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Written by Grace Oktaviani

Got the time to slowly relish, travel and explore Thailand’s beautiful cities? If yes, we highly recommend experiencing what it’s like to travel via the train to popular destinations like  Chiang Mai and Hua Hin.

With train tickets from Bangkok costing from $1.16 per person (one-way), you’ll be able to discover rural areas and beautiful fields, only possible on train rides.

Curious? Read on to discover our top 6 destinations to enjoy scenic travelling via train.

Read more:

6 fun weekend and day trips from Bangkok

17 Mystical Places in Thailand and the fascinating stories behind them

19 magical places to visit in Thailand with fairies, dragons and flaming cliffs

Tips to travel via train in Thailand

Before you explore Thailand via train, here are 6 handy tips to remember:

1. Book the AC train instead of the non-AC train
2. Pre-book the train tickets via the official website, 12Go.Asia or at the station
12Go.Asia – http://bit.ly/2t35Bh3 (up to 1 year from departure date)
Official Website – http://bit.ly/2ERT8Q1 (up to 90 days from departure date)
3. Take the overnight sleeper trains for long-distance travel
4. Luggage can be stored on racks or next to the seats (for sleeper train)
5. Keep your personal belongings with you at all times
6. On-board food is available to order (for some destinations)

Note: For more information, please contact the SRT tourist service number at +66 2 220 4261 or +66 2 220 4268.

1. Head to the chilly North! – Chiang Mai (13h from Bangkok)

Did you know that Chiang Mai can be traveled to via train, either using a day train or a sleeper train?

Here are 4 best spots you should visit in this nature city, including an Art Village and the famous Yipeng Festival.

Photo Via Dubbopug, Steph.brock90, Marius0424, Coristoryphotography

– Unleash your creativity – Art Village: Visit various art centres – such as for ceramics, handmade paper umbrellas and gems – art museums and a handicraft market. (Coordinates here)
– Shop ‘til you drop – Chiang Mai Night Bazaar: Find trinkets and souvenirs like ceramics for your home and artworks, as well as cheap massages (150 baht for 1-hour full-body massage). (Coordinates here)
– Treat yourself to nature’s beauty – Doi Inthanon National Park: Enjoy incredible views especially at sunrise at the summit and trek around the park – some of which lead to beautiful cascading waterfalls. (Coordinates here)
– Lantern festival in the North – Yipeng Festival: Celebrate this northern festival by releasing Lanna-style paper lanterns into the sky to attach good luck wishes and prayers and give respect to Buddha. (Coordinates here)

Where to stay in Chiang Mai?

17 unique hotels in Chiang Mai you never knew existed

6 Traditional Japanese-themed hotels to stay at in Chiang Mai, Thailand 

Chiang Mai

Price: From 231 baht / USD $7.66 per person
Duration: 13h 5mins (for sleeper trains)


2. Getaway to a European countryside – Khao Yai (4h 10min from Bangkok)

Can’t afford to go on your dream Europe trip yet? Visit Khao Yai instead to enjoy activities that’ll remind you of Italy as well as other dreamy attractions.

Here are the 4 best spots in Thailand’s European village, from a hedge cafe to a bubble igloo stay.

Photo Via Ruddiez.k, Auiiphirawan, Tiffanykongadian, __aheart__

– Spend a night under the stars – Casa De Montana: Get a 360º view of the night sky and stargaze (without getting insect bites) from the comfort of your fully-furnished bubble igloo. (Coordinates here)
– Dine at a vineyard cafe – Pirom Cafe: Enjoy Western and Asian cuisine at this vineyard lookalike cafe, with manicured bushes that resemble maze-like trees and shaped hedges. (Coordinates here)
– Shop and pose at this Tuscan village – Palio Khao Yai: Enjoy bite-sized Italian paradise as you shop amongst authentic Tuscan buildings and decorative plazas found at the streets of a rural village in Italy. (Coordinates here)
– Marvel at the cascading water – Haew Narok Waterfall: Located at Khao Yai National Park, enjoy the sight of the majestic waterfall surrounded by rocky mountains and lush evergreen forests. (Coordinates here)

Where to stay in Khao Yai?

12 Affordable Khao Yai boutique hotels with amazing views

21 extraordinary hotels in Khao Yai for a magical holiday

Khao Yai

Price: From 86 baht / USD $2.85 per person (to Pak Chong Station)
Duration: 4h 10mins

3. Craving some time at the beach? – Hua Hin (3h 30min from Bangkok)

Seeking a beach getaway near Bangkok? Hua Hin’s your answer.

Here are 4 best spots you should visit while in Thailand’s peaceful beach town, including a Santorini Amusement Park and Seenspace Hua Hin.

Photo Via _truscsss.ng, Awi_wu, Qmumesweet, Bff_katepat

– It’s a shopper’s paradise – Cicada Night Market: Discover everything from food and trinkets to artworks by local artists at this artsy night market for a relaxing weekend night out.  (Coordinates here)
– The hippest hangout place – Seenspace Hua Hin: Enjoy a relaxing day at this stylish beachfront mall, where there are cute cafes to grab lunch at and mid-range to affordable designer wear boutiques to shop at. (Coordinates here)
– Feel like a Grecian god in little Santorini – Santorini Amusement Park: Spend the day carousing through Grecian streets and boutique shops, visiting quirky shopping with local and international brands and playing at rides and attractions. (Coordinates here)
– Visit one of Thailand’s most remarkable cave shrine – Tham Khao Luang Cave: Relish the mystical aura in this cave brought by the dangling intricate stalactites and the shimmering light that illuminates more than 180 golden Buddha statues. (Coordinates here)

Where to stay in Hua Hin?

11 Affordable beachfront hotels in Hua Hin under $70

11 hotels with affordable pool access rooms in Hua Hin

Hua Hin

Price: From 94 baht / USD $3.12 per person
Duration: 3h 30mins

4. You’ll fall in love with Thailand’s ancient capital! – Ayutthaya (1h 15min from Bangkok)

Love cultural things? Visit Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand to revel in the remnants of the past glory of the Kingdom of Siam.

Here are 4 best spots to visit in this city, from Bang Pa-In Palace Summer Palace to Wat Mahathat.

Photo Via TripCanvas, Nanaferro

– Famous Buddha head in a tree – Wat Mahathat: Built during the 14th century during the Ayutthaya period, discover the iconic Buddha head in a tree, as well as other prangs and Buddha images. (Coordinates here)
– Visit Japan’s former settlement in Ayutthaya – Japanese Village Museum: At this museum located at the old site of the Japanese settlement, discover how the Japanese lived and contributed to the Ayutthaya Kingdom. (Coordinates here)
– Eat and relax at night – Krungsri Ayutthaya Night Market: Find numerous stalls of food, beverages and items open on Fridays and the weekends. Or else, enjoy a romantic wooden boat ride next to the market (for 40 baht/person). (Coordinates here)
– Visit the summer palace of Thai kings – Bang Pa-In Palace Summer Palace: Discover buildings restored by King Mongkut, also known as King Rama IV, during the 19th century. Note that some parts of this “summer palace” are still used until now (restricted access). (Coordinates here)

Where to stay in Ayutthaya?

29 must-do things in Ayutthaya including places to eat, explore and stay

Ayutthaya

Price: From 35 baht / USD $1.16 per person
Duration: 1h 15mins

5. You’ll absolutely love the floating resorts here – Kanchanaburi (2h 30min from Bangkok)

For a vacation, Kanchanaburi is fantastic. It’s slow and relaxing, and the floating resorts here are to-die-for. (We fell in love with this place!)

Apart from that, this area has historical significance, and you can learn more about World War 2 and how Thailand and its neighbouring countries were affected.

Here are the top 4 spots to visit at Thailand’s historic city, including River Kwai Bridge and Mallika R.E.124.

Note: Online booking is not available for this route. Seats for the weekday trains (third class seats) are never full, hence tickets can be bought in the station. For weekend trains, seats can be booked via phone at 1609 or +66 2 621 8701 ext 5229.

Photo Via Photo Via Soraya_nok, Scottloescher, Elisalemgruber, Greanyduo

– So warm! – Hin Dat Hot Springs: Rejuvenate in this hot spring developed by the Japanese soldiers (back in WWII) with 3 geothermal pools (45°C, 42°C and 39°C). (Coordinates here)
– Walk on the death railway – River Kwai Bridge: Take a stroll (or ride a train) over this WWII bridge connecting Thai and Myanmar, built by prisoners of war. (Coordinates here)
– Hike to the top tier for the ultimate nature beauty – Erawan Waterfalls: Erawan Waterfalls has 7 tiers of waterfalls with different shapes and beauty of its own, with each tier having its own pool (you can swim in!). (Coordinates here)
– Move back in time to the 1900s – Mallika R.E.124: Visit old Siam, rent a Thai costume and live like you’re in 1903. All expenses here are made using old coins called “Satang” (exchangeable inside). (Coordinates here)

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi?

7 overwater bungalows in Kanchanaburi with incredible lake views

10 riverfront hotels in Kanchanaburi that’s floating on the water

Kanchanaburi

Price: From 57 baht / USD $1.89 per person (depart from Thonburi Station)
Duration: 2h 30mins

6. Family-friendly or cheeky vacation? You decide! – Pattaya (3h 40min from Bangkok)

Pattaya had a reputation in the past for being a sleazy travel destination. In recent years though, this place has become a family-friendly utopia! (Locals love travelling here for family holidays too, FYI.)

Discover 4 best spots at Thailand’s surprisingly family-friendly beach destination, including Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and the world’s first Cartoon Network Amazone.

Note: Online booking is not available for this route. Seats for the weekday trains (third class seats) are never full, hence tickets can be bought in the station. For weekend trains, seats can be booked via phone at 1609 or +66 2 621 8701 ext 5229.

Photo Via Aliustaoglumeral, Spehyhilman, Joyjaajaa, Gwakgox

– Wander Through Horticulture History – Nong Nooch Tropical Garden: At this 2.4 square kilometres botanical park, kids will absolutely love the dinosaur valley, while adults will adore the world-class orchid nursery with 670 native varieties. (Coordinates here)
– Visit a magical ice kingdom! – Frost Magical Ice of Siam: Indulge in the wintry -10ºC temperature as you walk around marvelling at ice sculptures based off Thai culture, ride the waterslide and visit the Love Ice Bar. (Coordinates here)
– All things retro and classic – Suriya LAND: Discover a wide array of retro and classic items, including guitars and ceramics. Remember to take a picture at the entrance by the giant blue guitar and grab a drink at the cafe before you leave. (Coordinates here)
– Slip and Slide With Your Favorite Cartoons – Cartoon Network Amazone: Enjoy some water fun at the world’s first Cartoon Network themed water park, with 5 main water attractions and 9 main shows going on every day. (Coordinates here)

Where to stay in Pattaya?

9 family resorts with irresistibly fun waterslides in Pattaya

26 Reasons to have a 3D2N honeymoon in Koh Lan, including things to do, places to stay and eat

Pattaya

Price: From 72 baht / USD $2.39 per person
Duration: 3h 40mins

The best part about trains is that you can avoid all the traffic in the road AND enjoy the beautiful views of the towns and greenery you pass by. So remember to book a train ride the next time you’re in Bangkok!

Happy adventuring! 😀

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Travel Writer

A travel enthusiast currently based in Thailand, with interests in travelling, entertainment, marketing, and Asia.