Mia and I decided to take a VIP night bus from Mo Chit (AKA Chatuchak bus terminal) having heard very mixed reviews for the train. We had been told that the main company that operated the route (the Transport Co. Ltd) had buses that left the station at 19:00 and 21:00 so we arrived at 17:00 to make sure we got decent seats. Make sure that your taxi driver in Bangkok understands that you need to get to the Mo Chit bus terminal rather than the train stop as it is an they could take you to either otherwise.
Upon arriving at Mo Chit, we were faced with a long line of kiosks, most of which had a service running to Chiang Mai. However, relatively few had a VIP service. This made finding the right bus for us relatively easy, and whilst I’m sure that the services are largely similar, at the time it felt like we’d won the lottery.
The bus was air conditioned with leather, fully reclining seats. The foot-rest could be moved to support your legs and most impressively, the seats gave massages. One press of a button on the seats’ electronic controls, and to the most relaxing bus ride of our lives. I would recommend dressing for relative cold on these journeys as the buses are conditioned to very low temperatures, and the blankets provided tend to be a little thin to make much of a difference.
Having set off at 19:00, we stopped at around 02:00 for a meal that to our surprise was included in the ticket price of 580 Baht. All we had to do was present the store owners with a little ticket we had been given on boarding, and we were able to eat a hot meal without digging around our large and messy rucksacks for money. We were given 20 minutes to eat our food and stretch our legs, and then proceeded with a journey which all in all took a little over 11 hours.
We arrived in Chiang Mai a little before 07:00 and proceeded to catch a red taxi (Songthaew) to our hotel. This cost us 30 Baht each, and upon arriving at our hotel, we promptly passed out for the best part of 5 hours. Our activities in Chiang Mai are detailed in my next post, but for now I would highly recommend that anyone doing the same journey as us use the same company as the ride was comfortable and relaxing if a little tedious. It is very easy to fall asleep due to the comfortable seats and the air conditioning. However, be sure to arrive very early as many people take this route every day and you don’t want to miss out on a seat!