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Any update on the temporary shut down of part of the train line north from BKK to Chiang Mai?

  • cheli

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd October, 2013
    Posts: 5

    Hi all, I've read about how maintenance work on the northern train line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai has closed the route until October 31st. I came onto this forum to see if there's any update at this stage?

    We were hoping catch the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Nov 17th. We've read that there's no way to book yet as there's likely to be a new timetable, but we're wondering if its going to be too hard to book and should consider flying instead? Urgh, flying!

    #1 Posted: 2/10/2013 - 17:01

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  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
    10th January, 2005
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259
    Total reviews: 6

    you will still be able to take train to Utradit and catch onward bus.

    remember with no trains flights may get booked up

    will they finish on time ??keep checking local media

    #2 Posted: 3/10/2013 - 04:36

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 929
    Total reviews: 14

    It's supposed to reopen on November 1, so check again then. How were you planning to book in advance? Thai Railway no longer offers online booking, so you'd have to pre-book through an agent. I wouldn't stress it -- worst case scenario is you hop on a comfy bus last minute with an on-board bathroom.

    #3 Posted: 3/10/2013 - 08:56

  • cheli

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd October, 2013
    Posts: 5

    Hi amnicoll and DLuek, thanks for you replies! You've given me some really useful information I didn't know before - not having been to Thailand before, my own searches for local information have been pretty inefficient ;)

    DLuek, in answer to your questions, I was planning on using an agency like www.thailandtrainticket.com. My concerns were that as the line has been closed for a little while, that bookings may be very popular when they do reopen and hard to secure; I have a similar concern that plane flights will be hard to get if the lane opening is delayed and am wondering if we should book flights early.

    I appreciate your giving me a description of the buses, they do sound comfortable and it's good to know that we'd only need to catch one from Utradit (thanks amnicoll!). However I am traveling with a group and my friend's boyfriend is apparently quite picky on his comfort level. I suspect he may dismiss the option of a bus out of hand, hence why I'm working out what my alternate options are.

    #4 Posted: 3/10/2013 - 17:07

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    Why train when flights are pretty much the same price?

    Nov 17th is Loi Krathong. Are you planning on leaving Bangkok the 17th or arriving in CM the 17th? I would be trying to arrive in CM on the 16th or at least the 17th.

    Not sure what Loi Krathong does to train and plane tickets(I didn't notice it flying from Phuket, other then they changed my flight time due to lanterns in the evening). Might be fewer tickets available at that time so would definitely be booking in advance.

    #5 Posted: 3/10/2013 - 18:54

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1613

    Loy Krathong weekend usually means trains and flights mostly full. Better decide how you'll be getting here asap and pre-book. Or else wait a couple days until things quiet down.

    #6 Posted: 4/10/2013 - 00:11

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
    10th January, 2005
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259
    Total reviews: 6

    The big question is when will the line re-open. If the line is open then apart from the holiday I would not worry about getting a booking as many will have made alternative arrangements. When you arrive in Thailand just go to any Thai State Railway station and make your booking but you may as above experience a problem if you do want to travel on the 17th although it may be that Thais are wanting to travel before and after (but I do not know)

    However if you definitely want to avoid any buses then book a flight ASAP

    #7 Posted: 4/10/2013 - 04:48

  • cheli

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd October, 2013
    Posts: 5

    My bad, Geer1 - I meant to write that we plan to head to Chiang Mai on the 18th. We decided we weren't going to be able to make it to Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong, so we're going to see it in Bangkok instead. Captain Bob makes a good point though that the holiday might make travel different around that period anyway (we're planning on spending that weekend in Khao Yai, so I guess I need to keep tabs on that too!). I've emailed my friends and we'll see what they prefer.


    Thank you all again for your advice and help!

    #8 Posted: 7/10/2013 - 15:38

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