Getting to Phuket by Train
Trains do not run to Phuket, which is unfortunate as train travel in Thailand is both a cheap and comfortable, if slightly slow way to travel. However, you can take a train from Hualamphong Station in Bangkok to Phun Phin near Surat Thani, where you can catch a coach to Phuket. The train to Surat Thani is about 12 hours while the coach is another 5-6 hours.
There are about 14 coaches per day between Surat Thani and Phuket in both directions. Coaches begin running at 05:00, then leave at regular intervals until 15:30. Your train should arrive in the morning so you should not have any problems catching a coach.
Granted, this is a round about way of travelling to Phuket, but if you can’t afford or can’t get a flight, trains are an excellent alternative. Long distance trains usually travel at night so you can sleep most of the way. And you can actually sleep quite comfortably, as opposed to buses where only a contortionist could get comfortable.
Trains have three different classes:
This consists of a lockable private air-conditioned 2-berth compartment with washbasin. First-class is not available on all trains.
This is further divided into fan sleeper and air-con sleeper carriages. Go for air-con as fan sleepers can be quite hot, even at night. The open windows also means that they are noisier than the air-con sleepers.
This has hard bench seats, and is not recommended for long journeys, unless you like being uncomfortable.
All trains have a catering car where you can purchase hot meals at reasonable prices.
Travelling by train in Thailand is generally very safe, although you should not leave your valuables unattended.
For train schedules contact the State Railway of Thailand. Tel: 02 220 4334. Advance tickets are available at all main stations or the Bangkok Advance Booking Office. Tel: 02 225 0300 ext. 5200-3 or go to http://www.railway.co.th/
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