Hi..Can i check with anyone here that if i were to go chiang mai from BKK by train, should i book early or can i book 2-3 days before departure?
When is the peak season for the train?
#1 applejy has been a member since 25/11/2007. Posts: 7
Busiest times are peak tourist season (Nov-Feb) and Thai New Year (April). Best to book as soon as you know for sure when you'll be needing a seat/bed.
2nd option--fly. I found a flight on Air Asia for free (yes, zero baht)plus 19USD in taxes/surcharges from Bangkok-Chiang Mai--this way you save half a day as well--at most the flight will be 399baht plus same taxes now. Usually booking 2 days before departure while in BKK is plenty for trains. Good luck....
#3 jimsparadise has been a member since 25/11/2006. Posts: 30
Dear jimsparadise,Jon_Mak_Mak and Admin.Thank you so much for your reply and advise.By the way, if i really want to take a train, how and what is the way to buy train ticket now as i am not in Thailand now but in Malaysia..can it be bought through internet? If can, how to do it?
#5 applejy has been a member since 25/11/2007. Posts: 7
For what it's worth, we just took the train Chiang Mai-Bangkok and were pretty disappointed, by flashpacker standards. (We took the Luxor-Cairo train in Egypt last year, for comparison). We had 2nd-class sleepers, and they were not very clean at all, although the sheets were fine. We saw several cockroaches. But the thing that we wish we'd known/realized was that the employees on the train would "offer" dinner w/o mentioning the prices. Ditto for beer. We stupidly thought it was included in the price of the ticket, since it was in Egypt, but it wasn't. Then he overcharged us for the beer. Not a miserable experience, but not great either.
#7 Babalou has been a member since 27/10/2007. Posts: 3
How much did you pay for the Luxor-Cairo train in Egypt last year? Was the price comparable to the CM-BKK train ticket cost?
Also, I'm not sure it is fair to evaluate the 2nd class sleeper by Flashpacker standards. Flashpacker standards and prices match up more closely with the 1st class sleeper compartments on the CM-BKK run.
Either way, I've taken the overnight trains in Thailand dozens of times and never had the problems you mention. Perhaps I've just had exceptionally good luck, or it is a function of what we expect vs. what we find.
I guess that is true of the dinner and beverage service cost as well. Interesting to learn that it is included in the Egyptian train you mentioned. Did they tell you as much when you booked the ticket in Egypt? I can possibly see how someone might think drinks are included on the train, like they might be on most airplanes, but don't the menus on Thai trains list prices for the different meal options? Cheers.
I have taken the overnight sleeper up to Chiang Mai a few times and never had any problems. Well, maybe one problem, I did order breakfast (it was cheap and I did know that it was not free) but the eggs were all runny and the bacon not cooked. Only made that mistake on the first trip though! The overnight sleeper gets into Chiang Mai pretty early in the morning and you can buy breakfast in a sit down restaurant for under 100 baht.
In the past when I used to stay in Bangkok a little longer than I do now, I went directly to the train station a couple days before I needed the ride and got my tickets in person. There are travel agents that do this for you for a small fee. I don't buy too much in advance because I like to remain flexible and not want to face the possibility of suddenly finding something more interesting and not needing the train tickets!
If you have a hotel near the Skytrain you can use the Skytrain to take you to the Subway station at Asok and from there go to the train station. Or pay a METER taxi to take you to the train station (don't bargain the price of a taxi, only pay the meter price!) Having a hotel near the Skytrain is a good choice, you can use it to take you around town and connect you with the subway as well as the bus station at Ekamai.
#9 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
jimsparadise; where and how did you find a free flight + taxes for air asia or the 399 baht tickets? The cheapest thing I can find is 750 baht plus taxes from their website? Did you use another site or book at the airport or from Bangkok somewhere?
If you bought them at the airport/bangkok - how many days ahead do you think tickets need to be booked? Could we get them night before or morning of?
#10 zachmoore has been a member since 15/12/2007. Posts: 5
Exacto, you're right that I'm comparing 1st and 2nd class trains, and we did pay more for the Egypt tickets. (I don't remember exactly, but I think we paid in the neighborhood of $75 US pp for the Egyptian train and $55 for the Thai train). I only shared my experience because I'd not seen anyone mention the bugs, or warn about the food.
We had no reason to assume the food was included, and had actually stocked up on snacks ahead of time. We were just overtired and not thinking when the train employee offered us beer. We sort of stupidly thought that maybe the Thais on the train, none of whom were ordering food or drinks, paid less than us, and we had some sort of ticket that included food. There were only prices on one side of the menu, and when we asked if the meals on that side "cost extra" the porter said yes. When really, they cost "more."
So, yes, he overcharged us for the beer, but everything else was just our being foolish. That said, there definitely were cockroaches.
#11 Babalou has been a member since 27/10/2007. Posts: 3
Wow. Bummer about the roaches. I'll consider myself lucky for not having had that problem on my overnight train runs. I've spent quite a bit of time in Asia, but no so much that I wouldn't notice the roaches if they were there. Anyone else having this problem?
Sorry to hear that you were overcharged for the beer too. That two-tiered pricing system is something that has long bothered me about Thailand, but I guess it is just part of the cost of doing business there. If it makes you feel any better, the servers on the train just eek out a living by making a small percentage of their total sales and whatever tips they are lucky enough to get. No salary. Even so, it is hard to feel good about someone who is openly cheating you. Regards.
Hi..Guys, I am back from Thailand already and found the the train was ok but of course it was not up to my full expectation.As a Asian, I would say it is consider all right to me and i never take train that is having meal included so not so sure though i thought it was after i read some articles online.The condition of the bed was ok,but i do see crocoches , only one or two.It is still bearable, i guess...because we have more in Malaysia.hehehheeh
Ya,I rememebered i took train in Australia and the condition of the train was much better and it was also the same that food not included in the fare.However, the fare is much more higher than Thailand due to the currency.
Anyway..thank you for your guidance and appreciate that.
#13 applejy has been a member since 25/11/2007. Posts: 7