A Train Ride To Lampang –
Many travelers I know, and this includes me by the way, enjoy taking the opportunity to travel by train when they are visiting other countries. If you are one of this group, and you find yourself in Chiang Mai, Thailand, there is a train trip that you might find very interesting. It’s a simple and pleasant day trip by rail from Chiang Mai to Lampang and return.
Lampang Thailand, a city with a population of around 60,000, is the third largest city in Northern Thailand and the capital of Lampang Province. It’s about 600 km north of Bangkok and 100 km southeast of Chiang Mai. Located on the main rail line which runs from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, it’s relatively easy to hop aboard one of several daily trains which pass through Lampang going to, or coming from, Chiang Mai.
THE ROUTE –
The rail route from Chiang Mai to Lampang runs south to the city of Lamphun where trains make a brief stop. From there trains head into the low mountains and hills of the national park area, making one or two very brief stops at small towns if there are passengers to embark or disembark. Eventually the line runs down into the flat plains before entering Lampang. The distance covered is about 101 km and takes between 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Trains in Thailand vary in terms of speed and comfort. Trains serving smaller communities and local trains are fine but better trains are used to serve more major cities. One of Thailand’s main train routes runs between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Several trains travel from Chiang Mai to Lampang and from Lampang to Chiang Mai each day. You can check to get train information at ThaiRailwayTicket.com. If you want more great information about Thailand Train Travel visit The Man In Seat 61 – my “go to” source for train travel info around the world.
For a nice and unrushed day trip – A Train Ride To Lampang – I would suggest taking Train Number 8 from Chiang Mai. It is a “Special Express” train which runs all the way to Bangkok. It departs Chiang Mai at 8:50 AM and arrives in Lampang at 10:38 AM. Take a Songthue or GRAB vehicle (Chiang Mai’s version of Uber) to the Chiang Mai Railway Station. Since the train originates in Chiang Mai it will generally leave on time so plan to get there a bit early to get your ticket. (More on tickets below.)
Train Number 7 works well for the return run to Chiang Mai. It also is a “Special Express” train, departing Lampang at 17:33 and arriving in Chiang Mai at 19:30. This gives you about 7 hours to explore Lampang – perfect for a nice and unhurried railroad day trip. The returning Train Number 7 originates in Bangkok and travels a long way before reaching Lampang. As a result, departure times from Lampang can vary – the train tends to run a bit late.
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As mentioned above, train schedules and ticketing information can be obtained on-line at ThaiRailwayTicket.com. Be aware that rail tickets for long distance travel, such as from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, can be reserved and booked in advance. No advance reservations can be made, however, for short journeys such as the day trip from Chiang Mai to Lampang. But that’s not a problem so don’t worry. There is always room for short distance travelers. You can purchase your ticket at the station prior to your departure. (Note: The Railroad’s designation / name for Lampang is “Nakhon Lampang” so for your train ride to Lampang that’s the destination you want to request – as shown in the image of the ticket below. ) Probably best to have your passport with you just in case. They asked for mine when going to Lampang but not when I purchased the ticket for the return in Lampang. A second class ticket is all you need to get a nice comfortable coach seat. The ticket cost – Chiang Mai / Lampang – is 50 baht each way ( around $1.65 U.S currently). Not a bad deal for 2 hours of train travel through the interesting Thai countryside.
A second class ticket will give you an assigned seat in a comfortable coach. In my experience the coaches were not full so I was able to move around to get better views and photos as we traveled.
Trains 7 and 8 actually run the full distance between Chiang Mai to Bangkok – a route which takes a long time. The speediest Chiang Mai to Bangkok train takes 11 hours to cover the route while the overnight sleeper takes 13 hours! Passengers with long distance tickets have some snacks and beverages included in their ticket price. The Chiang Mai to Lampang segment, at 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours is relatively short. As a result, the Chiang Mai – Lampang ticket does not include any snacks or beverages. Just plan ahead and bring along some water or juice and some snacks if you like.
Lampang itself is a smaller but interesting town. The train station is about 2.5 km from the city center. I walked for most of my visit, easily finding my way with the help of navigation apps. It’s a flat city, easy to walk, with many interesting locations, markets, and temples to discover along the way. If you are not into walking, on arrival at the train station you can easily find a songthue which will give you a ride to the city center for around 50 to 100 baht, depending on your negotiating skills.
Not surprisingly, Lampang has a number of beautiful Buddhist temples. They are fun to explore and offer the weary walker some shady spots to rest, regroup and relax.
WAT SI RONGMUANG –
WAT BUN DONG CHAI WARARAM –
WAT CHIANG RAI –
A brief Travel And Photo Today video – Riding The Rails From Chiang Mai To Lampang.
If you are a traveler who enjoys “Riding The Rails” then consider taking the train for a Day Trip From Chiang Mai to Lampang. It’s an interesting change of pace journey in the countryside of Thailand.
Take A Train Ride To Lampang ………
……………….. And Enjoy The Adventure!
Enjoy Train Travel? Here are several other articles related to trains and train travel. Ride The BBQ Train — Overnite Train From Beijing to X’ian — Spain Take The Train — Rome Day Trips — Japan’s Bullet Train
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