The State Railway can be the cheapest way to get around in Thailand. The third class fare between Bangkok and Ayutthaya is just 20 Baht (0.52 USD). There is a trade-off for the cheap price, since trains are also the slowest way to get around. Additional drawbacks are the rather dilapidated state of most trains, as well as being habitually behind schedule. However, if you're willing to put up with the drawbacks, traveling by train can be a great way to see some beautiful country-side. The train can be a really good option for short trips from Bangkok, but you may want to carefully weigh the trade-offs for long trips.
An antique locomotive at Lopburi train station
With only a few exceptions, all trains lead to Bangkok. From the capital, the train network extends north to Chiang Mai, northeast to Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani, east to Anyaprathet, west to Kanchanaburi and south to Malaysia. There are three classes of service:
- 1st Class
- First class air conditioned sleeper cars have private two-berth cabins. They are only available on long distance overnight trains.
- 2nd Class
- Second class is usually air conditioned. On long distance overnight trains the seats by day are converted to sleeping berths by night.
- 3rd Class
- Third class trains are not air conditioned. Windows can be opened and there are fans. Third class is usually fine for short trips, and costs just a tenth of second class.