Chiang Mai and Bangkok are two of the most beloved cities in Thailand, visited by millions of local and international tourists every year. In fact, there are plenty of travelers who visit both destinations in one go. It’s easy to do so when you get a Traveloka Chiang Mai tour package, helping you save time and money as you book your flights and hotel rooms at once.
However, if you’re not pressed for time, you might want to go from Chiang Mai to Bangkok via train. A flight between the two cities is quicker (just 1 to 1.5 hours), but a train ride is more scenic even if it takes longer (between 11 and 14 hours). What’s great about riding the train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is that there are plenty of awesome stops along the way. Check them out when you make the journey!
Lampang and Lamphun
Lampang is one of the first stops you’ll arrive at coming from Chiang Mai. This Lanna city is home to many majestic temples, including Wat Chedi Sao Lang with its 20 chedis, as well as the Burmese-style Wat Sri Chum. Make sure to also visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, one of the most revered temples in Northern Thailand. Lampang is also a great destination for walking tours, and is also well-known for ultra-relaxing massages.
You should also consider making a quick day trip to Lamphun, the capital of Lamphun Province. Lamphun is also a temple town, a sleepy and quiet retreat where you’ll find Wat Phra That Hariphunchai. This beautiful temple complex is said to have been built as early as 897, with the present compound constructed in 1044. The pyramid-shaped Chedi Suwanna, meanwhile, was built in 1418. According to legend, the footprints in the southwest corner of the compound belong to a buddha who once visited the temple.
Phitsanulok is like Lamphun in that it doesn’t see too much tourist activity. This is probably because Phitsanulok is considered a jumping off point for those who want to visit the more touristy Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. Still, the historic capital of Phitsanulok Province is not without its charms. In fact, the city is home to Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat or Wat Yai. The temple is where you can find the gold-covered Phra Buddha Chinnarat, said to be one of the most beautiful and revered figures of Buddha in the country. In addition, Phitsanulok is also the birthplace of King Naresuan. He was captured as a child but escaped captivity to lead the battle that defeated the Burmese in 1592. You can learn more about King Naresuan the Great and his story at Wang Chan Palace, located at Wang Chan Road.
Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai, and Kamphaeng Phet
The name “Sukhothai” means “dawn of happiness” in English. The city is one of the most historic sites in Thailand, with temples like Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Chum, Wat Phra Phai Liang, and Wat Saphan Hin. You should also definitely drop by Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient ruins are nothing short of stunning, visited by thousands of tourists but is still able to maintain an aura of mystery and solitude.
North of Sukhothai is Si Satchanalai. Also called “Si Satch,” this district has a few temples of its own, like Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat and Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo. However, if you’re already suffering from “temple fatigue,” you may want to visit the Sawankhalok pottery kilns for a bit of local slice-of-life instead. You can also drop by Ban Na Ton Chan Village to learn about the art of basketry and weaving.
Finally, 80 kilometers southwest of Sukhothai lies Kamphaeng Phet. Temple hoppers should visit Wat Phra Kaew, with its beautiful mix of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya art. Meanwhile, nature lovers will appreciate “Red Ant Egg” Garden and the Khlong Lan Waterfall.
Some tourists opt not to visit Lopburi due to the abundance of sometimes obnoxious crab-eating macaques in the area. Don’t let these naughty monkeys discourage you, though. Lopburi is definitely worth a visit. Aside from Wat Mani Chonlakan with its leaning chedi and Wat Phra Phutthabat with its beautifully detailed pavilions, you can also visit the remains of King Narai’s palace. The ruins have been transformed into a museum, where you can learn more about King Narai’s reign during the 17th century.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site you can visit in your train journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is Ayutthaya. The ancient capital of Siam has plenty of temples like Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Maheyong, and Wat Phanan Choeng that will mesmerize culture buffs. Other cultural sites in Ayutthaya include the Summer Palace, the old Muslim quarters, and the Portuguese cemetery. The Summer Palace or Bang Pa In Palace is particularly interesting, with its unique mixture of European and Thai design elements. For those who love old marketplaces, Ayutthaya also has a huge floating market that’s designed to appeal more to locals than foreigners. Finally, for something more unique, try visiting Sena district and its traditional knife-making shops.
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” as the popular quote goes. Well, when you take the train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, both your journey and the destination will surely be memorable.