Overnight Train Travel Adventure – Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After our normal research of travel options, we decided to add an overnight train trip to the mix – the boys were extremely excited to be able to eat and sleep on a train!!

After Hua Hin we were heading to the very north of Thailand to Chiang Mai where we would be meeting up with Logan’s parents for the first two weeks of our four week stay. Via road this trip would be nearly 900kms so we needed to find a way to keep this manageable. Knowing that there were many buses travelling between Hua Hin and Bangkok, and it was only a three hour trip, we planned to bus to Bangkok during the day and then take the overnight train that evening from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

We purchased tickets for the ‘blue bus’ at the Hua Hin office/departure point and the price for the four of us (578 THB/$23.12 NZD) was better than other options we had seen online. We booked the bus leaving at 10am and the bus arrived just before this, we boarded along with about eight others and departed on time. This bus was a little less comfortable than some others we have travelled on thus far but for the next three hours it would be more than suitable. We travelled along nicely until reaching the outskirts of Bangkok and it’s traffic and arrived at the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal after a three and a half hour journey.

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Bus ticket for 2 adults & 2 children from Hua Hin to Bangkok.

With Logan’s cousin, Brad and his family, currently living in Bangkok we had a place to head to once we arrived in Bangkok and rest for a few hours before heading to the railway station. The boys had an opportunity to play for a bit, burn off some energy and catch up with two of their cousins currently living the expat life in the crazy city of Bangkok. After a few hours we needed to be on our way again as we needed to collect our tickets before 6.30pm from the 12GoAsia ticket office across from the Bangkok Railway Station. We collected our tickets with no dramas and the lovely girl in the office suggested we get some food before we got on the train as the food available onboard was expensive and not very good. Neither of these options sounded too appealing to us so we made our way via the underground pass to the station and got ourselves some dinner before boarding the train just after 7pm.Bangkok Railway StationWe were due for departure at 7.35pm and we easily found our 2nd class carriage and seats (two on either side of the aisle), surrounded by a large number of twenty-something backpackers. As all the passengers settled in, the staff were back and forth through the carriages with dinner and breakfast menus. We passed on ordering dinner but decided to order a couple of breakfast sets (150 THB/$6 NZD each) to share and tide us over. We were due to arrive in Chiang Mai at 8.40am and could easily pick up something further once we had our rental car. Right on time we slowly started to move out of the station and once we entered the outside world we watched the evening activities of the city as we rolled out of Bangkok.Overnight Train_Bangkok to Chiang Mai_1After the dinner service, the staff began to come through and make up the bunk beds. The top bunks have a little less room where the train curves inwards and the curtains do not block out the bright ceiling lights that aren’t turned off during the trip. However, Logan and I were assigned the top bunks as ticketing encourages that children are not on the top, and while the boys are fine on a standard top bunk, there was only two straps to stop you from rolling/falling off.Overnight Train_Bangkok to Chiang Mai_2As we had had a restless sleep the previous night and with Logan needing to be well rested for driving the next day, he pulled his top curtain and drifted off to sleep to the reasonably soothing motion of the train rolling along the tracks. The boys joined me on my top bunk and we played a few rounds of cards before we all settled into our own beds for the night’s journey. While the train’s motion was in some ways quite rhythmic there was also a bit of jerking around at times. I woke in the early hours and tried to turnover and sleep on my side while facing outwards. This didn’t last for long as a few sidewards jerks made me feel like I was going to fall off backwards from the top bunk.

Before I got back to sleep I heard Braxton below me and peeked through the curtains to see he was sitting up and not sounding too happy. I got down and found he had been a little sick, but thankfully it wasn’t on him or Peter Rabbit and it wasn’t too smelly. I stripped the linen off his bed, took it to the service area and moved him to the top bunk with me. With us now top and tailing, he promptly went back to sleep while I tired to get comfortable enough to get some more sleep.

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Our location at 2.30am (7 hours into the journey & with another 6 hours to go)

Lincoln was awake just before 6am while Braxton continued to sleep soundly on the top bunk. The train staff began to come through the carriages to see who was ready for breakfast and to transform the beds back into the seating formation. We had to wake Braxton so he had some time to eat something and he seemed to have recovered quite well from his early morning sickness. We rolled into Chiang Mai station on time at 8.45am and once we had disembarked and headed out of the station we were met with wave after wave of taxi drivers vying for our business. We had pre-booked a rental car and they met us at the station, so we were quickly on our way for our first day of adventures in Chiang Mai and with our first overnight train journey under our belts.

– Paula

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