Tips on Taking the Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiangmai

IMG_8971 Are you considering taking an overnight train in Thailand? Here are some things that I wish I was aware of before my ride between Bangkok (Hualamphong Railway Station) and Chiangmai!

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Items to Bring

  • A warm jacket (the air conditioning could get cold)
  • Ear plug (the train itself is quite loud)
  • Eye mask (they don’t turn off all the lights)
  • Book (for your entertainment!)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, facewash, etc.)
  • Towel (to dry your hand and face)

Tickets

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  • If you can, buy your tickets directly at the station a few days before your ride.
  • Or you can try contacting an agency through email. (*Link to agency at the bottom of the post. You will have to pay an extra handling fee.)
  • Your tickets can be exchanged to a different time/date for 50 bahts per ticket. (I was able to change my tickets 6 hours before departure, but those were the last seats left.)
  • The beds are more comfortable but the seats are not a bad option. They’re more comfortable than economy class plane seats.

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Bathrooms

  • The bathrooms at the train stations are not free or clean.
  • There is a shower room at the station.
  • Use the bathroom within the first few hours of your ride while it’s still clean.
  • When I had the seats, I had a very clean and spacious bathroom. I was able to wash my face and brush my teeth in private. The toilet flushed with water.
  • When I had the beds, I had a toilet… which was basically just a hole in the train. The mirrors and sinks were outside the toilet where everyone can see.
  • Bring your own towel or just use the “blanket” that is offered to each passenger.

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What happens during the ride

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  • Your tickets will be checked towards the beginning of your ride.
  • Sometimes there are outlets, but not all of them seem to work.
  • Don’t try to set up the bed on your own. There will be a person designated for doing that.
  • The bed comes with a pillow and a “blanket.” The seats come with just a “blanket.”

Before and after the ride

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  • Think about where you can leave your luggage before and after your train ride.
  • When you arrive in Chiangmai, you are most likely to take a red taxi to the city, which you will share with about eight passengers.
  • Be careful when you get off the station in Bangkok. Taxi drivers will approach you with a very high price. Ignore them and find a metered-taxi.
  • Buy your snacks, meal, and drink at the station- it’s a quarter of the price of what is sold on the train (~60 bahts). This chicken basil with rice, which I found in the food court of Hualamphong Railway Station, was one of the most delicious and cheapest meals that I had in Bangkok.

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For more information I recommend Seat 61.

Here is the website I used to have an agency purchase my ticket in advance.

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