a VirtualTourist member asked on Feb 10, 2017
We have heard about and want experience train ride to go from Bakgkok to Chiang Mai. Need advice on which train (time) cost as compared to bus and any other details someone thinks important. Thanks very much.
A bus ride to Chiang Mai is a little cheaper and faster. But more cramped, smelly small toilet and not easy to walk around to stretch out. Trains in Thailand are not always on time.
Man in Seat 61 has a lot of information for trains in Thailand. Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a popular ride. Some tourists use the overnight ride to save on paying for a hotel room. Sleeper cars sell out fast. Cheap seats might be available day before but depends on if holiday or peak high season.
If you do use a bus choose a bus from bus station. They have fewer problems with maintenance and theft than buses booked from travel agencies especially via Khao San Road agencies. Google search will give you times and prices. Mochit bus station buses leave frequently roughly 500 600 baht. (From Google search.)
On any bus keep valuable items with you and not in any checked in bag. This means money, passport, jewelry and cash. I wouldn't leave a computer in a checked in bag. Google up "bus scams" or "theft from buses" Thailand. (Theft from a bus can happen at home too.)
If time is short fly to Chiang Mai. Saves a lot of time just sitting around. Buses and trains can be chilly so be prepared with a light jacket. Keep your bag in sight when sitting on a bus or train. I keep my bags locked on Thai transportation.
Make Google your friend!
Hulamphong Train Station is near a subway stop. The subway connects with the Airport Rail Link and Skytrain.
Agree with SH's posts.
Take the overnight train for the experience. Fly if time is short. Protect your valuables and use common sense and you will be AOK.
I have taken the train trip many times to CM. If you have the time then it is most recommended. There are foods & refreshments available and toilet are convenience. Sometimes there are vendor with local delicious food come on board to sell. Sleeper are quite comfortable and you save one night for hotel too. 2nd class with sleeper cost BHT900 one way. I preferred the 19.35 or 18.10 departure train because when you arrived CM is about 8.00 and 10.00. respectively.( ask for the lower berth) book early to avoid disappointment.Transport to the town center are easily available and cheap. Tips - wake up early and go to the restaurant car and have breakfast, get ready your camera with snap shot , the highland are very scenic. There are 6-7 trips daily from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.