you get, the more attractive the panorama becomes. In our experience, the route starting from Lopburi gets really impressive.
On the way, you will have the chance to get in touch with other backpackers and travelers, as well as locals who travel to Chiang Mai by train. During the long train journey, food is provided. Freshly cooked meals are served in night trains, and on the day trains and stations, vendors offer delicious Thai snacks, drinks and yummy cakes.
If you travel during the day, and you have only short distances to tackle, then you should definitely get tickets for the 3rd class. Especially the ride in the “wooden class” is an unforgettable experience in Thailand. From the open windows, you can see the beautiful landscapes passing by. A kind of luxury that is almost non-existent in Central Europe anymore.
Things to See on the Route
Many backpackers and travelers take several stops at their trip to northern Thailand. On the route Bangkok to Chiang Mai are many great sights and historical places to discover. Here are the most beautiful places to visit on the way to the north:
Ayutthaya is an absolute highlight and the first interesting stop on the railway to Chiang Mai. We would certainly recommend a stopover at this historic city. Just 80 kilometers from the capital Bangkok, the Ayutthaya Historical Park has a huge number of ancient temples and spectacular historical sites.
More information about Ayutthaya you will find here: Ayutthaya, Thailand: The Ultimate Travel Guide!
Hotel tip for Ayutthaya:
- Beautiful B&B: The Baan Keang Chol is located directly on the river and close to the history park, it convinces with a dreamlike location, but also with the great rooms.
- Nice Hotel: The wonderful Sala Ayutthaya offers stunning views while having breakfast and dinner. Furthermore, the pool is gorgeous.
Another spectacular spot on the way to Chiang Mai is the Monkey Town of Lopburi. From Ayutthaya to Lopburi it is about 50 kilometers by train. Thousands of cheeky monkeys have found a home at the popular monkey temple. But not only the monkey temple is worth visiting, the small town offers much more! That’s why we recommend spending at least one or two nights here.
More information and tips about the city of monkeys can be found here: Lopburi: A Guide to the City of Monkeys
Hotel tip for Lopburi:
- Guesthouse: The Noom Guesthouse is a lovely budget place to stay near the Monkey Temple.
For many travelers, the temple city of Sukhothai is one of the most beautiful stops on the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The entire historical park is just incredible and, for culture enthusiasts and photographers, an absolute must-see on every Thailand trip. Just keep in mind that you have to get off the train in Phitsanulok. Then it’s 60 minutes by bus or taxi ride to Sukhothai.
All you have to know about Sukhothai and the best things to do can be found here: Sukhothai, Thailand: Travel Guide to Historical Park
Hotel tip for Sukhothai:
- Hotel with Pool: The beautiful Sriwilai Sukhothai Hotel offers a large pool and a wonderful location overlooking the rice fields.
- Nice Guesthouse: We can recommend the Pottery Street House as a cheap alternative. Nice rooms and great location!
And last but not least the beautiful city of Chiang Mai also known as the Rose of the North. There is a lot to discover here, so you better plan a few days here. Especially beautiful are the countless Temples in Chiang Mai, the waterfalls, the jungle, and the mountains of the Doi Inthanon National Park.
All information about the most beautiful sights of Chiang Mai can be read here: Top 20 UNIQUE Things to Do in Chiang Mai
Hotel tip for Chiang Mai:
- Stunning Hotel: The 99 The Heritage Hotel is a really chic 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city. Guests love the breakfast and the great pool.
- Fantastic Hostel: The Entaneer Poshtel is one of the coolest and best hostels in the city. Cleanliness, breakfast, atmosphere, everything is just right here.
Prices & Tickets
Traveling by train is generally very popular in Thailand. The prices for the ticket, whether day train or night train, are also cheap. Of course, it depends on which class you are traveling. Especially in the high season, around Buddhist holidays or weekends, it is recommended to book your train ticket in advance.
The most expensive option is to travel in 1st class in a single compartment with 2 beds on top of each other. Here you can count on about 2,000 baht for the route from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Cheaper are of course the 2nd class with fan or the 2nd class with air conditioning. If you want a sleeper compartment, you have to book the category “Sleeper” from 600 Baht.
The cheapest tickets you can get in the 3rd class. These tickets cannot be reserved in advance and are perfect for short trips.
Tip: Tickets can be reserved either directly at Hua Lamphong station or at Bang Sue station. It is also recommended to book online at 12go.asia.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by flight
Another convenient way for getting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is by transfer via domestic flight. Flights are relatively cheap in Thailand if you book them early enough. The flight to Chiang Mai costs around 1,200 baht. You can also find flight connections and current prices online here.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus
If the trains are full, and you can’t get a train ticket, you still have the option to travel by bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Mostly night buses are offered for the 10-hour transfer. You can organize bus tickets either locally in travel agencies or online here.
More about Thailand:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Meaning that if you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.