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Train times & online tickets Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Phuket, Nong Kai etc.


 

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The International Express train from Butterworth arrives at Bangkok's Hualamphong Station.

Arriving in Bangkok
by train
from Singapore, you get a real sense of arrival. 
Note the
picture of the King of Thailand, visible over the exit from the platforms.


Buy train tickets

 


Click for interactive
train route map


Thailand train route map

 


Buy tickets for train, bus, ferry in Thailand

Thailand has one of the best metre-gauge rail systems in the
world and train travel is easily the best way to get around & see the country. 
It’s comfortable, safe,
cheap, environmentally friendly, and unlike flying it’s a genuine
Thai experience.  The train is the best way from
Bangkok to Chiang Mai and
train+ferry or train+bus the best way from Bangkok to Ko Samui,
Phuket or Krabi.  You can travel
Bangkok-Vientiane,
Bangkok-Cambodia or
Bangkok-Penang-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore by train, too. 
The
1,233-mile journey to Singapore takes 48 hours & costs only $80/£55.  This page has schedules & fares for key train routes in Thailand
and explains how to buy tickets.

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How to buy
train tickets online

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How to buy
tickets at the station

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Bangkok Hualamphong station

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Luggage, left
luggage, taking bikes & motorbikes

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What are Thai trains like?

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Food on Thai trains
 

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Map of train
routes in Southeast Asia

Timetable & fares for
popular routes…

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Bangkok
– Chiang Mai

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Bangkok
– Nong Khai
for Laos

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Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani

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Bangkok – Aranyaprathet
for Cambodia

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Bangkok
– Kanchanaburi – River Kwai & Nam Tok

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Bangkok
– Ayutthaya

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Bangkok – Samut Songkhram
– the Market train

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Bangkok – Pattaya

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Bangkok – Hua Hin – Surat
Thani – Hat Yai – S.Kolok

Bus & ferry links…

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Bangkok –
Koh Tao
(train+ferry)

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Bangkok
– Ko Samui & Ko Phangan (train+ferry)

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Bangkok –
Phuket
(train+bus) & Ko Phi Phi (ferry)

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Bangkok –
Krabi (train+bus)

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Bangkok – Sukhothai (train+bus)

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Bangkok – Chiang Rai (train+bus)

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Singapore, Kuala Lumpur
& Penang to
Ko Samui

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Singapore, Kuala Lumpur & Penang to Phuket

International
trains & buses…

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Bangkok to Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore by train
for around $80

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Bangkok to Singapore by Eastern & Oriental
Express deluxe cruise train
for around $2,000.

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Bangkok to
Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh & Cambodia
by train & bus

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Bangkok to Vientiane & Laos by train

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Bangkok to
Moulmein, Yangon & Burma

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Bangkok to Saigon & Vietnam
by train & bus

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Saigon to Hanoi &
Hanoi to
Beijing
by train

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Train travel in Singapore & Malaysia   

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Singapore to Jakarta by
ferry

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Europe to Thailand by
Trans-Siberian Railway

Other useful information…

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Online bus & ferry tickets

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Train route map

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Useful country information:
visas, time zone…

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Flights to Thailand

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Hotels in Bangkok & Chiang Mai

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Travel insurance, Curve card & VPN

How to check train times & fares…

  • You can check train times
    in Thailand at the official State Railways of Thailand website,
    www.railway.co.th.  Switch it to English by clicking
    the UK flag top right.  Scroll down and click

  • It can help to know that the Northern Line
    means the line to Chiang Mai, the Southern Line means the line south to Surat
    Thani and Hat Yai, also the line to Kanchanaburi & the River Kwai. 

  • To buy tickets
    online see here
    .

  • Thai rail expert Dave
    Bernstein has produced a superb PDF format timetable for the State
    Railway of Thailand which you can
    download, print out and take with you to help you travel around
    Thailand.  It features timetables for all the main routes in
    English, maps, fares, refund & ticket purchase arrangements, details of
    bus/ferry connections and much more.  Highly recommended! 

    Download Thai train timetable.

Map of the Thai train
network

  • Click here for an interactive route map showing
    trains & connecting buses & ferries across
    Southeast Asia. 

  • For a detailed map of the
    Thai rail network see Dave Bernstein’s
    excellent
    downloadable Thai Rail Timetable here.

Are the trains on time?

  • You can check real-time train
    running information online (including on your smartphone when in Thailand)
    at tts.railway.co.th.

Bangkok Airport rail
link: 
www.srtet.co.th or

www.bangkokairporttrain.com

  •   A modern rail link
    between Suvarnabhumi airport and central Bangkok opened in August 2010, see
    www.srtet.co.th or
    www.bangkokairporttrain.com
    Fast trains
    run about every 15 minutes 06:00-24:00 from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the City Air terminal at Makkasan
    (22 minutes, 35 baht) and Phaya Thai Skytrain station in the city centre (26
    minutes, 45 baht).  There is interchange with the MRT (metro) at Phetchaburi
    station and with the Skytrain at Phaya Thai station.  It does not directly
    serve Bangkok’s main Hualamphong station.

  •   State
    Railways of Thailand trains between Bangkok and Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai
    & Nong Khai (for Vientiane in Laos)
    call at Don Muang station, right next to the old
    Bangkok Airport, about 50 minutes (22 km) from central Bangkok. 
    However, most long-haul flights were transferred from the original
    Dong Muang Bangkok Airport to the new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
    in September 2006.

Buses & bus
tickets…

  • You’ll need to use buses for
    some routes where there are no trains, for example Phuket to Koh Samui.  There are many
    bus operators in Thailand, you can
    check times & buy tickets online for many routes throughout Thailand using
    12Go.Asia, a new site that is still expanding.  You can
    also use it to
    check train times in Thailand and Malaysia, and buy train tickets online.


Back to top

Do you need to buy tickets in
advance?

  • , if all you want is
    a 3rd class local ticket such as Bangkok to or from Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, Hua Hin
    or Aranyaprathet as these are only sold at the station on the day.  They
    cannot sell out!

  • , even for longer
    distance trains if you want to stay flexible and are prepared to risk the
    specific train or class you want being fully-booked.  There are
    often places available even on the day or a few days before, at least
    outside peak periods, as long as you’re prepared to take an alternative
    train, class or date if your first choice is full.  However, sleepers on
    the best trains do sell out, often several weeks ahead at the peak Thai
    holiday periods such as New Year (30 December to 3 January) & Songkran (Thai New
    Year, usually 11-16 April).  To be sure, book ahead if you can.  1st
    class sleepers usually sell out first, as there’s usually only one 1st class
    sleeping-car on those trains which have them.

  • if you
    want to be sure of a ticket in a specific class on a specific train & date for a long
    distance journey as Bangkok to Chiang Mai. 
    Booking in advance is essential at peak periods.  To buy tickets online,
    read the section below…

  •   If you want tickets all the way to
    Kuala Lumpur & Singapore, see the advice in the Bangkok to Singapore section.

When does booking open?

  • From 1 September 2018,
    booking for long distance journeys (for example, Bangkok to Chiang Mai or
    Hat Yai) will open 90 days ahead.

  • Bookings for journeys that
    are between 25% & 60% of a long-distance train’s total journey will open 30
    days ahead.

  • Bookings for journeys that
    represent <25% of a long distance train’s total journey (for example Bangkok
    to Hua Hin on a long-distance express to Southern Thailand, or Hat Yai to
    Padang Besar on the Bangkok-Padang Besar train) will open only 1 day ahead.

 


Buy Thai train tickets from 12go.asia


In Bangkok, you collect tickets from the 12Go.Asia office on the
ground floor of the
DOB building opposite Hualamphong station, open daily 10:00-20:00.


Ticket collection in Bangkok

If you arrive at Hualamphong metro (MRT) station, use exit 1 and you
will see the DOB Building just 30 metres away.  Or walk out of
Hualamphong mainline station and look for the DOB building across the
road to the right of the line of shops.

Ticket collection office in Bangkok

12go.asia’s collection point on the ground floor inside the DOB
building…

Option 1,
buy online from
, …

  • You can order Thai train tickets
    easily & cheaply online from reliable agency
    12go.asia
    .

  •  
    You must book at least 3
    days ahead but ideally less than 90 days ahead.  They’ll take bookings more than
    90
    days ahead but remember they can only buy tickets when the State Railways of
    Thailand open bookings.  Their system shows live seat & berth
    availability so you can see which trains have places available and which are
    fully-booked, although they can’t offer real-time online booking – you order online, their staff
    buy the ticket for you manually.

  •  
    You can choose to collect your tickets from one of several possible collection
    points, at least 60 minutes before your train leaves:

    (1)  Bangkok: 
    12go.asia‘s collection
    counter is in the DOB building opposite Hualamphong station open 10:00-20:00
    every day.  There’s no added fee for collecting here.

    (2)  Chiang Mai:  You can
    collect tickets from the 24h Bossotel hotel reception across the road from
    Chiang Mai station, 70 baht fee, or from the station baggage room for 150 baht
    fee.

    (3)  Surat Thani:  You
    can collect tickets from the station parcels office, open 24h.

    (4)  Don Muang airport: 
    You can collect here if heading north, open 09:00-20:30.

    (5)  Nong Khai:  You
    can collect from the station baggage office, for a 150 baht fee.

    (6)  Ayutthaya:  You
    can collect from the parcels office.

  •  
    Alternatively, you can choose to have tickets posted to any address
    worldwide by registered express mail.  This costs around 100 baht ($3)
    to addresses within Thailand or 1,500
    baht ($43) to addresses worldwide including Europe, America & Australia. 
    Obviously it’s cheaper to collect tickets in Thailand if you can, but if none of
    the collection points work for you (for example, if you were going from
    Butterworth to Bangkok as there’s no collection point in Butterworth), tickets
    will need to be sent to you.

  •  
    12go.asia
    charge the regular Thai Railways fare plus a pretty reasonable 250 baht
    ($7.50) booking fee and a small PayPal payment fee (3.4% + 11 baht).  The
    price they show for each train includes the 250 baht fee but not the PayPal fee.  You pay securely via PayPal,
    either using a credit card or your own PayPal account, or you can choose their Visa or MasterCard payment channel provided by Omise
    which is a bit cheaper.  There’s no additional delivery fee if you
    collect tickets in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, and just a small ($4) fee for
    collection at Surat Thani.

  •   Most State Railways of
    Thailand routes, trains & classes
    are loaded on the 12go.asia system, but not every class on every route between every
    station, so bear that in mind.  It won’t sell tickets for local trains
    such as Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin or Aranyaprathet as you need to buy
    these on the day at the station.  But the most popular longer-distance trains,
    routes & classes are bookable online.  They can even sell the combined
    train+bus/ferry tickets from Bangkok to Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan &
    Koh Tao (although only in the outward direction in the case of Phuket &
    Krabi), and they can book the between Bangkok
    and Butterworth in either direction. 
    12go.asia can also book
    buses & ferries around Thailand, and now it can also book Malaysian KTM trains
    too.

  •   If you want one whole
    1st class
    2-berth compartment for two people, buy two 1st class tickets, selecting one
    upper and one lower berth, they will then book you together in one compartment. 
    Make sure you select the option to book 2nd class if 1st class sleepers are
    full, see my advice on this here!

  • Feedback is always appreciated.  So far, seat61 correspondents report
    good & helpful service.

Option 2, buy online at

  • Reliable Asian train & bus
    ticketing agency
    www.baolau.com
    also sells Thai train tickets through a direct connection to State Railways of
    Thailand’s own online sales system.  They now allow you to select an exact
    seat choice from a numbered seating plan.

  • You print your own ticket, so
    ticket delivery is simplified, just be aware that only a certain percentage of
    all the berths or seats on each train is made available through SRT’s online
    system.  That means that trains or classes may be shown as sold out when in
    fact some seats or berths remain available, so it’s worth checking
    12go.asia as they can
    access all the seats and berths.

Option 3, order from other Thai agencies…

  • Alternatively, you can book Thai train tickets
    over the internet from
    several other Thai travel agencies.  These agencies will have
    the tickets waiting for you at your hotel in Bangkok for a small
    fee.  Shop around to check what fees each agency charges before booking. 
    Remember that reservations open 60 days (2 months) before departure, you
    can’t book before then.

  • www.asia-discovery.com
    is another reliable agency, recommended by a number of seat61 correspondents.

  • www.royalexclusive.com &
    www.travelconnecxion.com also
    arrange train tickets for Thailand, the latter charging a 250 baht fee per
    ticket.

Option
4, buy from State Railways of Thailand…

  • In February 2017 State Railways of Thailand reinstated online booking at
    www.thairailwayticket.com with a
    small fee after two short-lived periods of offering online booking in previous
    years.  This has now (November 2020) changed to a new system at

    www.dticket.railway.co.th
    .  If you have any problems with it, use
    12Go.Asia as explained above.


Back to top

How to buy tickets
at the station

Buying tickets at the station…

It’s easy to buy tickets yourself at the
station when you get to Thailand, but remember to take your passport, as it may
now be required to buy a ticket.  All long-distance express
trains require a reservation, which can be made on the day of travel
or up to 90 days in advance.  Reservations are computerised, and
the booking office at any main station can reserve seats or berths for
any journey in Thailand.  Your ticket will have the train time
and your seat or berth number printed on it.  3rd class local
trains such as Bangkok-Ayutthaya or Bangkok-Kanchanaburi don’t require
a reservation, you just turn up, buy a ticket from the ticket office
and hop on.

Buying tickets at Bangkok Hualamphong…

…  For a while, Bangkok Hualamphong Station
had a special ticket office for foreigners to the left of the main ticket
windows (pictured below right), But this seems to be permanently closed now, so
just use the main ticket windows.  Take your passport, as it
is now required to buy a ticket.  .

Ticket office for foreigners, Bangkok Hualamphong station

 

Ticket office for foreigners, Bangkok Hualamphong station

  You can buy from the main
ticket office on the concourse, which is well organised.  TV screens above
each window show what tickets each window sells.  Windows 15-22 are open
for advance ticket sales daily from 08:30-16:00, see the photo below.  The
other ticket windows are open at all other times selling tickets for travel
today.

  I’ve had
at least one report that trains to Chiang Mai were ‘full’ when the traveller
asked at the official booking office for a train in two days’ time, but they were
later directed to a travel agency
on one of the upper levels inside Hualamphong station who sold them first class
sleeper tickets on the train they wanted for an extra 700 baht each. 
Agencies sometimes buy up blocks of tickets to re-sell, a practice known as
scalping.  SRT should stop this, but in the meantime, if you find a train
full it’s worth asking a travel agency inside the station, if you’re willing to
pay the extra!  Feedback appreciated.

The ticket office at Bangkok's Hualamphong station
 

Train information counter at Bangkok's Hualamphong Station

Bangkok
Hualamphong Station, showing ticket office & the advance
booking windows….

 

Bangkok’s
Hualamphong station information point, on the main concourse…

Busy periods… 


Normally there’s no problem buying tickets when you get to Thailand, if you are
flexible as to the exact day, train and class,
although obviously if it’s mission-critical that you travel on a
particular train in a particular class on a particular date, you should pre-book using
one of the methods
suggested above.  However, there are a few
holiday periods when booking ahead is strongly recommended under all
circumstances.  The two biggest are New Year (30 December to 3
January) and Songkran (Thai New Year, usually 11-16 April).  If
you want to travel at these periods you should definitely pre-book,
preferably on the very day booking opens (60 days before departure).

Buy by phone, 1690, +66 2265
8080

You can call
State Railways of Thailand by dialling 1690 within Thailand or + 66 2265 8080
from outside.  It’s reported that they are
very helpful and are comfortable speaking English. 
You’ll need to give your name, passport number and contact number. 
They’ll give you a 10-digit reference number to collect your ticket at the
ticket office, so have pen & paper handy.  However, you must book by phone at least 5 days before travel and
Feedback appreciated.

Example train
ticket…

As you can see from
the example below, long-distance train tickets include a reservation
on a specific train.  It’s for a 2nd class sleeper, upper berth, in
coach 2, berth number 17.  ‘ANS40’ is the coach type, in this case A for
air-conditioned, N for day & night (meaning sleeper berth), S for second class,
40-berth type.  ANF would mean air-conditioned 1st class sleeper, BNS would
mean fan-cooled 2nd class sleeper.  ANSH would mean air-con 2nd class
sleeper, handicapped-accessible.  The ‘TRV’ at the bottom is the
issuing office, in this case Travex.

State Railways of Thailand example train ticket


Back to top

Which station in Bangkok?

All trains operate from Bangkok’s
wonderful Hualamphong Station located right in the city centre, except for a
few local trains (notably trains to Kanchanaburi & the River Kwai)
which use the much smaller Thonburi (Noi) station on the far bank of the
river. 
Map of Bangkok showing Hualamphong station
& Thonburi (Noi) station

Bangkok's Hualamphong railway station, in the morning sun

Hualamphong opened in 1916, designed by an Italian architect
brought to Thailand by the King of Siam…

Inside Bangkok's Hualamphong Station

The concourse at Bangkok
Hualamphong Station. Note the King’s picture above the entrance to the
platforms…

Bangkok station
facilities…

Train information
counter:
  In the photo above, it’s on the far right-hand
side of the concourse, with the white lightbox visible above it. 
They can give you a simple pocket timetable in English for any of
the main Thai rail lines.

Tickets for travel
today:
  To buy tickets for immediate travel, go to any of
the ticket windows each side of the King’s picture in the photo
above.  In theory, the TV screens above each window say for
which trains that window is selling tickets, but most screens merely
say ‘All trains’.

Advance ticket
sales:
  To buy tickets from 1 to 60 days in advance, go to
the Advance Booking Office, open daily 08:30 to 16:00.  In the
picture above right, head to the far right-hand corner of the
concourse past the information counter and round the right-hand side
of the concourse/platforms dividing wall towards platform 3. 
The Advance Booking office is tucked away on the right.  When
you enter, look for the machine issuing numbered queuing tickets,
and wait till your number is called.  The helpful staff will
soon sort you out with a train ticket!

Left luggage office: 
If you need to leave your bags somewhere, there’s a privatised staffed left
luggage office at the rear left-hand corner of the concourse, if you look at the
photo of the station concourse above, the left luggage office is in the corner
from which the photo was taken, at ground floor level.  It’s open 04:00 to
23:00 daily, price 20 baht for up to 100x30x40cm if <10Kg, 40 baht for up to
100x30x40cm and >10Kg, 60 baht for up to 150x60x80cm if <10Kg or 80 baht for up
to 150x60x80cm and >10Kg, per item per 24 hours.  They appear to measure
weight in kilometres, but just go with it! 

Tip:  Recent reports say
the left luggage office may try to overcharge foreigners.  If so, one correspondent
reports an alternative.  Leave the station and make an immediate left
heading down the small street which runs down the east side of the station. 
The were happy to securely store backpacks for 25 baht a piece.

Food & drink: 
There’s a KFC outside the front of the station just outside the main
front doors.  If you’re desperate for a cappuccino,
there’s a good coffee shop on the left-hand balcony (the one from
which the photo above is taken) or a more basic Thai restaurant on
the right-hand balcony.  To buy supplies of drinks and
snacks for the journey, there’s a ‘Tiffy Mart’ in the far left-hand
corner of the concourse towards the taxi rank.

Taxis: 
The taxi rank is on the left-hand side of the station.  In the
photo above, you’d head towards the King’s picture then turn left. 
Expect a taxi to any city centre hotel to cost around 50 baht (£1 or
$1.50).

Toilets & showers: 
The toilets and showers are beyond the information counter in the
far right-hand corner of the concourse.  They are of a
reasonable standard, and a small fee is charged, 3 baht for
toilets, 10 baht for showers.

To ease congestion,
State Railways of Thailand intend to move long-distance
services out to a new terminal under construction at Bang Sue junction station,
11 km
North of Hualamphong station, and at some point – probably now November or
December 2021 – all long-distance
trains will start from there instead of Hualamphong.  The new Bangkok metro also links Bang
Sue to the rest of Bangkok.  For a metro map, see
www.bangkokmetro.co.th.  However, all long distance trains
are still using Hualamphong at the moment.

Bangkok Bang Sue rail terminal under construction

Bangkok’s new rail terminal at Bang
Sue, seen under construction from a passing train.  .


Back to top

Luggage on Thai
trains…

Luggage arrangements are
really simple.  You take your own luggage onto the train with you,
and put it on any suitable luggage rack next to your seat or berth or inside your
1st class sleeper compartment.  It will be quite safe, although some
travellers take a bike lock with them to padlock it to the rack at night, just
for peace of mind. 
You can put your daypack with camera, passport, and so on, in the berth
alongside you at night.  A very large suitcase would simply go on the floor
alongside your seat.

Luggage limits: 
Officially, every passenger is allowed one big suitcase and one smaller
item although this is not rigorously enforced.  Your bags won’t be
weighed, but in principle baggage limits are a generous 60 Kg (110 lbs) for 1st class
passengers, 40 Kg (88 lbs) for 2nd class passengers and 30 Kg (66 lbs)
for 3rd class passengers.

Excess baggage: 
Large items in excess of the allowance such as golf clubs or additional
suitcases can be carried in the baggage car if you buy a cargo ticket. 
You follow exactly the same procedure as for taking a bike, see the
paragraph below.

Luggage on Thai trains
 

Luggage on Thai trains

Space under seats in a 2nd
class sleeper…

 

Overhead rack in the same
2nd class sleeper…

Left luggage offices at
stations…

There are left luggage offices at Bangkok Hualamphong station (see
above
), Chiang
Mai, Surat Thani, Ayutthaya and most other major Thai stations where you
can leave your luggage for a small fee whilst you explore the town.

Taking a bicycle or motorbike…

You can take a bicycle or
motorbike on any train on any route in Thailand for a small
fee, except on the diesel railcar (DRC) trains which don’t take
bikes or any other sort of cargo (and also not on the Bangkok airport
rail link) and except on the trains to and from Malaysia south of
Hat Yai as there is no baggage car.  First, buy your passenger
ticket, either in advance or at the station on the day.  You cannot
pre-book your bike, even if you pre-book your passenger ticket.  On
the day of travel, go to the station with your passenger ticket, locate
the cargo desk and buy a cargo ticket for your bike.  The cargo
desk will be a chair, a desk and a set of scales on or near the
platform, the location varies from station to station and some smaller
stations don’t have a cargo desk.  A cargo ticket costs around 90
to 130 baht (£2.00-£2.70 or $3-$5) for a bike, but can be up to 1230 baht for a
motorbike.  The bike price is a flat fee based
on where the train is going, not on where you’re going, so on a train
going from Bangkok to Hat Yai, the cargo price is the same to Hua Hin as
it is to Hat Yai.  Part of the cargo ticket will be attached to
your bike, the other part to your
passenger ticket.  If you arrive immediately before the train
departs, or if there isn’t a cargo desk at that station, you may be told
to pay on the train.  When the train is ready for boarding, you
take you bike to the baggage car for loading.  It’s a good idea to
provide something to secure your bike, a couple of luggage elastics or
even just some plastic string picked up from one of the vendors on the
platform, don’t rely on this being provided.  Ask if you can secure
your bike to the inside of the baggage car yourself, which they usually
allow, as otherwise they may just lean it against other cargo and it
could be damaged when the train is in motion.  Some 3rd class
trains don’t have a baggage car, so on these you’ll have to manhandle
your bike into a passenger carriage and stash it in the corridor next to
one of the washrooms.  Now take your seat in the train.  At
your destination, go to the baggage car, show your cargo ticket and
collect your bike.  There is nothing further to pay when you
arrive.

Train luggage ticket
 

Motorbikes on train

Buy a luggage ticket for 90
to 130 baht on the day at the station…

 

…Then load your bike or
motorbike into the baggage van. 

  “I can confirm that it is indeed possible to take bicycles on Thai
trains, or at least the Bangkok to Chiang Mai route, though I’m sure it
is similar for the others. You have to send the bike as cargo and it
travels in the cargo/guards van.  The procedure is to buy your
ticket, then locate the cargo office where they will fill out a cargo
ticket.  They will attach part of the cargo ticket to the bike and
part to your passenger ticket – the cost for a bike was 90 baht each
way. You then have to drop off the bike in the cargo car yourself before
taking your seat.  At your destination you go to the cargo car and
collect the bike – you will have to show your ticket & cargo ticket
before they will release it.  The cargo car sometimes gets full so
it is worth turning up early to make sure that there is enough space in
it to accommodate your bike.”

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took a bike from Thailand to Singapore by train:  “In April 2012 I
set out to ride my bike from Chang Mai to Singapore. I managed to
bike as far as Surat Thani but then fell sick due to heat & exhaustion. 
So I carried on my journey towards Singapore by
train.  I took the overnight Thai Railways train to Hat Yai with my bike
safe in the luggage compartment. From Hat Yai I took the Malaysian Railway
train to Padang Besar and on to Kuala Lumpur (same train).  I was allowed
to take my bike on the Malaysian Railway train (at no extra charge).
Initially I parked the bike between the space between the two toilets but
the train conductor asked me to put it in the lockable luggage space on the
other side of the compartment. I arrived at Kuala Lumpur station no
problems.  At Kuala Lumpur station I had to talk with the station manager to be
able to take my bike on the train to Singapore. After a bit of sweet talk he
allowed me to take my bike on the day (chair car) train to Singapore only if
I bought a first class ticket (no extra charge for bike). I boarded the train
and placed my bike between the last and the second last chairs. Later the
ticket checker asked me to place the bike in the generator car so that it
did not cause problems for other passengers. I did place my bike in the
generator car and chained it with the door handle and reached Singapore
without problems.


Back to top

What are Thai trains like?


The sale & consumption of alcohol has unfortunately been banned on SRT
stations since July 2014, a knee-jerk reaction to a specific incident.  You can no
longer buy beer from a vendor or in the restaurant car.  So far most reports suggest that the ban is not being enforced for passengers who bring
their own.  If you keep your beer out of sight in your baggage there
usually seems
little problem drinking it in the privacy of your own sleeper, although one
traveller experienced a bag search and his cans of beer were confiscated. 
Feedback appreciated.

Which class, 1st, 2nd or
3rd?

Thai trains have three classes:  1st, 2nd,
3rd.  1st class only exists as modern air-conditioned sleeping-cars on overnight
trains.  2nd class comes in seat and sleeper versions, in
air-conditioned and non-air-con varieties, and is very comfortable
especially on sleeper trains and the air-conditioned express railcars. 
Indeed, many experienced travellers including myself actually prefer a cosy
& sociable 2nd class sleeper to a 1st class one.  Even 3rd class
is surprisingly clean and acceptable by European standards, and is an enjoyable way
to travel on local trains for shorter trips.  The photos below will help you decide which is best for you. 
The sitting and sleeper areas of all trains are non-smoking.

1st class sleeping-cars are
air-conditioned with
9 lockable 2-berth compartments with washbasin opening off a
side-corridor.  Clean sheets, blankets, soap & towels are provided. 
There’s a western-style toilet at the end of the corridor and even a shower,
with hot water in the new Chinese-built cars but luke warm water in the
older cars.  

Berths are sold individually, so one ticket
buys one bed.  Solo travellers will share with another passenger of the same
gender unless they pay for two tickets.  The berths convert to a
sofa for evening & morning use.  If there are 3 or 4 of you, you can
book two adjacent 2-berth sleepers with an inter-connecting door (berths 1 & 2 connect
with berths 3 & 4, berths 5 & 6 connect with 7 & 8,
and so on).

On key routes such as
Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nong Khai or Bangkok-Surat Thani-Hat Yai, a steward or stewardess from the restaurant car
may
come round and take your food & drink order, offering you a set menu
with several choices, around 180 baht for dinner and 100 baht for
breakfast.  The meal will be delivered to
your sleeper and if that suits you that’s great, but it can
be more fun and more social to go along to the
restaurant car, where you’ll get a wider choice –
just be warned that as the attendants get commission, they have been known to
deny that there’s a restaurant car on the train when there is and you’re free to
go there if you want!


“There’s usually just one 1st class sleeping-car per train, so book early as the 1st class car often gets fully-booked
a month ahead. 
If there are two of you, select one upper berth & one lower berth when
booking online to
get a whole compartment to yourselves.  First-time visitors often obsess about 1st class,
perhaps if I were on my honeymoon I’d go 1st class for the privacy – and
the new Chinese 1st class looks very nice.  But like many experienced travellers I actually prefer the
more sociable open-plan 2nd class sleepers to rattling round in a 1st class
compartment, especially if I’m solo.  The
2nd class bunks have curtains for privacy at night and are fine
for most travellers, even families with children.  So don’t feel you have to go 1st class. 
You really don’t!”

New high-quality
1st class sleepers on trains 9, 10, 23, 24, 25, 26, 31, 32…

High-quality 1st class
sleeping-cars built in China entered service on 11 November 2016 between
Bangkok & Chiang Mai on trains 9 & 10 and Bangkok & Ubon Ratchathani
on trains 23 & 24.  These were joined from 2 December by trains 25
& 25 between Bangkok & Nong Khai (for Vientiane) and trains 31 & 32 between
Bangkok & Hat Yai.  Their layout is similar to the regular
Thai type, with nine 2-berth compartments
with washbasin opening off a side corridor.  They feature TV
information screens and power sockets for laptops & mobiles.  There
are toilets and a hot shower at the end of the corridor.  A slightly higher
fare is charged for travel in these new cars. 
See
the video here
or
this article here.

New Chinese-built train between Bangkok & Chiang Mai

A 1st class sleeping-car
boarding at Ubon Ratchathani, note the monk in his orange robes.  These new Chinese-built 1st
& 2nd class sleeping-cars entered service in November 2016

on trains 9 & 10 between
Bangkok & Chiang Mai & trains 23 & 24 between Bangkok & Ubon
Ratchathani. 

Corridor in new Thai 1st class sleeper
 

New 1st class sleeper with beds folded out
 


1st class sleeper on new Thai train

The side corridor…

 

Beds made up.

 

1st class 2-bed sleeper in seats mode.  .

Regular 1st class sleepers on
all other trains except 51 & 52…

If your train has a 1st class
sleeper, it will be of this regular Thai type, unless it one of the trains which
have been equipped with new Chinese-built sleepers (trains 9, 10, 23,
24, 25, 26, 31, 32), or trains 51 & 52 which use a second-hand Japanese
sleeping-car as shown in the next section.  These cars have nine
lockable 2-berth compartments opening off a side corridor.  There are
toilets are at the end of the corridor, along with a cold but still very
welcome shower.

First class sleeping-car on train 1 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
 


2-berth sleeper on Thai train, in daytime mode

1st class sleeping-car
of the
older Thai type
, about
to leave Hualamphong Station at the rear of a Special Express
train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai…

 

1st class 2-berth
sleeper
, older type, in evening mode.  You can see how the seat back
hinges up to form the upper berth. 


Thai 1st class sleeper, sink

 


Looking at the corridor-side of the compartment

 

Thai 1st class sleeper in night mode with beds made up

There’s a small sink with
small tubs of mineral water…

 

A view towards the corridor side of
the compartment…

 

The attendant will make up
your beds.  .

Japanese 1st class sleeper on trains 51,
52.

Train 51/52 between Bangkok
& Chiang Mai is an exception.  It has an
ex-Japanese 1st class sleeper, which uniquely for Thailand has
single-berth compartments, see the photos below.  There are no 2-berth
compartments on this train, but pairs of adjacent single-berth compartments have
a connecting door, so berth 1 can be connected to berth 2, berth 3 to berth 4,
and so on.  Incidentally, until 10 November 2016, these cars were used on
train 13/14, but from 11 November 2016 they are reassigned to train 51/52.


Ex-Japanese first class sleeping-car on train 13 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

 


Ex-Japanese 1st class single-berth sleeper on train 13/14 Bangkkok-Chiang Mai

Train 51/52
has an ex-Japanese sleeping-car:

Unlike all the other trains, trains 51 & 52 between Bangkok and Chiang Mai have
an ex-Japanese Railways first class sleeping-car, which has 10 single-berth
compartments.  So if you book first class as a couple on this particular
train, you’ll get two separate single-bed compartments, there are no 2-berth
compartments.  The attendant will make up a mattress & bedding on the flat
bed you see here. 

Most western visitors use
2nd class sleepers, which are comfortable, safe and
great fun. 
Berths are not in compartments, but are arranged ‘open plan’ either side of a central aisle.  During the evening and
morning
part of the journey, seats are arranged in cosy face-to-face pairs on each side of the
aisle, see the photos below.  At night, the attendant makes up the sleeping
berths by pulling together each pair of seats to form a lower berth, and
folding an upper berth out from the wall above.  He then arranges a mattress,
pillow and fresh clean
bedding on each berth, and hooks up the curtains on each bunk for privacy –

Luggage goes on the overhead
racks or under the seats, or on the floor next to your seats.  Some
people bring a bike lock to chain it up for peace of mind, but you’d
normally take daypacks with any valuables into the berth with you.

2nd class sleepers come in both
air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned varieties, the air-con ones
are usually cleaner and more modern, but the non-a/c ones have
windows which open, better for taking photographs of the scenery.  The fare for an
upper berth is a fraction cheaper, but the upper bunks tend to be
narrower.  There’s plenty of luggage room, take a bike lock if you
want to chain up your luggage for peace of mind.  Security is not a
problem, it’s a great way to travel which saves time even compared to
flying, and saves a hotel bill too.  Upper berths are fine for
anyone up to 6′ 2″ tall, if you’re taller than that you should choose a
lower berth as these are significantly wider, allowing tall people to
sleep comfortably on the diagonal.  On key routes such as
Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nong Khai or Bangkok-Surat Thani-Hat Yai, a
steward or stewardess from the restaurant car may come round and take
your food or drink order, offering you a set menu with several choices,
around 180 baht for dinner and 100 baht for breakfast.  The meal
will be delivered to your seat, and if that suits you that’s great,
but it can be more fun and more social to go along to the
restaurant car, where you’ll get a wider
choice – just be warned that as the attendants get commission, they have
been known to deny that there’s a restaurant car on the train when there
is and you’re free to go there if you want!


“The 2nd class sleepers are the best choice for most western travellers, and in
fact I actually prefer them to the first class variety, especially if I’m
travelling solo, and I’m not the only one who does!  The air-conditioned
sleepers are more comfortable and usually newer and cleaner, but the non-air-con
ones have windows which open, better for viewing the countryside and taking
photographs on the daylight parts of the trip.”

New high-quality 2nd class
sleepers on trains 9, 10, 23, 24, 25, 26, 31, 32…

New high-quality Chinese-built
sleepers came into service on trains 9 & 10 between Bangkok & Chiang Mai,
and trains 23 & 24 between Bangkok & Ubon Ratchathani starting 11 November
2016.  These were joined on 2 December by trains 25 & 26 between
Bangkok & Nong Khai (for Vientiane) and trains 31 & 32 between Bangkok & Hat
Yai.  The layout of these cars is essentially the same as the previous most-modern
type shown below. 
See
the video here
.

New Chinese-built train between Bangkok & Chiang Mai

A new Chinese-built 2nd
class sleeper at Bangkok Hualamphong… 


2nd class sleepers

 

Attendant makes up the beds
 

Curtains for privacy at night

Bays of 2 seats each
side of aisle. Seats pull together to form lower berth, upper
berth folds from wall. 

 

Beds are made up by the
attendant…

 

Each berth has its own
curtains for privacy…

Modern air-con 2nd class
sleepers used on the next-best trains…

These
modern air-conditioned sleepers now operate on trains 13 & 14
between Bangkok & Chiang Mai, amongst others trains.  There is a washing area with two
sinks and western & squat toilets at the end of the coach. 
Soap & toilet paper are provided. 
At night, upper & lower berths fold out, each with curtains for privacy.

Thai 2nd class sleeper, most modern type
 


2nd class sleeper on a Thai train, in daytime mode.

2nd class
sleepers are open-plan, with bays
of seats either side of the aisle.

 

By
day, a pair of spacious armchairs for two people, very
civilised.  Who
needs 1st class?  .

Watch the video: 

Making
up the beds in a 2nd class sleeper…

Older air-con sleepers used on
less important trains…

These older air-conditioned
sleepers operate on train 69/70 between Bangkok & Nong Khai, and on many other
overnight express trains in Thailand.  The layout is the same as the newer
type shown above.

Older 2nd class sleeper, as used on the train from Bangkok to Nong Khai
 

2nd class sleeper cars on an overnight train

Japanese 2nd class sleepers
used on trains 51 & 52…

Trains 51 & 52 between Bangkok &
Chiang Mai now use very comfortable air-conditioned sleepers bought second-hand
from Japan.  Unlike other Thai sleepers, the berths are arranged in bays of
4 in door-less compartments opening onto a side corridor.  Each berth has
its own curtains for individual privacy.  Train 51/52 may also have a few
Thai-type sleepers as well. 

Ex-Japanese sleeper cars on train 13 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
 

A bay of 4 sleeper berths on train 13 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Non-air-con 2nd class sleepers
with fan…

These are older and grubbier, but
the fare is a fraction cheaper and some people prefer the ability to open a
window, for example to take photographs.  There are fans on the ceiling,
and window shutters to keep out the sun as well as glass panes.  Not sure
about that green, though…

Non-air-conditioned sleepers on a Thai train
 

Exterior of older non-air-con carriages on a Thai express train

All the most important
trains have a restaurant car, including trains 9, 10, 13, 14
Bangkok-Chiang Mai, trains 35 & 36 Bangkok-Hat Yai, trains 84 & 85
Bangkok-Surat Thani, trains
69 & 70 Bangkok-Nong Khai.  Some restaurant cars are
air-conditioned like the one shown below, some are non-air-con. 
The food is remarkably cheap and good, a set meal costs around
150-200 baht (£3-£4 or $5-$6) and you choose from a leaflet
with pictures & English captions.  Beer is unfortunately no longer available
as from July 2014. 
Travel tip:  In a 1st class sleeper, an attendant
may take your order and serve it in your compartment.  If
this suits you that’s great, but it’s more fun & more social to
go to the restaurant car, where you’ll get a wider choice – just
be warned that as the attendants get commission, they have been
known to deny that there’s a restaurant car on the train when
there certainly is and you’re free to go there if you want! 
.

Food & drink vendors:  On almost all Thai trains, even 3rd class
ones, you’ll find vendors selling fruit & soft drinks. 
Obviously, you can bring your own food and drink if you like,
bought at the station or nearby supermarket.

One traveller reports “We particularly
enjoyed the restaurant car, the food was better than expected and they switched
on the disco lights and 70’s bogie music after the sun went down!”

Alcohol:  Sipping a beer on a Thai train  has always been one
of the pleasures of train travel, but sale and consumption of alcohol has been
banned from July 2014 as a knee-jerk reaction to a specific incident. 
Restaurant cars therefore no longer sell beer.


Restaurant car on Chinese-built Thai train

 

Thai restaurant car meal

A set meal
in one of the new Chinese-built restaurant cars used on trains 9 & 10
Bangkok-Chiang Mai, trains 23 & 24 Bangkok-Ubon Ratchathani, train 25 & 26
Bangkok-Nong Khai, train 31 & 32 Bangkok-Hat Yai.  There a several choices
of set meal costing about 210 baht.  Courtesy of
www.DiscoverbyRail.com
.


Food in the restaurant car on a Thai train

 


Restaurant car on the train from Bangkok to Hat Yai

Meal in Thai restaurant car…

 

Older air-conditioned restaurant
car…

2nd class seats…

Special Express DRC (Diesel Rail Car)

The air-conditioned express diesel railcars
(DRC) are an
excellent option for daytime travel on routes such as Bangkok to Chiang
Mai and Bangkok to Hua Hin, Chumphon & Surat Thani.  These air-conditioned trains
were built by Daewoo in the mid 1990s and have comfortable 2nd class
reclining seats.  There is a hostess service of a light meal,
coffee & soft drinks included in the fare.  The pre-packed
rice-based lunch isn’t hugely substantial, so feel free to take some
other supplies with you if you’re hungry.  Relax and enjoy the
journey as the scenery rolls by…

Passengers boarding the daytime express DRC train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
 

A hostess serves complimentary drinks and snacks on train 9 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Boarding train 7
from Bangkok to Chiang Mai…

 

A hostess serves
complimentary refreshments…

Seats on the daytime 'DRC' express train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
 

A Special Express DRC train, as used from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Bangkok to Surat Thani

Train 7, the daytime from Bangkok to
Chiang Mai with 2nd class air-con seating.

 

as used
on
trains 7 & 8 Bangkok-Chiang Mai & 40-43 Bangkok-Surat Thani.

2nd class seats
on ordinary express trains…

A pleasant and comfortable
way to travel for long-distance daytime journeys, although slower than
the express railcars.  There are both air-conditioned and
non-air-con varieties.  The advantage of the non-air-con coaches is
the open windows and unrestricted views, a breeze wafting in as the
train clickety-clacks through the Thai countryside.  .

2nd class non-air-con seats on a Thai train

Exterior of older non-air-con carriages on a Thai express train

2nd class non-air-conditioned
coach…

 

2nd class seats…

Third class ordinary express & local trains

In spite of its name, 3rd
class is a perfectly good option for short trips such as Bangkok to
Kanchanaburi or Ayutthaya, as it’s generally clean, not usually crowded
outside the commuter peaks, unbelievably cheap, and sitting next to an
open window as the train clickety-clacks through the countryside is a
very pleasant experience.  Although, 2nd class would be better for
long trips such as Bangkok to Nong Khai or Chiang Mai.  3rd class
usually has padded seats, but some older carriages have wooden seats.  It’s normally non-air-con, but air-con
3rd class exists on a few long distance routes.

A 3rd class train from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok.
3rd class seats on a Thai train, with a vendor selling soft drinks & beer.

3rd class non-air-conditioned
coaches.

 

3rd class seats,
with soft
drinks vendor.


Back to top

 

Take the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.  Train 1 waits to leave Bangkok.

 

All aboard for Chiang Mai! 
A Special Express to Chiang Mai at Bangkok…



Buy train tickets

It’s easy to
travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train, for just
881 baht (£18 or $25) one-way
by overnight sleeper or 611 baht (£12 or $18) by day through the countryside on the air-conditioned express railcar. 
Travelling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by sleeper is effectively faster than flying,
far less hassle,
far more environmentally friendly, more of a real Thai experience, and saves you a hotel
bill, too.  Think you don’t see much from a night train?  In
fact, the scenery on the last third of the trip up into
the mountains approaching Chiang Mai is particularly good, and even
on the sleeper, watching the sunrise from the train
in the morning is wonderful.  The new Chinese-built high-quality sleepers
on trains 9 & 10 are excellent, and of course, the sleeper train
itself is the scenery, a real Thai train with a chance to
meet Thai people.

 Bangkok ► Chiang Mai

Km

Train number:

111

7 ***

3

109

9 *

13 **

107

51

Facilities on board:

2,3,R

DRC

DRC

s,2,3,R

1,S,R

1,S,R

S,s,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

0 km

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart:

07:00

08:30

10:50

13:45

18:10

19:35

20:10

22:00

22

 Don Muang
depart:

07:49

09:14

11:40

14:34

18:57

20:23

21:00

22:50

71

 Ayutthaya
depart:

08:38

09:48

12:16

15:19

19:45

21:07

21:44

23:36

133

 Lopburi  arrive/depart:

09:44

10:29

13:00

16:23

20:42

22:00

22:39

00:31

389

 Phitsanulok  arrive/depart:

13:45

13:22

16:04

20:37

00:18

01:49

02:38

04:40

729

 Lamphun  arrive/depart:

19:15

03:44

06:51

08:21

11:50

751

 Chiang
Mai arrive:

19:30

04:05

07:15

08:40

12:10

 Chiang
Mai ► Bangkok

Train number:

106

112

102

8 **

108

52

14 **

10 *

Facilities on board:

2,3

2,3

2,3,R

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,R

1,S,R

 Chiang
Mai depart:

06:30

08:50

15:30

17:00

18:00

 Lamphun  arrive/depart

06:52

09:05

15:48

17:20

18:20

 Phitsanulok  arrive/depart

08:55

10:03

13:18

14:44

22:09

23:01

00:01

00:50

 Lopburi arrive/depart

12:20

14:38

18:06

17:28

02:28

02:45

03:24

04:05

 Ayutthaya
arrive:

13:11

15:59

19:26

18:06

03:21

03:39

04:24

04:59

 Don Muang
arrive:

13:53

17:03

20:13

18:40

04:14

04:30

05:18

05:58

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

14:40

18:00

21:10

19:25

05:10

05:25

06:15

06:50

*  Train 9/10 is the best
train to take as it uses

new high-quality Chinese-built sleeping-cars
introduced in November 2016

**  Train 13/14 is the
second-best sleeper train using the next most modern cars, and it passes the
best scenery near Chiang Mai in daylight.

*** Train 7/8 is the best daytime
option, the air-conditioned express railcar.

CHANGES IN NOVEMBER 2016: 
Trains 1 & 2 were replaced by new train 9 & 10 in the same timings using brand-new Chinese-built high-quality sleeping-cars.  The modern cars
previously running in train 1 & 2 were reassigned to train 13 & 14. 
The ex-Japanese Railways cars previously running in train 13 & 14 were reassigned to
train 51 & 52.

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-conditioned).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)
2 = 2nd class seats.  R =
Restaurant car.

3 =
3rd class seats.  DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-con seats, meals included
, but no
sleepers so not recommended for overnight journeys).

You can check
train times at the Thai railways website
www.railway.co.th
(see advice on translating it
here). 
Many additional trains link Bangkok & Ayutthaya.

How to buy train tickets
online
  
How to buy tickets at the station
  
What are Thai trains like?
  
Map
of train routes in SE Asia
  
Luggage & bikes  

 

Fares

 One-way per person, either direction

1st
class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd
class sleeper 

a/c
express train

2nd
class seat

a/c
fast railcar 

2nd
class seat

ordinary train

3rd class seat

ordinary train

 Bangkok
to Chiang Mai

1,653

1,041

641

391

231

Fares are in Thai baht.  £1 =

43 baht.   €1 = 39 baht.  $1 = 33 baht.

Children aged 0 to 3 and
less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
150cm high) pay full fare.

Sole occupancy of a 1st
class sleeper:
  The 1st class fare shown above is for one person in one
bed in a shared
2-berth sleeper.  In theory you can have sole occupancy of a 2-berth sleeper for an extra 500
baht (£10 or $16) but as this supplement cannot be bought online, in practice to
buy sole occupancy of a 2-bed 1st class sleeper online you’ll need to buy two
tickets.  Note that the ex-Japanese 1st class
sleeping-car
only has single-berth compartments so the sole occupancy charge
has to be paid, making the 1st class sleeper fare 1,953 baht (£40, $64) per
person per compartment on the particular train where it’s used.

Upper or lower berths?  The sleeper fares shown here
are for a lower bunk on train 9/10, a narrower upper bunk is 50-100 baht less,
and other trains cost a bit less. 
Non-air-con 2nd class sleepers (available on a few trains) cost 160-200 baht less than the
air-con variety.  You
can check fares at
www.railway.co.th
(but do this by selecting ‘timetables’ as the fares shown at the bottom of each timetable page include
the air-conditioning supplement, sleeper & special express
supplements.  If you select the fares option, the fares shown
don’t include those supplements.

Chiang Mai station
Chiang Mai ticket office

Chiang Mai station. 

 

Chiang Mai ticket office &
information desk.


Back to top

Here are trains between Bangkok & Nong Khai, near the border with
Laos.  If you’re travelling into Laos,
see the Laos page for
information on the new Bangkok-Vientiane train service & on local
transport across the Friendship Bridge between Nong Khai & Vientiane.

 Bangkok ► Nong Khai

Km

Train number:

75*

77

25**

133

Facilities on board:

DRC

DRC

1,S,R

3,R

0 km

 Bangkok Hualamphong dep.

08:20

18:35

20:00

20:45

22

 Don Muang
depart:

09:05

19:25

20:50

21:31

71

 Ayutthaya
depart:

09:42

20:02

21:41

22:18

569

 Udon
Thani
arrive:

17:10

03:36

05:58

07:40

621

 Nong Khai
arrive:

17:45

04:15

06:45

08:35

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-con).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)
2 = 2nd class seats.  3 =
3rd class seats.  R =
Restaurant car.  DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-conditioned seats, meals included
(no sleepers).

* Recommended daytime train, air-con
express diesel railcar.

** Recommended train, high-quality sleeper train with

modern Chinese-built sleeping-cars
introduced in December 2016
.

A train connection
to Vientiane has been running since 2009:  The Bangkok-Nong Khai railway
has been extended across the Friendship Bridge into Laos, to a new
station at Thanaleng on the Laos side of the Friendship Bridge some
13 km from Vientiane.  Two daily local shuttle trains link Nong
Khai with Thanaleng in each direction, one of them providing a
connection out of / in to train 69/70 to/from Bangkok, to provide a
cheap and comfortable Bangkok-Vientiane train service. 
See the Laos page for
information on the new Bangkok-Thanaleng train service, and on local
transport between Nong Khai or Thanaleng & Vientiane
.

 Nong Khai ► Bangkok

Train number:

76*

78

134

26**

Facilities on board:

DRC

DRC

3,R

1,S,R

 Nong Khai
depart:

07:00

18:15

18:30

19:10

 Udon
Thani
depart:

07:38

18:52

19:19

19:59

 Ayutthaya
arrive:

15:35

03:15

03:48

04:04

 Don Muang
arrive:

16:19

04:00

04:42

05:02

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

17:10

05:00

05:45

06:00

How to buy train tickets
online
  
Buying tickets at the station
   What are Thai trains like?   
Map
of train routes in SE Asia
    Luggage & bikes   
Hotels in
Thailand

 Fares

 One-way, either direction

1st
class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd
class sleeper 

a/c
express train

2nd
class seat

a/c
fast railcar 

2nd
class seat

ordinary train

3rd class seat

ordinary train

 Bangkok
to Nong Khai

1,557

998

498

388

258

Fares are in Thai baht.  £1 =

43 baht.   €1 = 39 baht.  $1 = 33 baht.

Children aged 0 to 3 and
less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
150cm high) pay full fare.

Sole occupancy of a 1st
class sleeper:
  The 1st class fare shown above is for one person in one
bed in a shared 2-berth sleeper.  In theory you can have sole occupancy of a 2-berth sleeper for an extra 500
baht (£10 or $16) but as this supplement cannot be bought online, in practice to
buy sole occupancy of a 2-bed 1st class sleeper online you’ll need to buy two
tickets.

Upper or lower berths? 
The sleeper fares shown here
are for a lower bunk, a narrower upper bunk is 50-100 baht less. 
Non-air-con 2nd class sleepers (available on a few trains) cost 160-200 baht less than the
air-con variety.  You
can check fares at
www.railway.co.th
(see the advice on translating it
here).

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Buy train tickets

Nong Khai station

Nong Khai station

Nong Khai station. 

 

Nong Khai ticket office &
waiting area.

Train 134 from Nong Khai to Bangkok

Train 134 to Bangkok at
Nong Khai with 3rd class seats.  Most westerners will prefer sleeper train
26!  .


Back to top

Bangkok
to Ubon Ratchathani

 

Bangkok ► Ubon Ratchathani

Km

Train number:

21*

135

71

139

 23**

67

141

Facilities on board:

DRC

2,3,R

DRC

s,2,3,R

1,S,R

1,S,R

2,3,R

0 km

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart:

05:45

06:40

10:05

18:55

20:30

21:30

22:45

22

 Don Muang depart:

06:29

07:39

10:51

19:42

21:11

22:09

23:26

71

 Ayutthaya depart:

06:59

08:26

11:25

20:26

21:53

22:51

00:16

575

 Ubon Ratchathani arrive:

14:00

18:00

19:50

06:15

06:35

07:50

10:20

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-conditioned).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)
2 = 2nd class seats

3 =
3rd class seats.  R =
Restaurant car.  DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-conditioned seats, meals included
(no sleepers).

* Recommended train for daytime
travel, air-con express diesel railcar.

** Recommended overnight train. 
Train 23/24 uses
new
high-quality Chinese-built 1st & 2nd class air-con sleepers
,
introduced 11 November 2016.

 

Ubon Ratchathani ► Bangkok

Train number:

72*

136

146

22 *

142

24**

68

140

Facilities on board:

DRC

2,3,R

2,3,R

DRC

2,3,R

1,S,s,2,R

1,S,2,R

S,s,2,3,R

 Ubon Ratchathani depart:

05:40

07:00

09:30

14:50

17:35

19:00

19:30

20:40

 Ayutthaya arrive:

13:16

16:37

19:24

21:42

03:12

03:42

04:57

05:30

 Don Muang
arrive:

14:02

17:40

20:16

22:16

04:02

04:27

05:48

06:23

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

14:55

18:40

21:10

22:55

05:00

05:15

06:40

07:20

How to buy train tickets
online
  
Buying tickets at the station
   What are Thai trains like?   
Map
of train routes in SE Asia
  
Luggage & bikes   Hotels in
Thailand

 

Fares

 One-way, either direction

1st
class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd
class sleeper 

a/c
express train

2nd
class seat

a/c
fast railcar 

2nd
class seat

ordinary train

3rd class seat

ordinary train

 Bangkok-Ubon
Ratchathani

1,520

981

551

388

245

Fares are in Thai baht.  £1 =

43 baht.   €1 = 39 baht.  $1 = 33 baht.

Children aged 0 to 3 and
less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
150cm high) pay full fare.


Buy train tickets

Traveller Ian Craven from Sydney reports:  I recently travelled on the State Railways of
Thailand on the Bangkok-Ubon run.  We took daytime train 21, the
express diesel rail car, in 2nd class air conditioned seats.  We
easily bought tickets the day before from a Bangkok travel agent for a
very reasonable commission, about 50 baht.  The train consisted
of only three cars, and predictably we were the only on board.  Train left just 5 minutes late, at
0550, and took at least an hour to get out of the suburbs of Bangkok,
with the country eventually giving way to rice paddies as far as the
eye can see; the train then climbs through some low hilly country with
mainly teak plantations and orchards, and eventually gives way to a
vast plain, again with rice predominate, along with sugar and
banana’s, and all kinds of towns and villages, large and small. 
The seating was very comfortable, the air con just right (not too cold
which is often the case), and the service impeccable.  Despite a
rather gruff visage, the conductor was in fact a very amiable fat
controller, turned out in an immaculately pressed uniform.  The
train even features a ‘trolley dolly’, who serves breakfast (croissant
& sweet bun), water, orange juice, tea and coffee (why is railway
coffee uniformly bad everywhere in the world?!) and lunch (like an
airline pack featuring a small chicken curry and rice, and some kind
of putrid fish that even the locals were poking at with disdain!). 
All this comes included in the price of the ticket.  Train
arrived in Ubon dead on time at 1410, despite some unscheduled stops
along the way to let off passengers.  While it is certainly not
one of the great train journeys of the world, it is not overly long
and provides some excellent views of Thai rural life, and is a cheap,
efficient and very effective way to get to the southern Lao PDR
frontier.  I would highly recommend it to anyone. The
international bus from Ubon-Pakse runs twice daily, about 3 hours, 200
baht.


Back to top

Bangkok
to Aranyaprathet

To

the Cambodian border by train…

Aranyaprathet,
255 km from Bangkok, is just 6 km from the Cambodian border post at
Poiphet from where buses run to Siem Reap and Battambang for onward bus
or speedboat to Phnom Penh. 
See the Cambodia page for information about
onward bus transport to Phnom Penh & Seam Reap (for the Angkor Wat
temples) in Cambodia, and about onwards bus transport from Phnom
Penh to Saigon in
Vietnam.  Trains 275-280 have 3rd class seats, but
Thai 3rd class is quite clean and comfortable, and in fact a very pleasant way to
travel, with vendors selling food & soft drinks.  Train 279/280 is a diesel railcar.

 Bangkok ► Aranyaprathet

 

 Aranyaprathet ► Bangkok

Train number:

275

279

Train number:

280

276

Facilities on board:

3

3

Facilities on board:

3

3

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart:

05:55

13:05

 Ban Klong Luk (border) depart:

06:58

13:53

 Aranyaprathet arrive:

11:10

17:20

 Aranyaprathet depart:

07:05

14:00

 Ban Klong Luk (border) arrive:

11:17

17:27

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

12:05

19:40

 

Fares

 Bangkok to Aranyaprathet:  48 baht (£1 or $1.60)

 No reservation required, just turn up, buy a ticket & go

Children
aged 0 to 3 and less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4
to 11 and under 150cm travel at half fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or
over 150cm high) pay full fare.

The train to Bangkok at Aranyaprathet

Train 276 to Bangkok,
at Aranyaprathet.  Trains 275 & 276 are locomotive-hauled carriages like
this…

Train 279 Bangkok to Aranyaprathet

Train 276 (on the left) passes
Bangkok to Ban Klong Luk train 279 (on the right).  Trains 279 & 280 are diesel railcars
like this.  This is Kabin Buri, where eastbound & westbound trains are
scheduled to pass each other. 


Back to top

The best way to reach
Kanchanaburi is by train, using the infamous Death Railway itself, for
just 100 baht (£2 or $3)!  A regular State Railways of Thailand passenger
service still runs over the ‘Death Railway’ from Bangkok via
Kanchanaburi as far as Nam Tok, crossing the famous ‘Bridge over the
River Kwai’ a few km beyond Kanchanaburi. 
There are two trains a day from Bangkok Thonburi station (also known as Bangkok Noi, on the
West side of the
river in Bangkok) to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok, calling at River
Kwai Bridge station on the Bangkok side of the Bridge a
few minutes after Kan’buri.

The trains are 3rd class
only, but don’t let this put you off – they are
clean and comfortable, and sitting next to an open window whilst clickety-clacking through the Thai countryside is easily the most
pleasant way to reach Kanchanaburi.

If you’re coming from Singapore, Malaysia
or Southern Thailand, you can travel direct to
Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai Bridge without going into
Bangkok – just change trains at Nakhon Pathom (64 km south of
Bangkok), where the branch line to Kanchanaburi leaves the main line.

There is also a
special railcar (2nd class air-conditioned) for tourists at weekends,
leaving Hualamphong station at 06:30 for Kanchanaburi at 09:25, Nam
Tok 11:30, returning from Nam Tok at 14:40 and Kan’buri at 16:55
arriving Bangkok 19:30.  Special fares apply, reservation
required, see the Bridge on the River Kwai page for details.

The infamous Bridge on the River Kwai

The infamous Bridge on the River
Kwai…


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Bus connection to Sukhothai …

Sukhothai has no rail station, but you
can take a comfortable train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok on the
Bangkok-Chiang Mai main line, which is about 59 km from Sukhothai by
bus.  This train/bus combo avoids a nightmare 7
hours on a bus from Bangkok.  The 08:30 or 11:50 DRC express
railcars from Bangkok would be a good choice to reach Phitsanulok,
see here for train times
On arrival by train at Phitsanulok, simply ask one of the tuk-tuk taxis waiting
outside the station to take you to the nearby bus station.

Buses leave Phitsanulok for Sukhothai
frequently between 07:00 and 19:00, fare around 40 baht or so, journey time
1 hour.

One-time capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom, the
UNESCO-designated ruins are 12 km outside Sukhothai town, easily
reached by local transport.


Back to top

Bus connection to Chiang Rai…

To reach Chiang Rai, first take a train
from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, see
above for train times

Ordinary (non-air-con) buses leave
Chiang Mai Arcade bus station every hour or two from 06:00 to 17:30,
journey time 3 hours 50 minutes, fare around 60 baht. 

Air-conditioned buses also leave from Chiang Mai Arcade bus station
every hour or so from 07:00 to 17:00, journey time 3 hours 10
minutes, fare 102 baht.  You’ll find full details in the
downloadable Thai timetable.


Back to top

Bangkok
to Ayutthaya

 

Take the train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya.  This is Ayutthaya station.

 

Ayutthaya station, just 90 minutes from Bangkok by local train…

Ayutthaya is the ancient
capital of Thailand, with impressive ruins and temples to visit.  It
makes a great day trip from Bangkok, and it’s really easy to get there by
train.

There is a local train from
Bangkok’s main Hualamphong station to Ayutthaya roughly every hour or so
with basic but clean 3rd class seats, taking a leisurely 1 hour 45 minutes
for the 71 km (44 miles).

No reservation is necessary,
just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.  3rd class is not crowded outside
peak times, and as a day tripper from Bangkok you’ll be going in the
opposite direction from the commuter crowds in any case.  It’s a very
pleasant way to get there, sitting next to an open window with a cool breeze
blowing in, as the train clickety-clacks along, and you’ll often find
vendors selling soft drinks & snacks on board.

See
www.railway.co.th
for exact train times if you really feel you need them.  The
ruined capital is walking distance from the station.

 

Fares

 Bangkok to Ayutthaya: 
20 baht (£0.45 or $0.50) 3rd class

 No reservation required –
just turn up, buy a ticket & go.

Children
aged 0 to 3 and less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4
to 11 and under 150cm travel at half fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or
over 150cm high) pay full fare.

You can also
travel between Bangkok & Ayutthaya on a faster air-conditioned
express train taking only 1 hour 15 minutes, but these are less
frequent.  A reservation is necessary on express trains, but
tickets to Ayutthaya on these trains are only sold on the day of
travel at the station or online at

www.dticket.railway.co.th
a maximum of 1 day ahead, you cannot
pre-book more than 1 day ahead.  This is so that short-distance passengers to Ayutthaya don’t take up
seats that could be used by long-distance passengers.

Why not stop off at Ayutthaya on the
way to or from Chiang Mai or Nong Khai, as trains between Bangkok and
these destinations stop at Ayutthaya?  It’s easiest to use 3rd
class local trains for the Bangkok-Ayutthaya section rather than
booking a seat on an express, as the local trains are cheaper, more
frequent and no reservation is necessary.  Then see the
Chiang Mai or
Nong Khai timetable above for
express train times Ayutthaya-Chiang Mai or Ayutthaya-Nong Khai. 
Ayutthaya has a left luggage office (on the platform, marked ‘Cloak
Room’) where you can stash your bags for
a 10 baht fee between trains.


Back to top

You may have heard of a little train near
Bangkok that runs right through the middle of a market.  This
is the Bangkok – Mahachai – Mae Khlong Line, which runs within inches of the
market stalls approaching its terminus at Samut Songkhram, some 70 km (45 miles) from Bangkok and known locally as Mae Khlong after the river on
which it is situated.  In fact, it’s not one rail line but two,
separated by a ferry across the Tha Chin river in the middle. 
These two lines are part of the State Railways of Thailand, but were
originally built in 1905 as private lines and they are not physically
linked to the rest of the network.  A trip to Mae Khlong makes
an interesting trip from Bangkok if you’ve a day spare. 
Watch this
video
to see the train pass through a busy market, when the
train passes the market traders replace their canopies and you’d
never know a train track was there…

Outward journey…

  • Step1, first take a little silver diesel
    railcar from Bangkok’s Wong Wian Yai station to
    Samut Sakhon, known locally as Mahachai.  Bangkok’s Wong Wian
    Yai station is located on the west side of the Bangkok river, a 20 minute
    walk from the BTS Skytrain station at Wangwan Yai,
    see map of Bangkok showing stations.  Trains run from
    Bangkok Wong Wian Yai to Mahachai roughly every hour from 05:30 until 20:10, journey
    time around 59 minutes, usually 3rd class only, fare 10 baht, distance 31.2 km
    (19 miles).  Most trains are non-air-conditioned with opening windows
    (better for photography), but you’ll also find some 2nd class air-con cars
    on the 07:00 & 10:40 departures from Bangkok, plus a couple of later trains,
    with fare 25 baht.

  • Step 2, you then cross the Tha Chin
    river by ferry to Ban Laem, 3 baht.  The ferry takes just a few minutes.

  • Step 3, on the other side, four
    trains a day run from Ban Laem to Mae Khlong (Samut Songkhram),
    departing 07:30, 10:10, 13:30, 16:40, journey time 1 hour, fare 10
    baht, distance 33.6 km.

Return journey…

  • Step 1, trains leave Mae
    Khlong (Samut Songkhram)
    at 06:20, 09:00, 11:30, 15:30 taking 1 hour to Ban Laem, 10 baht.

  • Step 2, cross
    the river by ferry from Ban Laem to Samut Sakhon (Mahachai), 3 baht, journey
    time a few minutes.

  • Step 3, trains return from Samut Sakhon (Mahachai) to Bangkok every hour
    from 04:30 to 19:00, journey time 59 minutes, fare 10 baht. 
    See the
    downloadable timetable
    for a complete timetable.

For more
information, photos and a video, see

www.nomadicnotes.comk

The trip makes an interesting excursion from Bangkok.

Mae Khlong market

Mae Khlong market, with
many tourists photographing the train. 


Train at Maekhlong station

Train at Mae Khlong station… 


Back to top

Bangkok
to Southern Thailand

Bangkok to Surat Thani, Hat Yai
& Sungai Kolok…

There are plenty of good
air-conditioned trains from
Bangkok to Hua Hin, Chumphon, Surat Thani & Hat Yai, with connections by ferry or bus to
Thailand’s popular beaches and islands such as Phuket,
Krabi or Ko Samui.

You can
also travel to Malaysia & Singapore this way, by train from Bangkok to Penang, Kuala
Lumpur and Singapore, see the Bangkok to Malaysia &
Singapore page
.  This takes you along the west coast main line
route. 

Alternatively, you can take a train to Sungai Kolok on the eastern
end of the frontier with
Malaysia.  You can walk across the frontier and get a bus a few
miles on to Kota Bharu.  The railway station for Kota Bharu is
Wakaf Bahru (3 miles or so from Kota Bharu), from where there are daily trains
to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur via the scenic , see the Malaysia page.  This route forms
an interesting alternative to the usual mainline route via Padang Besar,
although you need to be aware of the security concerns around Sungai Kolok
at the
eastern end of the Thai/Malay border.

Bus/ferry connections to: 
Phuket   Krabi  
Ko Samui & Ko Phangan   Ko
Tao

 Bangkok ► Hua Hin ►
Chumphon ► Surat
Thani ► Hat Yai ► Sungai Kolok

Km

Train number:

43 *

261**

171

31 *

37 *

45 *

169

83 *

173

167

85 *

39/41

Facilities on board:

DRC

3

S,s,2,3

1,S,R

1,S,2,3,R

S

S,s,2,3

1,S,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,s,2,3,R

DRC

0 km

 Bangkok Hualamphong
depart:

08:05

09:20

13:00

14:45

15:10

15:10

15:35

17:05

17:35

18:30

19:30

22:50

64

 Nakhon Pathom
depart

09:22

10:48

14:37

16:11

16:38

16:38

17:15

18:33

19:12

19:58

20:59

00:09

229

 Hua Hin
arrive/depart

11:29

13:35

17:17

18:45

19:13

19:13

20:10

21:10

21:54

22:34

23:36

02:24

485

 Chumphon (for

Koh Tao
ferry)

14:41

21:21

22:45

23:24

23:24

00:52

01:27

02:58

03:28

04:23

05:59

651

 Surat Thani (for

Ko
Samui
,
Krabi
)

16:45

00:27

01:26

02:03

02:03

03:48

04:27

06:03

06:28

07:16

08:05

845

 Trang
arrive:

|

|

|

|

|

08:05

10:36

|

945

 Hat Yai
arrive:

06:45

07:00

07:35

07:35

09:30

12:50

1159

 Sungai Kolok
arrive:

10:45

11:20

|

990

 Padang Besar I
(Malay border):

09:54

1161

 Butterworth
(Penang, Malaysia):

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-conditioned).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)

2 = 2nd class seats.  3 =
3rd class seats.   R =
Restaurant car.

DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-conditioned seats
, meals included, but no
sleepers so not recommended for overnight journeys.

* Recommended trains – express
railcar by day, air-con sleepers by night.  Train 31/32 uses

high-quality Chinese-built sleeping-cars
introduced December 2016

** Useful 3rd class train
Bangkok-Hua Hin. No reservation required so cannot sell out – just buy a ticket
on the day and hop on!

*** Only two 2nd class
sleeping-cars run all the way to/from Butterworth, the rest of the train only
runs Bangkok-Hat Yai.

IMPORTANT CHANGES IN NOVEMBER
2016:  A new sleeper train with new high-quality Chinese-built 1st & 2nd class
air-con sleepers has been introduced between Bangkok & Hat Yai as train 31 & 32.  Train 35 & 36
is discontinued.  The
Bangkok-Padang Besar sleepers previously running in trains 35/36 now run as train
45/46 which is combined with train 37/38 between Bangkok & Hat Yai – passengers
on train 45/46 can use the restaurant car on 37/38.

 Sungai Kolok ► Hat Yai ► Surat Thani
► Chumphon ► Hua Hin ► Bangkok

Train number:

40 *

174

86 *

42/44

168

170

84 *

172

46 *

38 *

32 *

262**

Facilities on board:

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,s,2,3,R

DRC

S,s,2,3

S,s,2,3

1,S,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

S

1,S,2,3,R

1,S,R

3

 Butterworth
(Penang) depart:

 Padang Besar
(Malay border) depart:

18:00

 Sungai Kolok
depart:

11:30

|

14:20

 Hat Yai
depart:

16:23

14:45

15:39

18:10

18:10

18:45

 Trang
depart:

|

13:29

|

17:25

|

|

|

|

 Surat Thani
arrive/depart:

10:40

16:47

18:37

20:41

17:38

20:14

21:04

21:26

23:28

23:28

23:54

 Chumphon
arrive/depart:

12:46

19:36

21:22

22:49

20:31

23:23

23:59

00:44

02:06

02:06

02:34

 Hua Hin
arrive/depart:

16:01

00:42

01:47

02:22

01:16

04:28

04:15

04:56

06:05

06:05

06:29

14:10

 Nakhon Pathom
arrive:

18:26

03:40

05:00

04:38

04:05

07:26

07:04

07:44

08:42

08:42

09:03

17:16

 Bangkok Hualamphong
arrive: 

19:45

05:10

06:30

05:55

05:35

09:00

08:35

09:15

10:10

10:10

10:30

19:10

How to buy train tickets
online
  
Buying tickets at the station
    What are Thai trains like?   
Map
of train routes in SE Asia
    
Luggage & bikes    Hotels in
Thailand

 

Fares

From

Bangkok to:

1st
class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd
class sleeper 

a/c
express train

2nd
class seat

a/c
fast railcar 

2nd
class seat

ordinary train

3rd class seat

ordinary train

Hua Hin

412

150

44

Chumphon

1,424

920

480

380

272

Surat Thani

1,579

1,008

578

438

297

Hat Yai

1,794

1,105

675

535

339

Fares are in Thai baht.  £1 =

43 baht.   €1 = 39 baht.  $1 = 33 baht.

Children aged 0 to 3 and
less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
150cm high) pay full fare.

Sole occupancy of a 1st
class sleeper:
  The 1st class fare shown above is for one person in one
bed in a shared 2-berth sleeper.  In theory you can have sole occupancy of a 2-berth sleeper for an extra 500
baht (£10 or $16) but as this supplement cannot be bought online, in practice to
buy sole occupancy of a 2-bed 1st class sleeper online you’ll need to buy two
tickets.

Upper or lower berth? 
The sleeper fares shown here
are for a lower berth on the best train, 31/32, a narrower upper berth is 50-100 baht less. 
Other trains cost a bit less.  Non-air-con 2nd class sleepers (available on a few trains) cost 160-200 baht less than the
air-con variety.  You
can check fares at
www.railway.co.th
(see the advice on translating it
here).


Buy train tickets

  You
may be aware of the security
warnings for southern
Thailand.  These primarily apply to the eastern end of the
Malaysia-Thailand border around Yala & Sungai Kolok, where there
is a risk of being in the wrong place
at the wrong time if you were to hang around.  Bombs have gone off outside bars and police stations
in Yala and Sungai Kolok, and
the eastern Sungai Kolok-Yala-Hat
Yai rail line
has been affected on a number of occasions, so use
this route with extreme care if at all.  However, the
Bangkok-Hat Yai-Penang-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore main line passes
through the border at the
western end which isn’t as badly affected, and the British Foreign Office advice
now formally recognises that the Hat Yai-Padang Besar railway is fine.  Although I
must make it clear that I’m no security
expert, there are unlikely to be any problems simply passing through a
small part of the less-affected area non-stop on board a train via the Singapore-KL-Penang-Hat Yai-Bangkok
main rail line via Padang Besar.  Although travellers should always take advice and be aware of the
current situation.  I certainly don’t claim to provide current
security advice!

Scenery from the train in southern Thailand

Scenery along the single-track
railway linking Bangkok with southern Thailand…

Surat Thani station

Surat Thani station…


Back to top

Bangkok
to Ko Tao

Simply take any train from Bangkok
to Chumphon shown in the train times above,
then hop on a ferry to Koh Tao, see the ferry times below.  You can use
12go.asia to find combined train+ferry times.

 Chumphon ► Ko Tao
(ferry)

 

 Ko Tao ► Chumphon
(ferry)

Ferry
operator:

LC

KTC

SEB

LC

KJCF

NB

Ferry
operator:

LC

KTC

LC

SEB

NB

KJCF

 Chumphon depart:

07:00

07:00

07:00

13:00

23:00

24:00

 Koh
Tao depart:

10:00

10:30

14:30

14:30

22:00

23:00

 Koh
Tao arrive:

08:30

09:30

10:00

14:30

05:00

06:00

 Chumphon arrive:

11:45

13:00

16:10

17:30

03:00

05:00

Ferry operators:  LC = Lomprayah Catamaran
(www.lomprayah.com);  KTC = Koh Tao Cruiser;  SEB = Songserm
Express Boat (www.songserm-expressboat.com).

KJCF = Ko Jaroen Car Ferry;
NB = Night Boat.  The Lomprayah Catamaran fare is 600 baht (£12
or $17) one-way.

 Combined train + ferry fares

 One-way

 train+ferry
fare…

1st class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd class sleeper 

a/c express train

 Bangkok
to Koh Tao

1,744

1,240

These combined train & ferry
fares include the Bangkok-Chumphon train, bus transfer from Chumphon railway
station to pier and the ferry to Koh Tao.  They can be
ordered online through reliable agency 12go.asia as
explained above with ticket collection in Bangkok or postage to any address
worldwide
or of course they can be bought at Bangkok Hualamphong station.  Children aged 0 to 3 and less
than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or
over 150cm high) pay full fare. 
.

The train-ferry connections
actually work better via Surat Thani and Ko Samui, even though it’s
the long way round as it avoids a 4am sleeper train arrival at Chumphon.  To travel from Bangkok to Ko Tao via Surat
Thani, see the Bangkok to Ko Samui section
below, looking for the Lomprayah ferry option. 
Tickets for this route can also be ordered online
through reliable agency 12go.asia as explained above with ticket collection in
Bangkok or postage to any address worldwide
.  Just use
12go.asia to find the suggested train & ferry
times.

Travel by train from
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Penang via Hat Yai to Surat Thani,
see train
times & info Singapore-Malaysia-Surat Thani
.  Then hop on a daytime or
overnight ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Tao, see the ferry times
below.

 Surat Thani ► Koh Tao (ferry)

 

 Koh Tao ► Surat Thani (ferry)

Ferry
operator:

NB

Ferry
operator:

NB

 Surat
Thani (Bandon Rd pier) depart:

23:00

 Koh
Tao depart:

20:30

 Koh
Tao arrive:

08:30

 Surat
Thani (Bandon Rd pier) arrive:

05:30

Ferry operators:  NB =
Night Boat.  Fare:  500 baht.  Tickets are sold at the
pier.

You can check ferry times
at www.kohtaoonline.com.  There are also ferries
from Koh Tao to Ko Samui, see

www.seatranferry.com
and look for Seatran Express.


Back to top

Bangkok
to K.Samui, K.Phangan

 

Poster advertising the train & ferry service from Bangkok to Ko Samui.

 

Train+ferry to Ko Samui
Poster advertising the combined train & ferry service from Bangkok to Ko Samui. 
An excellent choice!

It’s easy to travel from Bangkok to Ko Samui or Ko Phangan using a combined train+ferry
ticket.  It’s the safe,
comfortable & environmentally-friendly way to travel, too, far better than cramped buses or
short-haul flights.  The overnight sleeper option
takes no more time out of your holiday than flying and is a lot more
fun, and far more of an experience.  Simply take a train from Bangkok to
Surat Thani. 
On arrival at Surat Thani railway station (located at Phun Phin, 14 km
from Surat Thani town centre), shuttle buses meet the train and take
you to the Don Sak ferry
terminal 60 km east of Surat Thani.  The bus is included in the
train+ferry fare.  Ferries sail every hour from Don Sak to Ko Samui,
crossing time 1.5 hours, see the ferry information below.  Some ferries
continue to Ko Phangan.  You can buy the combined train+ferry tickets at
Bangkok Hualamphong station reservations office.  Here is the recommended timetable
via both the Raja and Lomprayah ferry companies.  Just pick
whichever looks most convenient.

…via Lomprayah Ferry  (high-speed catamaran)

 Bangkok ► Ko Samui, Ko Phangan,
Ko Tao

 

 Ko Samui, Ko Phangan & Ko Tao ► Bangkok

Train
number:

167

85

 Ferry
operator:

Lomprayah

Lomprayah

Facilities on board train:

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,2,3,R

 Ko
Tao depart by ferry:

09:30

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart by train

18:30

19:30

 Ko
Phangan depart by ferry:

07:15

12:00

 Surat
Thani station arrive by train:

06:23

07:16

 Ko
Samui depart by ferry:

08:00

12:45

Shuttle
bus to Don Sak Pier.  Ferry operator:

Lomprayah

Lomprayah

 Don
Sak pier arrive by ferry:

09:55

14:40

 Don
Sak pier depart by ferry:

10:10

10:10

Take
shuttle bus to rail station.  Train
number:

40

86

 Ko
Samui arrive:

10:55

10:55

Facilities on board train:

DRC

1,S,2,3,R

 Ko
Phangan arrive:

11:45

11:45

 Surat
Thani rail station depart by train:

10:40

18:37

 Ko
Tao arrive:

14:45

14:45

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive by train:

19:45

06:30

…via Raja Ferry  (conventional ferry)

 Bangkok ► Ko Samui

 

Xem thêm :  Thông tin về các hãng tàu cao tốc đi Phú Quốc bạn nên biết

 Ko Samui ► Bangkok

Train
number:

43

167

85

 Ferry
operator:

Raja

Raja

Train
facilities:

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,2,3,R

 Ko
Samui depart by ferry:

07:00

18:00

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart by train

08:05

18:30

19:30

 Don
Sak pier arrive by ferry:

08:30

19:30

 Surat
Thani station arrive by train:

16:45

06:23

07:16

Take
shuttle bus to rail station.  Train number:

40

84

Shuttle
bus to Don Sak Pier.  Ferry operator:

Raja

Raja

Raja

Train
facilities:

DRC

S,2,3,R

 Don
Sak pier depart by ferry:

19:00

08:00

09:00

 Surat
Thani rail station depart by train:

10:40

21:04

 Ko
Samui arrive:

20:30

09:30

10:30

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive by train:

19:45

08:35

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-conditioned).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)
2 = 2nd class seats.   3 =
3rd class seats.

R =
Restaurant car.  DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-conditioned seats, meals included
.

The ferries shown here are
operated by Raja Ferry, leaving from Don Sak pier.  Others are
operated by Seatran ferries from Ban Don pier.

 Combined train + ferry fare

 One-way

 train+ferry
fare…

1st class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd class sleeper 

a/c express train

2nd class seat

a/c fast railcar 

 Bangkok
to Ko Samui

1,539

968

778

 Bangkok
to Ko Phangan

1,639

1,068

878

£1 =

43 Baht.   €1 = 39 Baht.  $1 = 33 Baht.

Children aged 0 to 3 and
less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
150cm high) pay full fare.

How to buy tickets… 

These combined train+ferry fares
can be ordered online through reliable agency
12go.asia as explained above
with ticket collection in Bangkok or postage
to any address worldwide, just use the links above.  They can of course be bought at Bangkok Hualamphong
station, but trains get fully-booked at times, so pre-booking is recommended. 
Tickets cannot be booked online direct from State Railways of
Thailand.

Children aged 0 to 3 and less
than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under 150cm travel
at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over 150cm high) pay full
fare.

Singapore, Kuala Lumpur & Penang ► Ko Samui

  • Step 1, travel from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur
    or Butterworth (Penang) to Surat Thani by train,
    see the Malaysia page for
    a timetable & fares
    .

  • You’ll need to stay overnight
    and take a ferry next morning.  Surat Thani station is located at Phun Phin,
    14km from Surat Thani town centre. 

  • Step 2, shuttle buses run to the Don Sak ferry
    terminal just outside Surat Thani.  Ferries sail every hour to Ko Samui
    06:00-19:00, crossing time 1.5 hours, see the ferry timetable information below. 

Ko Samui ► Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore

  • Step 1, take an afternoon or evening
    ferry & from Ko Samui to Surat Thani, see the ferry timetable below.  Stay
    overnight in Surat Thani.

  • Step 2, travel from Surat Thani to
    Butterworth (Penang), Kuala
    Lumpur & Singapore by comfortable train,
    see the Malaysia page for
    full details of times & fares
    .

Surat Thani to Ko Samui ferry information…

Several ferry companies
operate from Surat Thani to Ko Samui, including the
Seatran ferry
(hourly sailings, 1.5 hour crossing), the Songserm express catamaran
(1 hour crossing, 2 daily sailings), and the Songserm overnight boat.

 Surat Thani ► Ko Samui 

(Seatran ferry)

 Surat Thani
(Don Sak pier) depart:

06:00

and
hourly until…

19:00

 Ko Samui arrive:

07:30

20:30

 Ko Samui ► Surat Thani  (Seatran ferry)

 Ko Samui depart:

05:00

and
hourly until…

18:00

 Surat Thani
(Don Sak pier) arrive:

06:30

19:30

You can check ferry times
and fares at

www.seatranferry.com
.  The ferry fare is 110 baht
(£2 or $3) one-way.  A combined bus+ferry ticket from Surat
Thani railway station to Ko Samui costs about 250 baht (£5 or $7). 
The Songserm overnight boat can be useful if you arrive in Surat Thani
after the last Seatran ferry.  It sails from the Ban Don ferry
pier close to central Surat Thani at 23:00, and arrives Ko Samui
05:00.  Upper deck tickets give you a mattress and pillow, the
lower deck just has straw mats.

For ferries from Ko Samui
to Koh Tao, see

www.seatranferry.com
.

Phuket to Ko Samui

This is best done by bus, with a
couple of daily direct buses, use 12GoAsia to
book a Phuket to Koh Samui bus online
.


Back to top

Bangkok
to Phuket & Ko Phi Phi

Taking train+bus from Bangkok to
Phuket is the comfortable & environmentally-friendly way to go, avoiding a
gruelling 14-16 hour overnight bus journey in a cramped bus seat or an
unnecessary short-haul flight.  You simply take the comfy overnight sleeper
train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, and next morning hop on an air-conditioned
bus from Surat Thani to Phuket taking around 4-6 hours.

 Combined train + bus fare

Combined
train+bus fare:   

1st class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd class sleeper 

a/c express train

Bangkok
to Phuket

1,589

1,018

£1 =
43 Baht.   €1 = 39 Baht.  $1 = 33 Baht.

The buses which accept the combined train+bus tickets are modern air-conditioned buses
run
by The Phantip Company,

www.phantiptravel.com
.  There are actually around 14 buses a day from
Surat Thani to Phuket between 05:00 & 17:30, run by various
operators, you can check times at
12Go.Asia
.  If you buy separate train and bus tickets, the bus
fare is around 220 Baht (£5).  Phantip also operate an hourly
minibus service between Surat Thani station and Phuket 06:00-17:00,
fare 220 baht, journey 4 hours.

 Bangkok ►
Phuket

 

 Phuket ► Bangkok

Train
number:

43

167

85

Train
number:

43

168

84

Facilities on board train:

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,2,3,R

Facilities on board train:

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,2,3,R

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart by train

08:05

18:30

19:30

 Phuket
Town depart by bus:

06:00*

12:00

16:00

 Surat
Thani station arrive by train:

16:45

06:28

07:16

 Surat
Thani rail station arrive by bus:

10:00*

16:30

20:00

——
change from train to air-conditioned bus ——

——
change from air-conditioned bus to train ——

 Surat
Thani rail station depart by bus:

17:30

07:00

09:00

 Surat
Thani station depart by train:

10:40

17:38

21:04

 Phuket
Town
arrive by bus:

21:30

11:00

13:00

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

19:45

05:35

08:35

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-conditioned).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)
2 = 2nd class seats.  3 =
3rd class seats.

R =
Restaurant car.  DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-conditioned seats, meals included
.

* Minibus, not
big bus, also operated by

www.phantiptravel.com
.  You can check Surat Thani to Phuket bus times
online at 12Go.Asia.

How to buy tickets…

These combined train+bus
tickets can be ordered online through reliable
agency 12go.asia as explained above
with ticket collection in Bangkok or
postage to any address worldwide, just use the links above.  Or they can of course be bought at Bangkok Hualamphong station,
but trains can get fully-booked at times, so pre-booking is recommended. 
Tickets cannot be bought online
direct from State Railways of Thailand. 

Children aged 0 to 3 and less
than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under 150cm travel
at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over 150cm high) pay full
fare.  Bus tickets to Phuket can also be bought at Surat Thani rail station
for 220 baht each way.

Singapore,
Kuala Lumpur & Penang to Phuket by train+bus…

Singapore, Kuala Lumpur & Penang ► Phuket

  • Step 1, travel from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur
    or Butterworth (Penang) to Hat
    Yai by train,
    see the Malaysia page for
    a timetable & fares

    On arrival at the railway station, take a tuk-tuk to the bus terminal.  For
    example, as you can

    see on the timetable
    :

    The
    07:28 from Butterworth (Penang), change at Padang Besar, will get you to Hat Yai
    at 09:50.

    The 09:30 from Kuala Lumpur
    Sentral, 13:38 from Butterworth (Penang), change at Padang Besar, will get you
    to Hat Yai at 15:35.

  • Step 2, travel from Hat Yai to
    Phuket by minibus or air-conditioned bus, you can check bus times and
    buy tickets for various bus operators using 12Go.Asia
    .  Minibuses take 6 hours,
    fare around 350 baht.  1st class air-con buses take 7½  hours, fare
    around 344 baht. 

    For example, buses run by Sritrang
    Tour leave Hat Yai bus station at 05:45, 07:45, 08:45, 09:30, 10:05, fare around
    344 Baht (£7).  Minibuses leave Hat Yai for Phuket regularly, and are
    probably the best bet for a connection off the trains.  You’ll find
    plenty of people trying to sell you minibus tickets at the station when you get
    off the train.

  • Traveller David Maddox reports:  “There are many people trying to sell you the minibus tickets to
    Phuket when you get off the train at Hat Yai.  We went to two places. One pressured us into its shop and was asking for 650 Baht per person. If you walk out of the train station in Hat Yai and turn left and walk down past several restaurants and in one of the last buildings is a tour company that only charges 400 Baht
    (£8 or $13) per person and our bus was only locals.  The
    minibus left from outside the agency, right near the station.”

Phuket ► Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore

  • Step 1, travel from Phuket to
    Hat Yai by bus or minibus, you can check bus times and buy
    tickets online for
    various bus operators using 12Go.Asia

    Minibuses run regularly and take 6 hours, fare around 350 baht.  1st class
    air-con buses take 7½  hours, fare around 344 baht. 

    For example, 1st class
    air-conditioned buses run by Sritrang Tour leave Phuket for Hat Yai at
    07:30, 08:30, 09:30, 11:30, 12:30, 19:30 & 21:30 (check bus times locally). 
    On arrival at the bus terminal in Hat Yai, take a tuk-tuk to the railway
    station.

  • Step 2, travel from Hat Yai to
    Butterworth (Penang), Kuala
    Lumpur & Singapore by comfortable train,
    see the Malaysia page for
    full details of times & fares
    .  For example, as you can

    see on the timetable
    :

    The 07:30 from Hat Yai, change at
    Padang Besar, will get you to Butterworth (Penang) at 12:30, change there for
    Kuala Lumpur arriving 18:47.

    The 13:05 from Hat Yai, change at
    Padang Besar, will get you to Butterworth (Penang) at 17:58 and Kuala Lumpur
    Sentral at 21:50.

Ko Phi Phi…

A ferry links Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. 
The ferry sails from Phuket at 08:30 and 13:30, and from Ko Phi Phi at  
09:00 and 14:00.  Crossing time 90 minutes.

Ko Samui to Phuket

This is best done by bus, with a
couple of daily direct buses, use 12GoAsia to
book a Koh Samui to Phuket bus online
.


Back to top

Bangkok
to Krabi

Krabi hasn’t
got a railway station, but it’s easy to get there using a comfortable train to Surat Thani
(or coming up from the south, a train to Hat Yai) and then an air-conditioned bus
for the last leg.  Using the overnight sleeper
train from Bangkok, the train+bus to Krabi takes no more
time out of your holiday than flying, but is a lot more interesting,
cheaper, and far more environmentally friendly.  You’re
likely to find a number of buses to Krabi waiting at Surat Thani
station after the arrival of your train.  The bus fare is about
220 baht
(£4.50 or $7), the journey time from Surat Thani to Krabi is about 3
hours, but you can buy combined train+bus tickets from Bangkok to
Krabi.  Here’s the recommended timetable for through train+bus
journeys:

 Bangkok ►
Krabi

 

 Krabi ► Bangkok

Train
number:

43

85

Train
number:

40

84

Facilities on board train:

DRC

1,S,2,3,R

Facilities on board train:

DRC

1,S,2,3,R

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart by train

08:05

19:30

 Krabi depart by
bus:

06:30

16:00

 Surat
Thani station arrive by train:

16:45

07:16

 Surat
Thani bus terminal arrive by bus:

09:30

19:00

Transfer
from station to bus terminal in central Surat Thani

Transfer
from bus terminal to station

 Surat
Thani bus terminal depart by bus:

18:10

08:00

 Surat
Thani station depart by train:

10:40

21:04

 Krabi
arrive by bus:

21:10

11:00

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

19:45

08:35

 Combined train + bus fare
Combined train+bus fare:
1st class sleeper 
a/c express train 
2nd class sleeper 
a/c express train
Bangkok to Phuket
1,589 (£32)
1,018 (£21).

Train classes:

1 =
1st class sleepers.  S =
2nd class sleepers (air-conditioned).  s
= 2nd class sleepers (non-air-con)
2 = 2nd class seats.  3 =
3rd class seats.

R =
Restaurant car.  DRC =
Diesel Railcar express with 2nd class
air-conditioned seats, meals included
.

The buses shown here
which accept the combined train+bus tickets are modern air-conditioned buses
run
by The Phantip Company,

www.phantiptravel.com
.  They in fact run up to 12 daily
buses between Surat Thani station and Krabi, see

www.phantiptravel.com
.

 Combined train + bus fare

 Combined
train+bus fare:  

1st class sleeper 

a/c express train 

2nd class sleeper 

a/c express train

 Bangkok
to Krabi

1,539

968

£1 =

43 Baht.   €1 = 39 Baht.  $1 = 33 Baht.

Children aged 0 to 3 and
less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
150cm high) pay full fare.

How to buy tickets…

These combined train & bus
fares can be ordered online through reliable agency
12go.asia as explained above with ticket collection in Bangkok or postage to any
address worldwide
(they only sell the southbound direction) or of course
bought in person at Bangkok Hualamphong station.  Sleepers can get
fully-booked at times so pre-booking is recommended.  Children
aged 0 to 3 and less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4
to 11 and under 150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old
and upwards (or over 150cm high) pay full fare.   Bus
tickets to Krabi can also be bought at Surat Thani rail station for
170 baht each way. 
Find a hotel in
Krabi
.

:  Travel by train from
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Penang to Hat Yai,
see train
times & info Singapore-Malaysia-Surat Thani
..  Then take a
bus or minibus from Hat Yai to Krabi.  Minibuses leave Hat Yai for
Krabi regularly, journey time 4 hours, fare around 300 baht (£6 or
$9), probably the best bet for a connection off the train from KL. 
You’ll find plenty of people trying to sell you minibus tickets at
the station when you get off the train.

:  Minibuses run
regularly from Krabi to Hat Yai, journey time 4 hours, fare around 300 baht (£6
or $9).  Then travel by train from Hat Yai to Butterworth (Penang), KL or
Singapore,
see train
times & info Singapore-Malaysia-Surat Thani
.


Back to top

Bangkok
to Pattaya

A train line links Bangkok with
the popular resort of Pattaya.  A 3rd class train runs Monday-Fridays, comfortable enough, cheap, no reservation is necessary, just turn up, buy a
ticket and hop on, see the 3rd class photos here
However, at weekends State Railways of Thailand run an air-conditioned Special Express railcar, with 2nd class reserved seats. 
Both types of train are a good and pleasant way to reach Pattaya.  You can
check these times at
www.baolau.com.

 Bangkok ►
Pattaya

 

 Pattaya ► Bangkok

Days of operation:

Mon-Fri

Saturday

Sunday

Days of operation:

Mon-Fri

Saturday

Sunday

Train
number:

283

SP997

SP997

Train
number:

284

SP998

SP998

Classes on board:

3rd

2nd AC

2nd AC

Facilities on board:

3rd

2nd AC

2nd AC

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart:

06:55

06:45

06:45

 Pattaya depart:

14:21

16:26

16:26

 Pattaya station arrive:

10:34

09:13

09:50

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

18:15

18:55

18:55

Fares…

  • On train 283/284 =  3rd
    class = 31 baht.  You sit where you like.

  • On train SP 997/998  =
    2nd class air-conditioned reserved seat = 170 baht.

  • £1 =

    43 Baht.   €1 = 39 Baht.  $1 = 33 Baht.

  • Children aged 0 to 3 and
    less than 100cm in height travel free, children aged 4 to 11 and under
    150cm travel at reduced fare, children 12 years old and upwards (or over
    150cm high) pay full fare.

How to buy tickets…

  • Buy tickets at the station,
    they cannot be booked online.

  • 3rd class tickets for
    ordinary train 283/284 are only sold at the station an hour or
    less before departure, no need to book in advance, just turn up, buy and hop
    on.  Tickets for Special Express 997 /998 can be booked ahead, but only
    at a station.

Weekend express railcar from Bangkok to Pattaya

Special Express 997 from
Bangkok to Pattaya.  If it looks a bit like a British class 158
train, that’s because it is a 158, British-built to a similar design 
.


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Bangkok
– KL – Singapore

It’s
remarkably easy, safe and comfortable to travel from
Bangkok to Malaysia & Singapore by train, over 1,200 miles for around £40 or $60 one-way, including
sleepers, a real bargain.  It’s the environmentally sound way to
travel, too.  Trains run daily, and if done all in one go, the complete journey from Bangkok to Singapore takes two nights,
though you can stop off wherever you like for as long as you like. 
I’d suggest stopping off at least in Penang and KL. 
Map
of train routes in Southeast Asia
.


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Bangkok
to Phnom Penh, Saigon

It’s easy to travel between Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, & Saigon (Ho Chi
Minh City) by train & bus, for details see the Train travel in
Cambodia page
.


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Bangkok
to Yangon & Burma

It’s possible to travel overland
between Bangkok, Moulmein & Yangon in Burma (Myanmar) by train & bus,
for details see the Train travel in
Burma page
.


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If you have the time (we’re
talking a minimum of 3

weeks one-way), you can travel from London to Bangkok overland,
see the
route map here
.  The links below cover travel in either direction,
eastbound from London to Bangkok or westbound from Bangkok to London.

How to arrange this trip…

  • There aren’t any travel agencies
    who can arrange the whole trip, so you will need to plan
    it out and arrange each stage of the journey yourself.  It’s an exercise in project
    management!  Unless time is absolutely no object, you should book
    the key sections in advance through various travel agencies.

  • Book London-Moscow through a UK European train ticketing agency
    such as DB’s English-speaking line or europeanrail.com
    as shown on the London to Russia page;

  • Book Moscow-Beijing &
    Beijing-Hanoi through a local Russian agency such as Svezhy Veter or Real Russia
    as shown on the
    Trans-Siberian page
    &
    Vietnam page.

  • Tickets for other parts of the trip, for
    example, Hanoi-Saigon-Phnom Penh-Bangkok can all be bought locally, as
    you go along.  You’ll need to pre-arrange visas for Belarus,
    Russia, possibly Mongolia, China & Vietnam, and in many ways complying
    with the various visa requirements (which sometimes require confirmed onward
    tickets to be held) is actually the biggest challenge, not
    buying the tickets, so check this out carefully using the
    relevant embassy websites.

  • Where do you start? 
    First, read through the seat61
    pages linked above.  Then sketch out your
    itinerary using a simple spreadsheet like this
    , deciding where and
    for how long you want to stop off.  Next, check out the visa
    situation for each country.  Finally, follow the advice on each
    seat61 page to buy tickets for each train journey that you want to
    pre-book.

Some inspiration…

You won’t be the first to travel
between Europe and Southeast Asia overland this way, far from it.  Check out
this excellent blog from Tom Woods, “Woodlands to Woking”, 

woodlandstowoking.wordpress.com
, and Matthew Woodward’s equally excellent
blog from Edinburgh to Singapore

www.matthew-woodward.com/edinburgh-to-singapore
.


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Lonely Planet Thailand - click to buy online
Rough Guide to Thailand - click to buy onlineRough Guide to Southeast Asia - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring - click to buy online

Make sure you take a good guidebook.  Easily
the best guidebooks for the independent traveller are the Lonely Planets and
Rough Guides.  Both have stacks of practical information plus historical
and cultural background.  You won’t regret buying either one of these guides! 

Buy
at
Amazon.co.uk
or

Amazon.com

 

Alternatively, you can download
just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format
from the Lonely Planet Website, from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a
chapter.


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Check out the

Shanghai Mansion
(£40 or so a night for a double, close to Hualamphong
station, excellent reviews), the

Centre Point Sillom
(£45 or so per night, excellent reviews, river views),
the

Chillax Resort
(£55 or so per night, free wifi, swimming pool, great reviews
in spite of the name!), 

Inn a Day
(£75 or so per night, rave reviews, close to palace & river,
balconies to all rooms, free WiFi),

Shangri-La Hotel
(£140 or so per night, on the river, pool, rave reviews).

Suggested hotels in Chiang
Mai…

Try the

Sila Boutique B&B
(£37 or so for a double, rave reviews, free WiFi, inside
old city),

La Pillow
(£35 or so per night, great reviews, free WiFi, inside the old
city),

Villa Thapae
(£65 or so per night, free WiFi, swimming pool, all rooms with
balcony, rave reviews),

Tamarind Village
(£100 or so per night, spa, pool, poolside restaurant, tour
desk, free WiFi, inside the old city and great reviews),

De Naga Hotel
(£95 or so per night, inside the old city, free WiFi, swimming
pool, spa, great reviews),

Rachamankha Hotel
(£125 or so per night, pool, spa, free WiFi, great
reviews).


Known by locals (and taxi
drivers) by its original name, plain Oriental Hotel, the
Mandarin Oriental is Bangkok’s oldest
and grandest hotel.  Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, its
outdoor restaurant tables line the riverbank, where they do a great evening
buffet.  Most of the rooms are now housed in two huge modern tower blocks,
but hidden behind palm trees in the courtyard is the diminutive original block,
today restored to within an inch of its life and housing just a few of the more
expensive suites.

Hall in the original historic block, Mandarin Oriental Hotel
 

Suite in the old block at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Above left, main hall in the
original Oriental Hotel. Above right, the sitting room of the least
expensive suite in this old block.

Oriental Hotel, old buidling
 

Oriental Hotel, old building
 

Breakfast on the terrace at the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok

The original block at the
Oriental Hotel…

 

Breakfast on the riverbank
terrace…

Other hotels in Bangkok or Chiang Mai…


Click for hotels
in Bangkok


Click for hotels in Chiang Mai


Find hotels at Booking.com
My favourite hotel search site: 

www.booking.com
is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free
cancellation – this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train
booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise
your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve – a feature I use all
the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably. 
I have also come to trust their review scores – you won’t be disappointed with
anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites: 
HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on
Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if
there’s not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place
at
www.booking.com.

Backpacker hostels…

www.hostelworld.com:  If you’re on a tight budget,
don’t forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld
offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European
cities at rock-bottom prices.


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Flights
to Bangkok

Overland travel by train & bus
around Southeast Asia is an essential part of the experience,
so once there, don’t cheat and fly, stay
on the ground!  But a long-haul flight might be unavoidable to reach
Thailand in the first place.

1) 
Check flight prices at

www.opodo.com

2) 
Use
Skyscanner to compare flight prices & routes
worldwide across 600 airlines…

3) 
Lounge passes…

Make the
airport experience a little more bearable with a VIP lounge
pass, it’s not as expensive as you think, see

www.loungepass.com

Always take out travel insurance…

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable
insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover
cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible
limit. 
An annual
multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip
policies even for just 2 or 3 trips
a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers. 
Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these
links.

UK flagIn
the UK, reliable insurers include

Columbus Direct
.

UK flagIf you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see
www.JustTravelCover.com
– 10% discount with code .

UK flagYou
can use

Confused.com
to compare prices & policies from many
different insurers.

 
Australian flag
New Zealand flag 
Irish flag   
If
you live in
Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try

Columbus Direct’s other websites
.

 
US flag
If you live in the USA try

Travel Guard USA
.

A Curve card
saves on foreign transaction fees…

Most banks give you a poor
exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  A Curve
MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market
exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of
writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or
credit cards.

  1.
Download the app for
iPhone or Android
.  2. Enter your details & they’ll send you a Curve
MasterCard – they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3.
Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve
MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a
normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto
whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change
your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself
– I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I’m recommending it here
because it’s great. 
See details, download
the app and get a Curve card
– they’ll give you £5 cashback through that
link, too.

When you’re travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be
secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always
secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access
to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions. 
And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse
with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply – for
example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none
to European visitors, so if you’re not located in Europe you can avoid this fee
by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN. 
VPNs & why you need one explained
ExpressVPN
is a best buy and I use it myself – I’ve signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate,
and if you go with
expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal,
3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help
support this site.


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