Taking a train in Thailand was something I have wanted to do since I heard how comfortable they can be. I also love trains and train travel. The ability to stand up, stretch (especially with a bad back) and see the countryside in a slow and comfortable setting is always a good thing. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to think this about train travel in Thailand. All the first-class trains running between the destinations we were going were sold out long before we arrived in the country. Book ahead, people. Sadly we opted to fly between our destinations which were relatively cheap…until a trip from Koh Samui to Bangkok was going to cost us a shit ton of baht. It was then we decided to take our first, second class train trip in Thailand.
We had read that cars in second-class are still air-conditioned and included sleepers so we decided to give it a go. Here’s how it went:
From Chumphon to Bangkok With Love…and Beer
Feeling as if the second class train trip in Thailand experience may be a noisy one, we stocked up on cheap beer and began drinking at the station. It was there I picked up snacks including this cheap pastry that turned out to be no more than butter and sugar on bread. Sweaty, drunk, and covered in butter – off to a good start!
Our second-class train trip in Thailand was off to a 2nd class start.
When our train arrived we made our way to our seats only to find that they were already converted to beds. It was 8:30 PM. Nuts. Although modest looking, the bunks looked cosy…but not enough for us to go to bed that early. We decided to check out the bar and made our way down seven or eight cars only to find it closed. Rejected we made our way back to our bunks and opted to have a few more beers to kill time and help asleep.
Looking for a fancier way to travel in Thailand? Rent a yacht in Phuket!
- READ MORE: Covering India by Train.
What I didn’t account for was the toll 10 beers would have on my bladder and the subsequent trips to the 2nd class bathroom. It was really just a stainless steel room that gets covered in piss as the journey rolls on. Fun!
We got cosy and watched a movie in one of the bunks. The luggage rack not only doubles as a place to crack your elbow off of in your sleep but a makeshift bedside table too! Also, the earbuds did a good job of muffling the yakking and coughing of other second-class travellers. Double win!
How to make your second class train trip in Thailand better
As the credits rolled we were ready for sleep which turned out to be about as decent as a second-class train trip in Thailand (or another country) can be. Loud, rocky, and the inevitable rude awakening when attendants come around to fold up beds long before your final destination.
After experiencing a second-class train trip in Thailand I can suggest the following to make it a little better:
- Pack earplugs
- Use said earplugs
- Pack eye mask (lights stay on)
- Drink beer! It will help you sleep through the noise.
- Hydrate! Trains can be dry. Also, you drank a lot of beer.
- Flip flops for the bathroom! Why did you drink so much beer?
- Keep extra clothes close to the bunk. AC at night gets cold!
All in all a great experience, especially for a second-class train. It was a cheap and somewhat comfortable way to travel. I would not hesitate to do it again, although I would spend the extra baht given the choice of a first-class sleeper. Again, book ahead!
What say you?
Have you taken a second-class train in Thailand?
Let’s hear it!
See here for more thoughts on my time in Thailand!
Looks a little too cozy for likes!
Ha! It wasn’t that bad but definitely cozy Brenda!
Butter and sugar on bread? Classy!
That’s me! All class.
If there’s something to whack my elbow on I’ll do it. The rest doesn’t sound to bad though, I think when I start planning my travels through SEA I’ll definitely look into train travel!
For sure Laura, and like I saud 1st class is supposed to be great. Just need to book ahead!
Where all are you going?
I took a first class sleeper in Thailand and was great. Awesome way to travel.
Nice. Did you have to book ahead Aaron?
Love it! I haven’t taken a train in Thailand yet, but I did take an overnight sleeper train in Vietnam. We were first class so we had quite a bit more room than you guys and our own compartment. I wish I’d had enough foresight to bring copious amounts of beer though, it would have made sleeping so much easier!
Ha! Always bring booze on a train. Just another reason it is better than flying!
Where did you take the train in Vietnam? I found flying so cheap there that I ended up sticking to that.
We took the train from Hanoi to Da Nang, at the time it was way cheaper than flights. I think we paid around AUD$35 each for our tickets.
I feel like all the cheap pastries in Thailand are basically butter and sugar on bread. Thais do love their sugar. We were super excited for train travel before we arrived in Thailand and heard all about lots of trains derailing!! Now I am paranoid and the flights have been about the same price for all our destinations so far… Maybe we will give train travel some more thought, though! -Evanne
Wow. Haven’t heard much about derailing but can say our ride was great and it was 2nd class. Hope it works out for you!
Hahaha I love this. Kept me very engaged, and quite the experience! Beer always seems to solve problems huh?! I have never taken an overnight train, but have done overnight buses….not comfortable. Im sure I’ll try a sleeper train one day!
Thanks Katie! I’m not a fan of busses in general, especially overnight!
Oh and Beer is the cause and the solution to all of life’s problems! 🙂
I’m visiting Thailand this winter so it’s great to know what the train situation is like. It looks pretty similar to hard sleepers in China, but a bit more cozy. At least the Chinese trains turn the lights off though!
Ha! Eye mask is a must!
Enjoy Thailand and be sure to book ahead for a 1st class train ride!
I took the overnight train from Paris to the south of France once, it was a terrible experience. One I would never do again. You were very brave to take the train in Thailand and go second class. Thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust this week.
I wouldn’t say brave but definitely not as nice as the trains in France!
We have done First Class in Thailand several times and it is definitely better and cost next to nothing in North American money. We had also done 2nd Class both with and without A/C. Avoid no A/C if at all possible!!!! For a real Thailand experience try 3rd Class. Fortunately we were only going for a 3 hour trip. There is no limit to how many passengers they sell tickets to. To this day I don’t know how we made it from the middle of the car to the door before the train left. Sardines have more room in a can than that car had! The seats were overfilled and the passage way down the middle was crowded. We returned to Bangkok in First Class.
Ha! Can you imagine 3rd class during the pandemic??