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How to Buy Train Tickets in Thailand

Thailand has one of the best rail systems in the world which is safe and cheap. To experience the genuine Thai style, train travel can be considered as the best method. You can also combine some other transportation modes like train + ferry or train + bus to explore this country. Train tickets can be purchased from different channels such as State Railways of Thailand, the official website for train tickets booking; from a train station or book by phone in person; find an online or local travel agency to book the tickets. No matter where you book the ticket, you’d better book it in advance as soon as your travel plan is finalized, as tickets for hot routes or long journeys are often fully booked during the travel peak season. In order to guarantee your trip, finding a professional travel agency is necessary. Thai Railway supports both paper tickets and e-tickets, so you can have your tickets delivered to your appointed address or present a printed e-ticket while boarding.


How long in advance can I buy a ticket?

Travel high season in Thailand is from November to next February generally, and the most difficult time to get train tickets is during the New Year (roughly from December 30 to January 3) & Songkran (Thai New Year, usually April 11 to April 16). The best time to book a ticket is the moment your travel schedule is fixed or at least 2 months in advance. The most popular train routes are among Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Suratthani and Nong Khai. 
• For long distance train trips such as Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Hat Yai, the tickets will be released 90 days in advance.
• Medium distance routes like Bangkok to Chumphon can be booked 30 days ahead.
• Very short routes such as Bangkok to Ayutthaya can only be bought one day before the traveling date.

Option 1: Buy from an online travel agency - recommended

If you want to travel during the public holidays, vacation period or long weekends, please notice that your preferred trains or good seats may be sold out very quickly. Thus, it is wise to plan beforehand and find a reliable travel agency to purchase the tickets in advance, which may save you much time and hassle. The advantages are reflected on the following aspects: 
• Normally, the online agencies accept bookings more than 90 days ahead, sometime even a year before your trip. They may sell almost all the train tickets that the official website has. They often have a comprehensive website showing real-time schedules, prices and tickets availability. They also support many different kinds of payment methods, such as the credit card payment.
• They always purchase the tickets as soon as the State Railways of Thailand open the booking page so that you could get instant confirmation by email.
• Two kinds of ticket-collection options are always provided. One is the E-ticket option, another is to have the paper ticket delivered to the appointed address after paying a small amount of booking service fee and delivery fee.
• They can also grab adjacent seats/berths for group passengers, and meanwhile you can offer some back-up options in case your selected train is not available.


Option 2: Book from State Railways of Thailand

Travelers can also book train tickets online from State Railways of Thailand (SRT) at www.thairailwayticket.com by paying a lower fee. But according to the experience from some passengers, sometimes it is not workable or you may have to wait for a long time to get the confirmation.
• SRT accepts overseas credit card payment. However, it only sells a small proportion of its total seats/berths through online system, approximately 15% of the total. That means you may face up with the unavailable tickets on their website, but in fact there are still tickets left on your preferred train. 
• SRT accepts email bookings within 90 days but the booking time should be at least 15 days before the scheduled travel date. Trip details including the departure & arrival stations, date, train number & time, classes and number of passengers, all of them will be listed clearly in the email. According to the feedback from some users, SRT always response late even after a month, so you have to be patient. 
• After receiving their email confirmation, you could collect and pay for your ticket at Bangkok Hualamphong station booking office before the trip and pay the service charge as well.
• You can also call State Railways of Thailand by dialing 1690 within Thailand or +66 2265 8080 from outside to book a ticket. The booking operators there are very helpful and they could speak English. You will also be required to provide all the booking information, then they will give you a 10-digit reference number to collect your ticket at the ticket office. However, phone booking should be made at least 5 days before travel and you need to collect and pay for the ticket within 24 hours before the trip at the station.

Option 3: Purchase directly at the train station

Tickets are released to public 1-90 days before the departure date. All long distance trains require a reservation in computer, so please remember to take your passport which is required. It’s easy to buy tickets directly at the train stations during common days, and the ticket window can book tickets for any journey in Thailand. For those local trains such as Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin or Aranyaprathet, you can easily book the tickets from the ticket office on the travel date and then continue the trip directly. 

- Last updated on Oct. 20, 2020 -
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