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.
Thailand Train – First Class Cabin
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.
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’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!
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 24 double compartments (with upper and lower berths). In the evening a steward will convert the seats into comfortable beds.
VIP Deluxe sleepers can be found only on the Japanese trains # 13 / 14 and are made up of 10 single compartments. If you travel as a couple or with a friend, you can book two adjacent compartments with a connecting inner door (room 1 is connected to room 2, room 3 to room 4, etc.). If you are a single traveler the door will be locked.
An example of an original Thailand first class train ticket can be found below.
Thailand train first class cabin entry view. (Hatyai to Bangkok Train)
Thailand train first class private cabin room. (Hatyai to Bangkok Train)
Thailand train first class cabin sleeper. (Hatyai to Bangkok Train)
Thailand train first class cabin utilities. (Hatyai to Bangkok Train)
Thailand Train – Second Class Cabin
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 sleeerrs 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 seaters with fan come with 48 or 64 seats.
* Second class seaters 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.
An example of an original Thailand second class train ticket can be found below.
Thailand train second class shared passenger seat. (Bangkok to Chiang Mai train)
Thailand train thailand train second class sleeper. (Bangkok to Chiang Mai train)
Thailand train second class sleeper bed. (Bangkok to Chiang Mai train)
Thailand train second class utilities. (Bangkok to Chiang Mai train)
Thailand train second class luggage compartment. (Bangkok to Chiang Mai train)
Thailand Train – Third Class Cabin
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.
Thailand Train – The Dining Car
The following trains are always equipped with an on-board-restaurant carriage:
1 / 2, 13 / 14, 35 / 36, 85 / 86 and 69 / 70. 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.
Thailand train breakfast menu.
Thailand train dinner menu.
The following trains have a special carriage reserved solely for female passengers and their children: 1 / 2 (Chiang Mai), 37 / 38 (Suratthani), 67 / 68 (Ubon Ratchathani) and 69 / 70 (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.
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.
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.
How to buy Thailand train ticket?
You can either purchase your train ticket in person at their counter or book it online. For the ticket price, you can check via State Railway of Thailand (SRT) website as per the link below:
Update: You can now purchase Thailand Train Ticket online directly from SRT Thailand website. More details can be found at the link below:
Alternatively, you can book it via 12Go.Asia. When you book it online, please ensure you book based on the train no. that can carry cargo.
* Information above credited fully to 12Go.Asia. Some information may change from time to time by State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and if you need confirmation, you may contact SRT over the phone as per below or refer to Thailand SRT Train Contact Information.
SRT Call Center: 1690 (within Thailand)
Bangkok Station (Hua Lampong): 0-2223-3762, 0-2224-7788, 0-2225-0300 Ext. 5100
International Contact Number: + 66 2 223 3762
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