With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

3rd Class Citizen

Posted by Heliocentrism on April 6, 2010

April 4, 2010

All  Pictures

3rd class seated compartment on a Thai train = HELL

That’s my seat!

I would not recommend 3rd class seat tickets for a long train ride, ever. For the 9 hours we were aboard the train, it was torture. A third class seat means no a/c, stinkier than normal bathrooms, lights that never get dimmed, and people ready to take your seat if you haven’t occupied it for the last 10 minutes. They will get up if you can prove that you do have tickets for the seat, but you need good proof!

It’s not so much that the seats are uncomfortable, because they aren’t. …well not for sitting. For sitting the seats are more than adequate. They recline pretty far back. In fact the person in front of you can recline right into your lap!

They just do not make very good beds. It may not seem that way when half the car is snoring like a choir of chainsaws. But, I had a hard time sleeping without parts of my body going numb.

Then there are the flies. They dance around your head and sing in your ears. The more you swat at them the more resilient they get. All of this is not so bad, because it gets worse.

Whenever I did manage to fall asleep the train would eventually pull into a station. Then wretched vendors would get on board and yell out their wares.


They wouldn’t just wake me up. No! I would be startled awake. I would wake up terrified and my heart would be racing in my chest. Looking around in a panic, to find the shrieking screams coming from a little old lady or man selling horrible soup. I think this is one of the stages of hell.

Do people really need to eat at 1:00 in the morning?

I firmly recommend planning ahead of time so that you can get sleeping compartment tickets before they are sold out.

Would I have been better off in one of those luxurious tourist buses? Hmmm. I would still be woken up several times during the night. I would still have been offered sin soup. But, I would not have had to deal with the flies or the seat stealing. So, maybe.

All Pictures


(Ratcha Anachak Thai)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to Thailand. But, you will need a visa to stay longer than 1 month or if you been to Thailand for at least 3 months already in the past 12 months.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Thai embassy in your country.






  • Do not say anything negative about the king or anyone in the Royal family. And definitely do not write anything bad about the king or royal family. This offence could land you in jail. You don’t want to go to Thai jail.
  • Don’t use the city ferries in Bangkok during the peak hours. They fill those things past capacity and sometimes they sink. Use them during non-peak hours when they are not crowded.
  • Never eat female horseshoe crabs in Thailand. The roe of the horseshoe crab has tetrodotoxin (TTX) which is toxic to humans. It makes people very sick and some people have even died as a result.


How to get there:

  • 10°30’10.8″N 99°10’33.4″E

From Hua Lamphong Train Station (หัวลำโพง) –

  • Take any of the southern line trains.
    • Remember Chumphon is not the last stop.
    • The train might not get there on time so don’t get off unless you see signs saying Chumphon.
  • Many stations do not have a sign clearly saying the name of the station, but Champhon has many signs clearly written in Roman script.



  • 272 – 1,134 THB depending on the class and type of ticket


  • About 6 hours, more or less, depending on the speed of the train.


  • If you are riding in from Bangkok you DO NOT want to take a 3rd class seat for this journey.
  • It can be spelled Chumphon or Chumporn. Just a little way to help you get lost.

Koh Tao
Ko Tao

How to get there:

  • 10°04’58.1″N 99°49’25.9″E

From the Chumphon train station:

  • You can buy tickets on the ferry to Koh Tao, Koh Samui, and some other nearby islands.
  • The prices are 450THB for a 3.5 hour ride on the slow boat and 550THB for a “2.5 hour” ride on the fast boat.

My ride on the fast boat was actually more like 3.5 hours, but it was a very fast boat. It did leave later that advertised. I don’t know if this means that both boats are slower than advertised or the same speed.


  • Slow boat (3.5 hour-ride) 450THB
  • Fast boat (2.5 hour-ride) 550THB


Well theoretically it should take about 3 hours to get to Koh Tao from the Chumphon station, but… We arrived late at the station at 5:15 in the morning and we didn’t reach Koh Tao until 11:00 in the morning.


  • The cost of the ferry includes a ride to the dock from Chumphon station.
  • There is no need to buy tickets before you get to Chumphon.
  • The ferry dock is not on my map because I have no idea where is it. But once you get to the Chumphon railway station people selling ferry tickets will find you, take your money, stamp your hand or put a sticker on your t-shirt, and make sure you get to Koh Tao or whatever island you want.


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