Over the years, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has introduced various online ticketing portals. They have been notoriously buggy to use and left many tourists frustrated. The latest version is the SRT’s D-Ticket system. While it’s definitely a big improvement over its predecessors, the online ticket system is still far from perfect.
State Railway of Thailand (SRT)
This is the link for the official SRT website for online ticket sales.
Tickets for long distance trains can only be purchased 30 days in advance.
Using an agent
As an alternative, tickets for rail travel in Thailand can also be purchased online via agents including 12Go. There is a small commission added on top, but the system is easier to use (especially on mobile devices) compared to the SRT website. There is also the advantage that agents can offer long distance tickets (e.g. Bangkok-Chiang Mai) more than 30 days in advance.
Buying in person
Train tickets can still be purchased via booking counters at Thai railway stations. In most cases you will be asked to show your passport when purchasing tickets in person at counters.
Special excursion tickets
On holiday weekends throughout the year, SRT runs special excursion trips. These are open to anyone and are particularly popular with Thai travellers. Tickets for these trips can only be purchased on the official SRT website or at train stations in Thailand.
Tickets can be reserved in Thailand by calling the 24-hour SRT Hotline on 1690 (English speaking staff available). However, if you do reserve a seat using the SRT Hotline, you still need to visit one of the designated stations in person to pay for the ticket. This needs to be done before 22.00 the following day or your reservation will be cancelled. Designated stations where you can pay and collect the ticket are in the Bangkok area and include:
Bangkok, Bang Sue Junction, Don Mueang, Lat Krabang, Makksan, Rangsit, Thonburi, Wongwian Yai.
Good to know
Trains can get busy on Thai public holidays especially in the period in and around New Year (end of December) and Songkran (April 13-15) when many Thai people return home to visit family. If you want to travel by train over the New Year or Songkran periods (or a week either side) it is advisable to book your journey as early as possible (particularly if you are travelling via Bangkok).
- Showing your ticket on your tablet or phone is usually OK, but the official advice is that passengers should print out their e-ticket to show train staff
- Payment via credit cards may be subject to a surcharge
- To use the SRT D-Ticket system, you need to register to use the service with your passport number (or ID number for Thai nationals) and a valid email address
- Only the name printed on the ticket will be allowed to travel
- Carry your passport with you when you travel on trains in Thailand (Thais should carry their ID card)
New train station for Bangkok
Since 19 January 2023, a new Bangkok train station is being used for long-distance trains e.g. to Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, Udon Thani etc. See full details on Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal (Bang Sue Grand Station) here:
Bangkok’s new train station: Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal (Bang Sue Grand Station)