Thailand Train FAQ (types, classes, options and photos)

1. What is the railway like in Thailand?

2. Where can I find train schedules?

3. What are railway stations like in Thailand?

  1. Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok.

  2. Chiang Mai train station

  3. Chumphon train station

  4. Suratthani train station

4. Can we leave things at the station for storage?

5. How does the boarding work?

6. How long in advance can I book a ticket?

7. How can I get on the train coming from the airport?

8. Traveling with Children

9. Where is the luggage kept in the train?

10. Is there a baggage limitation?

11. Is it possible to transport a bicycle / motorbike?

12. Will the train arrive on time?

13. What types of trains are used in Thailand?

14. What kinds of classes are available?

  1. First class

  2. Second Class

  3. Third class carriages

  4. The Dining Car

  5. Ladies only!

  6. Disabled passengers

15. Railway Lines departing from Bangkok

  1. Bangkok to the North (Chiang Mai)

  2. Train # 9 / 10 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

  3. Train # 7 / 8 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

  4. Train # 13 / 14 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

  5. Train # 51 / 52 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

  6. Train # 109 / 102 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

16. From Bangkok to the Northeast (Nong Khai)

  1. Train # 75 & 77 / 76 & 78 "Bangkok - Nong Khai"

  2. Train # 25 / 26 "Bangkok - Nong Khai"

  3. Train # 133 / 134 "Bangkok - Nong Khai"

17. Bangkok to the Northeast (Ubon Ratchathani)

  1. Train # 21 / 22 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

  2. Train # 67 / 68 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

  3. Train # 135 / 136 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

  4. Train # 139 / 140 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

  5. Train # 141 / 142 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

18. From Bangkok to the East (Aranyaprathet)

  1. Train # 275 / 286 "Bangkok - Aranyaprathet"

  2. Train # 279 / 280 "Bangkok - Aranyaprathet"

19. From Bangkok to the South

  1. Chumphon special!

  2. Train # 261 / 262 "Bangkok - Hua Hin"

  3. Train # 171 / 172 "Bangkok to Sungai Kolok"

  4. Train # 45 / 46 "Bangkok to Butterworth, MY (Padang Besar in Thailand side)"

  5. Train # 37 / 38 "Bangkok to Sungai Kolok"

  6. Train # 169 / 170 "Bangkok to Yala"

  7. Train # 83 / 84 "Bangkok to Trang"

  8. Train # 173 / 174 "Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat"

  9. Train # 167 / 168 "Bangkok to Kantang"

  10. Train # 85 / 86 "Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat"

  11. Train # 41 / 42 "Bangkok to Yala"

  12. Train # 39 / 40 "Bangkok to Suratthani"

  13. Train # 43 / 44 "Bangkok to Suratthani"

20. Bangkok to the Islands (Phuket / Phi Phi / Samui / Koh Phangan / Koh Tao)

21. Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - River Kwai - Nam Tok

22. What is the history of the railways in Thailand?

23. The Eastern and Oriental Express

What is the railway like in Thailand?

All railway tracks in Thailand belong to the state-owned company State Railway of Thailad (SRT). The tracks go across the country, using a narrow railway width of one meter. In many areas there is only a single-track line, which can result in train delays in the course of your journey. Passengers stay on the train during the stops, which usually last less than ten minutes. The total length of railway track is about 4180 km. The main hub of the railway network is in Bangkok, through which all routes pass. Click here to see the map of all routes: Railway Lines departing from Bangkok

Where can I find train schedules?

Of course all information about the latest train schedules can be found on our website (which in some cases is more up-to-date than SRT's official website: train schedules. Here you can get all the information on the movement on train schedules, costs, travel times and train types by entering the point of departure and your desired destination.

What are railway stations like in Thailand?

When compared to European stations, the railway stations in Thailand are a bit more sparse. Frequently, stations consist of a roof but no walls except for a ticket office where you can buy your tickets. In most places there is a small waiting room where you can find a seat. Restaurants and snack bars are also available at some stations available.

Fruitmarket
Fruitmarket
Rice of different colors
Rice of different colors

The stations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai are larger and more modern. They offer restaurants, travel agencies, coffee shops etc. In Chiang Mai boarding passes for tickets booked with 12Go.Asia have to be picked up at the Bossotel next to the railway station. Please mind that we have to communicate it inside and ticket is issued at the requested pickup point. If you ordered ticket for pickup, say, in Chiang Mai, it is printed and kept there - hence it can not be picked in Bangkok, and vice versa.

Chiang Mai Bossotel
Chiang Mai Bossotel
Chiang Mai Station
Chiang Mai Station

Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok.

Hualamphong Station
Hualamphong Station

Most of the trains in Thailand depart from Hua Lamphong - it is the central hub of rail traffic in Thailand. In its significance it may be compared to Suvarnabhum Airport.
At the station, you can find many different services:

  1. Information window This is where you can get a printed schedule of all trains in English and Thai. The staff will also try to answer all your questions.

  2. Cash Counters. If you need a ticket for the same day you can visit any of the counters located on both sides under the portrait of His Majesty The King. The tickets will be issued in your name, so please bring your passport or a similar form of photo-ID.

  3. Pre-sale Counters Tickets can be bought between 1 and 60 days before the planned date of travel. Very short routes (such as Bangkok to Ayutthaya, Hua Hin or Pattaya) can be bought only one day in advance, short routes (like Bangkok to Chumphon, Phitsanulok or Korat) can be booked 30 days in advance. Trips starting in Bangkok with a duration of more than six hours are usually released 60 days before the departure date (there are some exceptions). The office is open every day from 08:30 to 16:00.

  4. Luggage Storage If you have nowhere to leave your luggage, you can use the luggage room in the corner opposite the entrance to the tracks, which is open daily from 04:00 to 23:00. The price varies from 20 to 100 baht per piece per day. There are also newly installed storage boxes right when you leave the escalator coming from the MRT subway. Unfortunately we can not keep your inside our office in DOB Building.

  5. Restaurants At the station are several places where you can eat or buy food and bottled beverages to take with you. Next to the entrance on 2nd floor is a Black Canyon coffee. Or cross the road (carefully) and enjoy your dinner at the Hong Kong Noodle Restaurant. Air-conditioned rooms are on the upper floor.

  6. A Taxi service is located on the left side of the station. Avoid tuk-tuks. They charge you ludicrous prices and often do not know your destination, so they bring you somewhere else. Somewhere else is usually a tailor or gem shop where they get a commission. Metered taxis are safer, cheaper and come with air conditioning.

  7. WC / showers are located in the corner of the lobby behind the information desk (but they have been under renovation recently and are sometimes replaced by toilet trucks next to the subway entrance). As always in crowded public places it is better to avoid this area if you can.

  8. The 12Go office is located directly opposite the Hua Lamphong Railway station, but not inside the station. Please take the MRT (Subway) exit number 1. Do not try to cross the road, please take the air-conditioned underpass from the subway. Our office is 30 meters from the subway exit number 1 in the DOB Building, ground floor. We operate from ~ 10:00 - 20:00 every day.

Some trains depart from Thon Buri - but that's a whole different story.

Chiang Mai train station

Chiang Mai train station is located on Charuen Muang Road, approximately in the middle between the Ping River and the Superhighway. It is the main station for northern Thailand. While parking is a problem at Bangkok's station there is plenty of parking space available at Chiang Mai. You will also find street vendors and a couple of local restaurants there. The Bossotel, where the boarding passes for tickets booked with 12Go have to be picked up, is located on the other side of the street.

Chumphon train station

Chumphon train station is mainly a station to stop for refueling gasoline and adding water on the southern route. The station (and the parcel room) are open 24 hours every day of the week.
Attention: tickets to and from Chumphon can only be confirmed 30 days in advance. By that time most of the seats are already sold to people who travel on a longer distance and booked their tickets up to 60 days in advance. If you do not want to take any risk please book your tickets from/to Lang Suan station instead. Of course you can still board or hop off in Chumphon. The price difference per seat is currently (August 2017) only 42 Baht for second class trains and 68 Baht for the first class. Booking the longer distance gives you a much better chance to actually get the tickets you need.

Suratthani train station

Suratthani train station, unlike many others, is open 24 hours, including the Parcel department. It is basically the main transport hub connecting the south to Bangkok, so trains pass by around the clock. Most of the trains you will be interested in are departing in the evening, usually being belated.

Can we leave things at the station for storage?

Every major railway station offers luggage storage. Anyone can use it, but it may be necessary to present a train ticket (and usually it is not free of charge). Please note that the luggage office closes with the departure of the last train (or even earlier).

How does the boarding work?

Access to the trains is controlled in different ways. First and second class tickets are checked before boarding the train. In third class you take a seat and the conductor comes around and checks the tickets. If you did not have time to buy a ticket in advance it can be purchased from the conductor in the train at the same price as at the counter.

How long in advance can I book a ticket?

Thailand's Flag
Thailand's Flag

The best time to book a ticket is the moment your travel plans are finalized. In general it is better to book as early as possible. The most popular trains are the sleeper trains that connect Bangkok with Chiang Mai, Suratthani and Nong Khai.

During public holidays, vacation periods and long weekends there is a very high chance that the required train may not be available. The most difficult dates are around the New Year (roughly from December 30 to January 3) and Songkran (the Thai New Year from April 11 to 16), when tickets are sold out within hours after they are released to the public two months before the travel date.

If you want to travel during the peak periods you should book your tickets more than 60 days in advance. If you choose to travel on a popular route, there is a high chance that all the good seats will be sold out quite a few days before the trip.

If you are traveling in a group and want to be seated together you should also plan ahead.

At 12go.asia we will purchase your tickets on the first day they are released to the public. Our employees will wait at the counter when it opens, buy the tickets in your name and keep them secured until you come to collect them at our counters in Chiang Mai or in Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station. If collection in person is not possible you can select the shipping option that we offer. The printed tickets (on official Railways paper) are the boarding passes and need to be shown when you board the train. 12go.asia is the best solution to book tickets in advance and from abroad.

To have tickets send to your hotel or home you need to provide a proper address. For shipping we use the registered mail service of EMS post and after many thousands of tickets sold we have never experienced problem with them. The only headache from time to time is that hotels accept the document shipment and then cannot find it when guests arrive and ask for it. In case your tickets vanished into thin air or got lost during the shipping process a passport copy is needed to make a police report about lost tickets. With a copy of this police report the passenger will be allowed to board the train. If the customer wants 12Go to make the report for them a copy of the passport has to be provided. Update 2017: we do no longer send tickets to the islands in the south. Instead we can send them to the parcel office in the train station you wish to depart from.

How can I get on the train coming from the airport?

If you arrive at Suvarnahum International Airport the easiest way to get into town is to proceed to the ground floor and get a public taxi. Go to the taxi counter where the English-speaking staff will ask for your destination, write it on a form and hand one part of it to the driver, while you keep the other part for your reference. Keep in mind that tolls have to be paid by the passenger in cash when the car reaches the tollway station and that there is an additional airport fee of 50 baht on top of the amount shown on the meter. Recently a ticket machine was installed where you can now get your queue number. There you can also select if you need a normal taxi or one with more than 4 seats.

Official MRTA Map with future extentions
Official MRTA Map with future extentions

If you arrive at Don Mueang Airport again the easiest way is to take a taxi. The same 50 baht airport surcharge has to be paid on top of the meter price and tollway fees are to be paid by the passenger when arriving at the booth. Please note that if you arrive the same time as many other flights the queue at the taxi line might consume 30 minutes or more.

Traveling with Children

Children up to 3 years of age with a height of less than 100 cm travel free of charge, if they can share a seat with an adult. Children under the age of 12 and with a height of less than 150 cm can get a discount, based on the type of the train, the class and the carriage. The discount is between 10 and 20 percent. Discounts for students or elderly people are not available for foreigners.

Where is the luggage kept in the train?

You can carry your luggage into the cars and keep it next to you or on special racks. In a sleeping car the luggage might be stored in a compartment nearby. Some travelers secure their bags to the rack with a bicycle lock.

Is there a baggage limitation?

Each passenger is entitled to carry one large and one small piece of luggage, but this rule is not strictly enforced. No one will weigh or check your suitcases. In first class you are entitled to bring 60 kg per passenger, in second class it is 40 kg per passenger and in third class it is 30 kg per passenger.

Is it possible to transport a bicycle / motorbike?

Depend on trains because some train have no cargo compartment. It is possible to bring your bicycle or motorbike. Please check in advance to ensure your train has such a compartment. While it is much easier with bicycles, motorbikes require a bit more attention.

It is advised to arrive more than an hour before train departure at the cargo terminal, where you have to prove that the bike is registered in your name (bring your passport and the green book of the bike). Take your time and watch how your bike is loaded and secured on the train. It might speed up the process to tip the staff, preferably the person on the train who will secure it properly and monitor it. At most of the stations your bike will be lifted by hand by the station staff onto the train.

The charge depends on the weight of the bike, so make sure you know the weight to avoid being overcharged. The price of a small bike or scooter should be between 1000 and 1500 baht and the price does not depend on the distance.

When you arrive you can try to get your bike right away. It may require some additional payment to speed up the process.

You can also follow a detailed guide at this page here from Rider Chris.

Will the train arrive on time?

Thai trains do not always depart or arrive on time. Often there is a delay, sometimes several hours. Do not plan your connecting flight without a significant break of at least 6 hours between train arrival and your flight departure. If you are booked with a combo ticket to one of the islands you do not have to worry. The ferry operator will accept your ticket on the next available boat in case the train is delayed.

What types of trains are used in Thailand?

In Thailand, there are seven types of trains. The type of train defines the travel time, number of stops, speed of travel and available classes, as well as the quality of cars that are hooked to the train. The train number indicates the type of train.

  • Special Express trains have a number from 1 to 48. Trains of this type are the fastest and run almost non-stop but are also the most expensive. These trains normally have first and second class carriages
    except for special express train # 37 which also includes third class carriages on the Bangkok-Sungai Kolok route.

  • Diesel Railcar The DRC letters next to the train number indicates that it has special self-propelled diesel railcars. These trains generally consist of only 2 or 3 carriages in second class, wherein in the first carriage is the one with the engine. Almost half of all Thai trains run on diesel.

  • Express trains have numbers from 51 to 98. They differ from special express trains in that they make more stops and therefore need more time on the same track. The trains have carriages of first, second and third class.

  • Rapid trains have numbers from 101 to 198. They are the most common type of train in Thailand and include carriages in second class (usually without air conditioning) and third class. They make a stop at almost every station.

  • Ordinary trains have numbers from 298 to 300. These are very slow trains that make the maximum number of stops. The trains have only third class carriages and run only during the day over distances of not more than 500 km.

  • Commuter trains are suburban trains with numbers from 301 to 398. They have all the same features as the ordinary trains.

  • Local trains have numbers from 401 to 498. They also have the same features as the ordinary trains and run along shorter distances.

What kinds of classes are available?

There are only 3 main types of carriages: first, second and third class. Each class has sub-types that affect the quality of the trip and the cost.

First class

1 class sleeper a/c (Thai type)
1 class sleeper a/c (Thai type)
Attr: Courtesy of SRT

First class is the most comfortable way to travel. You will enjoy a separate compartment with individual air conditioning and a private washbasin. The ticket price includes fresh bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of the car are usually a toilet and a shower with cold water. To travel together in one room is no problem for couples.

If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, you will find yourself in a compartment with another passenger of the same gender. If you want privacy and the whole room for yourself please book two seats, mention your name and passport number twice and write in the comment box that you wish to have the room for yourself. If you're traveling in a group you can request adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between the first and second rooms, the third and fourth and so on).

On the routes for Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Bangkok to Nong Khai and Bangkok to Hat Yai you can order food from the restaurant and stewards will serve it in your compartment. There are different options on the menu, and a dinner costs about 200 baht while breakfast is about 100 baht. If this option suits you - that's great!

1 class sleeper a/c (Japan type)
1 class sleeper a/c (Japan type)
Attr: Courtesy of SRT

But keep in mind that if you dine in the dining car you will gain a new experience, meet other people and have a wider choice of options. The stewards may try to keep you from going to the restaurant because they receive a commission from each order.

Compartment cars are usually quickly sold out. It is advised to book them at least a month before the start of intended travel, and booking more than 60 days in advance gives you the best chance to actually get your own compartment. First-class carriages are usually found in the special express type of trains.

There are two different versions of first-class carriages:

VIP sleepers consist of 12 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). In the evening a steward will convert the seats into comfortable beds.

Second Class

The second class is the most common and popular class in Thailand. In these cars the seats / berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy. Second-class sleepers are available in two versions: air-conditioned and with fans. Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and cleaner, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip. The upper berth is slightly cheaper than the lower one, but it is smaller in size and a bit shorter. If your height is less than 185 cm (6'1") you will have enough space in the upper berth. If you are taller, you should reserve a lower berth with a length of 190 cm (6'3") where you can sleep comfortably lying diagonally.

You luggage can be stored on special racks and for your peace of mind you can secure them with a bicycle lock to the luggage rack. You can also secure zippers with a padlock. At the end of the carriage a restroom with a toilet can be found.

On the routes for Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Bangkok to Nong Khai and Bangkok to Hat Yai you can order food from the restaurant and stewards will serve it in your compartment. There are different options on the menu, and a dinner costs about 200 baht while breakfast is about 100 baht. If this option suits you - that's great! But keep in mind that if you dine in the dining car you will gain a new experience, meet other people and have a wider choice of options. The stewards may try to keep you from going to the restaurant because they receive a commission from each order.

The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Please note that air conditioning in Thailand is usually running at full capacity and set to a temperature that would make a polar bear smile, so be prepared and bring warm clothing. You can ask for an extra blanket or simply use your own big towel.

The following types of carriages can be found in second class:

  • second-class sleepers with air conditioning come with 30, 32, 36 or 40 beds.
  • second-class sleepers with fan come with 32 beds.
  • second-class sleepers for women only are for women and girls only. Boys up to the age of 8 years are allowed to travel with their mother. The rules are strictly enforced and a male passenger with a reservation for this carriage will not be allowed to board and will face serious problems with the authorities.
  • second class seater with fan come with 48 or 64 seats.
  • second class seater with air-conditioning come with 58 or 64 seats, but they are different from the carriages with fan, especially the ones on a special express train. In these cars are also seats comparable to those in an airplane, but even more comfortable. The carriages have a steward who announces stops and serves food and drinks that are either included in the fare or have to be paid separately. Double-check if they are complementary; there have been unpleasant surprises for travelers who thought (or were initially told) they were included.

2 class sleeper no a/c (32 seats)
2 class sleeper no a/c (32 seats)
Attr: Courtesy of SRT
2 class sleeper a/c (36 seats)
2 class sleeper a/c (36 seats)
Attr: Courtesy of SRT
2 class sleeper a/c (40 seats) Tokyu
2 class sleeper a/c (40 seats) Tokyu
Attr: Courtesy of SRT

2 class sleeper a/c (40 seats) Daewoo
2 class sleeper a/c (40 seats) Daewoo
Attr: Courtesy of SRT
2 class sleeper a/c (30 seats) Japan type
2 class sleeper a/c (30 seats) Japan type
Attr: Courtesy of SRT
2 class DRC (64 seats) Daewoo
2 class DRC (64 seats) Daewoo
Attr: Courtesy of SRT

2 class seats no a/c (48 seats)
2 class seats no a/c (48 seats)
Attr: Courtesy of SRT
2 class DRC seats a/c (58 seats) ATC
2 class DRC seats a/c (58 seats) ATC
Attr: Courtesy of SRT
2 class DRC (64 seats) Sprinter
2 class DRC (64 seats) Sprinter
Attr: Courtesy of SRT

Third class carriages

3 class
3 class
Attr: Courtesy of SRT

This type of carriage is good for short trips such as from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi or from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. Prepare for a small car with seating areas along the walls. Same seats can be very hard. These cars are usually equipped with fans (that do not always work). The windows can be opened. At the end of the car you might find a toilet and wash basin. Third class is preferred by locals and is often overcrowded.

On short routes it can be a new experience to travel with locals and through the open windows you might have the chance to shoot some really impressive pictures.
You can bring your dog with you when you travel in third class. The fee is between 90 and 150 baht depending on the size of the animal and your 4-legged companion has to be in a travel cage the entire time. Cages are not provided; you have to bring your own. A much better way to travel with your pet is to book a private van transfer with us. Please understand that our operator will not accept farm animals, dangerous or endangered species. Please contact our support for more information.

The Dining Car

Restaurant Car
Restaurant Car

The following trains are always equipped with an on-board-restaurant carriage:
9 / 10 , 13 / 14, 31 / 32, 85 / 86 and 25 / 26. Some of the dining cars are air-conditioned and some have only a fan. The food they serve is usually local Thai and relatively inexpensive. A variety of options (sets) is offered and dinner costs about 200 baht while breakfast is around 100 baht.

Since July 2014 alcoholic beverages are no longer available for sale on board, but you can bring your own supply in reasonable amounts. Nobody will complain if you open a bottle of wine with your dinner.

If you are traveling in first or second class you can order your meal through the steward and get it delivered to your seat. If this option suits you - that's great! But keep in mind that if you dine in the dining car you will gain a new experience, meet other people and have a wider choice of options.

The stewards may try to keep you from going to the restaurant, because they receive a commission from each order. Everybody is welcome in the on-board restaurant.

Ladies only!

The following trains have a special carriage reserved solely for female passengers and their children: 9 /10 (Chiang Mai), 37 / 38 (Suratthani), 67 / 68 (Ubon Ratchathani) and 25 / 26 (Nong Khai). Boys up to the age of 8 years and a height of less than 100 cm are allowed to travel with their mother.

Ladies Carriage
Ladies Carriage

The rules are strictly enforced and a male passenger with a reservation for this carriage will not be allowed to board and will face serious problems with the authorities.

Disabled passengers

In general the State Railways personnel are very helpful to those in need. If passengers have any disability there will be someone to help. Blind people will be guided to their seat and passengers who need a wheelchair may be able to use a special entrance / elevator to board the train. This does not apply to all trains, however. Before booking, please check what type of special equipment is available on the train you plan to take. If you have any disability please contact our support on the website and we will do our best to help you.

Ladies boarding
Ladies boarding
Elevator for wheelchairs
Elevator for wheelchairs

Railway Lines departing from Bangkok

Thailand rail routes map
Thailand rail routes map
Attr: Johomaps

  • Northern Route Bangkok - Chiang Mai.

This is the oldest railway line. The first section was opened in 1894. The length of the branch is 751 km and the trains cross this distance in 11-14 hours on average.
Two Express trains and three Special Express trains connect the Rose of the North (Chiang Mai) with the Big Mango (Bangkok). The night trains take a little longer, but their seats are converted into comfortable sleeping berths when night falls. The scenery when leaving Bangkok in the evening is not that exciting, but when the sun comes up in the morning the train will have reached the mountains that surround Chiang Mai and passengers are rewarded with fantastic views.

  • Eastern Route Bangkok - Aranyaprathet (with a branch to Pattaya).

This line ends at the border with Cambodia. In the past the track went through the border and into Cambodia. However, during the civil war in Cambodia, the connection was interrupted and has not yet been restored. At the moment the only construction activities are for buildings and casinos in the border area in Poi Pet. There is a plan to restore the rail link between the two countries, but it is only at the planning stage. The journey between Bangkok and Aranyaprathet takes about 4-5 hours. Tickets can be bought only one day in advance (hence online booking is not feasible) and many people think it is more convenient to take a bus to Rong Klua Market, which is located directly at the border. Locals can enjoy the casino buses which provide free transportation for those who just cross the border to visit the casinos. This service is not available to tourists.

  • North-Eastern Route Bangkok - Nong Khai (at the border with Laos)

Up to Ban Phachi Junction the track also serves the northern line, but after that the line is separated from the north-east line. The track length is 624 km. The journey between Bangkok and Nong Khai takes an average of 10-12 hours; between Bangkok and Ubon Ratchathani you can expect 8-10 hours.

  • Southern Route

SRT trains are no longer allowed to cross or pass Malaysian border all the way to Butterworth Train Station. The new disembarkation station is Padang Besar (Thailand Side). Passengers can still continue their journey to Butterworth via Padang Besar train station (Malaysian Side) by pre-booking a KTM train ticket or direct purchase of a ticket at the station.

Bangkok to the North (Chiang Mai)

Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

On this route run 5 trains: Special Express trains # 7 / 8, # 9 / 10 and # 1 / 2, express # 51 / 52 and trains # 109 / 102.

If speed is important to you, we recommend that you take train # 7 / 8, but keep in mind that you will have to sit for all 11 hours. This train is a seater train, not a sleeper train.

If you want to get to Chiang Mai in the morning and more comfortably, you should take the train # 9 / 10 or # 1 / 2. They leave Bangkok in the evening and arrive in the morning. Thus, you will have the whole day to enjoy Bangkok and then be able to sleep in the car. This way you also save the cost of a night in a hotel. Both trains take 13 hours.

The comfy trains are usually fully booked a long time in advance. It is strongly recommended that you book more than 60 days in advance, but this is still no guarantee to be lucky enough to actually get a seat in first class. It has happened (very rarely) in the past that the State Railways of Thailand did not release tickets to the public, for example when huge groups of Government officials were traveling on an official trip.

The express trains # 51 / 52 and # 109 / 102 take 14 hours for the roughly 700 km distance. Take train # 51 to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the mountains that surrounds the plateau on which Chiang Mai rests.

In summer 2015 the State Railways of Thailand upgraded the engines of three trains, which resulted in faster travel times on this route. With almost the same departure times the arrival is now about one hour earlier. The biggest change was train # 52, which now departs two hours earlier than before and arrives three hours earlier at 05:25 in the morning.

Train # 9 / 10 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

The type of this train is Special Express and to travel between the cities takes about 13 hours. The train is quite convenient because it departs from Bangkok at 18:10 in the evening and arrives at the terminal station at 07:15 in the morning. The old train was replaced in November 2016 by new carriages and has a dining car and only sleeping carriages:

VIP Sleepers usually consist of 12 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy. Please be prepared that it can get quite cold in the train at night, especially on the upper berth.

Train # 7 / 8 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

The type of this train is Special Express with a travel time of about 11 hours between the end stations. This is the minimum travel time for that route. The train leaves Bangkok in the morning at 08:30 and arrives at 19:30 in the evening. The train consists of diesel cars with second-class air-conditioned seats, no berths. The seats are soft and reclining, similar to those in an airplane. Tickets for these cars are sold with a seat number. Meals are included in the ticket price, but there is also a restaurant car on the train.

Train # 13 / 14 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

The type of this train is Special Express and the travel time between the end stations is again about 13 hours. This is convenient because the train leaves Bangkok at 19:35 pm and arrives at Chiang Mai in the morning at 08:40. The train has a dining car and the following classes:

VIP deluxe: This carriage comes with 10 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class Sleeper with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged in groups of 2 on both sides of the train. It is perfect if you travel in a group of 4. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Train # 51 / 52 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

The type of this train is "Express" and the travel time to Chiang Mai is about 14 hours. This train has second-class sleeping cars with air conditioning and fans, seating carriages with air conditioning and fan, and third class carriages.

Second-class Sleeper cars are the most common and popular ones. In these carriages the seats / berths are arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy. Second-class sleeping cars come with both air-condition and fans. Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and clean, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are comparable to seats in a plane. They are soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats with fan - This is a carriage with seats only along the walls. Seats can either be very hard or soft; it depends on which type of carriage is used. If you are unlucky and you get a hard seat you will not forget the long trip to Chiang Mai. These cars are usually equipped with fans and some of them even work. This train usually has an on-board restaurant.

Train # 109 / 102 "Bangkok - Chiang Mai"

The type of these trains is "Rapid." The travel time between the end stations is calculated as 14h 20min. Dispatched from Bangkok in the afternoon at 13:45 it arrives in Chiang Mai early in the morning at 04:05. This train makes a stop at almost every station and has a dining car. This train consists of the following cars:

Second-class sleeper cars with fan have berths arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan are quite soft and reclining, but not really recommended for the whole route. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a seat number.

Third-class seats with fan - This is a small car with seating areas along the walls. Seats can either be very hard or soft. It depends on which type of carriage is used.

From Bangkok to the Northeast (Nong Khai)

The terminal station of this route is close to the border with Laos and its distance is 621 km. If you continue your journey to Laos you can walk on foot (2 km), or you can take the bus to Vientiane. The most convenient connection to Nong Khai is train # 69 / 70 - it is the fastest and it is a sleeper.

Train # 75 & 77 / 76 & 78 "Bangkok - Nong Khai"

The type of this train is "Express" and the travel time between end stations is around nine and a half hours. Dispatched from Bangkok in the evening at 18:35 train #77 arrives in Nong Khai in the early morning at 04:35. Train #75 departs at 08:20 in the morning and arrives Nong Khai at 17:45 in the evening. These trains have only seater carriages:

Second-class seats, air-conditioned The seats are similar to those on an air plane. The seats themselves are soft and slightly recline, but are not recommended for long distances. Tickets are available at specific locations only, not at every station.

Third-class seats on trains in Thailand are not made for tourists. They are mainly used by local passengers on short legs of the route.

Train # 25 / 26 "Bangkok - Nong Khai"

The type of this trains is Special Express . The time to get to the terminal station is 10h 45min. Dispatched from Bangkok at 20:00 the train arrives at it's destination at 06:45 in the morning. This train has only sleeper cars and a dining car.

VIP Sleepers consist of 12 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class sleeper cars with fan - The berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are arranged in a wat that they form seats facing each other. By nightfall, the stewards dismantle the bottom seats and build up upper and lower berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and clean, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip.

Train # 133 / 134 "Bangkok - Nong Khai"

The type of this train is "rapid." The travel time between Hua Lamphong in Bangkok and Nong Khai is 11h 50min. Dispatched from Bangkok's main station at 20:45 it arrives at 08:35 in Nong Khai. It stops at almost every station. This train has a dining car and the following classes:

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows.

Bangkok to the Northeast (Ubon Ratchathani)

The distance from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani (in the north of Thailand near the southern border of Laos) is 575 km. On this route runs one special express and three fast express trains. If you are in a hurry choose the fastest train, # 21 / 22, but you will have to spend the whole way sitting. If you prefer comfort, choose the sleeper train # 67 / 68.

Train # 21 / 22 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

The type of this train is Special Express and the travel time between end stations is 8h 15min. Dispatched from Bangkok early in the morning at 05:45 it arrives at 14:00. This train consists of only second-class seats, air-conditioned and the seats are soft and slightly recline. Tickets are available at specific locations only, not at every station.

Train # 67 / 68 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

The types of these trains are "Express" and the travel time is 10h 55min. The train departs from Bangkok at 20:30 in the evening and arrives in Ubon Ratchathani in the morning at 07:25. This train has a dining car and carriages of the following types:

VIP Sleepers consist of up to 24 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Train # 135 / 136 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

The type of this train is "rapid." The travel time between the end stations is 11h 20min. You will spend the whole day on the road between 06:40 in the morning and arrive when it is almost dark at 18:00. The train stops at almost every station and has a dining car. It also has the following cars:

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows. 11+ hours of your life you won't forget easily.

Train # 139 / 140 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

The type of this train is "rapid." Travel between the cities takes 11h 20min. The train makes a stop at almost every station, has a dining car and consists of the following cars:

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows. We recommend this class only for short distances.

Train # 141 / 142 "Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani"

The type of this train is "rapid" . Travel between the cities takes 11h 55min. The train makes a stop at almost every station, has a dining car and consists of the following carriages:

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows. Truly a very special trip. Are you ready for that?

From Bangkok to the East (Aranyaprathet)

Aranyaprathet is located 255 kilometers from Bangkok and just 6 km from the Cambodian border post Poi Pet, from where buses depart to Siem Reap and other cities in Cambodia. On this route are two regular trains, but they can not be booked in advance.

Train # 275 / 286 "Bangkok - Aranyaprathet"

This is an "ordinary" train. It takes 5h 40min from Bangkok to the terminal station. The departure is early in the morning at 05:55 and arrival time at the terminal station is 11:35. This train consists of several third-class seater carriages. The benches are usually hard and are not divided into individual seats. The car has a fan that does not always work, but it is possible to open the windows.

Train # 279 / 280 "Bangkok - Aranyaprathet"

This is also an "ordinary" train. A bit faster than the other one it takes only 4h 20min to get to the terminal station. This train consists of several third-class seater carriages. The benches are usually hard and are not divided into individual seats. The car has a fan that does not always work, but it is possible to open the windows.

From Bangkok to the South

The track between Bangkok and Hua Hin is just 229km long and very well developed. Through Hua Hin, one of the oldest resorts in Thailand, pass a lot of trains that will end up somewhere in the south, even in Malaysia.

Chumphon special!

Attention: tickets to and from Chumphon can only be confirmed 30 days in advance. By that time most of the seats are already sold to people who travel on a longer distance and booked their tickets up to 60 days in advance. If you do not want to take any risk please book your tickets from/to Lang Suan station instead. Of course you can still board or hop off in Chumphon. The price difference per seat is currently (August 2017) only 42 Baht for second class trains and 68 Baht for the first class. Booking the longer distance gives you a much better chance to actually get the tickets you need.

Train # 261 / 262 "Bangkok - Hua Hin"

This is an "ordinary" train. It is very slow and it stops everywhere. Conventional trains run only during the day. The time to Hua Hin is 4h 15min. This train consists of several third-class seater carriages. The benches are usually hard and are not divided into individual seats. The car has a fan that does not always work, but it is possible to open the windows.

Train # 171 / 172 "Bangkok to Sungai Kolok"

The type of this train is "Express." It is the most common type of train in Thailand. The time to Hua Hin is 4h 14 min. The final station is Sungai Kolok. It makes a stop at almost every station. The train has a dining car. This train consists of the following additional cars:

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class sleeper cars with fan - The berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are arranged in a wat that they form seats facing each other. By nightfall, the stewards dismantle the bottom seats and build up upper and lower berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and clean, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows.

Train # 45 / 46 "Bangkok to Butterworth, MY (Padang Besar in Thailand side)"

The type of this train is Special Express - travel time to Hua Hin is 3h 57min. The final station is Padang Besar (Thailand side). You need to cross border your self and then take KTM train to Butterworth. The whole train goes to Hai-Yai and from there you need to change to local train to Padang Besar in Thailand side. Trains of this type are the fastest and are almost non-stop, but they are also the most expensive. There is a restaurant car on this train, but all other carriages are sleepers:

VIP Sleepers consist of up to 24 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Train # 37 / 38 "Bangkok to Sungai Kolok"

The type of this train is Special Express - travel time to Hua Hin is 4 hours. The final station is Sungai Kolok. Trains of this type are the fastest and are almost non-stop, but they are also the most expensive. There is a restaurant car on this train and the following cars:

VIP Sleepers consist of up to 24 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class sleeper cars with fan - The berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are arranged in a wat that they form seats facing each other. By nightfall, the stewards dismantle the bottom seats and build up upper and lower berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and clean, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into individual seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows. It is a great way to get in contact with local people.

Train # 169 / 170 "Bangkok to Yala"

The type of this train is "Express." It is the most common type of train in Thailand. The time to Hua Hin is 4h 32min and the terminal station is Yala. The train makes a stop at almost every station and comes with a dining car. This train consists of the following carriages:

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class sleeper cars with fan - The berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are arranged in a wat that they form seats facing each other. By nightfall, the stewards dismantle the bottom seats and build up upper and lower berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats in this train come without seat numbers. Just hop on and find some space. While the trip to Hua Hin can be survived in this class we would not recommend it for longer distances.

Train # 83 / 84 "Bangkok to Trang"

The type of this train is "Express" - the travel time to Hua Hin is 4 hours and the terminal station is "Trang". Because of a larger number of stops this connection takes its time. This train has a dining car and carriages of the following types:

VIP Sleepers consist of up to 24 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The wooden benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into individual seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows.

Train # 173 / 174 "Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat"

The type of this train is "rapid." It is the most common type of train in Thailand. The travel time to Hua Hin is 4h 15min. The terminal station is Nakhon Si Thamarat. The train makes a stop at almost every station. This train has a dining car and carriages of the following types:

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class sleeper cars with fan - The berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are arranged in a wat that they form seats facing each other. By nightfall, the stewards dismantle the bottom seats and build up upper and lower berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and clean, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip.

2nd class seats with fan are reclining and will be good enough for a trip to Hua Hin. Anything further away you won't reach with a smile on your face, even if you have taken the opportunity to walk up and down the train a couple of times. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows.

Train # 167 / 168 "Bangkok to Kantang"

The type of this train is "rapid." It is the most common type of train in Thailand. Time to Hua Hin is 4 hours. The terminal station Kantang. The train makes stops at almost every station and has carriages of the following types:

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class sleeper cars with fan - The berths are arranged along the walls on both sides of the carriage. In the daytime the lower berths are arranged in a wat that they form seats facing each other. By nightfall, the stewards dismantle the bottom seats and build up upper and lower berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Air-conditioned cars are usually newer and clean, but the cars with open windows are perfect for a photo / video shooting trip.

Second-class seats with fan - The seats are similar to seats in a plane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into specific seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows. Snacks and soft drinks are sold during the journey.

Train # 85 / 86 "Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat"

The type of this train is "Express" - travel time to Hua Hin is 4 hours. The terminal station is Nakhon Si Thammarat. Because of a larger number of stops this train takes more time to arrive at its destination. The train has a dining car and carriages of the following types:

VIP Sleepers consist of up to 24 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). It is pleasant to be able to close the compartment and have individual air conditioning control and a private washbasin. In the evening a steward will convert the seats to berths. The ticket price includes bed linen and washing accessories: bed sheet, blanket, soap and towels. At the end of each car is a toilet and sometimes a shower with cold water. If you are traveling alone, but did not pay for single occupancy, then you will find yourself travelling in the room with another passenger of the same gender. If you're traveling in a group, then you can request for your convenience adjacent compartments with an inner connecting door (between 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and so on).

Second-class sleepers with air conditioning have seats / berths arranged along the walls on both sides. In the daytime the lower berths are converted into seats that face each other. By nightfall, the steward dismantles the seats and makes up the berths (clean bed linen is included in the ticket price). Each berth is enclosed by a curtain, defining personal space and providing some privacy.

Second-class seats with fan are used for medium distances. These are fine for trips of several hours, but for longer distances we recommend a sleeper berth. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number.

Third-class seats Are you ready for an adventurous trip? The benches on this train will be quite hard after a while and are not divided into individual seats. The car has a fan and if you are lucky it will even work, but you can always open the windows.

Train # 41 / 42 "Bangkok to Yala"

The type of this train is Special Express - travel time to Hua Hin is 3h 30min. The final station is Yala. Trains of this type are very fast, following the track almost without interruption. The composition of the trains is entirly diesel car seaters in second-class with fans. The seats are similar to seats in an airplane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number. Meals are included in the ticket price and there is a dining car on the train.

Train # 39 / 40 "Bangkok to Suratthani"

The type of this train is Special Express - travel time to Hua Hin is 3h 30min. The final station is Surat Thani. Trains of this type are very fast and travel nearly without interruption. The composition of the trains is entirly diesel car seaters in second-class with fans. It is possible that some diesel exhaust will get into the carriage through the open windows. The seats are similar to seats in an airplane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number. Meals are included in the ticket price and there is a dining car on the train.

Train # 43 / 44 "Bangkok to Suratthani"

The type of this train is Special Express - travel time to Hua Hin is 2h 21min. The final station is Surat Thani. Trains of this type are very fast and travel nearly without interruption. The composition of the trains is entirly diesel car seaters in second-class with fans. The seats are similar to seats in an airplane: soft and reclining. Tickets for these carriages are sold with a reserved seat number. Meals are included in the ticket price and there is a dining car on the train. It is possible that some diesel exhaust will get into the carriage through the open windows.

Bangkok to the Islands (Phuket / Phi Phi / Samui / Koh Phangan / Koh Tao)

The islands are not accessible by train alone, but the combo ticket (with train or bus & the ferry) is very convenient. The train first takes you to the Suratthani station, and then passengers are transferred to a bus and taken to the pier. This transfer is included in ferry tickets from 12go.asia. We recommend train # 85 / 86 as it is the fastest and most comfortable and comes with a convenient arrival time. If you want to visit Koh Tao or Koh Phangan you should leave the train in Chumphon. Attention: tickets to and from Chumphon can only be confirmed 30 days in advance. By that time most of the seats are already sold to people who travel on a longer distance and booked their tickets up to 60 days in advance. If you do not want to take any risk please book your tickets from/to Lang Suan station instead. Of course you can still board or hop off in Chumphon. The price difference per seat is currently (August 2017) only 42 Baht for second class trains and 68 Baht for the first class. Booking the longer distance gives you a much better chance to actually get the tickets you need.

A Very Typical Sunset
A Very Typical Sunset

Trains that go to Chumphon and Suratthani:
(scroll up to see the train details)

  • Train # 171 / 172 "Bangkok to Sungai Kolok"
  • Train # 35 / 36 "Bangkok to Butterworth"
  • Train # 37 / 38 "Bangkok to Sungai Kolok"
  • Train # 169 / 170 "Bangkok to Yala"."
  • Train # 83 / 84 "Bangkok to Trang"
  • Train # 173 / 174 Bangkok to "Nakhon Si Thammarat"
  • Train # 167 / 168 "Bangkok to Kantang"
  • Train # 85 / 86 "Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat"
  • Train # 41 / 42 "Bangkok to Yala"
  • Train # 39 / 40 "Bangkok to Suratthani"
  • Train # 43 / 44 "Bangkok to Suratthani"

The trains that connect Bangkok with Suratthani and arrive close to the first departure times of the morning ferries are very popular and the first-class compartments of train #85 and #83 often sell out very quickly. Alternative connections are the trains #167 and #173, which both have second-class sleeper carriages with and without aircon.

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - River Kwai - Nam Tok

In 1943 Japan built a bridge over the River Kwai (spoken: kwaehr - pronunced a bit like 'square' without the 's') in Kanchanaburi to support their troops fighting in India. The bridge was part of a 415 km long track and it was mainly built by Australian, Dutch and British prisoners of war. The trail was called 'Death Railway' and connected Thailand with Burma for 17 months. In total 12,624 prisoners of war did not survive the construction.

Many special points of interest can be found in the area, like the bridge itself (which was rebuilt after the war), the Hellfire Pass and a couple of museums. Reservations for this trip cannot be made online (yet), but you can call 1690 or +6634511285 for further information. The special weekend tourist train 909 / 910 can be booked only at least 7 days in advance.

River Kwai Bridge
River Kwai Bridge
Bridge over the River Kwai
Bridge over the River Kwai
Bridge over the River Kwai
Bridge over the River Kwai

What is the history of the railways in Thailand?

The first plans to build a railway in Thailand were made in the 1840s, but went nowhere. In 1856 the King received a gift from Queen Victoria: a model train (which still can be seen in the national museum in Bangkok). In the 1880s new projects were started, but never finalized. Only on April 11, 1893 was the first private railway from Bangkok to Samut Prakan officially opened.

In March 1892 a British company started construction of the Bangkok - Korat line but in September 1896 the contract was cancelled. Thailand continued construction under local management and with German engineers. On March 26th, 1897 the first leg from Bangkok to Ayutthaya was officially opened and counts as the 'birthday' of the State Railways of Thailand. When the track to Korat was finished the journey would take only 6 hours, while traveling on the road still took 5 days. It was a big step forward for Thailand's public transportation network and more tracks were planned and built.
In 1909 Thailand already had 49 trains running. Bangkok's main station Hua Lamphong was opened in 1916. In the 1920s the first diesel railcar commenced service on Thailand's tracks and the first sleeper cars were introduced. By that time a trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai took about 26 hours.

During World War II the Japanese occupying forces completed two major projects: the Thailand-Burma Railway and the track from Chumphon to Khao Fachi station. The later was totally dismantled by British soldiers after the war. A short time later the United States of America supported Thailand in the construction of new tracks and the connection from Bangkok all the way up to the Mekong River in Nong Khai.

In 1982 the last steam engines were retired and in the 1980s and 1990s some new track was laid to connect the Map Ta Phut and Laem Chabang seaports on the eastern coast.
In 2009 Thailand's railways were connected to Thanaleng in Laos.

Improved engines allowed the State Railways of Thailand in July 2015 to reduce the travel time on the Northern and Nothestern lines significantly. Nowadays train # 7 reaches Chiang Mai from Hua Lamphong in only 11 hours.

In May 2015 the transport minister signed an agreement with his Japanese counterpart for a feasibility study of a 700km long high-speed rail project connecting Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

The Eastern and Oriental Express

Over three nights and four days one can ride the Eastern & Orient Express from Bangkok via Kanchanaburi and Butterworth to Singapore over a distance of more than 2000 kilometers. The train was built in Japan and served a couple of years as 'Silver Star' in New Zealand, before 24 luxurious carriages found their way to Southeast-Asia.

At the end of the train is the famed open observation car.