Travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train

From Bangkok to Chiang Mai it is a distance of 700 kilometers. There are several possibilities for getting to the North of Thailand. However, the most popular and beautiful option is the journey from the capital to Chiang Mai by train. Whether for backpackers or individual travelers, this trip from Bangkok is an unforgettable experience and a great adventure, that you will for sure remember a long time. The train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is really special and, if you have time, you should definitely plan your way to the North with stops at the most beautiful sights and cities.

This blog post is an itinerary for traveling by train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. In addition, we show you the most beautiful things to see, inform you about costs and where you can book your train ticket.

Schedules

In general, for the train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai you have two options. Either you take the night train, or you choose the day train. Both start from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok. Although the trains have names such as Sprinter, Express, Special Express and Rapid Train, for the train ride up to Chiang Mai you can expect 12 to 14 hours travel time.

Night Train:

The night train is a good choice if you want to travel quickly to Chiang Mai and you haven`t planned any stops. Also, you will save a night at the hotel. You have your own sleeping place and arrive in the morning in Chaing Mai. 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:

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 on the way to Chiang Mai, then the day train is 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:

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From Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train

The train journey starts in Bangkok, at Hua Lamphong Station, the city’s main train station. A little bit later in the blog we will show you how to book the train ticket. The journey to the north of Thailand is really beautiful. You pass green rice fields, wonderful landscapes and through jungle areas. Really lovely are the small pretty train stations all along the way. Colorfully decorated with many flowers every 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 travellers, 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, 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.

Attractions & interesting places on the route

Many backpackers and travellers 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

Ayutthaya is an absolute highlight and the first interesting stop on the railway to Chiang Mai. We would definitely 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 Guide – Best Temples & Attractions

Hotel tip:
  • B&B: The Baan Keang Chol has a great location and is one of the best accommodations in Ayutthaya.
  • Hotel: Sala Ayutthaya offers stunning views while having breakfast and dinner. Also, the pool is gorgeous.

Lopburi

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:
  • Guesthouse: The Noom Guesthouse is a lovely budget place to stay near the Monkey Temple.

Sukhothai

For many travellers, 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 you can be found here: Sukhothai – A Tour to the Historical Park

Hotel tip:

Lampang

Lampang is a city located about 100 kilometers from Chiang Mai and luckily not so many tourists come to visit this place. The old town is really pretty, with many temples, the typical horse-drawn carriages and old teak-houses. Worth seeing are the Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao Temple, where the famous emerald Buddha was housed and the Wat Chedi Sao Lang with its 20 small chedis. If you have enough time, then you should plan a stopover in Lampang.

Hotel tip:

Chiang Mai

And last but not least the beautiful city of Chiang Mai. There is a lot to discover here, so you better plan a few days here. Especially beautiful are the countless Temples of 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: Things to do in Chiang Mai

Hotel tip:
  • Hotel: The Viangdara is a lovely little hotel away from the hustle and bustle.
  • Hostel: The Entaneer Poshtel is one of the coolest and best hostels in the city. Everything is just right here.

Prices & Tickets

To travel by train is generally very cheap in Thailand. The prices for the ticket, whether day train or night train are extremely moderate. Of course, it also depends on which class you travel. The most expensive option is the ride in the 1st class, the luxury class. Here you can expect for the distance from Bangkok to Chiang Mai a price of 50, – Euro. Cheaper are of course the 2nd class with fan or the 2nd class with air conditioning.

The cheapest tickets you get in the 3rd class. These tickets cannot be pre-booked and are a great options for short trips.

Tip: Tickets can be booked either directly at Hua Lamphong Station (best a few days before), or online at 12go.asia. Especially in high season, for Buddhist holidays or weekends, it is highly recommended to book your train ticket in advance.

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Bangkok to Chiang Mai with flight

Another way to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is by domestic flights. In case they are booked early enough, flights are relatively cheap in Thailand. Flight connections and prices can be found at online portals such as Skyscanner or Kiwi.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus

If all the trains are full and you cannot get a train ticket anymore, you still have the option of travelling by overnight bus to Chiang Mai. Bus tickets can be organized either locally in travel agencies or online here.


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