This is the Ultimate Guide on How to Take the Overnight Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Also known as
The best adult sleepover you will ever attend.
There are snacks. Friends. Warm blankets. Adventure bathrooms. Soothing rocking train beds.
The train to Chaing Mai is a full ½ day journey which is cheaper than flying and it saves you spending money on 1-night’s accommodation.
Pack a water. Put on your comfy pants. The cozy train is waiting!
Step 1: Book your Ticket
Stupid Inside Scoop: Travel agencies take advantage of a really nonsensical system and buy up all the tickets weeks in advance.
Translation: You can’t just go to the train station and buy a ticket when you’re ready to travel.
Instead, you must buy a ticket on 12Go.Asia at least 1 WEEK IN ADVANCE during a normal week in Thailand or 2-3 WEEKS IN ADVANCE during big travel weeks like Songkran or Christmas.
The best train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai IS…
- Train #9 leaving Bangkok Train Station (Hua Lamphong Station) at 6.10pm
- Arrives in Chiang Mai at 7.15am
- Purchase a Second-Class Car Ticket
- BOTTOM bunk for ultimate comfort
- There’s also a “ladies only car” if you prefer
Don’t worry if you can only book a top bunk in the first-class car, you’re going to survive. You’ll just be a bit cold so bring a sweater.
Here’s what a train ticket looks like!
The train’s last stop is Chiang Mai (written in the top box on the right).
The passenger (Hey @jessicatamara86) is going to Ayutthaya (written in the center top box).
Step 2: Pick up your Ticket
To get, take the underground MRT and get off at Hua Lamphong Station.
Take Exit 3
Walk straight for 30 meters, and you’ll see a sign for the 12Go.Asia office on the left.
Go inside, hand em’ your passport and they’ll give you a physical ticket.
The office is open every day 10am – 8pm.
If you have a train outside these hours, pick up your ticket the day before.
Got all that?
Step 3: Dinner & Snacks
Across from Hua Lamphong, there is a row of restaurants next to a 7-Eleven.
You want to have a full belly when you get on the train. Go to 511 Café for some classic Thai food served by the most wonderful staff!
Eat dinner and have a beer with a wonderful view of Hua Lamphong train station right across the street. Head over to the train 35 minutes before departure. BUT FIRST! You need snacks, water, and breakfast (at least, I need breakfast).
Order a fried rice or Pad Thai or chocolate pancake that you can easily take on the train and eat on a shaky car.
Then go to 7-Eleven and grab a BIG water, and maybe some M&Ms, bag of chips, and peanuts.
Step 4: Head to the Train / Sleepover Adventure
Go into the train station lobby and walk through the main hall. You’ll see the entrance for the trains.
Welcome to Train Paradise.
It actually smells really nice in here…
There will be a sign that CLEARLY says “Chaing Mai” so no need to get overwhelmed.
However, just to simmer my paranoias – I always ask a train official (hanging out somewhere) to look at my ticket and confirm that I’m getting on the right train.
Step 5: Find your spot
When you get on the train, all of the beds will actually still be chairs.
Find your chair with your number on it and have a seat.
Settle in and put your bag down in one of the bag racks. Don’t worry. Your bag is safe.
In a couple of hours, a train worker will come by and assemble your bed!!!! The blankets are usually still warm!
Important Things to Know
- There are bathrooms in between cars. They are usually squatty toilets too – so now peeing is like a carnival game! Can you get your pee in the hole?!?!?
- Some trains have snack cars! They have omelets, peanuts, and soda.
- Ladies will come through the cars with a breakfast menu, in case you’ve forgotten to bring food. You can sign up for food the night before and it will be served to you later. There’s only one option and its meh.
- Alcohol is not allowed on the train
Step 5: Wake Up Sleepy Head
About 45 minutes before you arrive in Chaing Mai, the train workers will come through and wake ya’ll up. The beds will be made back into chairs.
Chiang Mai is the last stop on the train, so don’t worry – it’s impossible to miss your stop!
Step 6: Arrive in Chiang Mai
The Chaing Mai train station is small. Walk your lil butt on outta there. You’ll be greeted by lots of taxi drivers and Songtheaw (collective truck taxis) drivers.
The train station is located about 3km outside the city center, making for a smooth journey to your hotel.
To get to your hotel
Option 1: Public Transport
Songthaew: 50 baht (although, they might push you to 80 baht). You’ll pile in the back of a truck, tell the driver your location and they’ll drive around town dropping people off one-by-one. Sometimes the drivers get lazy and drop you off in the general area. I say, nooooo to that. Don’t get out until you see your hotel. Get your money’s worth, boo.
Tuk Tuk: 150 baht directly to your hotel (plus a fun drive)
Taxi: 200 baht with air conditioning! Best for big luggage.
Option 2: Grab Taxi
Important: Grab Taxi drivers are not welcome in the Train Station territory, so you’re going to have to be stealth. To get in a Grab Taxi without drawing attention to what you’re going, cross the street and go to a local café before you call your Grab to avoid conflict. Try to be out of sight of the train station.
How Much: 80-200 baht depending on your hotel’s location
Here are a collection of Thailand Train Photos, in case Chiang Mai isn’t where you’re going!
This fancy-ass train (Train #9) has this super helpful sign.
Here are what some first-class train cars look like on Train #9 & Train #7
Things to keep in mind if you choose the first class cars…
✗ You’ll be in closed quarters with a stranger if you’re traveling solo.
✗ You won’t get to watch the views from your bed (like you do in the 2nd class bottom bunk).
For these reasons, I always choose 2nd class for the open layout and sense of comfort.
Don’t forget to tag me in your train journey photos