A visit to Thailand would likely include Chiang Mai as one of your destinations. It is an area of hill tribes and foggy mountains and a constant favorite of regular travelers.
Chiang Mai also offers a lot to shoppers of handicrafts and antiques and has many adventurer seekers’ activities.
A vibrant, lively nightlife also awaits the nocturnal, with many things to do, especially for the not so timid. Travel to Chiang Mai will certainly not disappoint.
For a shift in mood, a trip to Thailand should also include Phuket. I have seen some of the finest beaches here. Idyllic images of a tropical paradise with palm trees, white sand, and clear waters can be found here. Regardless of budgets, one can find accommodations to suit your wallet.
Phuket has more than 30 beaches, and it can host any vacation you have in mind. From a quiet romantic getaway to a rowdy party atmosphere, Phuket has it.
Traveling from Chiang Mai to Phuket
There are many ways to travel from Chiang Mai to Phuket and vice versa. One can opt to go by plane, ferry, bus, train, or car. I would suggest you try a Chiang Mai to Phuket train ride. Thailand is reputed to have a very good meter-gauge rail system.
It is safe, comfortable, and easy on the budget and a great way to see the sights as you move along. It is a genuine Thai experience. The train from Chiang Mai to Phuket is, I believe, the best form of travel.
The Train Travel Experience in Thailand
Train travel in Thailand is very civilized and comfortable, and you can avail of three options. First-class is available as air-conditioned sleeping cars on overnight trains. You can also avail of second-class seat and sleeper versions, with optional air-conditioning. These are quite comfortable, particularly on sleeper trains.
Even the third class is quite good by international standards and is a great travel option for shorter trips. Common to all sitting and sleeper areas is they are all non-smoking. If there is one downside, it is the minor issue of schedule.
Late Train Issues
The trains here usually run late. Although their departure times are on schedule, they usually encounter some delay causes along the way. Due to this doing connecting hops can be tricky, if not an inconvenience.
So there are no surprises, you can get real-time updates on a train running information online. I must also note that train travel is the least expensive in Thailand, making it a popular choice that could lead to heavy bookings and traveler traffic.
A train trip from Chiang Mai to Phuket is about 1216 kilometers. There are two ways to acquire tickets. Online or at a railway station.
It is quite easy to buy train tickets online, provided you purchase from a reputable agency. I suggest a booking window of between 3 days to 90 days ahead. You will also be able to view seat and berth availability.
You will be able to see train spaces available and which ones are already full. It is not an automated buying system. As you book, an agency staff member manually buys the ticket. You will then opt to get your tickets from one of many identified collection points an hour before your train leaves.
For a departure from Chiang Mai, you can get your online purchased tickets at the 24h Bossotel hotel reception, just across the Chiang Mai station or the station baggage room. Another option is to have the tickets sent to any address worldwide by registered express mail.
Of course, these will all have corresponding fees. I want to point out that the cheapest option is to collect the tickets in Thailand personally. However, if the collection points are inconvenient for you, getting them via mail is your other option. (Read 9 Things You Need To Know Before Traveling To Thailand)
Buying From a Railway Station
There is no difficulty if you choose to buy tickets in person at the station once you are in Thailand. Take note that all long-distance express trains need a reservation. Your reservation will be honored as late as the day of travel itself to as early as 90 days in advance.
Reservations reflect on a computer system. The booking office at any main station can reserve your berths or seats of choice for any train trip inside the country. A ticket will have information about train time, as well as berth or seat number.
To be sure of no hitches, bring your passport when you collect your ticket.
I have heard of incidents that involved scalping of tickets from Chiang Mai. Well, the bottom line is, are you willing to pay extra? Some agencies buy tickets in volume, and they may use the opportunity to scalp, so it is really up to you if the need to leave is urgent.
Holidays and Special Seasons
Like all public transportation, holidays and special seasons in Thailand will mean heavier traffic ticket sales. If you want to buy your tickets during trips that fall at these times of the year reliably, book ahead of time. Getting a head start from the crowd is always a good idea.
Alternative Modes of Travelling in Thailand
As I mentioned earlier, you have other travel modes like bus, car, plane, or ferry. Inexpensive flights Chiang Mai Phuket alternatives could be an option. Check the internet for prices if flying appeals more to you. (Find the Best Beaches in Thailand)
Regardless of which way you opt to travel, there is no substitute for advanced planning. This way, you avoid any unwanted hassles that get in the way of why you are on vacation in the first place. To enjoy yourself.