Bangkok to Beijing Train Nears Reality As Trial Run Progresses

Traveling from Bangkok to Beijing by train is becoming a closer reality as Thailand moves forward with plans to expand its rail network.

Thailand is set to run a trial service from Bangkok to Laos’ capital Vientiane on July 13 and 14, as announced by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).

According to Ekarat Sriarayanphong, an official at the railway agency, the forthcoming link will enhance transportation connections with both neighboring Laos and China once it becomes operational.

With the establishment of the Thailand-Laos route, it will be possible to travel by rail from Bangkok to Beijing, with stops in Vientiane and Kunming, a southern Chinese city with a semi-high-speed service to Beijing.

Spanning approximately 2,000 miles (3,218 kilometers) across challenging mountainous terrain, the journey is expected to take nearly an entire day, in contrast to just under five hours by a direct flight.

China and Laos are already connected by a high-speed train, which facilitates the transportation of Thai goods to Kunming. This rail link has reduced delivery times to China to 15 hours, compared to the two days required for trucks navigating the mountainous roads.

Thailand aims to enhance its connectivity with China, its principal trading partner, as a strategy to stimulate economic growth that has been trailing behind its regional counterparts.

During the first 11 months of last year, Thailand’s exports to China amounted to nearly $32 billion, with key exports including fruits and rubber products, according to official statistics.

Meanwhile, imports from China reached $65.3 billion, predominantly in sectors such as electrical equipment and machinery.

In addition to trade, the two countries are strengthening their tourism relations. Chinese visitors are allowed a 60-day stay in Thailand, while Thai tourists can stay for up to 30 days in China.

The tourism industry is anticipated to receive an additional boost from a separate, though significantly delayed, initiative aiming to connect Thailand and China via high-speed rail through Laos by 2028.