I was wondering if anyone could help me with this. I need to be in Chiang Mai the 23rd of Dec. So, I wanted to take the overnight train( #13) leaving at 7:35 on the 22nd of Dec. How possible is it to just be able to book this ticket when I arrive in Bangkok the 17th of Dec, or should I just go ahead and book it now? Thanks for all help.
I'd try checking here for the availability of seats.
I have the same problem as you in getting tickets around that time -- there's a few agents that can buy tickets for you at a charge of about 250bahts which I think is worth it if you need to be sure of being on a certain train.
#2 tennie has been a member since 6/4/2006. Posts: 17
Hi Renee. See below an earlier posting I made. Everything worked fine.
Just for information I've just booked advance train/sleeper tickets using www.seat61.com for BKK-Nong Khai on the overnight sleeper on 2 November. I followed all the info on the website, and made the reservation by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I received confirmation of my booking by e-mail in less than 3 days. The cost was the actual price of the ticket + 200 bahts for the complete reservation (3 pax). I pick-up and pay for the tickets by 1600 on the date of travel from Hualamphong Station.
#3 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
Yeah I tried that as well but one week later they still haven't replied to me so I'm not sure how reliable that service is...
#4 tennie has been a member since 6/4/2006. Posts: 17
Hi guys. Hey thanks tennie and lancasterlad. I appreciate the info. To Chiang Mai I may just buy when i get to BKK, or with some ticket company. I tired to look up availability for BKK to Surat Thani on the 17th of Dec, but had no luck finding anything. So I am taking a look at the services offering train tickets. Again much thanks, I am exicted about my trip...17days :)
Just a note on first class sleepers from CM to BKK. We arrived in CM on Monday last week, and I went to the train station on Tuesday (21st) to book first class sleeper berths for this Wednesday (29th). They were all fully booked on every sleeper train every day up to 1 December. I suspect that tour groups may be block booking. Anyhow, we've decided to fly down on Thursday.
#6 LancasterLad has been a member since 13/9/2006. Posts: 62
I've noticed lots of posts over the past six months where folks have had trouble booking overnight train trips on short notice. It used to be that you could walk up and buy a ticket, but I think those days are over. Particularly if you are travelling over Thai holiday periods like the Buddhist New Year in mid-April or the International New Year on January 1st, your only hope of getting a berth is to book ahead. That's true when other Thai holidays make up three- or four-day weekends too.
A good rule of thumb anymore is to book your overnight train tickets as soon as you know for sure what days you'll be travelling. If you prefer to keep your plans more flexible and don't want to book ahead, then have a few alternative options available, like bus or air, just in case you can't get the train seats you want.
I found this neat website that lists Thai holidays (and gives good descriptions of them too) to help with trip planning. It is easier to know if you'll need to book in advance for a Thai holiday if you know when they are. The link is http://www.thai-experience.org/festival-calendar.html, although I'm not sure I'm allowed to post that. Somtam, is that kosher?
I hope this info helps. The overnight trains in Thailand are loads of fun and a must-do for every tourist and traveller. Cheers.
Thanks Exacto. Yeah I agree - I think if you're overseas then booking through an agent is the way to go now, especially around December. I booked last week and I could only get 2nd class sleepers (and then only because there was a sudden cancellation!) Everything was fully booked from 13-16th December!
#9 tennie has been a member since 6/4/2006. Posts: 17
Just thought we'd share our recent train ticket experience, trying to go overnight from Bangkok to Chang Mai 1st Class sleeper on 10th December (national holiday).
Thanks to the very helpful advice from this website and the man in seat 61, we booked as early as we could, 30 days ahead. Didn't worry too much when we heard nothing - seeing other Travelfishers were having the same experience. 15 days later, sent a gentle reminder, knowing we were approaching the deadline for getting tickets in advance. They wrote back with tickets for the next day. No reply came when we wrote back to see about availability the day we wanted, but thanks to LancasterLad's tip above, we looked up availability and found that there was none left!
We then tried Traveller2000 who confirmed this, and Thaifocus, who mysteriously had no trouble in offering us 1st class tickets on our train of choice for a huge amount of money! Our theory is that companies like Thaifocus have booked up all the 1st class berths for this period, but it's just a theory. Anyway, it looks like the tickets are out there, if you're prepared to pay for them.. I'm afraid we decided to fly in the end, but we're looking forward to our overnight train experience from Nong Khai to Bangkok later in the trip, booked through Traveller2000 who are delivering the tickets to our hotel in Bangkok - we'll let you know how that goes.
#10 steiny has been a member since 26/9/2006. Posts: 11
I know this is an old thread here, but I see the last poster steiny has noticed the same thing I have. I tried emailing email@example.com per seat61.com suggestion for two 1st class tix from BKK-Surathani for this up coming New Years, leaving Dec 28 and they replied telling me there as no availability, so just to double check I put a query in to traveller2000.com and now they are telling me they have availability, for only 300 baht extra in fees. Think this is what the agencies do? Buy up the tix and then resell them to make the fee? I mean the price is only $8.50 (US) more, so I'm willing to pay it, but I want to be sure the availability is there, otherwise I'll just book another train or another class. Can anyone confirm that these agencies really have availability when Thai Railways is telling me they're booking via email?
#11 russ_kw has been a member since 10/7/2009. Posts: 3
We thought that we would be able to buy our sleeper tickets from Bkk to Chiang Mai at the train station but on the advice of others, we booked through the man in seat 61 online. Glad we did as we could only get second class sleeper on 17 December (even though we booked a month ago) and if we hadn't booked, we might not have got a ticket. My husband has just printed off the tickets which were emailed to him though - hope these tickets will be enough.