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The Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train is an excellent way to combine transportation and a place to sleep for one evening of a trip. We did it, and decided to write this overnight train Bangkok to Chiang Mai review!
Full Disclosure: It’s not necessarily the most restful since the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train does make a few stops along the way. However, it’s truly a unique experience!
Some people even say you haven’t really traveled in SE Asia until you’ve traveled from Bangkok to Chiang May by train. Even if you’re normally a flyer, try this at least once.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Station
The most popular Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train runs between Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The station is the main one in Bangkok and is often just called the Bangkok Train Station.
It’s the first stop from which the Bangkok to Chiang Mai trains actually depart. This station is located on Rong Mueang Rd in Rong Muang, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok.
The station isn’t in a super touristy area. There are not many hotels nearby. Most people get to the train station by either public transit or rideshare. The most popular rideshare service in Bangkok, and throughout SE Asia, is Grab.
While buses and other public transit are cheaper, this is usually the most efficient and fastest way to get around the city. We used it all the time in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar. It’s typically a very reliable service.
Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Schedule
Depending on the type of train, the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train time takes between 11 and 14 hours to travel between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. We arrived to the Chiang Mai train station about two hours after we were scheduled.
At some point during the night, the train stopped and we never made up that time. This happens semi-regularly so don’t make time-sensitive plans for an excursion on the day you arrive in Chiang Mai by sleeper train.
There are currently four direct trains per day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Train #9 and #13 are the overnight trains that most people take because they are the only ones suited for sleeping.
However, the #7 train is the only train that allows you to see all of the Thailand landscapes through which the train passes, including the mountains.
We took train 9 Bangkok to Chiang Mai because it suited Little Man’s sleep needs best. The 13 train Bangkok to Chiang Mai leaves and arrives later, which may suit night owls a bit better.
Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Ticket Cost
Train tickets made via online booking for the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train route cost 250 THB more per ticket than purchasing the ticket at the train station.
However, this is a popular route and sleeper seats, in particular, tend to sell out several days before the day of travel so booking in advance is a good idea.
Because Little Man was only 18 months when we took the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train, he didn’t need a ticket or a berth (bed). Kids under two travel free when sleeping with a paying adult. So that’s what we did.
If you want the absolute lowest Bangkok to Chiang Mai price, go to the station yourself and try to book your own ticket. While you may save some money, you may also not get a sleeper berth at all. Most people book online.
Between the sound of the train on the tracks, the constant slight jostling, and being in physical contact with me all night long, that kid slept better on the train than had in months. Bonus points for the sleeper trains to Chiang Mai from Bangkok!
|Seat Type||Online Price||Station Price|
|1st Class A/C Sleeper||1,753 to 1,903 THB (Baht)||1,453 to 1,653 THB|
|2nd Class A/C Sleeper||1,011 to 1,291 THB||761 to 1,041 THB|
|2nd Class A/C Seat||891 THB||641 THB|
|2nd Class Sleeper Fan||831 THB||581 TH|
How To Book the Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train
The overnight train to Chiang Mai is very popular. This means you probably won’t be able to walk up to the ticket booth to buy a same-day departure ticket in a sleeper.
Generally, it’s best to buy your tickets at least two weeks in advance of your departure date.
If you’re planning on a Bangkok to Chiang Mai train 1st class sleeper, or even a 2nd class sleeper train Bangkok to Chiang Mai, then buy your tickets even sooner if possible.
👉 Many travelers, including our family, use 12Go.Asia to book train transportation in Thailand.
We’ve also used them successfully for two different overnight trains in Myanmar. They’re one of the best options for booking a sleeper train journey because they allow for bookings up to 60 days in advance.
Their booking system also allows passengers to write reviews of the same exact train journey. This is cool because you know what to expect during your travels.
Do note that 12Go.Asia only buys tickets on your behalf with money you pay them online. In order to board your sleeper train to the Chiang Mai railway station, you must pick up your tickets at their office.
Thankfully, it’s right across the street from the Bangkok Train Station. So pick-up can be done right before your Bangkok to Chiang Mai night train journey when you’re nearby the station anyway.
Make sure to arrive at their office at least an hour before the night train Bangkok to Chiang Mai departs. 90 minutes is probably better. Since this is a popular route, many people will be doing the same thing.
You need to allow time for ticket pickup, last-minute bathroom breaks, snack shopping, and walking to the train itself before your night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai boarding begins.
1st Class vs 2nd Class Rooms on the Bangkok To Chiang Mai Sleeper Train
The first class sleeper rooms are very limited. Most night trains Bangkok Chiang Mai only have 12 of these rooms and each room holds two people. The rooms have actual doors as well as a private sink.
These rooms were sold out by the time we booked our tickets on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train. First-class sleeper rooms also have their own designated toilet and shower.
2nd Class sleeper rooms have four beds each, arranged bunk style in the room. You may be sharing a room with strangers. This is what we did. We got there first and thankfully claimed the lower bunks.
The upper beds are slightly smaller than the lower ones due to the train car shapes. These rooms have private sleeping curtains on each bed, but no door to the room itself.
Our two roommates were a pair of college-age kids backpacking around Asia. The next morning, they told us that they were nervous being in a room with a baby but complimented our parenting for how well he slept. If only they knew it was pure luck!
Note: There are third class seats available on the overnight sleeper train. However, they are not sleeper seats that convert to beds.
If you book these seats, they will be bench-style and shared with many other people. There is no privacy, no AC, and no noticeable comfort.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Facilities
The night train is not a hotel and does have some drawbacks.
The toilet is shared by everyone on the train. By the time we woke up, it was absolutely disgusting.
In general, toilets in Thailand (and pretty much all of Asia) are simply holes in the ground. Let’s just say aiming is harder when the hole is moving.
Thankfully we were warned by other travelers to take our own toilet paper. The train has one roll when it leaves the station and no one refills it the whole ride. I’ve heard other trains are better about this, but you can’t count on it.
The food in the dining car is mediocre at best. We ordered breakfast on the train. A pre-packaged sandwich, lukewarm french fries, and room-temperature juice.
Overall, I was just grateful that it was edible. There also wasn’t much food available, as some people came in after us to get food and were turned away because it was sold out. That was surprising considering how popular the route is.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai Sleeper Train Packing List
Take a sweater or light blanket, or even both. The sleeping rooms are air-conditioned but it works too well, and the sheets provided are very thin.
I was unprepared for the cold in there, so I ended up sleeping in my shoes and socks to stay warmer. You have no control of the air conditioner temperature.
We hit up 7-11 before getting on the train. It was nice to have hydration as well as some things to snack on in the morning. My biggest regret was not also buying breakfast foods. Plan ahead better than we did.
Eye Mask & Ear Plugs
Especially when staying in 2nd (or 3rd) class, these will be very helpful. The bright fluorescent lights never fully turn off and there can be a lot of noise as the trains bounce along the tracks.
Anything to help you get a decent night’s sleep before a full day of sightseeing in Chiang Mai is essential.
Even if you’re only in Thailand for a couple of weeks on vacation, buy a SIM card. Thailand has really cheap data access all around the country.
We usually buy our SIM cards before leaving the airport but any phone store or 7/11 can do it, too.
Then you can use your mobile data to surf the internet, stream movies, etc. while on the Bangkok Chiang Mai sleeper train.
1st class passengers have access to a small entertainment screen. But I’ve heard all they play are Thai TV shows. Bring your own e-reader, tablet, or other personal entertainment.
If you didn’t get a SIM card, make sure you download things before getting on the train. The trains don’t offer wifi.
Don’t forget your headphones, and kid-friendly headphones, especially in 2nd class. Always be respectful of your fellow passengers.
This will help you keep the curtains in place while you sleep. Especially if you forgot your eye mask, every little bit helps you rest a bit easier.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai Sleeper Train: FAQs
Is there a luxury train Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
Yes, there is a luxury train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It’s known as the Eastern and Oriental Express and it offers both sleeper cabins and private cabins. The Eastern and Oriental Express also offers first-class services such as meals prepared by top chefs.
Normally the route only runs from Singapore to Bangkok; however, it also runs occasional rail cruises for 3 or 6 nights, including Bangkok-Vientiane (Laos) and Bangkok-Chiang Mai.
How much does it cost to go on the Oriental Express Thailand?
The fare from Bangkok to Singapore, or vice versa, on the Eastern & Oriental Express starts at around $3,325 USD per person in a Pullman. Prices are $4,825 in a Stateroom or $7,575 in a Presidential suite, assuming double occupancy.
Is there a night train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok?
Yes, there is a Chiang Mai to Bangkok night train. The Chiang Mai Bangkok night train runs roughly the same schedule as the night train Bangkok Chiang Mai. You can check the exact night train Chiang Mai to Bangkok schedules on the 12Go.Asia site.
How much is the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
Sleeper trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will cost anywhere from 581 baht for a second class sleeper berth with a fan at the train station to over 1,900 baht online for a private first class sleeper room.
Is it worth taking the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
Yes, it is definitely worth taking the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Taking the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train allows you to experience some of Thailand’s most beautiful scenery and culture. Just go with the flow and appreciate the opportunity!
How do I book a sleeper train in Bangkok?
You can either book a sleeper train in Bangkok directly at the train station or you can pre-book a berth (or several) in advance with 12Go.Asia.
Are sleeper trains worth it?
Yes, sleeper trains are worth it! Taking the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a great way to experience Thailand.
Whether you are looking for luxury or just want a better bang for your buck, the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train can provide you with a comfortable and memorable journey. Be sure to plan ahead, though!
How long is the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
The night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai officially takes around 11 hours. However, there are often a few stops during the night. So it could take closer to 14 or 15 hours.
Don’t make any immediate plans the next day if you’re taking the sleeper train, so that you don’t miss your excursion departure.
Is there food on the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
Yes, there is food on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train. General passengers can access the dining car. In addition, first class passengers can order from a pre-set menu and have it delivered to their room.
The option for both are limited and cash only, so bring your own food if you are or have in your group a picky eater.
Do sleeper trains have showers?
No, the sleeper trains in Thailand do not have showers on board. Consider bringing wipes, hand sanitizer, and a change of clothes to feel extra refreshed after your long train ride.
What type of socket do sleeper trains have?
Sleeper trains in Thailand have 220-volt universal sockets. You can use your own adapter to plug in any device you might need, such as your phone or iPad.
Consider bringing a fully charged power bank, just in case you run out of battery during the journey.
Can you drink alcohol on Thai trains?
Consuming and selling alcohol on Thai trains is now strictly prohibited. The new rule was implemented in July 2014 and the enforcers take it seriously.
Buying a beer in the restaurant car isn’t an option anymore and you may face a reprimand from security if caught drinking. Your drinks may also be confiscated and disposed of by security.
What is the best area to stay in Chiang Mai?
The best area to stay in Chiang Mai is the old city. Many temples, markets, and night bazaars are found in the Old City area, giving visitors a fascinating insight into traditional Thai culture.
Staying in this historic district gives you access to some of Chiang Mai’s most iconic landmarks and attractions.
What is the best time to visit Chiang Mai?
The best time to visit Chiang Mai is from November to February, when the weather is cooler and the days are mostly dry.
During this time of year, you can enjoy clear blue skies and lush landscapes with temperatures ranging from 20-25°C. Taking a sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai during these months will give you a truly enjoyable adventure.
When is the Chiang Mai burning season?
The Chiang Mai burning season lasts from late February through mid-May. It is the time of year that farmers in the north of Thailand clear their fields by burning them, in preparation for the next planting.
The burning practice causes hazardous levels of air pollution, and Chiang Mai can be unbearable during this time of year.
Conclusion: Bangkok to Chiang Mai Sleeper Train
Other than sleeping well, our son loved the night train! He actually had a great night sleep. It was the adults that struggled a bit.
From climbing ladders and watching the scenery outside to having his parents as a captive play audience and putting his hand out the window in the dining car at breakfast Little Man adored pretty much every moment.
What kid doesn’t dream of overnighting on a train?!
We also made friends with a doctor who was on a month’s break between assignments with Doctors Without Borders. He asked to share our table in the dining car. We spent several hours chatting and listening to his travel stories and plans.
It was certainly inspiring to hear someone who was making travel part of his daily life, and who knew how to live life to its fullest!
Despite the challenges, we enjoyed our experience on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train. We’d absolutely take the sleeper train again. We met new people, saved money, and had a lot of fun!