The Special Express 31 Thaksinarath, operated by the State Railway of Thailand, is a convenient sleeper train running from Bangkok Hua Lamphong to Hat Yai. It offers easy access to Southern Thailand. Also, the most comfortable option to connect with trains to Malaysia. The Special Express 31 Thaksinarath is the newest and best sleeper train available on this route, out of 5 daily pairs of trains. The tickets sell out quickly, so it’s highly recommended to secure your trip in advance.
Now you can easily book your train tickets in Thailand with Baolau.
State Railway of Thailand (SRT) train service
The State Railway of Thailand or SRT is the national railway operator of Thailand. It has many lines departing and arriving to the capital, Bangkok.
For the Southern Line, a wide range of trains and travel classes are available. From simple hard benches to private rooms with external hot showers. For this journey, we will be taking the Special Express 31 train.
Departure from Bangkok
Bangkok’s grand Hua Lamphong Railway Station is the main hub of train services to all parts of Thailand. Getting to Hua Lamphong Railway Station is easy with the MRT Blue Line offering direct access to it. Alternatively, getting a taxi to the station is relatively easy as well since all drivers (and possibly every local) would know where Hua Lamphong Railway Station is.
The train’s details are flashed on the screen at the entrance to the platform, so you definitely know you’re going to get on the right train.
The Thaksinarath runs on CRRC coaches, the newest and most comfortable train on SRT’s fleet, along with the Uttravidhi service running between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and the Isan Mankha service running between Bangkok and Nong Khai.
Boarding the Thaksinarath train bound for Hat Yai.
The interior of the Air-Conditioned First Class Day & Night Coach (ANFCN) features 12 compartments, each with one upper and lower berth.
A copy of the entertainment guide and railway magazines are available in the compartment.
Complimentary bottled drinking water is provided for each passenger.
In the daytime configuration, the lower berth is used as two seats.
There are also entertainment screens on each berth, towards the corridor side.
Aside from the touchscreen, there are physical buttons to control the entertainment system as well. This comes with a USB port for charging your mobile device.
Shortly after departure, the conductor comes around into every passengers’ compartments to distribute headsets for the entertainment system and towels for the shower.
As a premium, a hot shower is also available on the First Class coach. Soap is provided in the shower cubicle.
Western-style toilets and separate gents-only urinal can be found on board.
The Thaksinarath service between Bangkok and Hat Yai takes 15 hours 50 minutes. On the way, the train stops in Chumphon and Surat Thani.
Upon departure, the conductor comes around to check for the tickets. Since State Railway of Thailand introduced the use of electronic tickets in 2017, passengers can either present the physical ticket purchased at the station or a printed copy of the electronic ticket purchased via internet. If you book your train tickets online with Baolau, you will receive the official electronic ticket issued by SRT by email. The electronic ticket is a valid boarding pass, although passengers are requested to print the e-ticket in advance and carry the printout while boarding. Please do not carry the e-ticket in your mobile phone or tablet as digital copies are not accepted.
Leaving Bangkok Hua Lamphong, the train makes a brief stop at Sam Sen. In intermediary stations, train attendants assist passengers boarding and delivering the luggage at their compartments.
Passing by Bang Sue Central, the future Bangkok terminus for all trains operated by State Railway of Thailand.
Crossing through the Rama 6 bridge over the Chao Phraya river.
Around lunch time, the restaurant staff passes by the First Class coach and takes orders, meals are delivered to the compartment.
A Green Curry Fried Rice and Pinky Milk costs 59 Baht and 45 Baht respectively. The food tastes pretty alright for being pre-cooked and microwaved.
Continuing on the main line down south, the next key stop is Ratchaburi, where you can get truly local food from vendors posted at the train platform.
As the Thaksinarath consists of fully air-conditioned cars with automatic doors, passengers need to approach the exit doors and purchase directly from the vendors as they cannot come inside the train or hand the food packs through the windows, unlike ordinary trains.
Packs of Kway Teow noodles are available here for just 10 Baht per box, but mind the level of spiciness in local Thai food.
The train continues its journey South through Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi into Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The sunset offers a nice scenery of the Thai Riviera provinces.
In the evening, passengers can opt to walk to the restaurant car to get dinner or a snack.
The seating area of the restaurant car can get full, so you can wait or take your food back to your cabin to eat.
Some snacks and dinner meals include Pork Salapao and Pork Khanom Jeeb.
When the night comes, to convert the seats into berths it will be up to the passengers of First Class to decide on the timing, as compared to the fixed timing in Second Class. Simply press the bell button to call for the attendant.
The light above the door on the corridor will light up to let the attendant know which compartment to serve.
The whole conversion procedure including laying an additional mattress and putting on new sheets for all bedding takes around 2 minutes.
The First Class berth, ready for the night.
A reading lamp is also available by the bedside, if you do require one at night.
The Thaksinarath arrives into Hat Yai just after sunrise at 6:35 AM.
Arrival to Hat Yai
Trains can sometimes arrive to Hat Yai some minutes ahead of schedule, which means more time for breakfast before getting the shuttle train from Hat Yai to Padang Besar, across Malaysia border.
For passengers who are planning to stay in Hat Yai, there is a bus transfer service from the city to Pak Bara Pier in Satun province that connects with speedboat ferries to Koh Lipe island.
How to book your train tickets from Bangkok to Hat Yai
Train travel in Thailand is very popular among locals and tourists alike, and tickets for the Southern line on the Thaksinarath do sell out quickly, sometimes about a month before departure during peak seasons. It is wise to book your tickets early in advance after arranging your travel plans.
Baolau lists the SRT services available, so you can compare and select the most convenient schedule and price.
Fill in the passenger form and select your preference, Lower berth or Upper berth. We will carefully select the best places for you and your travel company depending on the availability in First Class for the travel date. Complete your payment before submitting the booking request. Once your booking is confirmed, you will receive an email with the electronic tickets attached.
The electronic tickets are valid boarding passes. However, passengers are requested to print the e-ticket in advance and carry the printout while boarding. Please do not carry the e-ticket in your mobile phone or tablet as digital copies are not accepted by the train conductor.