When I was in Thailand, I found myself using the train alot. I used it going to Cambodia and I used it several times going south towards and to Malaysia. Using the Thailand trains is a cheap and relaxing way to travel across the country if you are moving along the tracks (which most tourism does)
I was a little unsure of using the trains in Asia. I know of Amtrak trains that have wrecked and I am sure that less care is taken to make sure the trains are worthy for operations in Thailand. I told myself that I do want to be in a car that derails at high speeds in Thailand. It is something you deal with going to cheap places to travel.
Well, to my dismay, I found myself staying a hotel just a few blocks from the Hua Lamphong station that is like the union station for all of Thailand. I was miles away from the bus terminal. I had set myself up and I could not justify trying to cross a city that few speak the same language as I do to try and find the bus going to Kuala Lumpur.
I knew my way to the train station as well. I couldn’t get lost so I had to convince myself to give them a try….. leaving in the early morning didn’t make saying no any easier.
My experience with Thailand Train service
I made three trips using them. All of them was long bumpy roads. When I say long, I am talking between most of the day to taken almost two days. It is not for the faint hearted but neither bus rides in Asia that are almost just as long. Here is the trips that I have made using Thailand trains. They were all from Bangkok.
- Aranyaprathet (Cambodia border) for $1.50
- Sungai-Kolok (Eastern side of Malaysia) for $15
- Padang Besar (Western side of Malaysia) for $22.
The only thing that really sucks why as soon as the train starts to move, it has to slow back down to prepare to stop at the next town. If you happen to get an express train, take it! It is worth flying through these towns.
The plus side of all the stops is they will wait a few minutes so you can grab some quick food at the station and there was a few stops that was closer to 20 minutes before going on. There is also some local ladies that will come on the trains and ride from one town to the next so they can sell people little snacks and Cokes.
There is a little diner car normally as well if you catch them when they are cooking. I would always go by it when they are either preparing the food or they was out of it already. I know that is my luck but you might have better chances. I assume the prices are a little higher than the street food options in Bangkok. If you have eaten on the train, let me know.