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Booking Information

There are some things that train passengers should be aware of when they decide to book tickets on Thai Railways. It can be very difficult to book tickets durig 'Peak Periods' of travel. These 'Peak Periods' include Public / National holidays (Chinese New Year or Songkram), Festivals, weekend travel (Friday-Monday) or even 'Commuter Rush Hour' (6-8 AM and 5-7 PM). 'Peak Periods' also include 'High Season', or times of the year when the most tourists come to a certain area. The 'High Season' varies from place-to-place in Thailand, and is usually related to the weather / seasonal climate changes and 'overseas vacation periods'. The 'High Season' on the Andaman (West) Coast is from November through March. The 'High Season' on Thailand's Gulf (East) Coast is from February through June. Also, passengers should also be aware of which Thai Railways routes are the most 'Popular Routes'. These 'Popular Routes' may require 'Advance Booking' at any tme of the year, not just during 'Peak Periods'. You should book as far ahead as possible for trips on these routes, especially if you want to book 'Sleeper Train Service'. The 'Popular Routes' include 'Bangkok to Chiang Mai', 'Bangkok to Surat Thani', and 'Bangkok to Hat Yai. 'For Less-Popular Routes' (to Thailand's Northeast), you should only have to book a few days ahead, even during 'Peak Periods'.


1. Important Festivals by Region

Central Thailand--
-Bangkok -
Bangkok Hosts a number of key Thailand Festivals
---Bangkok Internatinal Film Festival
in January
---Chinese New Year in Bangkok's Chinatown (The area around Yaowarat Road) in Late february / Early March
---Songkran 'water-splashing' Festival in April (13-15 or 12-17)
---International 'Swan Boat' Races
on the Chao phraya River in September.
---Vegetarian Festival - A nine-day celebration in September that features everything from Vegetarian Food to Self-Mutilation.

Northern Thailand
-Chiang Mai -
Chiang Mai has a number of very colourful festivals
---Chiang Mai Flower Festiva
l in February
---Songkran 'water-splashing' Festival in April (13-15 or 12-17)
---Yi Peng (Loi Kratong) Festival in Late October - Lotus-Shaped Floats and Hot Air Paper Baloons are launched over lakes, and rivers.

-Nakhon Sawan ('Heavenly City') - Nakhon Sawan (Northern Region) has large Chinese population.
--Chinese New Year
in Late february / Early March

Eastern Thailand
-Pattaya -
Eastern Thailand's 'Party City'
---Pattaya Festival -
Usually a week after the Songkran festivities in Bangkok in April, this is a riotous celebration with parades, floats, beauty contests, food festivals, and a spectacular fireworks display.

Western Thailand
-Kanchanaburi -
Home of the 'River Kwai Bridge' on the Myanmar Border.
---River Kwai Bridge Week (November 21 to December) -
In Kanchanaburi, is the setting for this week-long festival featuring spectacular sound and light performances on the River Kwai bridge , archaeological and historical exhibitions, and vintage train rides.

Everywhere in Thailand - Some festivals are celebrated by the entire Counttry
'water-splashing' Festival in April (13-15 or 12-17)
--Loi Kratong Festival in Late October - Lotus-Shaped Floats and Hot Air Paper Baloons are launched over lakes, rivers, and the sea.
--Visakha Bucha - In May. Features night-time processions of worshippers around almost every temple in Thailand. This festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment and passing of Lord Buddha.

Northeastern Thailand
This region is basically untouristed except for some very wild Festivals in several of its cities.
-Amphoe Dan Sai -
---Bun Phra Wet ('Ghost-Mask') Festiva
l in June - Colorful 3-day festival with Shamans, Spirit costumes and Painted masks.

-Yasothon - A town known as the 'center' for celebrating the annual 'Rocket Festival'.
---Bun Bang Fai ('Rocket') Festival
in Late May. Equipped with lots of rockets and loud noise.This festival is celebrated throughout the Northeast region.

-Surin - home of the famous Phanom Rung Khmer Temples
---Surin Annual 'Elephant Round-up'
- Elephants, elephants everywhere. this Festival is held in late-November.

-Ubon Ratchathani - in the Heart' of Thailand's Northeast Region, on the Thai/Cambodian Border.
---Ubon Ratchathani 'Candle Festival'
- July 13-14. The streets are filled with processions of huge, beautifully carved beeswax candles, some of them several meters tall, to be presented at temples.

Southern Region
-Narathiwat -
in Thailand's far Southeast, on the Malay Border.
---Narathiwat Fair -
Week-long festival in September, featuring boat races, 'Dove-Singing', and handcrafts. The King and Queen even attend it.

-Phuket - World-famous beach destination.
---Vegetarian Festival - A nine-day celebration in September that features everything from Vegetarian Food to Self-Mutilation. Celebrated in Phuket and Trang.
---Phuket King's Cup Regatta (29th November - 6th December 2003)- Usually starts on the first Saturday of December. This is Southeast Asia's leading regatta, and it's held in the waters off of Phuket.

2. Important National / Public Holidays - Most of these holidays are celebrated throughout the country.

The Queen's Birthday - August 12th
The King's Birthday - December 5th

1 January - New Year's Day
3 March - Makha Bucha Day
5 March - Substitution for Macha Bucha Day
6 April - Chakri Memorial
1 May - Labour Day
5 May - Coronation Day
7 May - Substitution for Coronation Day
11 May - Ploughing Day
31 May - Visakha Bucha Day
29 July - Asarnha Bucha Day
30 July - Buddhist Lent Day
12 August - H.M. The Queen's Birthday
13 August - Substitution Day for H.M. The Queen's Birthday
23 October - Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
5 December - H.M. The King's Birthday
10 December - Constitution Day
31 December - New Year's Eve


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