Train Travel in Thailand

May 30th, 2010, 04:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2010
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Train Travel in Thailand

We will be going to Thailand in September. Part of our trip involves an overnight train trip from Bangkok to Phuket (well part will be on bus) In any event, there is a website called, which sells tickets in advance. However, all the guide books say you can't but them except in the country. So question is, has anyone purchased train tickets using and what was your experience?

Chris_Jerry is offline  
May 30th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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Excuse me, this post will not answer your question, nor does it reflect the opinion of many here, but I can't stop myself.


IMO, Thai trains are not romantic, take a long, long, long time and the plane fares are so cheap, maybe, $100 or less, RT in September for an hour and a half flight to Phuket.

For example:

A Bangkok - Chiang Mai flight takes 1 hour and the train a bare minimum of 12 hours.

The Bangkok - Phuket flight is 1.5 hrs. and from what I make out, the Thaifocus train/bus thingy is 15 hours.

Disregard the above if you are a hard core train enthusiasts.
karenmike is offline  
May 30th, 2010, 06:34 PM
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If you want really cheap flights, take a look ay Air Asia. It's a budget airline, so remember it has the usual budget airline restrictions (no changes, no refunds, no matter what) but it is cheap. Even Thai Air flights are pretty inexpensive, and it's a full service airline.
Kathie is offline  
May 30th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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If you really want to travel by train then you can buy the tickets online from the official Thai railway website:
Hanuman is offline  
May 30th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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This is yet another case of guidebooks being totally out of date. You've been able to purchase tickets in advance over the web for a few years at least. The Thai Rail link should work, but occasionally goes off-line. I think lists one or two other places to book on-line.
MichaelBKK is offline  
May 30th, 2010, 11:41 PM
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There's nothing wrong with the Thai trains, provided you book far enough ahead to get 1st or 2nd class. I like them for overnight travel as the berths are parallel with the side of the carriages, so once you pull the curtains you have visual privacy. But 3rd is decidedly uncomfortable for a long trip!
thursdaysd is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 01:55 AM
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I cannot stop myself(!)


You are not on business. It's not emergency. You're there to see the country, not fly over it. You spend enough time crammed into a plane getting to Thailand, you really, really don't need a plane once you're there. It's a waste. A 1 hour flight means 4 hours of airports and taxis and ore expense. The sleeper train plus a bus won't actually take much if any more time out of your trip than 4 hours of '1 hour flight' and will save a hotel bill as well as taxi costs.

Take a safe, dirt cheap and comfy train, it's an experience. Yes, both Thaifocus and are reliable agencies that can arrange train tickets for asmall fee, or you can book Bangkok-Surat Thani sleepers online now (but not the through train+bus inclusive tickets to Phuket, use an agency for these).

See for a beginner's guide to the wonders of train travel in Thailand, including he bus connection to Phuket and ferry connections to Ko samui.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 02:35 AM
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Why do I think the original post is spam for this company?...

from a one second search on Google:

posts: 11. Re: - reliable ?

Just checked the Visa website. If you go to the main Visa website and then select thailand. Then go to the "personal card holders". then "tips and assistance". Then go to "Verified by Visa" bit. if you search for Thaifocus you won't find them. But if you check out the travel companies real name "Gem Travel" it 's on the Verfied by Visa website including the web address for Thaifocus.

London, UK
posts: 2
reviews: 102. Re: - reliable ?
Jan 08, 2009, 5:19 AM
Hi i recently used them, 6/1/2009. The transaction went through and i recieved the tickets. But for tickets that were actually only 75usd they charged me 150 usd. So the company will blantantly rip you off. Don't use them. Their website won't tell you the genuine price of the tickets you are buying and their commission is huge. AVOID...
dogster is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 02:49 AM
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I'd also disagree with the assertion that a train + bus is cheaper than a flight. You can get really cheap prices on the Bangkok - Phuket route from the budget carriers if you book far in advance and have flexible travel times. But that's not always the case.

In any event, unless you're really stuck on trains, I would suggest just taking a bus from Bangkok to Phuket. There are direct buses that don't make more than one or two convenience stops on the way, and a direct bus will probably take less than half the time of the train + bus combo.
MichaelBKK is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 04:11 AM
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do yourself a favor and fly... air asia is very cheap
rhkkmk is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 06:29 AM
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In fairness, you know, full disclosure stuff and fully realizing this remark may be construed at a bit of a flame (but it's not), please, IT IS NOT!

"Man_in_seat_61" appears to be a "bit" of a train lover (perhaps an understatement) because ALL of "Man's" posts at Fodor's are about train information.

Bravo, pretty cool.

We love taking trains also, so, I'm not exactly sure why I so strongly recommended against the BKK to Phuket run.

The price and time are certainly a consideration, but I'm thinking it was more the 14 hour train ride up to Chiang Mai that sealed the deal.

The second class sleepers in our area had bugs in the bed, the florescent lights stayed on all night, you might end up in a car with all night partiers (next car) and the automatic sliding doors were frequently in use.

Also, keep in mind, when traveling at night, you can't see $%^&#@ out your window; but you do get the clickety clack thing.

OK, this would have been a "comfy" ride in many other places, but in Thailand, why bother?

Now, having said the above, if you really like trains, as "Man" (considering all the post on the subject) must, you HAVE to go by train, it's quite fun actually. I mean, IT'S A DARN TRAIN!

BTW: "Man", keep up the good work.
karenmike is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 06:53 AM
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karenmike: you know about this, I assume?
dogster is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 07:56 AM
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Yes. Made a choice, decided to leave it out and just stick with the posts, keep it subtle.

dogster was right to bring up, because it's an unbelievably great website.

Insanely comprehensive, easy to navigate, a truly wonderful contribution to the Internet.

Look at this Thailand page, it's all there, almost a one stop shop.

Blowing smoke up and/or kissing "butt" not intentional.
karenmike is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 08:09 AM
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Man-in-seat-61, a part of me wants to agree with you about seeing the country. But let's be honest here. How much of Thailand do you SEE while spending an overnight on an uncomfortable train when you could be relaxing and sleeping well in a nice hotel and taking a good hot shower when you get up in the morning?
Overnight trains are nothing but TORTURE to me. I have no desire to torture myself all night while whipping through a country that I am totally unable to see anything in anyway from the train at night.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 08:14 AM
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Agree with the rest.

We did the Bangkok-Chiang Mai run in 2006, and while it certainly was an adventure, there was nothing about it I'd consider convenient or comfortable. Most long-distance journeys by train in Thailand are overnight making it impossible to "see" any of the country.


Huh? How's that? You arrive at the airport 1.5 hrs in advance and the flight to Phuket is barely an hour, at that. Far from 4 hours of travel time...and definitely quicker than the 13+hrs you're looking at on that train/bus trip. On a side note, being stuck in Suvarnabhumi Airport is FAR more interesting than being stuck in Hualamaphong train station or in any train or bus.

If we were talking about train travel in Europe or somewhere where the experience was actually an experience, I might have a different recommendation.
filmwill is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 08:35 AM
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Without doubt, Mark Smith can comment for himself, but after checking out his website, I'd have to say, he's getting me excited again about train travel. Any train, anywhere. Hell, I'm forgetting the "torture" of our Bangkok/Chiang Mai adventure and considering a daylight run.

We'd be barking up the wrong tree suggesting to Mark that any alternative form of travel, other than a train, is the best way to get somewhere.

And after checking out the Seat 61 "pilot" video, I believe him.
karenmike is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 11:12 AM
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thanks for all of your comments, which at time were a little more heated than I needed. We travel by train all the time. It is our preferred method, as I am not really fond of flying in the first place. I am not spaming for the website, it was a legitamate question. And even with the extra cost of buying the ticket online, it really is about the same as flying, without the security hassle, lugging my suit case through 2 airports and an extra night hotel. We plan on going 1st class not second class. So I think my question was answered. Didnt' really need your personal feelings on train travel. By the way the overnight traing from Rome to Polarmo Italy is 100% hell.

For those that actually answered the questios, again thank you.
Chris_Jerry is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 11:56 AM
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Well excuuuuse me!

And the rest of us that posted, what are we, just "chopped liver"?

I'm feeling the... `"Didnt' [sic] really need your personal feelilngs... " part, just... about... now.

Anyway, you get what you pay for here at Fodor's.
karenmike is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 04:18 PM
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In all honesty, people who don't want 'personal feelings' shouldn't be posting on a travel message board.

And for the record, most of the train travel comments were aimed at others who made particular comments about train travel, not bashing your own already made plans. That's the way it works on a message board -- it's not a simple "answer the exact question and don't make any comments" sort of place.

And to be technical we didn't need your negative comments on plane travel either -- why did you bother to give those if we aren't allowed to give our feelings about train travel? It's a two way street here.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 04:27 PM
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But if we're going to talk about posting to advertise a web site, shouldn't we be talking about poster, man_in_seat_61 posting to promote the website ""? Or are we to believe it's just a coincidence he and the website have the same name?
NeoPatrick is offline  

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