Chiang Mai Railway Station

While in Chiang Mai last month I went along to the city’s charming railway station.

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Old Steam Locomotive in Front of Chiang Mai Railway Station

The station master obviously takes great pride in the station’s appearance. The platforms are decorated with potted plants and statues of elephants. The sparklingly clean ticket hall has portraits of Thai Kings, past and present, and a waiting area reserved for monks. There is even a Thai massage parlour which could be handy if you have a long wait for your connection.

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I was intrigued to think that I could board a train here which would take me, albeit with a couple of changes, all the way to my local station just south of Kuala Lumpur.

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How long would it take? As you can see from this map, Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur is a long way, over 2,000km or about 3 hours flying time. By train, I calculate that it takes about 51 hours and 50 minutes!

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Source: The Man in Seat 61

The train departs Chiang Mai at 18:00 and reaches Bangkok the next morning at 6:50. Then you have to wait 7 hours and 55 minutes in Bangkok for the 14:45 departure to Malaysia arriving at the border town of Padang Besar at 8:55 the next morning (yes, that’s two nights already on Thai trains).

Unfortunately you will have just missed the connection to KL and you have to wait 7 hours and 20 minutes for the next train, departing Padang Besar at 16:15. From here though the pace accelerates now that the new electrified ETS train service has been extended all the way up to the border and you will arrive at KL at 21:50 feeling quite weary I would imagine.

Of course there are sleepers, 1st and 2nd class, and restaurant cars on the Thai trains (no longer serving alcohol) so the journey would be reasonably comfortable.  The cost of the Chiang Mai / Kuala Lumpur train tickets, one -way,  would be around US$100 including sleepers. Not bad value at all but you could fly on Air Asia instead for just US$43.

If you want to know anything about train travel in Thailand or Malaysia (and just about everywhere else in the world) I thoroughly recommend The Man in Seat 61 website.

List of Asia’s Largest Reclining Buddha Statues

Wat Phothivihan, Kelantan, Malaysia

I have visited a number of Reclining Buddha statues over the years and I thought it would be interesting to find out how many more are out there. The answer is a lot!

Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang, Malaysia

I have trawled the internet to see if there is a definitive list but there doesn’t seem to be one. That could be because there are so many of these statues.  I started to piece together a list but gave up when I reached 30 as I kept finding new ones. The following is as far as I got, ranked in order of size (length). Needless to say there are very many omissions and errors.

  1. Yiyang County, Jiangxi, China – Length 416m
  2. Win Sein Taw Ya, Mudon, Myanmar – 180m
  3. Lawka Tharaphu Pagoda, Dawei, Myanmar – 75m
  4. Great Reclining Buddha, Monywa, Myanmar – 90m
  5. Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar – 66m
  6. Mya Tha Lyaung, Bago, Myanmar – 58m
  7. Shwethalyaung Buddha, Bago, Myanmar – 55m
  8. Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang, Samut Prakan, Thailand – 53m
  9. Hoi Khanh Pagoda, Binh Duong, Vietnam – 52m
  10. Thich Ca Nhap Niet Ban, Phan Thiet, Vietnam – 52m
  11. Wat Khun Inthapramun, Ang Thong, Thailand – 50m
  12. Galagoda Temple, Sri Lanka – 50m
  13. Wat Phra Non Chaksi, Singburi, Thailand – 46m
  14. Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand – 46m
  15. Nanzoin Temple, Fukuoka, Japan – 41m
  16. Wat Xieng Khuan, Vientiane, Laos – 40m
  17. Wat Phothivihan, Kelantan, Malaysia – 40m
  18. Wat Lokayasutharam, Ayutthaya, Thailand – 37m
  19. Wat Hat Yai Nai, Hatyai, Thailand – 35m
  20. Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang, Malaysia – 33m
  21. Manuha Temple, Bagan, Myanmar – 27m
  22. Wat pamok Worawihan, Ang Thong, Thailand – 23m
  23. Mahavihara Mojopahit, Trowulan, Java, Indonesia – 22m
  24. Dazu Rock Carvings, Szechuan, China – 20m
  25. Jorakuzan Mantokuji Temple, Takayama, Japan – 16m
  26. Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, Ayutthaya, Thailand – 15m
  27. Gal Viharaya, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka – 14m
  28. Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand – 9m
  29. Shinnyo-en Ogen’in Temple, Tachikawa, Japan – 5m
  30. Gua Charas, Pahang, Malaysia – 3m

Sri LankaChauk Htet Gyi Pagoda, Burma

Finally, the smallest reclining Buddha statue that I came across is the Jade Buddha, Shanghai, China which measures only 96 centimetres but it is made of precious jade.

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