Monday, 9 July 2012

Surat Thani railway station, or rather Phun Phin!


Although everybody knows about and refers to it as 'Surat Thani railway station', the actual station is located in a small city called Phun Phin.
In the past I have used this station a lot, in my early days, when I was still visiting Thailand as a tourist, to get to bus to Koh Phi Phi or Phuket. Later when I lived on Koh Samui I used the station as a start or finish point for overnight trains to/from Bangkok.

Entrance to the station

I prefer trains over buses in Thailand, especially considering these kind of stories. Accidents with trains happen a lot less and I sleep a lot better on trains compared to buses. The trains in Thailand for overnight travel offer 2nd fan and aircon bunks and 1st class aircon bunks. Comfortable enough to me, compared to a declining seat in a bus.
However, ideally I fly nowadays or take my own car!

Platform 1 with a train waiting to depart

Opposite the station are plenty of food stall, small mini markets, a few budget hotels and plenty of travel agents that can arrange a bus and ferry connection to 'the islands', being Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Other than that there's not really that much to do, my advice is to bring a good book. Night trains for Bangkok tend to leave around 9pm but your arrive somewhere around 4 or 5pm at the rail way station! That can be a long wait.

The schedule

There are not that many trains arriving and departing in this rail way station, just 14 in total. They actually all fit on this one schedule board, which interestingly enough has space delays. Seems to happen with Thai trains!

In case you just show up, you can't miss the ticket booth directly after the entrance

In general I would assume that you would buy a combi ticket on Koh Samui for ferry/bus train.
All trains are actually managed and run by the State Railway of Thailand.


These signs can be seen on all Thai railway stations

Station master

For departure, the system still relies on man power and signalling flags. From various wagons, employees hang green flags out of the window, indicating that that specific part of the train is ready to leave.

Once the all important whistles are blown, the train can leave

Outside the railway station

Riding trains in Thailand is convenient and a 'real adventure' with stunning sights. It's convenient as well, there's a food/restaurant wagon on the 'bigger' trains and don't forget, you're in Thailand, at each station you can buy food or people wills ell it to you whilst the trains is halted at a station. Give it a go, it's well worth the effort and time in my opinion.

Don't forget to use my Camille's Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Camille's Thailand hotel recommendation blog for all your hotel bookings on Koh Samui and around Thailand. By doing so, you will support my blog. Thanks folks!

Camille

11 comments:

pjcps said...

Hello Cammille!

Congratulations on your blog.

I would like to ask for your help about krabi to surat thani bus.

Where does the bus from krabi leaves and where exactly does it arrive in Surat Thani.

Thank you!

Camille said...

Hi PJCPS,

Unfortunately, I'm not that familiar at all with bus services in Krabi, since I never used them.
Having said that, there will be mini buses leaving if you book them through local travel agents, you will need to ask them where they exactly stop.
Government buses will leave from the regular bus station in Krabi and will drop you off at the regular bus station in Surat Thani, which is pretty much in the middle of town. From there you can take buses to Phun Phin.

Hope this helps.

Brandon said...

Hello,

Thank you very much for your informative blog. Do you happen to know how late the ticket window is open at Surat Thani station? I'm looking at a late night train to Butterworth, but can't seem to find out how late the bus from Khao Lak might be. Can I just buy a ticket on the train otherwise?

Thanks!!
Brandon

Camille said...

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately I don’t know how late the ticket opens or closes at the Surat Thani railway station but you can check and buy tickets online for trains in Thailand here ;

Hope this helps for now.

Teslas_codpiece said...

Camille - help me!

I'm wondering if you know if it is Possible to buy a ticket on the overnight train to Butterworth straight at the station? Everything I've read mentions buying tickets in Bangkok or online and getting them delivered but they won't come in time. Even if it was possible to buy I'm not sure what time the office is open till. I'm in koh phangan at the moment and agents here don't seem to be able to help.

Teslas_codpiece said...

Also Brandon, did you find out about the opening times? Long shot I know.

Camille said...

You should be able to buy a ticket at the station. Why would travel agents not help you here? That sounds strange, I would keep trying!
The office will be open fairly late, since trains keep coming and going all night long.

Julia Cieślak said...

Hello
I hope that you will be able to help me.
I would like to ask you about hours of departure the train from Bangkok to Phun Phin. In November I will come back from Cambodia(on Saturday or Sunday) and i am thinking that i will be on the time on the railstation in Bangkok and could take night train to Phuket" or plane. Therefore I am afraid that I will not be on the time and i will be late.
Thanks in advance for your help

Camille said...

Hi Julia,

There are no direct trains to Phuket, so you would have to go to Phun Phin and take a bus from there or fly from Bangkok directly.
For a time table, please check this article and click the link for the State Railway of Thailand, that should have a time table.

Julia Cieślak said...

Thank you very much for your help.
I have one ask for you if Surat Thani is the same as Phun Phi? Therefore I can not find Phun Phin on this timetable: http://www.railway.co.th/home/srt/timetable/southlinetxt.asp?lenguage=Eng

Camille said...

Hi Julia,

Yes, they are the same.