The Special Express 25 Isan Mankha, operated by the State Railway of Thailand, is a popular sleeper train running from Bangkok to Nong Khai, offering easy access to Vientiane, Laos. As the Special Express 25 is the only sleeper train available on this route out of the 4 daily pairs of trains, tickets do sell out at times, 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, with many lines running throughout the country converging in Bangkok.
For the Northeastern 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 25 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.
Inside, lots of seating are available within the air-conditioned hall of the station for you to wait for your train if you’re early.
The platform number of the departing train will be flashed on the big screens in the waiting hall. Our train, the Special Express 25 to Nong Khai would be departing from Platform 3.
A sign will be placed at the platform entrance for the departing train, so you definitely know you’re going to get on the right train.
The Isan Mankha 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 Thaksinarath service running between Bangkok and Hat Yai.
Boarding the Isan Mankha train bound for Nong Khai.
The interior of the Air-Conditioned Second Class Day & Night Coach features 40 open-plan berths, with 20 upper and 20 lower berths. In the day or boarding configuration, the lower berth is converted to a seating position for passengers to seat comfortably.
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.
Shortly after the train departure, attendants come around to convert the seats into beds for the night.
The converted lower berth for the night. Blankets are hygienically individually packed.
The day after, just before arrival, attendants once again come around to clear the sheets and convert the berths back into seats.
The converted seats, ready for arrival into Nong Khai.
A restaurant car is available in the middle of the train.
A wide selection of food and drinks are available on board the restaurant car.
There is also a separate menu for one-dish meal orders. For a light supper, a bowl of rice soup with chicken costs 50 Baht.
The train offers breakfast service as well, which needs to be ordered the night before. At around 5:30 AM, the restaurant car waiter will come around with a wake up call and serve breakfast. A breakfast set costs 180 Baht.
As this is a night journey, most of the time there isn’t much scenery to see out of the window. Nevertheless, the purpose of the sleeper train is to sleep and save time getting from Bangkok to Nong Khai.
Still, you can enjoy the morning scenery of Northeastern Thailand on the way to Nong Khai after wake-up.
Arrival to Nong Khai
The Isan Mankha arrives at Nong Khai around 6:45 AM.
From Nong Khai Railway Station, you can easily cross over to Vientiane, Laos with the Nong Khai – Thanaleng Shuttle Train. Tickets for the shuttle train can be purchased from the ticket counter at Nong Khai Railway Station, with immigration clearance taking place on the platform.
How to book your train tickets from Bangkok to Nong Khai
Train travel in Thailand is very popular among locals and tourists alike, and tickets on the Isan Mankha, being the only sleeper train on the Bangkok – Nong Khai route, are always the first to sell out on the route, 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 Second 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.