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

 

If you need a hotel in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand I suggest hotelscombined.com, world's leading hotel comparison site at the World Travel Awards 2013:

In Thailand, take the train...

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.  Unlike flying it's a genuine Thai experience which makes the journey as much a part of your trip as the destination.  The train is the best way to travel between Bangkok & Chiang Mai and a train+ferry or train+bus combo is the best way from Bangkok to Ko Samui or Bangkok to Phuket or Krabi.  There's also a Bangkok-Vientiane train service.  Taking the train is a wonderful way to travel between Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore, the 1,233-mile journey to Singapore takes 48 hours & costs a mere $60/£40 or so one-way.  This page has schedules & fares for key train routes in Thailand, and explains how to buy tickets.

Train times & fares for popular routes...

  Bangkok - Chiang Mai

  Bangkok - Nong Khai for Vientiane, see the Laos page

  Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani

  Bangkok - Aranyaprathet for Phnom Penh, Siem Reap & Cambodia

  Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - River Kwai Bridge - Nam Tok

  Bangkok - Ayutthaya

  Bangkok - Samut Songkhram - Mahachai Mae Khlong Market train

  Bangkok - Hua Hin - Chumphon - Surat Thani - Hat Yai - S. Kolok

  Bangkok - Penang - Kuala Lumpur - Singapore by comfortable train

Bus & ferry links...

  Bangkok - Koh Tao (train+ferry)

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

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

  Bangkok - Krabi (train+bus)

  Bangkok - Sukhothai (train+bus)

  Bangkok - Chiang Rai (train+bus)

  Singapore, Kuala Lumpur & Penang to Ko Samui

  Singapore, Kuala Lumpur & Penang to Phuket

  Online bus & ferry tickets

Train travel information for Thailand...

  How to buy train tickets online

  How to buy tickets at the station

  Bangkok Hualamphong station location & facilities

  Luggage, left luggage & taking bikes

  What are Thai trains like?

  Food on Thai trains  Sample restaurant car menu

  Train route map

  Useful country information - money, visas, time zone, dialling code

  Flights to Thailand

  London to Thailand overland by Trans-Siberian Railway

  Hotels in Bangkok & Chiang Mai

International trains & buses from Thailand...

  Bangkok to Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore by scheduled daily train for just $55

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

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

  Bangkok to Vientiane & Laos by train

  Bangkok to Moulmein, Yangon & Burma

  Bangkok to Saigon & Vietnam by train & bus via Cambodia

  Saigon to Hanoi by train &  Hanoi to Beijing by train

  Train travel in Singapore & Malaysia   

  Singapore to Jakarta by ferry & train travel in Indonesia

Sponsored links...

 


Useful country information

Train operator in Thailand:

State Railways of Thailand (SRT), www.railway.co.th. For online booking see here.

   

Time zone:

GMT+7 all year.      Map of train routes in Southeast Asia

Dialling code:

+66

Currency:

£1 = 50 Baht.   $1 = 34 Baht.     Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.tourismthailand.org    Visiting the Bridge Over the River Kwai

Best guidebooks    Health & vaccinations

Flights:

Scan multiple airlines to find the cheapest flights to Bangkok

Hotels in Bangkok:

Scan multiple hotel booking sites to find the best hotel rates     Find backpacker hostels

Visas:

UK, US, Canadian, German, French, Italian & Japanese citizens can visit Thailand without a visa for up to 30 days.  From November 2013 the 30-day limit applies to these nationalities whether entering Thailand by air or overland, for some time the limit has been only 15 days if arriving overland.  To avoid any problems with airlines not allowing you to board flights to Thailand without an onward or return ticket, you can buy a tourist visa for 1,000 baht (£20), see www.thaiembassyuk.org.uk.  Australians and most other nationalities only qualify for a 15-day visa-exemption if arriving in Thailand overland, 30 days if arriving by air, but you should check the current situation with your local Thai consulate.

Page last updated:

5 June 2016


General train information for Thailand

 

FREE DOWNLOAD...

Train timetable for State Railways of Thailand

Download Dave Bernstein's superb PDF format Thai timetable and take it with you.

Download PDF format complete Thai train timetable

Visit his website

www.thairailwayguide.net

 
   

How to check train times & fares at www.railway.co.th.

Free download:  English-language timetable & train guide for Thailand...

Map of the Thai train network

Bangkok Airport rail link:  www.srtet.co.th/en or www.bangkokairporttrain.com


How to buy train tickets online

Do you need to buy tickets in advance?

 

Tickets can be collected in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Surat Thani, or for an extra fee sent by registered post to addresses worldwide.

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.

Click here to see the DOB Building on Google Streetview 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.

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

Option 1, order online from 12Go.Asia, recommended ► ► ► ►

Option 2, order tickets from other Thai travel agencies...

Option 3, book train tickets by email from State Railways of Thailand...


How to buy train tickets at the station

Buying tickets at the station...

Buying tickets at Bangkok's Hualamphong station...

Ticket office for foreigners, Bangkok Hualamphong station
The ticket office at Bangkok's Hualamphong station   The 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... 

Buy by phone on 1690 or + 66 2 265 8080...

Example train ticket...

State Railways of Thailand train ticket


Bangkok's Hualamphong Station

Which station in Bangkok?

Bangkok's Hualamphong railway station, in the morning sun   Inside Bangkok's Hualamphong Station

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

 

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

Bangkok station facilities...

Future plans...


Luggage & bikes

Luggage on Thai trains...

Left luggage offices at stations...

Taking a bicycle or motorbike on Thai trains...

 

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.  Photos courtesy of Peter Provaznik


Buses & bus tickets

Check Thai bus times & buy bus tickets online...


What are Thai trains like?

Alcohol ban since July 2014...

Which class:  1st, 2nd or 3rd?

1st class sleepers - regular type...

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 normal Thai type, about to leave Hualamphong Station at the rear of Special Express train number 1 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai...

 

1st class 2-berth sleeper of the normal Thai 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.  Courtesy of David Reason.

1st class sleeper - ex-Japanese type, used on trains 13/14...

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

Trains 13 & 14 Bangkok-Chiang Mai have an ex-Japanese sleeping-car: Unlike all the other trains, trains 13 & 14 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,

2nd class sleepers...

2nd class sleepers on the International Express train from Bangkok to Butterworth (Penang)   2nd class air-conditioned sleepers, made up as upper & lower berths

2nd class air-con sleepers, most modern type:  These modern air-conditioned sleepers operate on trains 1 & 2 between Bangkok & Chiang Mai, trains 35/36 Bangkok & Hat Yai, and Bangkok to Butterworth (Penang) on the International Express.  There is a washing area with two sinks, and both 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??

 

Video...

Making up the beds in a Thai 2nd class sleeper...

 

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

2nd class air-con sleepers, older type:  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.

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

2nd class air-con sleepers, Japanese type used on trains 13 & 14 Bangkok-Chiang Mai:  Trains 13 & 14 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 13/14 sometimes has a few Thai-type sleepers as well.

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

2nd class non-air-conditioned sleepers:  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...

Restaurant cars...   Click here for sample menu

Restaurant car on the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai   Food in the restaurant car on a Thai train

Air-conditioned restaurant on train 1 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

 

The seafood dinner, 200 baht (£4 or $6).

2nd class seats on a Special Express DRC (Diesel Rail Car)

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 Special Express DRC from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with 2nd class air-con seating.

 

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

2nd class seats, ordinary express trains

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...

3rd class seats, ordinary express & local trains

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.


Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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

All aboard for Chiang Mai!  Special Express number 1 to Chiang Mai at Bangkok...

Buy train tickets

Thailand's most popular train route...

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.  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

1 *

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

*  Recommended trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.  Of the sleeper options, train 1 is faster so gets into Chiang Mai significantly earlier, but train 13 will show you more of the scenery approaching Chiang Mai in daylight.  Train 13/14 has no 1st class 2-berth sleepers, only ex-Japanese 1st class single-berth sleepers & 2nd class sleepers.

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  

Hotel suggestions in Chiang Mai & Bangkok

 Chiang Mai ► Bangkok

Train number:

106

112

102

8 *

108

52

14 *

2 *

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

 Fares

 

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

(751 km)

1,453 (£30, $48)

881 (£18, $29)

641 (£12, $20)

431 (£9, $14)

271 (£5, $9)

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.  You can have sole occupancy of a 2-berth sleeper for an extra 500 baht (£10 or $16).  Note that the ex-Japanese 1st class sleeping-car used on train 13/14 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 this particular train.

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 (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.  Photos courtesy of Maureen Spencer.

 

Chiang Mai ticket office & information desk.



Bangkok to Nong Khai

  The internationalo train from Laos to Thailand

The international train from Thanaleng to Nong KhaiPhoto courtesy of Glen Chivers.

  The new railway station at Tha Naleng, Laos.
 

Railway to Laos open from March 2009...  This is the new rail terminal at Thanaleng, just on the Laos side of the Friendship bridge.  See the Laos page. Photo courtesy of Bob Fletcher

 

Buy train tickets

The rail way to Vientiane & Laos...

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

69 *

133

Facilities on board:

DRC

DRC

1,S,s,2,R

3,R

0 km

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart:

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 trains.

A train connection to Vientiane started in March 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

70 *

Facilities on board:

DRC

DRC

3,R

1,S,s,2,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

 

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 (or vice versa)

1,317 (£27, $43)

778 (£16, $26)

498 (£10, $17)

388 (£8, $13)

258 (£5, $9)

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 is for travel in a shared 2-berth sleeper.  Sole occupancy is available for an extra 500 baht (£10 or $16).

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).


Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani

 Bangkok ► Ubon Ratchathani

Km

Train number:

21 *

135

139

67 *

141

Facilities on board:

DRC

2,3,R

s,2,3,R

1,S,s,2,R

2,3,R

0 km

 Bangkok Hualamphong depart:

05:45

06:40

18:55

20:30

22:25

22

 Don Muang depart:

06:29

07:39

19:42

21:09

23:11

71

 Ayutthaya depart:

06:59

08:26

20:26

21:51

23:54

575

 Ubon Ratchathani arrive:

14:00

18:00

06:15

07:25

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 (but no sleepers).

* Recommended trains (express railcar by day or sleeper overnight).

 Ubon Ratchathani ► Bangkok

Train number:

136

146

22 *

142

68 *

140

Facilities on board:

2,3,R

2,3,R

DRC

2,3,R

1,S,s,2,R

s,2,3,R

 Ubon Ratchathani depart:

07:00

08:45

14:50

16:50

18:30

19:30

 Ayutthaya arrive:

16:37

19:05

21:42

02:37

03:55

05:25

 Don Muang arrive:

17:40

19:56

22:16

03:29

04:51

06:27

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

18:40

21:00

22:55

04:25

05:50

07:30

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

 

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

1,180 (£24, $39)

761 (£15, $25)

551 (£11, $18)

388 (£8, $13)

245 (£5, $8)

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.  

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 farang 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.


Bangkok to Aranyaprathet

  The train from Bangkok at Aranyaprathet
 

Above:  The morning train from Bangkok arrives at Aranyaprathet.  Photo courtesy of Michael Allsop.

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

 Aranyaprathet depart:

06:40

13:55

 Aranyaprathet arrive:

11:35

17:35

 Bangkok Hualamphong arrive:

12:05

19:55

 

 Fares

Bangkok to Aranyaprathet (255 km):  48 baht (£1 or $1.60)

No reservation required - just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.

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.


Bangkok to Kanchanaburi (for River Kwai Bridge)

  The Bridge over the River Kwai...
 

The infamous Bridge on the River Kwai...

See the Bridge on the River Kwai page for details...

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.


Bangkok 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.  Buses leave Phitsanulok for Sukhothai frequently between 07:00 and 19:00, fare around 40 baht or so, journey time 1 hour.  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.  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.  Once capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom, the UNESCO-designated ruins are 12 km outside Sukhothai town, easily reached by local transport.


Bangkok 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.


Bangkok to Ayutthaya

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

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

Take a trip to the temples, by 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 (71 km):  15 baht (£0.30 or $0.50) 3rd class

No reservation required - just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.

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.thairailticket.com 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.


Bangkok to Samut Songkhram

The remarkable Mahachai Mae Khlong Market Train...

The market train line was temporarily closed for major maintenance from May 2015 until March 2016, but is now up and running again.

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...

Return journey...

For more information, photos and a video, see www.nomadicnotes.com/travel-blog/maeklong-market-railway-thailand-the-train-that-goes-through-a-market.  The trip makes an interesting excursion from Bangkok.



Bangkok to Surat Thani, Hat Yai & Sungai Kolok

  Take the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani.  This scenery just north of Surat Thani.
 

Scenery between Bangkok & Surat Thani

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 Jungle Line, 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

35 *

37 *

169

83 *

173

167

85 *

39/41

Facilities on board:

DRC

3

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,R

1,S,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

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

15:35

17:05

17:35

18:30

19:30

22:50

64

 Nakhon Pathom depart

09:22

10:48

14:37

16:11

16:38

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

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

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

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

09:30

-

-

-

-

12:50

1159

 Sungai Kolok arrive:

-

-

10:45

|

11:20

-

-

-

-

-

-

1161

 Butterworth (Penang):

-

-

-

   13:00***

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

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, the best air-con sleepers overnight.

** 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.

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

Train number:

40 *

174

86 *

42/44

168

170

84 *

172

38 *

36 *

262**

Facilities on board:

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,s,2,3,R

DRC

S,s,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,2,3,R

S,s,2,3,R

1,S,2,3,R

1,S,R

3

 Butterworth (Penang) depart:

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

   14:00***

-

 Sungai Kolok depart:

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

11:30

14:20

|

-

 Hat Yai depart:

-

-

-

16:23

-

14:45

-

15:39

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

23:54

-

 Chumphon arrive/depart:

12:46

19:36

21:22

22:49

20:31

23:23

23:59

00:44

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

06:29

14:10

 Nakhon Pathom arrive:

18:26

03:40

05:00

04:38

04:05

07:26

07:04

07:44

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

10:30

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 (£9, $14)

150 (£3, $5)

44 (£1, $1.50)

Chumphon

1,234 (£26, $41)

770 (£16, $26)

480 (£10, $16)

380 (£8, $13)

272 (£5, $9)

Surat Thani

1,379 (£29, $46)

848 (£18, $28)

578 (£12, $19)

438 (£9, $15)

297 (£6, $10)

Hat Yai

1,594 (£33, $53)

945 (£20, $32)

675 (£14, $23)

535 (£11, $18)

339 (£7, $11)

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 is for travel in a shared 2-berth sleeper.  Sole occupancy is available for an extra 500 baht (£10 or $16).

Upper or lower berth?  The sleeper fares shown here are for a lower berth, a narrower upper berth 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).

Buy train tickets

Security warnings in Southern Thailand...  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.  Although I must make it clear that I'm no security expert, there are unlikely to be problems simply passing through a small part of the less-affected area non-stop on board a train via the main Singapore-KL-Penang-Hat Yai-Bangkok line via Padang Besar.  However, travellers should always take advice and be aware of the current situation.  I certainly don't claim to provide current security advice!


Bangkok to Ko Tao

Bangkok to Ko Tao by train+ferry, via Chumphon...

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 (£35)

1,240 (£23)

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.  Find a hotel in Ko Tao.

Bangkok to Ko Tao by train+ferry, via Surat Thani...

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.

Singapore, Malaysia to Koh Tao by train+ferry...

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/timetable.htm.  There are also ferries from Koh Tao to Ko Samui, see www.seatranferry.com and look for Seatran Express.


Bangkok to Ko Samui & Ko 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!

Bangkok to Ko Samui by train + ferry...

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, or online for a small handling fee from www.thailandtrainticket.com.  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

 

 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 (£32, $51)

968 (£21, $32)

778 (£16, $26)

Bangkok to Ko Phangan

1,639 (£34, $55)

1,068 (£22, $36)

878 (£18, $29)

How to buy tickets... 

Buy tickets from Bangkok    Buy tickets back to Bangkok    Remember to change the date at the top.  Booking opens 60 days ahead..

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.  Find a hotel in Ko Samui.

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 to Ko Samui...

Singapore, Kuala Lumpur & Penang ► Ko Samui

Ko Samui ► Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore

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.


Bangkok to Phuket & Ko Phi Phi

  Surat Thani station, Thailand
 

Train & bus from Bangkok to Phuket:  Take the comfortable sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, then a bus to Phuket.

Bangkok to Phuket by train & bus...

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 (£32, $53)

1,018 (£21, $34)

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...

Buy tickets from Bangkok    Buy tickets back to Bangkok    Remember to change the date at the top.  Booking opens 60 days ahead...

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.  Find a hotel in Phuket.

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

Phuket ► Penang, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore

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.


Bangkok to Krabi

Bangkok to Krabi by train + bus...

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 (£32, $51)

968 (£20, $33)

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.

Singapore & Kuala Lumpur to Krabi by train+bus...

Northbound, Singapore & Kuala Lumpur to Krabi:  Travel on the morning train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and spend the afternoon exploring KL.  Then take the comfortable & convenient overnight train (train number 20) leaving Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station around 21:00 in the evening and arriving in Hat Yai around 10:30 next morning, see the Malaysia page for exact timetable & fares.  This train has safe & cosy Malaysian 2nd class sleepers.  The fare is RM 57 including a sleeper berth (£12 or $17) and you can book the KL to Hat Yai train either by email or phone to the KTM call centre or online at the KTM website as explained here.  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.

Southbound, Krabi to Kuala Lumpur & Singapore:  Minibuses run regularly from Krabi to Hat Yai, journey time 4 hours, fare around 300 baht (£6 or $9).  A direct train (train number 21, see the Malaysia page for exact timetable & fares) leaves Hat Yai at 16:00 and arrives in Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station around 05:30 next morning, with safe & comfortable Malaysian 2nd class sleepers.  Change in KL for onward trains to Singapore.  Buy your bus ticket locally in Phuket.  You can book the Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur train either at the station, by email or phone to the KTM call centre, or online at the KTM (Malaysian Railways) website as explained here.


 


Bangkok - Penang - Kuala Lumpur - Singapore

It's remarkably easy, safe, and comfortable to travel from Bangkok to Malaysia & Singapore by train.  The whole 1,920 km (1,233 miles) trip costs just £33 or US$ 50 one-way, including sleepers, a real bargain.  It's the environmentally sound way to travel, too.  Trains are daily, and you change trains in either Hat Yai & Kuala Lumpur or Butterworth (Penang) & Kuala Lumpur.  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.

Bangkok to Penang, KL & Singapore by regular train:  See the Malaysia & Singapore page...

Bangkok to Singapore by luxury train:  See the Eastern & Oriental Express page...

 

Bangkok to Phnom Penh & Saigon

For train & bus travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, & Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), see the Train travel in Cambodia page.


Bangkok to Moulmein, Yangon & Burma

For train & bus travel from Bangkok to Dawei, Moulmein, Bago & Yangon (Rangoon) in Burma (Myanmar), see the Train travel in Burma page.


London to Thailand overland

London - Moscow - Beijing - Hanoi - Saigon - Bangkok (or vice versa)

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, from London or to London:

How to arrange this trip...

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 Newcastle to Singapore http://toadstraveladventures.blogspot.co.uk.



Recommended guidebooks

Lonely Planet Thailand - click to buy onlineRough Guide to Thailand - click to buy onlineRough Guide to Southeast Asia - click to buy onlineLonely Planet South-East 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.


Find hotels in Thailand

Find hotels in Thailand & Southeast Asia...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Suggested hotels in Bangkok...

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).

Deluxe choice in Bangkok:  Mandarin Oriental Hotel...  Click here to book

Known by locals (and taxi drivers) by its original name, plain Oriental Hotel, this 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, the main hall in the original Oriental Hotel block. Above right, the sitting room of the least expensive suite in this old block.

   

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

Backpacker hostels...

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


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...

skyscanner generic 728x90

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


Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

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.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

 

 


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