Thailand has one of the best rail systems in Asia and train travel is easily the best way to get around & see the country. It’s comfortable, safe, cheap & environmentally friendly. Unlike flying it’s a genuine Thai experience which makes the journey as much a part of your trip as the destination.
And now buying train tickets for your Thai trip is easier than ever since the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) launched a new online ticket reservation on February 1, 2017. This isn’t the first time SRT have implemented an online ticketing system with various on/off attempts in the past. The last online ticketing service was introduced in August 2011 but ended abruptly in January 2013. Travelers in Thailand will be hoping the new system works better than previous attempts.
Online bookings can be made via two official websites:
Some important things you should keep in mind:
- Online advance reservations can be made from between two hours to 60 days in advance of train departure
- A maximum of 4 seats per booking can be purchased
- Passengers must print out their e-ticket to show train staff. Showing your ticket on your tablet or phone won’t be accepted
- Online reservation is not currently available for special excursion trains (e.g. to visit the sunflower fields)
- Reservations can be made for first, second and third class trains
- The booking fee is 40 Baht per first class ticket, 30 Baht for second class tickets, and 20 Baht for third class tickets
- Payment via credit cards is subject to a surcharge of 20-40 Baht per seat
- You need to register to use the service with your passport number (or ID number for Thai nationals) and a valid email address
- Only the name printed on the ticket will be allowed to travel
- Carry your passport with you when you travel on trains in Thailand (Thais should carry their ID card)
- Train tickets can still be purchased via booking counters at Thai railway stations. In most cases, you will be asked to show your passport when purchasing tickets in person at counters. You can also book via the 24-hour SRT Hotline when in Thailand by dialing 1690.
SRT officials estimate that around 50% of passengers will use the new electronic ticket reservation service. Seat occupancy is highest on the popular northern line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai and this route is expected to see the highest number of online reservations.
The launching of the new online ticket service for Thai trains follows hot on the heels of SRT taking delivery of more than 100 new carriages from China as part of a modernisation program. Facilities in the new carriages include TV screens and USB slots for battery recharging. There are also some compartments reserved for female occupancy. In addition to the new carriages, almost 150 older carriages are scheduled for a makeover to improve passenger comfort.