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Train travel from Bangkok to Chang Mai

edited February 2009 in - Thailand
Hi there,

can you tell me the best way to book train travel from bangkok to chang mai, can this be done on the day, or should I pre-book, also should I book it at the station, or through a travel agent?? same goes for a hotel, is it wise to pre-book or will I be able to get accommodation when I get there?? How should I pay for travel/hotel cash or card?? I was told not to use credit cards in thailand as there are so many scams!!!! should I be concered???

Any suggestions for Beaches in the south, I thought maybe Krabi, so maybe would think of flying from chang mai, but will probably travel back to Bangkok by bus/train from here, any suggestions where to stay to break the journey up, again re hotels, should I book ahead, or just arrive, I am trying to make the holiday as flexible as possible, and not just staying for the sake of having made a booking with hotel. Again should this be booked with card, ie: with agents in Changmai/Bangkok??

On arrival back to Bangkok, would like to see Bridge over River Kwai, and maybe have 1/2 nts there

Will 3 weeks be ok for this trip, want to enjoy it, and not feel as though we are dashing all over the place.

finally any useful tips would be appreciated.


  • edited 8:34AM

    I did the train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok late last year (same train just going the opposite way). I do suggest booking the ticket in advance through an agent (preferrably in your hometown but im not sure if you are already in thailand) as there can sometimes be delays in getting confirmation of your ticket. They will give you vouchers to show to get you onto the train. I also suggest paying the extra to go on the "first class" sleeper. It's definitely not what you would call 1st class but you have your own room with fold down beds so you can sleep.

    Also the majority of the time it is running slightly late, it says 9 hours but will most likely be between 9 - 13 hours. It was great to see the country side though some pretty amazing sights.

    In regards to the hotel, depending on what your after I highly reccomend the Centara Duangtawan if you book through an agent they often can get you stay pay deals that include breakfast daily which might cost you around $50 a night (may vary with agents and depending on how long you want to stay) The Centara is about 100m from the night bazaar and has 7 elevens, macdonals, thai massage, italian restaurants etc. all in walking distance as well as temples. And the restaurants in the hotel are great as well.

    Also best thing to do is book your tours in chiang mai through the hotels as their tour guides have gone to university and speak good english and tend to have a better knowledge of the history and places you are visiting. Depending on the agency you can also barter with the prices for the tours (as did I). U might get them slightly cheaper by utilising the tuk tuk drivers offers to go some place but you know the saying if it sounds too good to be true - it usually is!

    My last peice of advice in Chiang Mai the end of the trip if your wondering why so many people ask you to go the "HANDICRAFT CENTRE" I can tell you. My friend and I were baffled why so many tuk tuk drivers, tour guides, general people on the street wanted us to go to this handicraft centre???? Well turns out whoever takes the tourists to this centre gets free petrol vouchers!!!!! Thought it was pretty funny at the time & you will understand what i mean when you get there :)

    As for the scams I think you get what you paid for. If your thinking of going hostel styles 2 star or something I would think twice about using cards but if you go up to the 4 star & 5 star ur pretty safe but I have only been to Bangkok & Chiang Mai so I cant help you with any of the other parts you want to visit sorry.

    Have fun - I know I have fallen in love with Chiang Mai so much that I have booked my trip again this year to go there and buy a condo there!!! Safe Travels

  • Hello, I think this recent previous thread on the forum will be a big help for BAngkok, Kwai, and Chaing Mai. you
    It is very possible to do almost everything in thailand with no prior booking and if you want to be careful as it is tourist season, you can book easily from many many travel agencies in Thailand. I would not use your credit card except in large hotels and pay for things in cash, but i would use your debit card in Thai ATMs so extract the cash.
  • edited 8:34AM
    Hi thanks to shelly and alexander for help and comments.

    I'm sure I'll think of something else to ask you before I travel on 3/3/09.

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