Thailand Country Guide

Getting Around


By Train

State Railway of Thailand (SRT) includes a 4000-km railway network covering much of the country, from Chiang Mai in the north to the Malaysian border in the south. Compared to travelling by bus, train journeys are relatively slow and prone to delays but safer. You can purchase fruits, snacks and cooked food from food hawkers at many railway stations.

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Kui Buri Railway Station by Khaosaming

Fares depend on the type (speed) of the train and the class of the carriage. There are three main classes:
  • First class (chan neung) - These are two-berth sleeping compartments with individually regulated air conditioning on some trains. However, prices are sometimes matched by budget airfares.
  • Second class (chan song) - This is a good compromise, costing about the same as 1st class buses and with a comparable level of comfort. Some 2nd class trains have air-conditioning while others are not - air-conditioning costs a little more. Second class sleeper berths are comfortable and offer good value with the narrower upper bunks costing a little less than the wider lower bunks. 2nd class Express Railcar trains have reclining seats and refreshments are included in the fare and unlike other Thai passenger trains, they can match buses for speed. 
  • Third class (chan saam) - This is the cheapest of the class with virtually nominal fares. Some 3rd class trains have wooden seats while others are upholstered. Furthermore, some services can be pre-booked while others cannot. Refreshments are available from hawkers who roam the aisles.

State Railway of Thailand locomotive by SChirapant

Pre-booking of seats is recommended especially for the sleeper berths. Tickets on all main lines can be purchased online at SRT's official website. Only 10% of the seats are sold online, so it will often show trains as full when there are still plenty of seats. Alternatively, many travel agencies can book tickets for a service fee (50-200 baht per ticket) or you can reserve with SRT directly by e-mail at for a 200 baht per booking surcharge.

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