Home Tips for Train Travel in Thailand

Tips for Train Travel in Thailand

Taking a train in Thailand can be a convenient and comfortable form of transportation, as well as an interesting travel experience. Here are a few tips to help make your train trip in Thailand go smoothly.

When to Book Tickets

The State Railway of Thailand releases train tickets 60 days in advance, both online and offline. First and second-class tickets can be booked online. Third-class tickets, however, can only be bought at train stations.

There is no need to buy third-class tickets in advance because there are always plenty of tickets available on the departure day.

Tickets for first and second-class sleepers sell out very quickly, especially during holidays, such as Songkran and New Year. It is recommended that you book first and second-class sleeper tickets as early as possible.

How to Buy Train Tickets

You can buy Thailand train tickets in three ways: book online with a travel agency, book online at the State Railway of Thailand’s official website, or go to a local station.

1. Buy Tickets Online via a Travel Agency

The most convenient way to buy a Thailand train ticket is to book online via a reliable travel agency, such as Train Spread. In addition to the easy train booking service, which is provided in English, we also provide a consultation service and 24/7 after-sales support.

We will send your e-tickets to your email address after the tickets have been issued. Just print them out for boarding.

Buy Tickets Online via the State Railway of Thailand’s Official Website

The State Railway of Thailand’s official website is: https://www.thairailwayticket.com/eTSRT/. It has Thai and English versions. You can check it for updated ticket availability and schedules.

E-tickets will be sent to your email address after your payment has been received. Only Visa, Mastercard, and Thai bank cards are accepted for payment.

Buy Tickets at Local Stations

Tickets for traveling in second and third class can always be bought at local train stations, with plenty of availability.

However, if you wish to travel in a sleeper class, which is either first or second class, you need to book your tickets online as early as possible.

It is advisable to check the train schedule first and to write a note in Thai because only simple English is spoken at the train stations.

Which Class and Seat Type to Choose

There are six types of class and seat type on Thailand’s trains: first-class sleeper, air-conditioned second-class sleeper, non-air-conditioned second-class sleeper, air-conditioned second-class seat, non-air-conditioned second-class seat, and third-class seat.

  • First class: This is the most expensive class. There are two berths in a private compartment with a lockable door. It is a good choice for long-distance and overnight train journeys.
  • Second-class sleeper: There are two rows of berths (lower berths and upper berths) on both sides of the aisle with a curtain hooked on each berth for privacy.

This is recommended for long-distance and overnight train journeys, such as Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Nong Khai.

  • Second-class seat: Two rows of chairs are on both sides of the aisle. The backs of the chairs can be adjusted. This is good for daytime train journeys.
  • Third-class seat: Third-class cars are usually non-air-conditioned and the seats are wooden benches. This is the cheapest class and is only available on ordinary trains.

Third class is only recommended for short train journeys that are less than 5 hours long.

Tickets for an air-conditioned class are more expensive than those for a non-air-conditioned class. Air-conditioned cars are quite cold during the night so it’s a good idea to take a coat on board with you.

Non-air-conditioned cars are equipped with fans and the windows can be opened so it won’t feel hot and stuffy on the train. 

In a second-class sleeper car, the lower berth is wider and more comfortable than the upper berth, and it’s also more expensive. The lights on the ceiling are kept on during the night.

If you take an upper berth, it’s recommended that you wear an eye mask to block out the light.

During the day, the upper berth will be folded up and the lower berth will be arranged into two seats facing each other.

How to Board a Train

Train stations in Thailand don’t have security checks. You can go straight from the entrance to the platform and get on the train. Your ticket(s) will be checked when you’re on board.

Paper tickets are required to show the conductor.

On the Train

Thailand’s rail system uses a meter gauge track so it feels slightly shaky when you’re on the train.

No messages are broadcast on the train to tell you which station you have arrived at. To avoid getting off at the wrong station, you can ask the conductor to remind you when the train arrives at your destination.

Food served on the train is affordable but the choice is limited. A meal ordering service is available in the first and second classes at an extra cost, and the meals will be delivered to you.

Complimentary drinking water is provided in first class. Otherwise, you need to buy drinking water from the conductor at a cost of about 20 baht. It is a good idea to take some water and snacks with you.

Trains in Thailand are always delayed. It's often normal for trains to be three or four hours later than scheduled. It is not recommended to arrange a flight after your train journey.

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