The railway connects Bangkok to Chiang Mai with multiple stops through the Thai countryside. Rather than breezing all the way to Bangkok, stop off in Ayutthaya for the sunrise. You can buy tickets at the train station, hotels, hostels and travel agents. Double check your tickets after purchase.
Traffic in Chiang Mai can be worse than you expect – I had to run to catch the train – so leave with plenty of time. People will say that trains are hardly ever on time, but mine left on the dot. A second class ticket will get you a double leather seat with a big metal shelf for storing your bag. Drinks and meals are not included but there is food available to purchase on board at an inflated price.
The journey to Ayutthaya is about 12 hours. A couple of hours into the journey the seats are turned into beds. Top bunks have curtains but these aren’t high enough to block out the lights so book a bottom bunk. Lower beds also avoid the awkward climb up and down the metal bars with the train bouncing along. Someone will wake you up half an hour before the stop (I’d set an alarm anyway).
The train arrives at 4:30 am so there’s plenty of time to catch the sunrise over the ruins. Ayutthaya station is a 40 minute walk or 10 minute drive from the ruins. Let your guest house know what time you will be arriving and they might be able to arrange for someone to pick you up or an early check in.
Visited November 2016
Little Amy Tours @littleamytours