Thailand’s main railway operator is the State Railway of Thailand, also called Thai State Railway or simply Thai Railway. The Thai national railway is state-owned and operates all national railway lines.
Currently the SRT’s network covers almost 50 provinces and transports about 35 million passengers annually. By 2027, the coverage will grow to 61 provinces out of the country’s 76 plus Bangkok, and the number of passengers is expected to double.
At the moment there is no high-speed rail in Thailand. Proposed high-speed railway routes include Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai, known as the Sino-Thai Railway; Bangkok to Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai, known as Japanese-Thai project; and shorter routes like Bangkok–U-Tapao Airport in Rayong and Bangkok–Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Thai Railways network includes four major lines. Each line originates from Bangkok’s main Railway Station, Hua Lamphong.
Here are Royal Thai Railway most popular routes:
Southbound trains bring you to the largest city of the South, Hat Yai in Songkhla province. After Hat Yai, the same trains proceed further to the Malaysian border to Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province or Padang Besar in Songkhla province.
It is not possible to get to some popular destinations in Thailand like Phuket, Krabi or islands by train but you can still cover the major part of the route travelling by rail.
Hop onto a southbound train to get to Suratthani to reach
Get off at Chumphon to get to Koh Tao by ferry
Northbound trains will get you to
Here are trains schedules for some of the most popular routes:
To Chiang Mai
08.30, 13.45, 18.10, 19.35, 22.00
From Chiang Mai
06.30, 08.50, 15.30, 17.00, 18.00
To Nong Khai
08.20, 18.35, 0.00, 20.45
From Nong Khai
07.00, 18.15, 18.30, 19.10
To Hat Yai
13.00, 14.45, 15.10, 15.35, 22.50
From Hat Yai
16.23, 14.45, 15.39, 18.10, 18.45
There are three classes in Thai trains: 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
The first class exists only on night trains. First class sleeper, also known as VIP sleeper, is an air-conditioned carriage with 9 lockable compartments each equipped with 2 berths.
Usually, each sleeper train features only one first class sleeper, and first class berths sell out very fast. It is recommended to book the 1st class berths as early as possible.
There are new upscale first class carriages on Thai sleeper trains 9 and 10 to/from Chiang Mai; 23 and 24 to/from Ubon Ratchathani; 25 and 26 to/from Nong Khai; 31 and 32 to/from Hat Yai.
The second class sleepers exist in an air-conditioned and fan only varieties. Both are comfortable and safe. They offer a great value for money and are used by the majority of overseas travellers.
There are newer and better versions of second class sleepers on trains 9&10, 23&24, 25&26 and 31&32.
For daytime travel and for shorter distances e.g. Bangkok to Hua Hin second class seats are a good option. They come both in an air-conditioned and non-A/C versions – you can open windows to get some fresh air in the latter case.
The cheapest type of seats for travel shorter distances e.g. Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, third class seats are a great way to mingle with the locals.
Thai Railways ticket booking opens 60 days (90 days – for longer routes) prior to departure date and stops two hours before departure.
It is highly advisable to buy Thai railways tickets in advance if you need a 1st class sleeper or a 2nd class sleeper, especially during high season.
You can buy train tickets online or at any train station in Thailand – not necessarily the one you are going to travel from.
From February, 1, 2017, it became possible to buy Thai railway ticket online on the official State Railways of Thailand website. The drawback of this option is that only a small portion of all the seats and berths are available for Thai Railways online booking, not all.
Another convenient option is to use our website for train ticket online booking. There will be a small service fee, but you pay for a hassle-free Thai Railway ticket booking in English and convenience of online booking much in advance – even if your departure is more than 90 days from the booking date.