The bus from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi: A traveler review

After a wonderful couple of days exploring Chiang Mai, playing with elephants at the ethical Blue Daily Elephant Care Sanctuary and admiring lots of temples, we were bound for our next stop in Thailand.

Kanchanaburi was a place that we’d both heard lots about, particularly with regards to the Death Railway and the River Kwai Bridge so we couldn’t wait to see what it had to offer!

First though, we needed to make our way there on an overnight bus from Chiang Mai!

Bamboo tattoo, then let’s go!

On our last day in Chiang Mai, my boyfriend decided he’d like to partake in a truly quintessential Thai tradition and get a bamboo tattoo at one of the most reputable tattoo parlours in Chiang Mai: Bloodline Tattoo.

Bamboo tattoo, Bloodline tattoo, Chiang Mai

However, we were cutting it pretty fine in terms of finishing off his tattoo, heading back to our hostel and picking up our bags and then getting a Grab to Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3. 

Our bus didn’t depart until 8pm and as ever, I was panicking for nothing as we arrived at the Bus Terminal at 7:20pm, with plenty of time to spare!

We headed straight to the Sasanun Transport desk inside the terminal and showed the lady at the counter our confirmation email. She then proceeded to print a paper ticket off for us before pointing us in the right direction for our overnight bus to Kanchanaburi. 

Chiang Mai bus terminal

One thing to note about the toilets inside Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3 is that you have to pay 3 Thai Baht (around $0.09) for the privilege and without being too dramatic, I think that cost is a little too steep!

I’ve been unlucky enough to experience some truly disgusting public restrooms while travelling Southeast Asia for the last 5 months but these truly are some of the smelliest and dirtiest.

All aboard

Once I’d managed to get the horrendous toilet stench out of my nostrils (ew!) it was time to board the bus and get as comfortable as possible for the upcoming 12-hour overnight journey.

Bus from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi

This bus marked our third overnight bus in Thailand in as many weeks so we felt quite accustomed to the procedures and our expectations were somewhat minimal.

However, we were thoroughly impressed by the Sasanun Transport VIP bus from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi. 

Once we’d boarded the bus and got settled into our seats, we were given a can of Pepsi, a packet of Tom Yum crisps and a bottle of water each. 

This really is such a nice touch and even though you probably wouldn’t usually snack a lot after 8pm normally, when you’re on an overnight bus, it can make you feel a little snacky so this was definitely appreciated. We were also provided with a huge, fluffy blanket that made it much easier to get comfortable and settled down for the night.

The bus set off right on time at 8pm and I spent the next couple of hours watching episodes of Jane the Virgin that I’d downloaded on Netflix on my phone.

If you’re planning on travelling by bus a lot in Thailand, I’d recommend having some form of entertainment with you as there’s not always Wi-Fi on the buses and if you can’t manage to fall asleep, you’ll soon become pretty bored.

Another great thing that I loved about this VIP overnight bus was that it came equipped with two USB charging slots in between every seat so you can easily charge your phone when it’s running low after watching too much Netflix or playing too many games on your phone for hours on end.

Food stop

At around 1:30am, the bus stopped at a service station restaurant where you could enjoy a free meal that was included in the price of the bus ticket.

Interior of bus from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi

Incidentally, we’d actually stopped at these services just a couple of days before on our overnight journey from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai so we already knew that we wouldn’t be able to eat the food here.

My boyfriend is allergic to peanuts and as none of the staff speak English, and the fact that none of the food is labelled, we couldn’t risk eating something that might give him an allergic reaction.

However, it was still nice to disembark from the bus for half an hour or so and stretch our legs and use the toilet. 

At 2am, it was time to hop back on the bus and begin the final leg of our journey to Kanchanaburi. We managed to get a couple of hours’ sleep in the second half of the bus journey which was a pleasant surprise as we usually struggle to sleep on the overnight buses in Thailand.

The bus pulled into Kanchanaburi Bus Station just after 6am, a whole two hours earlier than the expected time of arrival on our tickets! While it would usually be an absolute blessing to arrive earlier, we couldn’t actually check into our accommodation until 8am so we still had to wait around anyway!

Despite the fact that we couldn’t check in until 8am, we still decided to head there anyway and wait outside so we took a songthaew (sort of like a Tuk Tuk mode of transport used in Thailand) for 100 Thai Baht for two of us ($3.20).

We definitely overpaid as usually this form of transport is only 30 Thai Baht each but we were far too tired to try and bargain with the driver at 6am and we just wanted to get there!

I was honestly so impressed by the overnight VIP bus with Sasanun Transport from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi and it was by far the most enjoyable overnight bus we experienced in Thailand!

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