The Kanchanaburi Excursion Train is a special departure from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station only on Saturdays, Sundays and designated public holidays, targeted at domestic tourists who wish to head to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok for a day trip. This being said, the fare for this train is also extremely affordable starting from 120 Baht per person. For a day trip lasting around 13 hours from morning to night, this is indeed probably the best deal in the world.
The Excursion Train departs from Hua Lamphong Railway Station at 6.30am. However, tickets always sell out, so get your tickets in advance. Unfortunately, there isn’t any online booking possibilities for this train at the moment, so you have to either go to any SRT station to buy it physically, or hope that you have a Thai friend willing to help you pre-purchase the ticket 60 days in advance. There is designated seating for this train.
And ensure that you inform your taxi driver that you are heading for Hua Lamphong Railway Station. All other ordinary trains to Kanchanaburi departs from Thonburi Railway Station.
This train runs combined with the Suan Son Pradipat (Hua Hin) Excursion Train between Bangkok and Nong Pladuk Junction.
Departing for Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi from the grand Hua Lamphong station.
Special Excursion Train 909/911 to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi and Suan Son Pradipat is good to go for an on time departure.
Ensure that you are in the correct car number, or else there might be heading to your unintended destination.
To Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi
Car 1: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class (กซข.74/BPD.74)
Car 2: Air-Conditioned Second Class (กซม.ป62/APN.62)
Car 3: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class (กซข.74/BPD.74)
Car 4: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class (กซข.74/BPD.74)
To Hua Hin and Suan Son Pradipat
Car 5: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class (กซข.74/BPD.74)
Car 6: Air-Conditioned Second Class (กซม.ป62/APN.62)
Car 6/1: Air-Conditioned Second Class (กซม.ป62/APN.62)
Car 7: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class (กซข.74/BPD.74)
Car 1: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi
Car 2: Air-Conditioned Second Class to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi
Car 3: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi
Car 4: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi
IMPORTANT: While it looks like a single long train, the split happens between Cars 4 and 5. Ensure you are on the correct side of the train. If in doubt, remain in your seat.
Car 6: Air-Conditioned Second Class to Hua Hin and Suan Son Pradipat
Car 6/1: Air-Conditioned Second Class to Hua Hin and Suan Son Pradipat
Car 7: Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class to Hua Hin and Suan Son Pradipat
My ticket for this trip. Two tickets are provided for this round-trip excursion train, one for each direction. Note that for the train to Kanchanaburi, just stick with the cheapest third class and not the air-conditioned second class, or else you will miss out on all the great views and fresh air.
Turning left to the southern line after departing from Bang Sue Junction.
Crossing over the Rama VI Bridge.
Shortly after departure from Taling Chan Junction, the train conductor turns into your local tour guide and talks about the first stop of the day: Nakhon Pathom.
Oh, and by local, I meant everything is in Thai. Just smile and nod.
The train stops at Nakhon Pathom for 40 minutes. You can choose to go to the Phra Pathom Chedi Buddhist Temple to pray if you wish, or to shop around for food and souvenirs.
The Phra Pathom Chedi is just 5 minutes away from the station by foot.
Phra Pathom Chedi is the second-tallest stupa in the world at 120.5 meters tall. It is popularly known as the site where Buddhism was first introduced into Thailand two thousand years ago, however, this fact is largely disputed by modern historians, with the temple being a principal one during the 6th to 8th centuries.
If you wish to grab breakfast, there is a wide range of street food available throughout the entire stretch from Nakhon Pathom Railway Station to Phra Pathom Chedi. And at very local prices ranging from 5 to 20 Baht for the usual street food items, you could accidentally turn this into a breakfast buffet instead.
If you require Halal food, there is a 7 Eleven at the road junction of the railway station.
The Excursion Train departs Nakhon Pathom at 8.20am.
Passing by Wat Phrong Madua after Phrong Madua Railway Station.
Nearing Nong Pladuk Junction, the train staff prepares to split Special Excursion Trains 909 and 911 to head to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi and Suan Son Pradipat respectively.
Goodbye Special Excursion 911, see you later in the evening when you become Special Excursion 912.
With about half an hour to go to River Kwai Bridge, the conductor continues his tour speech about our next stop. Really wished I understood though, as all the other passengers were ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and laughing at some of his jokes. The only words I kept hearing was Kanchanaburi and Saphan Kwai.
Afterwards, a catering staff comes around to take orders for dinner.
And here’s the English menu. No price differences or scams here.
Point or tell your order to the guy and pay him, he will deliver your meal to your seat later in the evening.
The disused River Kwai Bridge train.
Surprisingly, the train only made a stop of a few seconds to exchange tokens and a log book. This is faster than a Special Express and probably way faster than the Eastern and Oriental Express.
Taking the curve to River Kwai Bridge station.
The Excursion Train stops at River Kwai Bridge station for 25 minutes for photo-taking.
There are souvenirs sold on both sides of the platform.
Unlike most countries, you are most welcome to take photos in front of the train and on the track at River Kwai Bridge station. Do make sure that the train has come to a complete stop though, if not you may walk away with an arm and a leg missing.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai, as popularly known, had a slight issue with it’s name initially – there wasn’t a railway bridge over the River Kwai. This bridge actually crosses the Mae Klong River. However, to adapt to popular culture and tourism, this section of the Mae Klong is now known as the Kwai Yai River (east) and the real nearby River Kwai, the Kwai Noi River (west).
While the curved beams are parts of the original bridge, the straight truss types in the middle are replacements by the Thai Government to repair the damage done during World War II.
Across the river lies the Tha Ma Kham Temple with the Chinese Soldier Tomb situated behind it.
Some floating restaurants near the bridge.
This is probably the only guide rail which is de-rusted as if a train passes on it frequently, thanks to the number of visitors walking on the bridge and stepping on it.
The bridge on the station side is marked by two bombs. Hmm.
On the left of the station, lies a small display of trains used during the war.
In front of this outdoor display, there is a small cluster of food stalls. I didn’t try it because I was still full from my unintentional breakfast buffet at Nakhon Pathom.
There is a little hut as the ticket counter for a special train. This is NOT the Special Excursion Train but rather a special car attached to the Ordinary 257 inclusive of meals and a certificate for 300 Baht.
If you wish to get on the Ordinary 257 to Nam Tok, you can buy a regular ticket from the regular ticket counter for 100 Baht.
The Excursion Train departs River Kwai Bridge station at 10.00am.
A nice surprise from the train staff – since this is an excursion train, they opened the front door for photos to be taken.
Crossing the Bridge Over the River Kwai at 5km/h.
If you find yourself stuck on the bridge with a train coming right at you, head for one of the side platforms to wait.
Please don’t do this.
You really wouldn’t want your Instagram shot to be Exhibit A when claiming your hospital bills, if you manage to survive.
Once cleared from the bridge, the train maintains its speed of around 80km/h.
The first preview of a manually-cut rock along the railway.
Passing by the real River Kwai, now known as the Kwai Noi River. The railway does not cross the Kwai Noi River.
Making a short stop at Tha Kilen station to drop off passengers heading for the Mueang Sing Historical Park tour.
Next, the train prepares to enter the Tham Krasae Bridge or Wang Pho Viaduct.
Yay, a clear view of the ride ahead!
What’s the difference if you hold it close to you versus holding it straight ahead if you have the entire view?
Oh, and I overlooked this during the trip – at least PRESS THE RECORD BUTTON if you want to record your video.
This is me stretching my hands out and shooting blind without my viewfinder. Luckily my aim worked.
The land section of the track has been modernized with concrete sleepers already.
This is why most online reviews advise you to sit on the left of the train – you get a free facial if you stick your head out on the right side of the train.
On the Tham Krasae Bridge, the train travels 5 times slower than on the River Kwai Bridge – at a leisurely 1km/h.
Even on such a short section, the sleepers have been changed to concrete. Not bad.
Passing by the Tham Krasae Cave which houses a Buddha statue.
Exiting the viaduct and entering Tham Krasae Railway Station.
The train makes a short stop to alight passengers going on the Sai Yok Adventure Park tour.
Making a short stop at Wang Pho, but the doors were not unlocked for boarding or alighting.
Many people take the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi but totally miss out the highlight of the railway line from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok.
Be careful of your head though.
Passing by on top of a short viaduct on approach to Nam Tok.
Making a short stop at Nam Tok for those who wish to make the journey to the waterfall by foot (yes, there was actually quite a few people who did that).
Contrary to the regular train timetable, the end of the line is not Nam Tok Railway Station but Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi. The Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Excursion Train is the only train which goes to the actual end of the railway line.
And because the staff sensed that I was camping up front of the train for this journey, they kindly opened the door for me. I was like an excited dog on a car ride with the windows down.
Please cross faster. (The driver actually slowed down without sounding the horn.)
A modern steel viaduct on this section of the line.
Ouch, that’s sharp.
Approaching Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Railway Station, the true last station of the line.
Only the diesel railcar Excursion Train can enter this station due to the weight and length, and should a locomotive-hauled train enter anyway, there is no loop line for the locomotive to run around to the other end.
Should the Excursion Train be substituted with a locomotive-hauled train during days of maintenance, the train will terminate its service at Nam Tok.
The train crawled to a stop, 4 sleepers short of the first stalls in the area.
End of the line: COMPLETED
The train arrived at Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi at 12pm, half an hour late from schedule. Nevertheless, the layover here lasts for 3 hours on schedule, and now it’s just 2 and a half. Still more than enough time.
The water source for the Nam Tok Waterfall is 1.2km away. No thanks.
In front of the Excursion Train lies a Japanese C56 locomotive on display, before the actual ceremonial buffer stop.
Some information on the waterfall which looks more like an ad instead. To dtac’s credit though, the forest coverage was good throughout the journey from Bangkok.
The ceremonial end of the line.
The buffer stop is also an information plate for the C56.
Walking to the waterfall.
And here it is: the Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Waterfall.
Though the point that got me sold for this train is probably the end of the railway line. Sorry, nature.
In front of the waterfall lies a free-to-use pool.
If you would like to rent a float, regardless of size, just drop 20 Baht into the trust box tied to the bamboo pole and help yourself to one. The owner will pick up the cash once he awakes from his slumber.
Around the area below, there are some flat areas to have a picnic.
A photo spot to say you’ve been here.
You can also walk up some steps to see the waterfall up close. Do ensure that you be careful though.
I walked back to the station for a cleaner shot now that everyone should be roaming around.
If only the C56 was hauling the Excursion Train.
While Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi station is on an incline, no worries about the train disappearing as on top of the train’s brakes, the staff has placed two wheel scotches at the down-gradient end of the train in case all 32 brakes fail.
The overall map of the area.
All national flags of ASEAN as flown outside the police station.
Across the road, there is a local market for food and drinks.
There is also an OTOP (One Tambon One Product) shop here selling homemade sausages (pork). If there is something that you would like which is popular and unique to the Tambon (sub-district), just look out for this logo.
For Halal food, there is a roti stall in front of this OTOP shop. And also a 7 Eleven.
Heading back to the station to head back to Bangkok.
The train guard holds the Special Excursion 910 as passengers board the train bound for Bangkok.
The Special Excursion 910 departs Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi at 2.45pm.
Do not be late as there doesn’t seem to be any alternative transport around.
Goodbye Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi.
Picking up some passengers at Nam Tok who probably walked from the waterfall back here.
Now that my first coach has become the last, the door behind remains open for photos and for better air flow within the train car.
Inside the fireman’s cab. Even the tailboard is tagged to the train pair.
Must be great to be a driver on this route.
Modern steel viaducts replaces wooden ones that are not on the touristy areas to speed up train services and ease maintenance. These use continuously welded rails now, can you believe it?
Passing through a rock cutting before Wang Pho.
I gotta admit, passing by the new viaducts at this new speed feels a little scary when you are at the end of the train.
Making a brief stop at Wang Pho.
The train makes a stop at Tham Krasae station to get clearance to enter the Tham Krasae Bridge, this time travelling at 5km/h.
An excellent view of the Kwai Yai River (formerly part of the Mae Klong River).
The train makes another stop at Tham Krasae Bridge station to pick up passengers coming back from the Sai Yok Adventure Park tour.
The train then made a 10-minute stop at Tha Kilen Railway Station to pick up the passengers from the Mueang Sing Historical Park tour and for the rest of the passengers to buy refreshments and souvenirs.
The ticket hall of the station.
Some dried fruits and soft drinks on sale at local prices.
There are also packaged food and drinks at the station kiosk.
You can also get souvenirs such as clothes, postcards or music CDs at the shop within the station.
The best attraction for me, however, …
… was to be given permission by the station master to enter his office to take photos of the token machines.
Unfortunately, as the token was already issued, there wasn’t any activity in the office.
More excellent views on the way.
Another rock cutting on the way back to Kanchanaburi.
Crossing back onto the Bridge Over the River Kwai.
Bypassing River Kwai Bridge station to head straight for Kanchanaburi Railway Station.
The train arrived at Kanchanaburi Railway Station at around 4pm for passengers to visit the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
You can choose to take a leisurely 10 minute walk to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, or get onto a waiting Songthaew for a 5 minute ride.
A trip with the Songthaew costs 10 Baht for a round trip to be paid directly to the driver.
Remember your Songthaew number as you need to get on the same one back to the station. And since all of them looks the same, it’s best to take a photo.
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is the main prisoner of war (POW) cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Death Railway. 6,982 Australian, British, and Dutch POWs are buried here, mainly Christian. Two graves contain the ashes of 300 men who were cremated.
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery gives the names of 11 from India who are buried in Muslim cemeteries somewhere else.
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is a solemn place and should be treated with respect.
Some information around the cemetery which details the sufferings of the POWs during the construction of the Death Railway. It must be remembered that without their sacrifice, this railway line would not have come into service.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Following the visit, find your Songthaew for the ride back to the station.
Outside the station, there is another steam locomotive on display.
There are also two carts selling two of the most important Thai snacks: I-san Sausages and Coconut Ice Cream.
I-san sausages here go for 1 Baht a piece. Packs of 20 are available, but feel free to choose how many you actually want. This version comes stuffed with sticky rice. And please be nice and order a regular number, not something like 173 pieces.
I’m not sure what those eggs are though.
A small cup of coconut ice cream consisting of 2 scoops with sticky rice and peanuts goes for 10 Baht.
The train departs Kanchanaburi Railway Station at 4.53pm.
A short while later, the train stops near a cluster of houses to pick up our dinner.
Merging back to the main line before Nong Pladuk Junction.
While it looks like a double track sector, these are two independent tracks which will merge at Nong Pladuk Junction together with the Suphan Buri branch.
Entering the loop line of Nong Pladuk Junction to wait for the special Excursion 912 from Suan Son Pradipat.
The Special Excursion 912 combining in front of the Special Excursion 910.
Passing by Wat Phrong Madua.
Sunset at Phrong Madua.
Bypassing Nakhon Pathom. Indeed more special than a Special Express.
And dinner is served!
A train staple would definitely be Kuay Teow, and of course I didn’t miss it this time as well. 20 Baht.
What I thought would just be one big piece of Ha Mok Pla (Thai-style Fish Otah) turned out to be 4 instead. Whoops. 60 Baht for 4 pieces.
And not forgetting my favourite dessert to eat on a train – Khanom Mo Kaeng, a traditional baked Thai coconut and egg custard dessert. 35 Baht for one, or 100 Baht for three if you wish to share or take away some.
All food has to be pre-ordered in the morning with only limited packs of Kuay Teow available for immediate sales in the evening.
Bypassing the Siam Gypsy Market near Bang Son.
Arrived back at Bangkok Hua Lamphong at 9pm, 95 minutes off schedule. Over at the next platform, a set of SRT crew gets ready to take the Special Express 23 Isan Wattana to Ubon Ratchathani.
Overall, the trip covered all important sights along the railway line and even factors in a longer stopping time at attractions exactly like a holiday tour instead of a regular train service.
Would I recommend this to everyone and even take this again?
In a heartbeat. At less than S$5, this could potentially be the best value day tour in the world.
Special Excursion Train 909/910 Fares
Non-Air-Conditioned Third Class (กซข.74/BPD.74): 120 Baht
Air-Conditioned Second Class (กซม.ป62/APN.62): 240 Baht
How do I book the Special Excursion Train 909/910 from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Waterfall online?
You cannot book Excursion Train tickets online. Tickets are only sold at SRT ticket counters, and are open for sale 60 days before departure.