Traveling Thailand by train is one of my favorite ways how to discover this beautiful country.
Besides sharing valuable tips about how to purchase train tickets in Thailand, I will also try to convince you to have a train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or either way around because it is simply a must-have experience.
So, where to book train tickets in Thailand? The best place where to book the train tickets in Thailand in advance is 12GO Asia website. Its user-friendly interface, secure checkout process, and no need to register an account make it the best train ticket booking platform for tourists in Thailand. Note that it is not the official Thai Railways website.
While for most train routes it is okay to arrive at the train station and purchase the ticket for the same day train ride, the 1st class sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai isn’t anything like that, and you should book tickets in advance.
Also for the 2nd class seats on the same train, I recommend booking tickets at least three weeks before the date you plan to travel. For the 1st class, you should book even earlier than that.
Let’s take a closer look at what are the other options where to buy train tickets besides 12Go Asia, what are the train ticket costs and additional valuable information.
How To Book Train Tickets In Thailand?
I can think of at least four reasonable ways how to book train tickets in Thailand:
- Previously mentioned 12GO Asia website
- Klook website
- Thai Railway Ticket website
- Buying tickets at the railway station
Let’s take a brief look at each of those options and make a fair comparison among them.
Booking train tickets from 12Go Asia website
I find it the most convenient way how to book train tickets for Thailand.
While you might think why book from the ticket reseller not from the official Thai Railways website I can quickly provide you with some reasons why:
- It is possible to compare the prices for your destination among various means of transport
- It is a secure checkout process with no need to register unlike in Thai Railways Ticket website
- It is possible to book tickets up to 1 year in advance unlike in any other service
- 12Go Asia website is translated and can be used in 10 different languages
- It is possible to view the ticket price in 29 different currencies
- It is possible to send the tickets you’ve purchased to a hotel or a train station of your choice
The only downside to booking from 12Go Asia it that the tickets will cost more compared to buying directly at the train station. The reason for that is a small reseller fee that is included in the price of the ticket.
Nevertheless, I feel much safer knowing that my train tickets are awaiting in the 12Go Asia office or that they’re sent to a train station of my choice.
Note that if you plan to get your booked tickets from the 12Go Asia office pick them up at least one hour before your trip, so you’re not late for your train ride.
To pick up the train tickets for trains leaving from the Bangkok central train station (Hua Lamphong Railway Station) head to 12Go Asia office in the DOB building which is located about 30 meters away from the train station.
12Go Asia office address in Bangkok is 318 DOB building, Mahapreuttharam, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10510, Thailand.
12Go Asia office in Chiang Mai is located about 60 meters from the train station. Its address is 10 / 4 Railway Road, Chiang Mai, 5000, Thailand.
Train tickets for Thailand from Klook website
Klook is a trustworthy online source for various activities, tours, and attractions in the Asian region.
Their listings often have decent discounts, and train tickets for Thailand are no exception.
After doing a quick check on their website, I realize that I’ve seen the pictures of the location, but I have never been to Maeklong Railway Market. No to mention riding a train through it.
Maybe this Klook listing is something for your trip to Thailand?
Booking Train Tickets From Thai Railway Ticket website
Alternatively, you could book your train tickets from the Thai Railway Ticket website – www.thairailwayticket.com
The biggest downside to buying tickets from the Thai Railway Ticket website is that you have to register your account.
To be able to complete the registration form, you will have to provide the following information about yourself:
- First name
- Last name
- Passport ID
- Mobile number
Providing such information to a halfway translated website with bad user interface and several broken links in it might be not the very safest thing to do.
Note that with Thai Railway Ticket website it is possible to book tickets only up to 60 days before the travel date.
Buying tickets at the railway station
It is possible to purchase the train tickets directly from the ticket office in the train station, but for most tourists willing to travel 1st and 2nd class sleeper trains it might not be the best solution because of tickets being sold out fast.
I guess for the more adventurous travelers or backpackers riding the 3rd class train is something to consider.
Note that the 3rd class train tickets can be purchased only at the train stations. Booking tickets online is not an option.
Important: when booking train tickets in the train stations you might be asked to show your passport to complete the purchase.
Read an article from Slow Vegan Travel blog to get a brief feeling of what to expect – Surviving 3rd Class On The Train From Bangkok.
Please be aware of train ticket scammers who sell fake train tickets at the entrance of Hua Lamphong Railway Station. If those people approach you, ignore them by walking inside the train station and getting train tickets from the ticket office inside.
For several years it was possible to purchase train tickets from the thaiandtrainticket.com website as well, but as of 27th March 2019, they have shut down their services. They have a goodbye message on their website, and it redirects to thairailwayticket.com.
Where To Find Train Ticket Schedule For Thailand
To find the train ticket schedule for Thailand, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Visit the State Railway Of Thailand Website – www.railway.co.th
- Step2: Click ENTER SITE below the picture of Thailand King on the first page of the website
- Step 3: Move the mouse pointer to the TIMETABLES button on the main menu of the site
- Step 4: Click TIMETABLE
- Step 5: Search for a train timetable to your desired destination in Thailand
When following these steps for the train ticket schedule search, you will notice that it is possible to download the train timetable as well.
As the downloadable documents are in the Thai language for most tourists, it won’t help at all.
The same applies when searching for other information on the State Railway Of Thailand website – not all of its content is translated to English, and it makes this website less comfortable and valuable.
Even if you don’t plan to purchase train tickets from 12Go Asia website you still could use it to see the train ticket schedule for your planned destinations in Thailand.
How To Book Train Tickets In Thailand From Abroad?
For your safety, please do your research before booking train tickets in Thailand because there are many reports online about fake ticket reseller websites in Thailand.
If you check TripAdvisor, Reddit, or other forums, you’ll see that most people recommend using 12Go Asia services because it is a trustworthy service.
To have a smooth and reliable train ticket booking for Thailand from abroad, follow these seven steps:
Step 1: Visit 12Go Asia website
Step 2: Use their search box
Step 3: Select the type of transport
Step 4: Fill out the payment information
Step 5: Read 12Go Asia terms and conditions page
Step 6: Enter your credit card or PayPal details and confirm the purchase
Step 7: Wait for 12Go Asia for the final ticket approval
To remind you 12Go Asia is an online ticket agent who has developed the best train ticket booking platform in Thailand.
How Much Are Train Tickets In Thailand?
Here is the list of the train ticket price in Thailand for some of the most popular train routes:
- Train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the 2nd class sleeper train costs 42 USD, 37 EUR, 33.50 GBP or 62 USD for the 1st class sleeper train (book in advance to get the seats you want)
- Train ticket from Bangkok to Pattaya in the 2nd class train costs 5.50 USD, 4.90 EUR, 4.40 GBP (online booking is not possible)
- Train ticket from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi in the 3rd class train costs 3.25 USD, 2.90 EUR, 2.60 GBP (online booking is not possible and the train leaves from Thonburi station in Bangkok)
Note that depending on the type of the train and the train route you’re about to book the train ticket price can be more expensive than an airplane ticket for the same destination.
For example, while the train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai costs 42 USD, the plane ticket depending on the airlines and how early you book could cost around 20 USD.
So 2x cheaper and approximately 12x faster!
Note that booking train tickets for Thailand online will always be more expensive than purchasing them at the train station.
When booking online, the train tickets will cost you more, but it is a must if you want to travel safely and with comfort.
It is worth to book train tickets for Thailand in advance.
I recommend you reading my review about the 2nd class sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai to find out what I mean by that.
How Far In Advance Can You Book Train Tickets In Thailand?
There are three levels for train tickets when they become available:
- All long-distance train tickets become available 90 days in advance
- For most train journeys the tickets become available 60 days in advance
- Short distance train tickets become available one day in advance
Technically 12Go Asia is the only website where it is possible to order train tickets earlier than 90 days in advance to your trip.
If you book early, it won’t guarantee that you will receive your tickets right away because the rules when tickets become available for all the ticket resellers are the same.
For example, if you would book the train tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai 100 days prior the date of your trip, for 12Go Asia agent it would be possible to purchase them for you only 90 days prior the date of your trip.
It means that you would have to wait for at least ten days until you would receive a confirmation email from 12Go Asia that they have bought tickets for you.
Can You Return Train Tickets In Thailand?
The train ticket return policy is different from each business that sells train tickets in Thailand.
With 12Go Asia, the train ticket return policy is a complicated process, and you shouldn’t expect that it will always be possible.
Their ticket booking system is connected to more than 1000 operators, and each of them has its own rules.
Here is the list of the most important things you should know about returning tickets to 12Go Asia:
- If you decide to return your ticket in less than 72 hours before your trip, it will be unlikely for you to succeed
- In some cases, the money could be refunded to your 12Go Asia account instead of your bank account
- If instead of returning your train ticket you will decide to change its date it will cost you 5.20 USD, 4.60 EUR, 4.15 GBP (it is recommended to select a flexible date when ordering the ticket)
- Money return to your bank account may take up to 30 days
- The fee for canceling train ticket booking before the tickets are issued to you is 20% from the ticket price
- The cost of canceling train tickets that are already issued to you is 50% of the ticket price
What Is The Thailand Train Ticket Official Website?
The official Thailand train ticket website is State Railway Of Thailand – www.railway.co.th
Here is the list of its main features:
- Train timetables and fares
- Train tracking system
- Online booking
Checking train timetables and fares is relatively easy. It is an English language page with a simple search form.
The train tracking system is in the Thai language only. It makes it a not very useful tool for tourists from abroad.
When clicking on the ticket online booking button, it redirects to Thai Railway Ticket website.
You could also download their app either from Google Play or App Store, but as the content is not fully translated, you won’t be able to use it to its fullest potential.
To sum things up, you have to remember that if you want to get your preferred seats on the 1st and 2nd class trains in Thailand, it is important to book the train tickets in advance.
Without booking early, you risk not getting tickets at all.
Have a safe travel!