Bangkok to Phuket by train

Traveller woman with bag at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, Bangkok

Having taken the train and bus journey from Bangkok to Phuket numerous times over the past few years, I wanted to provide an in-depth guide for other travelers considering this route in 2023.

Time – 16+ hours
Price – $20-50
Comfort – 3/5

There are no direct train connections between Thailand’s two most popular destinations, Bangkok and Phuket. The journey involves most likely taking an overnight train to Surat Thani and then going for a bus ride for the final leg to Phuket.

It’s by no means the fastest route down south, but it can be one of the most enjoyable. If you choose the early morning departure from the newly opened Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. You’ll chug out through the rice paddies and end the trip gazing at the mist-haloed karst peaks that rise off the Gulf of Thailand.

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Alternative Transport Options:

While the train and bus combo offers a unique experience, there are other ways to travel between Bangkok and Phuket. Direct flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phuket International Airport are quick, taking just over an hour. Additionally, direct buses or car rentals provide flexibility for those wanting to explore at their own pace.

For a more in-depth guide on these transport options, check out our detailed article on: Bangkok to Phuket.

It covers everything you need to know about all possible options from Bangkok to Phuket, including plane, bus, taxi in comparisons to the trains also.

Choosing Between Train Classes

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by overnight sleeper train
The beds of the sleeper overnight train are not very wide, so be aware if you are tall © Amnat Phuthamrong /

Time – 12 h on the train to Surat Thani
Price – $7: 3rd Class, $30: 2nd Class, $40: 1st Class

The overnight trains from Bangkok to Surat Thani have three classes to choose from – 1st Class, 2nd Class AC, and 3rd Class.

1st Class gives you a private cabin with two bunks, so it’s ideal for couples or friends traveling together. 2nd Class AC is an open carriage with bunk beds, which means sharing with space with all other passengers. 1st Class is best for privacy and security.

1st Class gives you a private cabin, it’s ideal for couples or friends traveling together.

The 3rd Class is a seated carriage with fans instead of air-con. Tickets are cheaper, but I don’t recommend 3rd Class for the 12-hour overnight trip as the seats don’t recline fully. But if you’re on a tight budget, it’s an option.

I recommend reserving a 1st Class cabin over 2nd Class. The private cabin provides security and peace of mind during the long overnight trip and is still good value at around 40 USD.

Train Schedules and Stations

Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal in Bangkok
An aerial view of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal in Bangkok. © WERAYUTH PIRIYAPORNPRAPA /

There are nine daily train departures from Bangkok to Surat Thani. They start operations at 8 a.m., and the last train departs at 10 p.m. Most are overnight sleeper trains, except the morning and late evening trains.

Nowadays trains depart from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal in Bangkok.

All trains depart from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal in Bangkok. This newly opened station replaced Hua Lamphong as Bangkok’s main train station in January 2023.

Trains arrive at Surat Thani Railway Station, about 10km from the city center.

For train schedules, see the table below:

Train NoDeparture (Bangkok)Arrival (Surat Thani)
Train 4308:1018:50
Train 17113:1001:33
Train 3114:5002:31
Train 3715:3503:35
Train 16916:1004:27
Train 8317:3005:25
Train 16718:5007:47
Train 8520:1008:32
Train 39, 4122:1009:25

Ticket Purchasing:

Train No.41 curving in front of a mountain in Chumphon, Thailand.
Train No.41 Bangkok to Surat Thani is captured in Chumphon province © Pratan Saetang /

Booking at the train station is around $6-7 cheaper but to ensure seat availability, especially during peak travel seasons buying tickets online is very convenient.

Booking at the train station is cheaper, but especially during peak seasons tickets online is convenient.

I recommend booking your train ticket at least a few days in advance online through a site like 12Go Asia. You can also book tickets at the station, but booking online secures your seat and allows you to compare schedules and prices easily.

From Bangkok’s new Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Southern Thailand trains will depart from Platforms 7 and 8. Make sure to allow at least 45 minutes to collect tickets and Platform transfers

Tips for a Comfortable Journey:

Surat Thani Railway station
Surat Thani Railway station © Pratan Saetang /
  • Choose the Right Class & Seat: Choose the appropriate train class based on budget and comfort.
  • Pack Essentials: Carry light snacks, bottled water, and entertainment like a book or downloaded movies. Don’t forget headphones and chargers.
  • Dress for Comfort: Wear breathable clothing suitable for both train and bus.
  • Secure Your Belongings: Use locks on bags and keep valuables close, especially when sleeping.
  • Stay Hydrated & Stretch: Drink water regularly, avoid excessive caffeine, and get up occasionally on the train to stretch. Use bus rest stops to move around.
  • Know Your Journey: Familiarize yourself with train stops, bus transfer points, and the overall travel plan.
  • Connect & Plan: Talk with fellow travelers for tips and recommendations. Plan your arrival in Phuket, considering transportation to your final destination.
  • Keep Documents Accessible: Have tickets, Passport, and other necessary documents ready for train and bus.
  • Bus Amenities & Luggage: Be aware of where your luggage is stored on the bus, especially if you need to access it during rest stops. Remember to go to the bathroom especially if the bus is lacking.

Transferring to Surat Thani

Interior and exterior of a Bus company 465 Surat Thani Phuket Transport
Bus company 465 Surat Thani Phuket Transport

Bus company 465 Surat Thani Phuket Transport is the only company that currently operates a direct transfer from Surat Thani Train station. They depart at 10.00 and arrive at 15:40 at Phuket Bus Terminal 2.

Surat Thani to Khao Sok by minivan
Phantip 1970 has minivans leaving Surat Thani every hour until 17:00

There are minibusses with Phantip from Surat Thani Town also. They depart hourly from 9.00 a.m. to 17:00. These buses are scheduled for 4.5 hours to reach Phuket Bus Terminal 1 in Phuket Town. Based on my travel mishaps, I strongly suggest booking your bus ticket from Surat Thani to Phuket in advance along with your train ticket. This guarantees you a seat on the connecting bus and avoids potential headaches if buses are full.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Surat Thani station to Phuket. Expect to pay around 4000 THB for the faster taxis at 4 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is there a direct train from Bangkok to Phuket?

No, travelers have to take a train to Surat Thani and then a bus for the remaining trip to Phuket.

How long is the train journey?

The train journey to Surat Thani takes approximately 12 hours, followed by a 5-hour bus ride to Phuket.

Where can I book tickets?

Book tickets on platforms like 12Go Asia or directly at the train station.

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