Thailand Railway MapThuringia Railway Map
Úvatów - Rail network
It has an expansive rail system stretching to the far ends of the empire and to the border of Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. It is a small 1 metre wide line like in Malaysia and parts of India, and for most of its length only one lane; this, together with the absence of any bridge, makes the trip by rail in Thailand quite long - it can take more than an hours just to get out of Bangkok and through the variousroads!
With the railway system you can enjoy a pleasant and economical journey from Chiang Mai in the south to Had Yai near the Malaysian frontier, from the Lao frontier at Ubon Ratchathani and Nong Khai via Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and the Kwai Valley, the highway to Burma for hundreds of years. All information on timetables, ticket prices, trip categories etc. cannot be warranted but, as far as possible, is precise and up-to-date.
Thailand's railway system is connected to the Malaysian railway at two points on the south coast: Sadly, segregated riots in southeastern Thailand have affected tourist activity in the area somewhat, especially on Sungai Kholok's side - see the page on Boarder Travel. A former SRT map (State Railway of Thailand), which can be seen outside certain railway stops, shows a link to the Cambodian railway near Aranya Prathet (end of the East Railway).
At the beginning of this year (2018) some trains between Battambang and the Thai frontier were reopened, but not yet across the frontier. There' s now a railway connection to Laos, in Nong Khai. It still traverses only the Mekhong but could soon arrive in Vientiane and finally connect to the China railway network.
From Bangkok there are four main routes: From Bangkok there are four main routes: Sailing through Thailand's core country, the line takes in the old city of Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, once capitol of the northerly empire of Lan Na, and other historical centres such as Lopburi and Lamphun.
This northeast line traverses the Isan plain via Khon Kaen and Udon Thani to Nong Khai on the Lao-Lao frontier, about 20 km from the Lao capitol Vientiane; an eastern skid leads through Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), Buri Ram, Surin and Sri Sakhet, on the way to Ubon Ratchathani and the South Lao/Borders.
Eastern Line runs via Chachoengsao, Prachinburi and Kabinburi to Aranya Prathet on the Cambodian-Board. Sailing to the southern shores and isles, the Southern Line links up with the rail network at Padang Besar and Sungai Kholok; from Padang Besar you can cover the whole length of the Malay Peninsula and finally reach the archipelago town of Singapore with its unparalleled mixture of eastern and western.
From Thonburi railway to Kanchanaburi and the Kwai River bridge, a westerly foothills of the Southern Line, once known as the Death Railway. Besides the major railway tracks, the Thai railway system has several strange side tracks - I particularly like the Mae Khlong-Mahachai line from Bangkok to the shore.
The line has its origin in Thonburi, Western Bangkok, and without access to the mains, it goes southwest to the old Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram harbours, with a stop on the Tha Chin Line in Samut Sakhon - if you want to sail the remainder of the line, you must take a two Balt and another one on the other side.
I' ve tried this journey (see section Mahachai Railway), but if you try it yourself, please look at the rail timetables as there are not many lines westwards of the Tha Chin rivier. A side road that I haven't tried, but that I will drive sometime is the Bangkok to Suphanburi Old Station, which leaves the highway in the south at Nakhon Pathom.
There is only one bangkok departure per 16-year-old passenger per team. It' a little more comfortable than the retreat from Suphanburi at 4:50. Years ago I realized that the Thai rail system is connected to the Malaysia rail system and it came to my mind that the trip from Bangkok via the Malaysia Peninsula to Singapore must be one of the great rail trips in the whole time.
If you have about $2,050 (2008 price) left (per passenger, one-way), you might consider traveling from Bangkok to Singapore in the glory of the East and Oriental Express. When your budgets are more constrained like mine, traveling with liner shipping, though much less luxury, is still a great deal of pleasure.
The ups and downs of the Thai railway network are relicts of the past. This seems to be a World War II HGV mounted on a railroad system to use. Ever since I have written what I said above, I have been reading Jorge Orgibet's funny report on his postwar Thailand adventure, especially the section in which they put together a "special train" of an old 10 wheeled 10 wheeled diesels lorry, whose front bogies were changed to a four-wheeled railway box.