Good morning from Chiang Mai Railway Station. Thai State Railways has joined hands with Lampang Rajabhat University to organize rail tours under the ‘Lanna Modernization Railroad Travel' label. The goal is to promote rail travel and routes between the old cities of Lampang, Lamphun, and Chiang Mai. This is now their fourth tour package. The demographic of my fellow passengers is retirees with disposable income. The price of the tour is 7590 Baht and those I asked said it was a fair price. There were even quite a few people who had made all four trips so far.
This is a live report from my three night two day tour with them in Northern Thailand.
(2) We came to Chiang Mai Special Express No.9 which is a sleeper train. I slept a full seven hours last night, although several others have said they had a restless night. My tip is to have a good eye mask that blocks 100% of the light and ear plugs. The pictures below show my dinner and breakfast in the dining car.
📷 Photos and information about CNR sleeper trains: thaitrainguide.com/trains/cnr-sle…
(3) There are 38 passengers on this trip. Everyone is Thai apart from me. Today we are in Chiang Mai and Lamphun. Tomorrow we will go to Lampang where we will take the sleeper train at night back to Bangkok. We have two full days on this trip.
(4) Our first stop is at Doi Intanon, which at 2,565 meters is the highest point in Thailand. In the winter months the temperature is below freezing. It wasn't that cold this morning but at 7°C it was the coldest I've had in Thailand in a long time.
(5) We also visited Doi Inthanon Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphaphone Phumi Siri. The Twin Pagodas are dedicated to King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit.
(6) Our third stop at Doi Inthanon National Park was Wachirathan Falls. This is an impressive 70 meter high waterfall that seems to have water all year round. You can also often see rainbows here at sunrise.
(7) Today's lunch at Touch Star Resort in the Chom Thong district of Chiang Mai.
(8) Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong, in the Chom Thong district, is one of the most important sites in Chiang Mai as it houses sacred relics of the Buddha. It was unusual for the relics not to be buried as they could be taken for a blessing.
(9) Here Ganesha Himal Museum in the Doi Lo district of Chiang Mai. Despite the name, it's not all about Ganesha. There are various other Hindu gods as well. The garden is also beautiful.
(10) We reached our last stop, Wat Phra That Doi Kham, right at sunset. On a clear day, this is a great place to see the sights of Chiang Mai.
(11) Chiang Mai is truly full of life. I haven't seen so many foreigners in one place in a long time. Big difference when I came here last year. Great for local businesses of course, but a big part of me misses the quiet during the Covid years. In Thailand we don't have a strict lockdown and we can still travel.
THE SECOND DAY
(12) Good morning from the cold lamphun. It's only 15°C this morning. Weather jacket for me. We came here from Chiang Mai last night. Only 40 minutes. We will do a few things here and then move on to Lampang where we will catch the sleeper train tonight back to Bangkok.
(13) Our first stop on Day 2 was Wat Phra That Haripunchai. This is the most important and biggest temple in Lamphun. It is popular among people born in the Year of the Rooster.
(14) Our first stop in Lampang is Thai Elephant Conservation Center. It started well by watching the handlers bathe their elephants. But then it quickly went bad by taking us to an elephant show and then an elephant ride. No, thank you.
(15) Our lunch today at Jor Nguan in Lampung. Of course we have Khao Soi, a popular dish in Northern Thailand. I usually eat it with chicken, but this time I chose beef. It's really soft and a great choice.
(16) Our stop after lunch is at Chae Son National Park in the Mueang Pan Lampang district. It is popular for Hot Springs. The hottest pool is 80°C and it takes 17 minutes to boil an egg. There is also a pool where the water temperature is around 35°C.
(17) They also have private rooms for 50 Baht. This is a great place to spend the night in a bungalow as the morning mist is especially beautiful during the winter months. These are my photos from my previous visit in 2018.
(18) Dinner tonight at Runway Kitchen Restaurant in Lampung. As the name suggests, it's across the runway.
(19) It's time to ride Special Express No.10 and back to Bangkok.
Schedule and photos: thaitrainguide.com/timetables/no-…
(20) Our train arrived at Krung Thep Aphiwat on time. This ended my 2 day 3 night train journey to Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Lampang. This is now the fourth trip organized by the Thai State Railways and the tourism faculty at Lampang Rajabhat University. The next trip is probably dinner on the train between Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok. Then travel south. Next year they said they would travel to Isaan. Follow @ThaiTrainGuide for updates.