Photo: Almost Maldivian at Ao Noi, Ko Kut.

Thailand forum

Changing stops on the train to Chiang Mai

Posted by fushica on 1/2/2013 at 06:50

Hi,

I'm planning to get the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai around the end of February, and don't want to risk it being booked up so am trying to reserve a seat in advance.

I know the evening I want to travel on, but I want to keep my schedule flexible and don't know if I'll be in Bangkok that day or if I'll have gone up to Ayutthaya. If I purchase a Bangkok - Chiang Mai ticket, does anyone know if it will still be accepted if I get on several stops later?

Thanks v much for any help with this! - Fushica

#1 fushica has been a member since 26/1/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by exacto on 2/2/2013 at 16:55

Hey Fushica,

I saw that nobody has responded to your question so far, so I'll give it a try.

I've done exactly this before and not had any trouble. I just took my assigned seat in Ayutthaya for the overnight sleeper to Chiang Mai even though my ticket was valid for all the way from Bangkok. Having said that, others have commented fairly recently that the system is a bit more sophisticated now, and that you may be treated as a no-show if you don't board at your assigned location and the seat assigned to a standby passenger. I'd be surprised to see that, but stranger things have happened and there is some risk there.

I'd go ahead and book in advance (if you haven't already), in which case you've got a couple of options. First, you could book the ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and if it turns out you'll be in Ayutthaya that day and boarding from there, stop in at the train station and at least let them know you'll be boarding from other than the assigned location.

Second, you could book from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai and just make it a point to get up to Ayutthaya that day. The overnight sleeper trains leave fairly late in the day, so you'd have plenty of time to make it up to Ayutthaya for a day trip and then board the train from there and even see some of the ruins under the lights that way. That's actually a pretty good strategy anyway, if you didn't plan to spend the previous night in Ayutthaya, as a day trip still gives you enough time to see something before getting on the train.

Sorry if that seems like a painfully obvious response. Given the chance, I'd definitely go for the day trip to Ayutthaya to get the most out of the day before getting on the train.

Let us know what you decide and how it turns out if you would, okay? Cheers.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,632
 Where has exacto been? 


Posted by Kananga on 3/2/2013 at 22:59

Yes it will be fine. As you dont need to check in like you would at an airport the railway will have no way of knowing if you got on in Bangkok or not.

After the train departs Hualumphong terminal someone may sit in the seat if it is empty, but just show them your ticket once you board in Ayutthaya and they'll move.

If you have a valid ticket for that trip it wont be cancelled if you get on at Ayutthaya.

#3 Kananga has been a member since 25/4/2005. Location: Thailand. Posts: 34

Posted by captainbkk on 4/2/2013 at 01:53

old fart Kan is WRONG in this case-the one taking your ''seat=bed'' may well be assigned there by the conductors-and paid for an upgrade from a horrible real seat. It MAY happen -which for those not knowing may mean yes-or no. ANY railway in this whole world does that, as does any airline, to keep up with no-shows. That means that the ticket is not cancelled-in fact what I again try to explain is printed on backside of all tickets, you can go for a refund or you can sit in that maligned seat of the upgraded other.
Also there are 3 overnite trains BKK-CNX and the better ones do not really lve LATE in the eve-but at 18.00 and around 19.00. Stops at Ayut some 90/100 mins later-or much later if the usual mishaps have already happened.

#4 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

Posted by Kananga on 4/2/2013 at 01:56

Thai railways do not reassign seats post departure. If you get on at a later station just show the person sat in your seat the ticket and they'll move. If the conductor is taking cash off passengers and letting them upgrade because there appears to be no-one in a specific seat he is doing so illegally.

#5 Kananga has been a member since 25/4/2005. Location: Thailand. Posts: 34

Posted by fushica on 4/2/2013 at 04:56

Thanks everyone... Sounds then like getting on a stop or two late shouldn't be too risky so I might chance it!

My other option is of course playing it by ear until I know where I'll be, and booking the train the night before or the morning of the trip. I was hoping to go second class on the sleeper - not too fussed it I get the 7:30/8/10pm train -- do you think I'm likely to run into any problems booking at that late notice or should I be ok? The date I'm thinking of is around February 20th...

#6 fushica has been a member since 26/1/2013. Posts: 7

Posted by Kananga on 4/2/2013 at 05:08

Impossible to tell, although usually when I take the train the 2nd class sleeper carriage is always full or almost full. I would get the ticket as much in advance as possible.

#7 Kananga has been a member since 25/4/2005. Location: Thailand. Posts: 34

Posted by exacto on 4/2/2013 at 23:09

I agree with Kananga. You should book the 2nd-class sleeper as much in advance as possible. The trains are really full anymore, and I'd be surprised if you got a berth buying a ticket at the last minute - particularly on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai route. Please be sure to write about your train trip and let us know how it went.

By the way, if you don't get a sleeper berth, do yourself a favor and don't try taking a 2nd-class seat or, even worse, a 3rd-class seat on the over night train. You'll be much better off taking a VIP bus in that case. Better yet, break up the trip with an overnight in Phitsanulok or Sukhothai or Kamphang Phet instead. Good luck.

#8 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,632
 Where has exacto been? 

Posted by Kananga on 4/2/2013 at 23:32

Or take the first class compartment. Works out at approx 1200baht per person for a two berth compartment. Locking door for added privacy and safety, a waiter service who can bring you dinner in your room and the (shared) bathroom has a shower. Much more comfortable for a small premium.

#9 Kananga has been a member since 25/4/2005. Location: Thailand. Posts: 34

Posted by stoneman on 15/2/2013 at 03:06

Two years ago I booked my 2nd class aircon sleeper 3-4 days in advance but that was low season. In February I would book as soon as I could. I travelled up to Ayutthaya on the morning train (staying 2 nights). I boarded the overnight train around 8.40pm I think & my bed had been made up waiting for me to tuck in.

#10 stoneman has been a member since 8/5/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 100

Posted by exacto on 15/2/2013 at 09:40

The other reason to book as far in advance as possible is berth selection. You'll have a much better chance at a good night's sleep if you are in a lower berth, as they are larger, block the light better. The upper berths by contrast are smaller and much closer to the lights.

More important, however, is being near the center of the car. Every last-minute berth I've purchased was at the end of the car instead of in the middle, meaning you are much closer to the constantly opening and closing door - and if you are really unluckly, the not-so-fragrant toilets.

#11 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,632
 Where has exacto been? 

Posted by Tilapia on 15/2/2013 at 14:09

Just so you know, the back of your train ticket will have the following printed on the back ...

"PLEASE BOARD AT THE ORIGINATING STATION SPECIFIED ON THE TICKET: OTHERWISE, THE RESERVATION WILL BE CANCELLED AUTOMATICALLY."

How this is done is beyond me as all the porter does is walk around punching tickets and taking down the ticket info onto a clipboard (sometimes.) There's no computer on board to the best of my knowledge. It is possible, though, that they radio or telephone to the station ahead to let them know of any seats that are available.

So, as most have suggested, it probably wouldn't be a problem. But just be aware that it very well could be and it's right there in plain English on the back of the ticket, as captainbkk referred to.

#12 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,491
 Where has Tilapia been? 

Posted by stoneman on 16/2/2013 at 00:28

I need to amend my original post. I DID NOT have my ticket booked from Bangkok. Transport for my itineraries are meticulous. I had booked my overnight ticket for Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai. Sorry for my mislead.

Regarding sleeper selection, I do the same as exacto. My first trip everything was manual. My last trip bookings were computerised. The travel agent told me that the system books a sleeper at random. First attempt I was allocated a sleeper near the end of the carriage. I said okay then cancel that and try again. Second attempt I was allocated a sleeper in the middle of the carriage, I booked it. Why they can't program their computer system to allow you to book a specified vacant sleeper is beyond me.

#13 stoneman has been a member since 8/5/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 100


Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.