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Siem Reap to Chiang Mai by Bus and Train

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After a memorable week of exploring Angkor Wat and the floating villages near Siem Reap in Cambodia, it was time to return to our home base in Chiang Mai Thailand.

Siem Reap to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Travel Planning Facebook Group

Check out our Chiang Mai Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it’s a great resource to enable you to ask any questions about visiting Chiang Mai Thailand. Many experts are on hand to help.

Chiang mai Travel Planning

Planning our trip from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai Thailand

Many people ask how to get from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai. While Siem Reap to Bangkok flights and Siem Reap to Chiang Mai flights are a popular option, we wanted to try something different on our return trip to Chiang Mai. There is no Siem Reap to Chiang Mai train.

We didn’t want to take the Siem Reap to Chiang Mai bus, so instead we chose to travel from Siam Reap to Chiang Mai by bus and train. Taking the bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok and then transferring to the overnight train Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Check below to search for Bus and plane tickets from Siem Reap.

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We had an event free journey on the direct bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok and enjoyed waking to spectacular mountain scenery viewed from our overnight Bangkok to Chiang Mai train.

Booking the Bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok

After our experience on the Chiang Mai to Siem Reap bus, we decided not to return on the VIP bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok or Siem Reap to Chiang Mai. To learn why click here

Instead we booked a VET Travel bus (Virak-Buntham Express) through  online booking website 12Go.asia

It was an easy process, when we booked our ticket and we were told to meet in front of the guest house at 7am on the morning of departure for the 8am VET bus Cambodia from Siem Reap to Bangkok.

The VET Travel bus had two drop off points in Bangkok, central Bangkok or Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station. Of course, we chose Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station because we were taking the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Catching the Bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok

Just after 7am we were picked up from the Naga Guest house and taken to our direct bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok.

The Siem Reap to Bangkok bus was a sleek red double decker beauty, a far cry from the cramped minivan we had on our Bangkok to Siem Reap bus trip. We climbed onboard and settled in for our 11-hour journey to Bangkok.



You will only be supplied with a bottle of water so make sure you stock up on snacks as there are only 2 comfort stops. There is an onboard toilet for any of those emergency breaks you may need along the way.

To Pre-purchase Bus tickets from Siem Reap or compare prices use the search box below.

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What we saw on our bus trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok

We soon left bustling Siem Reap behind made our way through a wide flat landscape of rice paddies. We passed small rural villages, clusters of houses were grouped together to form communal living.

The shaded area under the stilted houses played host to families and friends as they sat together chatting and laughing. Children played and fed grass to the cows that lived within these family compounds. In the distance farmers ploughed and worked in the rice paddies.

We occasionally passed through small towns, bike repair shops sat alongside small food stalls busy with customers. Small boutiques and beauty salons displayed the latest trends and decorative Buddhist temples lay at the heart of every community.

Thai – Cambodian border crossing at Poipet Cambodia

We soon came to the Cambodian/Thai border at Poipet. A VET Travel bus representative explained the border crossing process. Our bus would drop us at the Cambodian border and meet us at Star Plaza on the Thailand side, so we needed to take our baggage with us.

The border crossing from Cambodia into Thailand ran smoothly, having time for a comfort stop and grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Star Plaza complex.

Poi Pet border crossing
Busy town of Poipet on the Cambodia – Thailand border.

Arriving in Bangkok by Bus

We hit Bangkok rush hour traffic mid-afternoon and from that moment it was a slow 3-hour crawl to Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

We hadn’t booked our train ticket to Chiang Mai, but I knew there were trains leaving at 7.35pm and 10pm so hopefully we would make one of them, otherwise we would spend the night in Bangkok.

The bus dropped us off at 7pm, we had enough time to buy a Chiang Mai Thailand train ticket for an overnight sleeper on the 7.35pm service to Chiang Mai, luck was certainly on our side.

Next time we would pre-purchase our tickets online to avoid the rush at the train station. If you are looking for train tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai – Check below.

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Overnight train Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Often people ask how to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. We have taken many flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, the flight takes just over an hour and our favourite airline is Thai Smile.

We have also had the pleasure of taking the bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, a journey that takes around 9 hours.

The other option is the overnight Bangkok to Chiang Mai train, a trip we have been wanting to do for years and as we climbed onboard the night train, we were filled with excitement.

This was our first Thailand overnight train experience and it would take 13 hours to cover the Bangkok to Chiang Mai distance of around 681 km.

Our Bangkok train to Chiang Mai had a seating area and table that converted into upper and lower bunks during the night. A hostess gave out menus and took meal orders, we chose a set menu of Thai dishes, which were delicious and large enough to share.

We looked out the window, catching glimpses of city life until the landscapes of Bangkok receded into the distance.

When it came time to sleep the bunk was enclosed with a dark curtain for privacy, it was like your own little cocoon from the outside world. Pretty soon we were rocked to sleep with the motion of the train.

Sleeping compartments on the Bangkok Chiang Mai overnight train
Sleeping compartments on the Bangkok Chiang Mai overnight train

We woke early, looking out the window we were surrounded by the lush greenery of the mountains a truly magnificent vista. Soon there was a break in the vegetation and we started to see small villages and rice paddies.

Rice paddies in Thailand
View from the window passing Rice paddies

We passed through pretty Northern Thai railway stations, colourful flowers hung in baskets with the platform decorations looking clean and fresh.

Soon we arrived at Chiang Mai train station, what can I say, it’s one of the loveliest train stations I’ve seen in a long time, reminiscent of the Victorian railway stations you see in English movies.

We had a great trip and would like to thank the State Railway of Thailand for such a fantastic train journey.

Chiang Mai train station
Chiang Mai train station

Summary of Siem Reap to Chiang Mai by Bus and Train

We really enjoyed our trip from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai by bus and train. It gave us a chance to see more of Cambodia and Thailand and we liked it so much that we plan to do more train and bus journeys in the future.



Chiang Mai Travel Planning Facebook Group

Check out our Chiang Mai Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it’s a great resource to enable you to ask any questions about visiting Chiang Mai Thailand. Many experts are on hand to help.

Chiang mai Travel Planning
What is your favourite bus or train journey? Does anyone have any bus or train travel hacks they’d like to share? Feel free to comment, we’d love to hear your story.

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