Hi all, I am planning to take a flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Oct 16, and go straight to Chiang Rai after I landed in Bangkok. My plan is to take a over-night sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (www.seat61.com), then bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. I should be arriving in the afternoon on Oct. 17. My questions are,
1) Is there usually a delay on the over-night train? My friend told me there is usually a 3 hrs delay on the train, is that true?
2) What are the better bus services from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and how long does it take? Where can I take it after I get off from the Chiang Mai train station.
Yes it's fairly common for trains to arrive late by 1-2 even 3 hours. If it arrives on time consider yourself lucky. The best and most frequent buses to Chiang Rai are with a company called Green Bus. Go to the Chiang Mai Arcade bus station which is about a 50 baht 10-minute tuk tuk ride from the train station. The latest timetable I have is here.
Note: if you're going farther north from Chiang Rai (Chiang Khong, Mae Sai, etc.) these buses depart from the older bus terminal in town near the night bazaar and most of the cheap guesthouses. Transfer between stations by shared pickup taxi is 10 baht.
Yes, they do go quickly depending on the time of the year. Sometimes there are last minute cancellations that open up the odd berth or two, but no point in risking it. If you know when you are going you can book in advance on this site ...
My experience traveling on the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai has been quite punctual. Yes, the best bus service to Chiang Rai is the Green Bus from Arcade Bus Terminal not that far from the train station. It takes a bout 3 hours. The VIP bus is non-stop costs a few dollars more. The seats are comfortable. I prefer the 1st class aircon bus as it stop half way at Mae Krachan.
#6 LannaCountryBoy has been a member since 16/9/2012. Posts: 3
people with a little more sense and doing it the normal Thai way: dontbother with trains for transfers-as these also involve across town rides. Simply go to the behemoth of BKks bus transport, the Mochit and find any of dozens of companies offering overnight buses to C-Rai-or even to many smaller towns around, if thats where you actually aim for. only go via CMX IF you also want to spend a few days there. you are mislaid by that seat61 site and the idea tha any long-distacne trans is by train. You save more as half a day that way.
#8 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472