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Getting to Isaan by Train.
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  1. #1
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    Getting to Isaan by Train.

    There is just something about taking the train through Isaan that makes me want to...well...take a nap actually.

    Train travel in Thailand is still heavily subsidized by the Central Government; which means it is a cheap way to get around Thailand. Bangkok railway station at Hua Lamphong, Rama IV Road is the center of trains to northeast provinces Tel: 2237010, 2237020. The northeast provinces that can be reached by train are Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Sri Sa Ket, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani.

    Here is a link to a map that shows the Railway Network in Thailand.


    Rail Map Link


    To get an idea of how cheap it costs to travel a long ways here is part of the fare chart: Today One Dollar US is about 33 Thai Baht.

    Price is one-way from Bangkok to the listed station:

    Station..........................Km..........1st Class.....2nd........3rd

    Nakhon Ratchasima..........264..........230............11 5........50
    Surin.............................420..........346 ............169........73
    Si Sa Ket........................515..........416....... .....201.......87
    Ubon Ratchathani.............575.........460........... .221........95
    Bua Yai Jn......................346..........294.......... ..145........63
    Ban Phai........................408..........338...... ......165.........71
    Khon Kaen.....................450...........368........ ....179........77
    Udon Thani....................569...........457........ ....219........95
    Nong Khai......................624...........497....... .....238.......103


    First class has air-conditioning and third class has live stock: you get what you pay for.
    Last edited by pclev; 19-01-08 at 04:29 AM.
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

  2. #2
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    And you don't have to pay much more for a first class sleeper berth either. The last time we did it from Buri Ram (between Nakhon Ratchasima and Surin in details above) we paid 900 Baht each which included a hot meal delivered to our cabin. Compare that to staying a night in a hotel and going out for a meal.

    David
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  3. #3
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    If I understand things as I read. Going from Bangkok to Korat. Issan. Takes about 3 and a half hours and costs 150 baht or less. By Tour bus. So, why a train.

  4. #4
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    cheaper?

  5. #5
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    Train is far safer statistically, you can get a hot meal as David states, you are likely to see better countryside compared to that viewable from the road, and there is more room for your legs.

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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    And depending on where you're heading, you don't get any carsick Thai people vomiting...

    And to me it always seemed a bit more "romantic" to go by train more "trans-sibirian adventure" feeling and less danger of hitting a hole in the street while driving 160kmh!
    life is wonderful!

  7. #7
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    I am in line with maipenrai99 especially when you take the added expense of a sleeper car. That "romantic" or "exotic" air of traveling by train can be one of the "truly alive" experiences everybody needs to try to collect.

    When the train stops at a new station you have the opportunity to hop-off and buy food from vendors at the loading area. If the train is in motion, then you can go to Third Class where other passengers are selling food while they travel: mostly fruit and dried meats but sometimes there are desserts that are really excellent.

    The sleeper compartments have a small sink and come with the option of getting two compartments next to each other and creating a suite by opening the connecting door. The only difficult part for me on the train is the toilet room (which is at the end of the car). The Toilets only have a Thai Style loo in them. I have yet to master the Thai toilet and found the rocking of the train made it a little more challenging.
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

  8. #8
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    in 2nd class trains on the northern line, one of the toilets is always Thai style, the one opposite is western. don't know about 3rd class.

  9. #9
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    When I think about a Western toilet just across the way as I bounced around on the Thai toilet. Thanks for the information. I am a known creature-of-habit and have gone to the same door each time that I went to the first time.

    Maybe I will miss the experience of challenging the Thai toilet on a train...no, I don't think so!
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  10. #10
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    Re: Getting to Isaan by Train.

    I am in Isaan right now, in Khon Kaen. Though I didn't come by train this time, it is often my preferred way to travel.

    Interestingly, a week or two ago I read something in a Thai language newspaper (don't remember which one, just picked it up while in a noodle shop) about the train service in Isaan. The writer said that he regularly takes the Isaan trains and was complaining that the level of service and the state of mechanical repairs on the Isaan trains was far below that of the Northern Line. Ostensibly, the reason for this might be both discrimination against the people of Isaan and the fact that the Northern Line trains are typically chock full of farang travelers.

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