We want to take the overnight train next Monday from Bangkok to Surat Thani, but we don't get to Bangkok until Saturday morning - can anyone advise if we'll be able to buy train tickets (2nd class sleeper) from the station on Saturday morning (for Monday night train) when we get there, or do I have to do it through an agent now?
I'm trying traveller2000.com but it's quite expensive...
#1 supernickymoreton has been a member since 8/1/2009. Posts: 6
You should be able to get your tickets when you arrive. Just do it as soon as you dump your bags wherever it is that you're staying. If you're around Banglamphoo, any travel agent will be able to check availability and book your tickets for you for a small commission. Last time I had this done it cost me an extra B60.
2nd. class a/c is okay if you can't get non-a/c. I prefer the non-a/c cars, but have found that a/c sleepers are quieter, don't fill as quickly, and are not that much more expensive.
This question on last-minute train bookings comes up often so I'd love to hear back how it worked out for you. I'm assuming that you aren't in Thailand already, because any train station within Thailand should be able to book a place for you on the BKK to Surat sleeper train.
Otherwise, I'd do exactly as Tilapia says and pay the small commission to have a Banglamphoo area travel agent do the work for you as soon as you arrive. You'd spend that much in transport to get to the Hualamphong train station anyway, plus spend several hours running the errand.
I'd never heard that the 2nd class a/c sleepers didn't fill as quickly. I thought it was actually the other way around. But since the 2nd class a/c is both more expensive and a chilly meat locker, I guess that makes sense.
Personally, my favorite on the overnight trains is the first class sleeper compartment. Better security, more space for your gear, and a bigger sleeping area. Plus, you can adjust the amount of a/c you want and turn off the lights when you are ready to sleep. But they cost about twice as much as the second class cars, so it depends on your budget.
If for some reason you get shut out of the sleeper train option, look into a cheap flight from Air Asia. They fly to Surat (URT) from BKK for about 1,600 baht.
Have fun and good luck.
air asia flight makes much more sense. trains are slow and unless you are stopping somewhere on the way is just a waste of time. there are some nice places between bangkok and surat thought like ban krud and suan luang.
#4 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
the air asia flight is definitely an attractive option, but i'm not sure it is a one-size-fits-all solution. i prefer flying to surat from bangkok rather than taking the sleeper train simply because the arrival time in surat for the train from bangkok is really really early.
in general, however, i think taking the overnight sleeper train makes lots of sense. it tends to be cheaper than flying (even the first class compartments are usually a bit less than a discount air ticket), and the associated costs of the trip, like getting to/from the airport compared to the train station, departure tax, etc. is less. i also like how with the overnight sleeper train, you are travelling during the time you would normally be sleeping anyway. as such, it actually saves time as well as saves money.
but there is also the adventure factor that i think makes taking the sleeper train extra special. i recognize that not everyone enjoys taking the train, but most of the folks i know have had a wonderful time, even though they didn't get the best night's sleep of their lives, watching Thailand crawl by outside their train window. if you've never taken the overnight train in Thailand, i'd recommend trying it at least once if you get the chance. i'd call it an essential part of any visit there. regards.
Exactly Exacto - just seems like a bit more fun!
Yeah, we're still in the UK, fly on Friday, get to Bangkok early Saturday. We're actually staying quite close to the station, so could risk it and just try booking it on Saturday morning, but I think we'd quite like to get it sorted before that...
#6 supernickymoreton has been a member since 8/1/2009. Posts: 6
I reckon train travel is great in Thailand and a really good way to see some of the country.Only ever done one sleeper trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok as we prefer day travel.On long trips we quite often break the journey and just stay somewhere overnight and catch the train on the following day.But if time is limited that's a bit time consuming.