Bangkok to Suratthani
Suratthani to Bangkok
|2041||2249||0555||452 / 44||SE|
|1040||1246||1945||ESP6 / 40||SE|
|Air-con 2nd||Upper bunk||Lower bunk||Seat|
The trains in Thailand are pretty good. They are comfortable, safe and well maintained. What's more they are cheap. Train ticket prices increase in very small increments. This is the advantage of a state run train system: it is designedto be affordable to all and not to over-charge foreigners.
Every year the timetable changes slightly. For 2012 the arrival times have been pushed back to reflect the fact the trtains never arrived on time. They do now!
As you can see from the list of prices above, you can get a top bunk in a second class sleeper to Suratthani for as little as 458 Thai Baht. Small supplemental charges are added for Express and Special Express which are slightly faster. Upper bunks are always a few dollars cheaper than lower bunks.
A child is classified as between 100 and 150 cm in height.
The sleeper carriages are well organised. In second class you have a soft seat and table which the carriage attendant will transform into a bed for you early in the evening. Vendors go up and down the aisles selling food and cold drinks. There is also a buffet car where you can buy food and drink and even smoke.
It is permissible (though not strictly allowed) to smoke in the toilet areas between carriages.
In first class you get a 2 person compartment with basin, power point and door you can shut from the inside. Lower bunks are 200 Thai Baht more expensive than upper bunks. Bring a sweater or blanket as the air-con can make the compartment very cold.
One advantage of first class is that you get access to a toilet that is never crowded.
The train leaves from Hualamphong Station in Bangkok. This is the main train station in Bangkok that is located in Chinatown. It is easy to reach via the metro or the skytrain.
The counter to make advanced bookings is to the right of the departures and arrivals board. It's a straightforward procedure even without any Thai speaking skills.
Chumphon station is near the centre of town and is a good connection for those taking Lomprayah or Seatran ferries. The fares to Chumphon from either Suratthani or Bangkok are about half the full fares quoted above.
Suratthani train station is a misnomer. It takes an hour to drive there from Suratthani port. Strictly speaking it's Punpin Station. Check to see if your boat / train ticket includes a transfer from the pier to the train station when you buy it. This is the main disadvantage of taking the train to Bangkok. Even if you catch a late boat to Donsak or Suratthani you still have quite a long drive to the train station and more then likely a few hours to wait until your train arrives.
When you arrive in Punpin Station (probably early in the morning) there are buses just outside the station to take you to a ferry pier. You can buy tickets for the ticket sellers outside the cafe.
If you can't afford an airplane ticket but want more comfort than a seat on a bus then the train is your best option. You can now book train tickets online. See the link on the right.
Finally, it is worth noting that the southern train line goes all the way to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is a long train line and a useful way to get up and down the narrow corridor of land below Bangkok.