The Chiang Mai to Bangkok by Train Guide

You need to get from Chiang Mai to Bangkok by train and you’re here to know more about this journey. The train is the best option to travel to Bangkok from Chiang Mai because apart from being an experience, you can travel by train overnight, save one night’s accommodation, and still get a good night’s sleep on the train.

We chose to travel by train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Chiang Mai so we’ll tell you all you need to know about this journey. This train trip is popular, especially over the holiday season from November to January and the sleeper options are limited in number. So booking in advance will guarantee you travel on the planned dates.

*We also wrote a guide for traveling by train in reverse, that is, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and you can read it here*.

Which is the Best Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train?

5 different trains travel from Chaing Mai to Bangkok every day. Train number 14 is the best option because this train travels to Bangkok at night and you sleep on board the train. Leaves Chiang Mai at 5 pm so you enjoy Thailand’s northern views from the train’s window for about an hour and a half. And arrives in Bangkok the following morning at 6:10 am so you don’t have to wake up extremely early the next morning.

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Book Train Number 14 in advance now

Book train Chiang Mai – Bangkok in advance

Which Trains have Sleeper Seat Options?

Trains 52, 14 and 10.

These trains travel from Chiang Mai to Bangkok overnight and some seats on the train are converted to comfortable beds at bedtime. Trains 14 and 10 take about 13 hours to reach Bangkok. Train 52 completes the journey in 13 hours and 40 minutes.

Trains 8 and 102 travel to Bangkok during the day, they don’t have the sleeper option but you get to enjoy Thailand’s northern jungle views. Train 8 is the fastest and completes the trip to Bangkok in 9 hours 45 minutes. Train 102 is the slowest and arrives in Bangkok after 13 hours and 55 minutes.

James sleeping on the train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.
James on train 14 going from Chaing Mai-Bangkok at the 2nd class sleeper upper deck.

*Most 2nd class sleeper beds don’t have a power outlet so keep a portable charger handy to charge your mobile phone.

How To Book Chiang Mai To Bangkok Train Tickets?

There are 2 options for buying tickets in advance.

Go to any train station in Thailand and buy them directly at the station.

For this option to work, you need to be physically in Thailand at least a few days before your traveling date so you can increase the chances of the seat type you prefer being available.

Buy the train tickets online. We buy our train tickets from this website.

When should you buy your train tickets online?

1. You’re planning to stay in Thailand for a short period of one or two weeks.

In this case, you’ll waste half a day in Thailand traveling to and from the train station to buy the tickets. Also, traveling to the train station and back to your accommodation involves an extra cost that can be avoided and the money put against the cost of the train ticket.

2. Your travel plan is not flexible and you risk messing it up if the preferred seat type is sold out.

3. You want to travel with the overnight train, the sleeper option. This is the most popular seat option on the train traveling from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.

If any of the above applies to you, we recommend booking your train tickets from Chiang Mai to Bangkok online in advance.

If none of the above applies to you, you can go to the train station on the day you want to travel to Bangkok and buy whatever train tickets are still available for the day.

Chiang Mai Bangkok Train Ticket Price

The price you’ll pay for your train ticket will depend on:

Seat class. There are 4 different seat classes to choose from, 1st class A/C sleeper, 2nd class A/C sleeper, 2nd class fan or A/C seat and 3rd class fan bench.

Train number. For example, train 10 ticket prices are more expensive than train 14 ticket prices because train number 10 is newer than train number 14.

Location of bed. Upper bunk beds are cheaper than lower bunk beds because they don’t have a window alongside the bed and are smaller in size compared to the lower beds. Lower bunk beds are more in demand than upper deck beds.

1st class sleeper with A/C versus 2nd class sleeper with A/C

The 1st class sleeper with A/C is the most expensive and limited in number seat option. 1st class sleepers are located in a private room that can be locked and usually have 2 beds per room.

2nd class sleepers are located along the sides of the train carriage and have a curtain for privacy. If you prefer the 1st class sleepers we suggest you book one or two months in advance. We had the 2nd class sleepers and it was perfectly fine for us.

Book your seat on the Sleeper Train

2nd class seat versus 3rd class bench

The 2nd class seat is cushioned and usually reclines while the 3rd class bench has little cushioning and is at a 90-degree angle. 3rd class seats are never sold out and can be bought directly at the train station on your travel day.

Seat ClassAvg. Ticket price ($)
1st class Sleeper51
2nd class Sleeper32
2nd class Seat23
3rd classnot available
for pre-booking
Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train price

The average ticket prices in the table reflect online prices which are a few dollars more than if buying the tickets directly from the station. The small premium goes against the convenience and peace of mind that comes with buying train tickets online in advance.

Another option is to buy the train ticket from the State Railway of Thailand’s official website. But we never completed a purchase through this website because it is extremely not user-friendly and the translation from Thai to English is poor.

From Chiang Mai City Centre to the Train Station?

Before providing the 4 best ways to get from the city centre to Chiang Mai train station, let me provide you with the train station’s location on Google Maps.

Red minibus or Songthaew – They operate as shared taxis. Just wave one down heading in the same direction you want to go and tell the driver where you want to go. The driver will either agree to take you to the train station or not. In this case, wait for the next one. However, you shouldn’t wait for long. Expect to pay anything between 50 to 100 Baht.

The red minibus known as Songthaew parked at the Chiang Mai train station
These are the red minibusses known as Songthaew. They have 2 benches on the back as a sitting arrangement.

RTC bus 24C – Bus 24C or the Green Line starts at Chiang Mai International Airport, goes through the city centre and includes a stop at Chiang Mai Railway Station 2. From the bus stop to the train station, there is a short 3-minute walk. The bus stops are pointed on Google Maps, look for a blue bus icon on the map. Pressing the blue icon from your mobile, you get a live schedule of when the bus will pass by that stop. I didn’t get the live timetable from my laptop, seems to only be available on mobile. Here you’ll find a map of the bus route including the bus stops. Look at the 4th map in the link, that’s bus 24C.

Book transfer online – This is the best option if traveling to the train station early in the morning or in a group. Songthaew starts at about 6/6:30 am

Use a ride-share app – We recently used inDrive app in locations around Thailand where taxis do not use meters and found it cheaper than the more popular Grab app.

*In Thailand North, we did an off-the-beaten-path motorbike loop that was the highlight of our time in Chiang Mai and Thailand North. Read the details here*.

What to Eat on the Train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok?

In Thailand, you’re never short of eating options. And the same is true for eating options for your train trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.

There are 3 options for food while you’re on the train traveling to Bangkok.

Buy snacks or a takeaway meal before getting on the train from a local eatery or a convenience store close to the train station.

Buy a meal from the restaurant on board the train. We tried the food on the train from Chaing Mai to Bangkok and was ok.

Buy food from local vendors coming up on the train at the different train stops. However, no vendors came to the 2nd class compartment on our train trip to and from Chiang Mai. Local vendors are usually allowed in the 3rd class section only. We ate food sold by local vendors on Thai trains multiple times while traveling by train through Thailand and it was delicious. So if you want to try their food, head to the 3rd class compartment at a train stop. We once bought a whole chicken on a stick from a train food vendor and it was amazingly good.

The meal James bought from the restaurant on board the Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train
James’ meal bought from the restaurant onboard the train going from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Where to Stay in Bangkok?

The train journey from Chiang Mai concludes at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, Bangkok’s main railway station. Connected to this terminal is Bang Sue MRT station, accessible via an underground walkway.

Below we recommend 3 hotel options conveniently located near Bang Sue MRT station. Each hotel is also close to an MRT or BTS line, making access to central Bangkok easy.

Hotelscore/reviewsWhy stay at this hotel?
The Quarter Ladprao by UHG9/12408– early check-in available
– accessible directly from Bang Sue
– only 3mins walk from the train stop
– 9mins by taxi to the popular Chatuchak Weekend Market
Boutique Poo-Yai Lee @BP Place8.8/3027– early check-in available
– 12mins by taxi from Bang Sue train station
-15mins walk to Mo Chit BTS train station
Pillow & Bread Hostel9/743– early check-in available
– 11mins by taxi from Bang Sue train station
-14mins walk to Saphan Khwai BTS station
Hotel options near Bang Sue MRT train station.

Another option is to stay in a more central location and Sukhumvit is a popular option. Sukhumvit MRT station can be reached via the MRT line from Bang Sue.

These are our hotel recommendations that are conveniently located near the Sukhumvit MRT station and are also comfortably close to a BTS train station.

Hotelscore/reviewsDistance to BTS & MRT
Novotel8.5/1168912mins by taxi from Sukhumvit MRT station
1min walk to Phloen Chit BTS Station
The Okura Prestige9.2/752312mins by taxi from Sukhumvit MRT station
3mins walk to Phloen Chit BTS Station
Miami Hotel Bangkok8.5/543910mins walk from Sukhumvit MRT station
4mins walk to Asok BTS station
Hotel option in Sukhumvit close to a BTS train station

*We wrote a detailed guide to Bangkok’s neighborhoods, read it to help you find the perfect accommodation before visiting Bangkok*.

What to expect on the Chiang Mai Bangkok Train?

We only have good things to say about traveling between Chiang Mai and Bangkok by train. Trains in Thailand are clean and the pillowcases and bed sheets for our trip between these two cities were as white as they can be.

The 2nd class sleepers are comfortable and we had no problem sleeping on the train. Even James managed to get some sleep and he is usually the one having sleeping problems.

The luggage can be placed on racks close to your bed. If you’re on the upper bed, we suggest having a smaller bag with your most important belongings and keeping it with you on your bed.

The stainless steel toilet on board the Chiang Mai to Bangkok train
Toilet on board the train Chiang Mai Bangkok

Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train Stops

Two of the most popular stops on the train route from Chiang Mai to Bangkok are Ayutthaya and Don Muang. If you plan to visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya exactly after Chiang Mai, stop at Ayutthaya station.

And if you’re catching a flight out of Thailand from Don Mueang International Airport, plan your train trip accordingly and stop at Don Muang station. It is not uncommon for trains in Thailand to have an hour or two delay. So add some buffer between arriving at the station and the flight time. Don Mueang train station is about 22 minutes by walk from Don Mueng Airport.

* We wrote the perfect guide for first-timers visiting Bangkok, check it out here*.

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