Earlier this month, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) launched a new online ticket reservation system. The new service came into effect on February 1, 2017. This isn’t the first time SRT have implemented an online ticketing system with various on/off attempts in the past. The last online ticketing service was introduced in August 2011, but ended abruptly in January 2013. Travellers in Thailand will be hoping the new system works better than previous attempts.
Although I welcome the new online ticketing system, it’s unfortunate that in 2017, with a large percentage of people using smartphones or tablets, that so many important Thai websites are still so poorly designed.
- Online advance reservations can be made from between two hours to 60 days in advance of train departure
- A maximum of 4 seats per booking can be purchased
- Passengers must print out their e-ticket to show train staff. Showing your ticket on your tablet or phone won’t be accepted
- Online reservation is not currently available for special excursion trains (e.g. to visit the sunflower fields)
- Reservations can be made for first, second and third class trains
- The booking fee is 40 Baht per first class ticket, 30 Baht for second class tickets, and 20 Baht for third class tickets
- Payment via credit cards is subject to a surcharge of 20-40 Baht per seat
- 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)
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. You can also book via the 24-hour SRT Hotline when in Thailand by dialling 1690 .
SRT officials estimate that around 50% of passengers will use the new electronic ticket reservation service. Seat occupancy is highest on the popular northern line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai and this route is expected to see the highest number of online reservations.
The launching of the new online ticket service for Thai trains follows hot on the heels of SRT taking delivery of more than 100 new carriages from China as part of a modernisation programme. Facilities in the new carriages include TV screens and USB slots for battery recharging. There are also some compartments reserved for female occupancy. In addition to the new carriages, almost 150 older carriages are scheduled for a makeover to improve passenger comfort.