Train travel in Thailand is a good way to see the country but slower than bus travel. There is a good network and trains are comfortable and fares are inexpensive compared to western countries.
Domestic routes leave to all regions of Thailand. There are four main lines, northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern. Internationally trains run to the borders of Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos where you have to cross the border, buy an on ticket and change trains. The Eastern & Orient Express is the only truly International service going all the way to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur .
The most popular destinations from Bangkok are …
Ko Samui (combined train, bus, ferry ticket)
Ko Phangan (combined train, bus, ferry ticket)
Koh Tao (combined train, bus, ferry ticket)
All International and long distance services depart from Hualamphong Station which is centrally located at the edge of Chinatown. The station connects to the MRT subway station of the same name by an underground walkway. If you’re not traveling the 100-year-old Italian designed station is worth seeing to admire its classical architecture.
Train Travel in Thailand comes in three different classes.
First class train travel in Thailand includes a private air-conditioned compartment with private washing facilities. Two people per compartment. Bedding, towels, and soap included. There is a shared toilet and shower in each carriage. Single occupancy is the same price as for two people or you share with another person of the same gender. You need to book first class tickets at least 30 days in advance and up to 90 days if you want to make sure of getting a seat.
Second class train travel in Thailand is cheap and comfortable. There are both second class sleeper and non-sleeper carriages. The non-sleeper carriages have four aircraft style seats in two rows. The sleepers have seats in two rows down the carriage with seats facing each other in the daytime and converted into sleeping bunks at night with an upper and lower berth. A curtain provides privacy and there is storage space for your luggage.
Lower berths are more expensive than the upper berths. There are both air-conditioned and fan second class carriages. There are also second class carriages for women only though. Male children up to the age of eight can travel with a parent or guardian. There is a toilet and wash basin in every carriage. Tickets are easier to get for second class though we recommend you book 30 days in advance for second class sleepers.
Third class train travel in Thailand is basic but ultra-cheap. The carriages have hard double seats in two rows down the carriage and are fan cooled though, the open windows give a nice breeze. There is a toilet and wash basin in each carriage. The third class trains make many stops at small stations where vendors enter the train to sell snacks. The third class carriages are usually crowded but incredibly cheap. You buy your ticket on the day of travel.
The first and second class trains from Hualamphong to Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Nong Khai have restaurant cars where meals cost 100-200 baht. You can bring your own food but you can not consume alcohol on trains in Thailand. Pets are only allowed in second class fan & third class carriages.
The ticket windows are either side of the departure board and are open from 05.00-23.00 daily. The staff can communicate in basic English and you can book advance tickets and buy same day travel tickets. You can also book combined train/bus/ferry tickets. They accept Credit cards. You will need your passport to buy tickets.
Getting tickets for train travel in Thailand can be difficult. First class tickets are usually booked up months in advance. Second class tickets are also usually booked up in advance during the peak season. If you want to book train tickets online you can search and make reservations using the form below. You can also book tickets for rail travel in other Asian countries.
If you are traveling to Malaysia the Thai train no longer crosses the border and on to Butterworth. You now can only buy a ticket to the border. You then have to cross the border and buy a new Malaysian railways ticket to your destination or you can buy one in advance online. The same applies to Laos where the train terminates at Nong Khai. For Cambodia, you have to alight at Aranyaprathet and cross the border at Poipet. There is now a new train line running from Poipet to Phnom Penh though it is not a daily service.
Inside the station, you will find foreign exchange kiosks, ATM’s, fast food outlets, shops, a 24-hour information booth, toilets, showers, a ticket office and left luggage facilities. The left luggage office is open daily from 04.00-23.00 and officially charges 20-80 baht per item (depending on weight/size), per 24 hours. However, many tourists report being overcharged, not being given receipts and rude staff.
Ignore official looking touts who may approach you inside or outside the station who try to redirect you to travel agent’s offices to buy your ticket. It will be a lot more expensive or you they will transfer you to a crappy bus. Only go to the official ticket office or buy online from a reputable booking agent.
Hualamphong has a number of reasonably priced hotels and hostels within easy walking distance of the station. These are useful if you have an early morning departure or will arrive late in the evening. There are several good restaurants near the station and Chinatown and its great street food are only a 10-minute walk away. Sightseeing wise Wat Traimit is a five-minute walk from the station and there are lots of Chinese style temples and shrines to explore.
Address: Rama IV Road, Rongmuang, Pathumwan, Bangkok.
Opening Hours: The station is open 24 hours, but not all the facilities.
Getting There: MRT Hualamphong Station (exit 2)