Scoot Airlines TR291: Bangkok Don Mueang to Singapore by ScootBiz

Coming from my 5 Baht train ride from Bangkok city, I went to check in for my Scoot flight to Singapore, this time on board ScootBiz.

Scoot has a portal to Bid 4 Biz for a price that you’re comfortable with, between $70 to $300 for the flight from Bangkok to Singapore. Being cheap, I went to bid for the lowest price for the upgrade, and surprisingly got it considering the only add-on which I paid for last minute was for a seat assignment in Economy Class.

Well, till I saw the load factor once on board.

Scoot’s check in desks are at Row 6.

Das right.

Hope this won’t be a trend for me now or else my wallet will cry.

My receipt boarding pass for my Business Class flight back.

Since my initial purchase was just for the flight and seat, this $70 bid adds a 30kg check-in allowance, 2 pieces of hand-carry baggage, BoardMeFirst, in-flight meal, power socket and ScooTV*.

*More on this later.

Still made it in good time for my flight despite the short train delay earlier.

Immigration at Don Mueang at this timing was a little slower than my arrival, with the ASEAN lane closed. It took around 20 minutes to clear immigration and customs.

My plane to Singapore has already arrived from Tokyo. TR291 makes a 2-hour layover at Bangkok Don Mueang. Do consider this long layover timing if you are planning to take this from Tokyo to Singapore.

As compared with the newer Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang has only one main duty free store, which did not sell Mango Sticky Rice. *sob*

But I did find Mango Sticky Rice at Cafe Ritazza near Gate 23 for 180 Baht.

And since a certain country has the highest tourist numbers for Thailand, look out for rolling children and adults on the floor, or sprawled out oversized hand carry luggage when trying to repack after customs for who-knows-what reason.

Even one of the shops are catered for such dried goods to be brought back.

Luckily, since the airport was smaller than Suvarnabhumi, it was a short walk to the gates, at least for my flight.

My flight would be departing from Gate 26, the last gate at the end of this pier. Still barely a 5-minute walk from customs though.

Scoot and NokScoot.

The former Singapore Airlines and Scoot Boeing 777-200ER, now with NokScoot.

Nok Air + Scoot = NokScoot

Once boarding calls commenced, I decided to board first to get my $70 worth. To which the lady at the boarding gate told me to keep my Mango Sticky Rice in my bag for who-knows-what reason.

Unless the no outside food policy applies to Business Class passengers too? Hmm.

Surprisingly, only one aerobridge was in use for the Boeing 787.

My seat for this trip. Yes, the first row of the cabin would have offered an immense amount of legroom but I still prefer underseat storage.

Here’s the amount of space you get on the front row.

The ScootBiz cabin on the 787-8 seats 21 passengers in 3 rows, with a 2-3-2 configuration.

Before departure, the stewardess came along to serve me with my welcome drink – a 135ml cup of mineral water.

My meal order was also taken at this time, as Bid 4 Biz passengers do not have the option to choose meals online. That also means all the premium options are not available, since they have to be pre-booked more than 24 hours before departure, whereas my upgrade confirmation was done 24 hours before departure.

The windows were slightly tinted during boarding to give a slightly cozy atmosphere together with the Boeing Sky Interior. Honestly, I thought it was about to rain till I realised it was the window tint.

The view from my seat. This was the total load for ScootBiz on my flight.

Damn, shouldn’t have pre-purchased that seat assignment as backup.

Upon pushback, the Boeing Sky Interior changes to blue, together with a slightly brighter white lighting to match the external sunlight.

Passing by the Kantarat Golf Course to Runway 21L, the outer runway.

Bye Bangkok!

Please don’t hit your golf balls into my engine.

Looking back at Don Mueang Airport and the future Airport Link and Red Line.

Flying out of mainland Thailand.

Shortly after take-off, the crew comes around to hand out ScooTV access codes for entertainment during the flight.

Key in your details and the provided access code.

Unfortunately, ScooTV didn’t work for me no matter which show I choose. Even after disconnecting and connecting to the WiFi, uninstalling and reinstalling the app, and having the stewardess check on the connection for me, apparently I was the only one who couldn’t watch it.

Oh well, didn’t really need it anyway.

At least the much needed power socket was switched on.

Shortly after, the crew came around with my meal. Alcoholic drink choices are included as well.

Kind of regretted ordering the Beef and Mushroom Lasagna now. Should have asked the stewardess what she would have instead.

Yup, I thought it was tomato soup at first. Can’t see any trace of cheese anywhere.

We were clear for landing quite early, before scheduled time. It was a quick and almost straight line descend into Changi Airport.

Passing by the Senai-Desaru Bridge.

Crossing back into Singapore.

A former Tigerair A320 now in a hybrid Tigerair and Scoot livery.

Unlike full service airline’s Business Class, the curtains separating Economy Class and ScootBiz were not closed to allow ScootBiz passengers to disembark first, but rather having a free-for-all disembarking flow.

Now for the breakdown on whether this S$70 is worth it or not.

  • 30kg check-in allowance: S$44
  • 2 pieces of cabin baggage: S$24
  • BoardMeFirst: S$6
  • In-Flight Meal: S$21 (assuming paired with wine)
  • Power Socket: S$5
  • ScooTV: US$11 (approximately S$15)

Total cost of add-ons if purchased separately in Economy Class: $115

On first look, it looks pretty value for money considering you get to sit in a ScootBiz seat as well.

Now let’s look what I actually used, ignoring the price I paid for my initial seat assignment.

  • 20kg check-in allowance: S$24 (Champion me came back from Bangkok with a 5.4kg bag.)
  • BoardMeFirst: S$6
  • In-Flight Meal: S$21 (paired with wine)
  • Power Socket: S$5

Total cost of add-ons I used: $56

Remember that ScooTV was not working for me, if not the cost would have been $71 – a dollar more than the price I paid for the upgrade. This means I paid $14 to change from sitting in an Economy Class seat versus a slightly bigger ScootBiz seat. As compared with Malindo, the ScootBiz seat was slimmer and legroom slightly lesser.

As many online reviews compare it to, it’s like a Premium Economy product. Unfortunately, I’ve never flown on Premium Economy before so I’m unable to provide such a comparison.

Would I use ScootBiz again?

Perhaps for a slightly longer flight eg. from Taiwan, if the bidding price is the same. For a short flight from Bangkok to Singapore, I’m comfortable enough with Economy Class, carrying my small bag by myself throughout the journey and to have a meal which definitely does not cost $21 before or after the flight. The passengers who didn’t Bid 4 Biz, leaving a half-empty ScootBiz cabin, probably made a wiser choice.


Ordinary 211: Bangkok Hua Lamphong to Don Mueang Airport by Train

While the actual Don Mueang Airport Rail Link isn’t up yet, the existing railway on the North and Northeastern Lines pass right outside the airport. And since the railway departs from central Bangkok, easily accessible by the MRT Blue Line, this is certainly my choice to get to the airport.

At a fare of just 5 Baht (S$0.20), this is indeed a steal.

The Ordinary 211 departs Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station at 12.55pm, with a journey time of around 1 hour, which makes it perfect for my Scoot flight departing at 3.50pm. The final destination of this train is Taphan Hin.

The Ordinary 211 is formed by u-turning the rake of the Ordinary 202 from Taphan Hin, which departed in the morning.

A quick flip of the destination board later by one of the station staff and the train is good to go back to Don Mueang and Taphan Hin.

The interior of the refurbished non-air-conditioned Third Class coaches.

About 10 minutes prior to departure, the locomotive pulls in to haul the train northbound.

Hitachi 4518 will take the train to Bang Sue Junction.

At 12.55pm, the locomotive sounded her horn and off we went right on time.

A few seconds after, the conductor comes around to check tickets.

Exiting Hua Lamphong station.

Goodbye Bangkok jam.

And speaking of jam, there’s a lady who hawks her jam-filled sandwiches on board the train at just 5 Baht each (S$0.20).

My Sangkaya (Thai pandan custard) triple-decker sandwich for an on-board snack. And for such a price, it’s surprisingly generously filled throughout, not just the middle part which you can see the filling.

You can find this auntie plying on Ordinary trains between Sam Sen and Bang Sue Junction. Do buy a sandwich from her if you see her passing by your seat! It’s only 5 Baht!

Entering Bang Sue Junction with the new viaduct to Bang Sue Central.

The Hitachi and dead Alstom locomotive decouples from the rake and heads back to Bang Sue Locomotive Depot, which was replaced by another Alstom locomotive.

Passing by the highway to Don Mueang and the unfinished Hopewell columns.

Once the train departs Lak Si Railway Station, you can prepare to get your bags to get off the train.

If that fails, just look out on the right side when the airport and planes come into view.

The Ordinary 211 train ride took 65 minutes, 16 minutes off schedule due to the locomotive swap at Bang Sue Junction. Do factor in such delays if you are taking a train to the airport. Still faster than the BTS and Airport Bus combination though.

Do remember to get all your belongings and prepare to alight quickly – this is not a dedicated airport link and the train still has a schedule to catch. The train stops at Don Mueang Railway Station for one minute only.

For Ordinary trains from Bangkok Hua Lamphong to Don Mueang, fares are 5 baht (SGD 0.20) for foreigners and free for Thai citizens. If you wish to start from Bang Sue, fares are 3 baht (SGD 0.12) for foreigners and free for Thai citizens. 

Different fares apply for trains classified Rapid (still affordable), Express (may be affordable or otherwise, depending on available classes and what your perception is) and Special Express (prohibitively expensive).

Northbound trains stop at Platform 2. Cross back to Platform 1 to use the ramp up to the airport linkbridge.

Ascend the same ramp up to the bridge.

Turn left to access Don Mueang Airport.

At the lift ahead, go up to Level 3 for the Departure Hall.

From here, I headed to check-in for my flight, which probably didn’t match my mode of transport to the airport.

BTS Sukhumvit Line: Samrong Extension

On Nut and Bearing are now downgraded to the ranks of an intermediate station with the new BTS extension to Samrong! The new Samrong station is one of nine stations under the BTS Sukhumvit Line’s Bearing – Samut Prakan extension, which was sped up to better serve the community at Samrongnuea. The remaining eight stations to Kheha are expected to open next year.

The full length of the dynamic route map by CRRC Changchun, now rendered insufficient.

Samrong is served by a sticker instead of a lighted route map.

A new LED screen installed at Bearing. It may be due to some trains still terminating at Bearing to provide empty trains to pick up passengers there during peak hours, but I’m not 100% sure.

The full-red dynamic route map as the train travels ahead to Samrong.

Quite a healthy crowd to Samrong considering that I got this shot at around 11pm at night. Most of the passengers still got off at Bearing though.

Welcome to Samrong!

Samrong BTS Station is also the only non-cross-platform-interchange station with an island platform.

An off-service Siemens Modular Metro stabling at Samrong.

The updated route map at Samrong, featuring the extension to Kheha.

The interior of the now-empty train back to the city and to Mo Chit.

The switched-off dynamic route map just before departure from Samrong.

The almost-full green dymanic route map before and upon arrival at Bearing. (The map would be blinking red at Bearing on the way there.)

While the new extension seems to be targeting more on the neighbourhoods, you can still alight at Samrong to visit Imperial World Samrong, a big local shopping mall away from the tourist prices. But since I made the trip at 11pm, I didn’t get to see it for myself.

MRT Blue Line: Happy Blue Line Train

With the opening of the Tao Poon Extension, the Happy Blue Line theme spreads not only the sector where the Blue Line can breathe easily overground but throughout the line as well, with the Happy Blue Line themed train!

Every advertising space available inside the train is taken up by the Happy Blue Line theme.

The Blue Line progresses from the fully underground sector within Bangkok to linking to the Purple Line to access Nonthaburi province.

On the outside, the Happy Blue Line train carries a smile on her face.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to take this train all the way to Tao Poon to get an exterior shot, but hopefully next time on my next trip to Bangkok.

MRT Purple Line: Tao Poon to Khlong Bang Phai by Train

With the MRT Blue Line extension to Tao Poon, connecting to the MRT Purple Line is now way easier as compared to the previous bus or train transfer. The MRT Purple Line is the newest mass transit line in Bangkok and is the first to serve Nonthaburi province towards the northwest, so there’s now more places to explore instead of the typical Chatuchak or CentralWorld.

Follow the signs to the escalators up to the Purple Line platforms.

The Purple Line consists of 16 stations with an end-to-end travel time of around 40 minutes.

Passing over Bang Son station of the future SRT Red Line, an interchange station with the same namesake of the MRT Purple Line.

With the extension of the Blue Line to Tao Poon enabling easier transfers, the ridership of the Purple Line has also significantly increased as compared to my previous joyride.

The MRT Purple Line operates with 21 3-car trainsets manufactured by Japan Transport Engineering Company (J-TREC) (formerly known as Tokyu Car Corporation), a subsidiary of East Japan Railway Company (JR East). This is J-TREC’s first overseas project and the second project after the new E235 Series for the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, Japan.

Here are some additional features of the J-TREC sustina which were not mentioned in my previous blog post.

The doors closing buzzer and light are found beside the doors. This allows for the deaf to know which side the door is going to close on, instead of having a generic in-train announcement throughout.

A safety strap is provided for passengers-in-wheelchair, similar to existing standards for the BTS and MRT.

I’m not a fan of the gangway design though, there is a high risk of pinching if you are leaning on it.

Passing by another J-TREC sustina.

After Phra Nangklao Bridge station, the train crosses over the Chao Phraya River over the bridge with the same namesake.

The existing road bridge lies beside the train viaducts.

The Bangkok skyline over the Maha Chesadabodindranusorn Bridge.

Across the river, some greenery can be seen, as if you are riding a train out of Bangkok. Oh wait – it is out of Bangkok.

Passing by CentralPlaza WestGate, which size and tenants puts the one at Jurong East to shame.

Approaching the end of the line.

To cater to the higher standing capacity at the gangway area with no seats, common sense prevailed by putting 4 rows of handstraps in place.

Of course, this smart design is found in trains produced in Yokohama.

At Khlong Bang Phai, the train moves ahead to the cripple siding before returning to the opposite platform to head back to Tao Poon.

The platforms at Khlong Bang Phai.

The Khlong Bang Phai Depot is located just beside the station, with track access both before and after the station.

The MRT Purple Line offers new places to explore, but that’s not all. The Purple Line is expected to serve Bangkok’s old quarter well once the extension to Rat Burana is completed in 2024, passing by the Democracy Monument, Golden Mount and Wang Burapha near Yaowarat.

MRT Blue Line: Tao Poon Extension

The MRT Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line or more commonly known as MRT Blue Line commenced operations on the extension to Tao Poon on 11 August 2017, enabling through integrated travel and fares between the MRT Blue Line and the once-seperated MRT Chalong Ratchadham Line or MRT Purple Line, boosting the ridership numbers on the MRT Purple Line immensely.

The former terminus of the Blue Line at Bang Sue, now an intermediate interchange station with the State Railway of Thailand Northern, Northeastern and Southern Lines.

Lots of Happy Blue Line banners around the station celebrating this extension. With this extension, the once fully-underground Blue Line can also see daylight in passenger service for the first time in 13 years.

Signs pointing to the new terminal at Tao Poon.

Welcome to the overground, Blue Line.

Tao Poon is currently a one-station extension completed urgently to connect to the Purple Line. The final terminus of this extension in 2 years time will be Tha Phra, with the Blue Line interchanging with itself for the extension from Hua Lamphong to Lak Song.

The Blue Line train terminating at the overground Tao Poon station.

The format of the signs at Tao Poon are also matching with the new Purple Line.

The Blue Line is located one level below the Purple Line. There isn’t much confusion now as only one platform is used for the Blue Line, so just follow the signs to and from the Purple Line. However, this will change once the extension to Tha Phra is completed as the Blue Line operates with side platforms at Tao Poon.

The Tao Poon tunnel portal of the Blue Line.

Happy Blue Line!

The Blue Line returning to the underground sector.

Exterior shots of Blue Line trains are now possible with this overground extension.

To get back down to the Blue Line, just follow the many signs around.

Lots of Happy Blue Line branding around Tao Poon too.

The Blue Line train entering Tao Poon.

The MRT Blue Line extension to Tao Poon certainly improves connectivity to the outskirts of Bangkok and offers more convenient access to places of interests such as Siam Gypsy Market at Bang Son and CentralPlaza WestGate at Talad Bang Yai with the convenient interchange to the Purple Line.

If there was a downside, it would probably mean a tighter squeeze on trains on both the Blue and Purple Lines now.

Special Excursion 909/910: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Waterfall by Excursion Train

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.

Here’s the local menu.

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.

Approaching Kanchanaburi.

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.

Hi guys!

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!

Oh, c’mon.

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.

Bye Kanchanaburi.

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.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link Reconfigured Express Line Train

With the suspension of the Express Line services between Suvarnabhumi Airport and Makkasan/Phaya Thai in September 2014 due to insufficient rolling stock and possibly low passenger numbers, the Express Line Siemens Desiro Class 360/2 rolling stock can be now commonly found operating on the City Line with a new seating configuration to boost the overall capacity of the Airport Rail Link.

This time, I’ve managed to score a ride on the sole Express Line trainset with a wraparound of the various projects initiated by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol.

The most noticeable difference on the recongifured Express Line sets are the blue handgrips in place of the yellow handstraps.

Always get a train to the airport yo.

The route map has also been replaced with the City Line map.

Interior-wise, the train still keeps the baggage rack by the doors originally for Express Line passengers. However, the yellow stanchions and longitudinal seats are those of the City Line, and would probably look the same to a typical passenger just boarding another train.

The reconfigured Express Line set departing Lat Krabang station. All 4 Express Line trainsets have been reconfigured.

The train making her final right turn into Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The new configuration allows an additional 400 passengers by design to board the train as there is now more standing space.

With the increased capacity of the reconfigured trains and having both Express Line and City Line trainsets to operate on the single City Line, the overall capacity of the Airport Rail Link is now boosted in the interim.

Ordinary 208: Don Mueang Airport to Bangkok Hua Lamphong by Train

Don Mueang is the older and smaller airport of Bangkok, which is not yet served by a dedicated airport rail link. Or is it?

While there’s plenty of taxis or bus options to get to the nearest BTS or MRT station or even the city itself, RailTravel Station, being RailTravel Station, chose to travel by train after the arrival of my flight.

From the arrival hall of the international terminal, ascend the overhead bridge leading to the railway station and Amari Don Mueang Hotel.

Exit before you enter the hotel portion of the bridge to the side door pointing towards trains.

Walk the non-airconditioned portion of the bridge to the middle point.

The actual Don Mueang Airport Rail Link is under construction beside the existing railway.

Descend down the ramp where the sign points to the Bangkok Bound Platform.

The gentle ramp is suitable for travellers with all kinds of baggage. Even if you’re heading towards northern and northeastern destinations such as Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai or Nong Khai, you should use this ramp as the northbound platform comes only with a set of unsheltered stairs.

The main platform of Don Mueang Railway Station.

Get your ticket at the ticket counter.

For Ordinary trains from Don Mueang to Bangkok Hua Lamphong, fares are 5 baht (SGD 0.20) for foreigners and free for Thai citizens. If you wish to change to the MRT Blue Line at Bang Sue, fares are 3 baht (SGD 0.12) for foreigners and free for Thai citizens. 

Different fares apply for trains classified Rapid (still affordable), Express (may be affordable or otherwise, depending on available classes and what your perception is) and Special Express (prohibitively expensive).

My ticket for the ride to Bangkok’s main railway station.

The timetables on display at the station.

The northbound timetable. Click on the image to view the full size.

The southbound timetable to Bangkok. Click on the image to view the full size.

The platform is sufficiently cool to wait for the train. There is also a stall selling cold drinks at local prices (hint to anyone stuck at the airport) and another selling grilled snacks on a stick.

The Ordinary 208 arriving right on time. This train originated from Nakhon Sawan, which departed at 5am in the morning, while I was probably finishing my McDonald’s breakfast at Changi Airport at 6am Singapore time.

And since Don Mueang is just an intermediate station, the train was understandably full with only standing room available. But with a fare of 5 baht, even standing throughout the journey is a steal.

The train plies parallel to the highway from Don Mueang Airport to Bang Khen.

Looking at the progress of Bang Sue Central. Once this station is up, this cheapest airport rail link will terminate its service here, but by that time, you’ll probably just get on the actual Airport Rail Link and interchange at Phaya Thai for the BTS if you’re staying in the city.

Since there is heavy railway activity in Bangkok especially in the morning, it can be said that there was a traffic jam on rails. Trains are also usually timed to have two passing at one road crossing in order to reduce jams on the road, even if it’s just by a little.

Passing by the traffic jam on the roads.

Allowing a train from and to the Eastern Line to pass Yommarat Junction before my train can proceed on.


Sorry for your wait of 4 trains guys.

Arriving at Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

Some SRT photographers at the end of the platform. If you guys see this post, please tag me!

Arrived back at the grand Hua Lamphong Railway Station. Factoring in delays due to the traffic jam, both on rails and on road, the 22km journey took 80 minutes.

At 20 Singapore cents or 64 Malaysian sen, this is probably the cheapest paid airport rail link system in the world.

Scoot Airlines TR298: Singapore to Bangkok Don Mueang by Plane

After a short overnight nap at Changi Airport, I headed for breakfast and to the gate to catch my Scoot flight to Bangkok. This will be my first time flying with the new Scoot IATA code of TR after Tigerair was merged in.

My Scoot flight TR298 bound for Bangkok Don Mueang and thereafter to Osaka Kansai.

Since I was kind of late to reach the gate hold room, I just headed straight for the plane.

Two aerobridges were in use for the 787, and I was directed to use the first aerobridge leading to ScootBiz even though I was in the second Economy Class cabin behind.

Walking through the Scoot-In-Silence cabin, it’s quite clear which seat will not be the chosen one for a long-distance flight.

Blacklisted Scoot Boeing 787-800 Seat: 7A (Scoot-In-Silence)

Once I greeted my seat, I almost activated one of my pet peeves on board Scoot’s 787s – the call button on the armrests. Seriously, whoever designed this seat has probably not tried sitting in one before, and Scoot’s cabin crew may also agree with me on this. Even before the safety demonstration, the crew was already walking up and down the aisles responding to such unintentional calls.

Unlike most planes, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has electro-chromatic dimmable windows which means that window shades aren’t found on this plane. And since the cabin crew can also control these windows at a push of a button, there’s also no need to keep informing passengers to keep their window shades up during take-off and landing.

The original Scoot 787 parked beside it’s new A320 sibling.

The legroom available in Economy Class, feels like there is slightly more space than the usual seat pitch by regional LCCs.

With the Boeing Sky Interior fitted on 787s, Scoot switches to yellow during boarding.

The interior then changes to blue during the safety demonstration and for take-off.

Taxiing to the runway.

Flying above Changi Airport with the new Terminal 5 site in sight.

Maybe I’ve flown too much on A320s, but the missing individual air-conditioning outlets seems like a small disappointment for me. Good thing that the cabin was cool enough in general.

The clear untinted window in the air.

At the third and middle setting, the window provides a nice tinge of blue.

If you go to the fifth and darkest setting, there is still some light visible if you are close enough to the window. If this is a long-haul daylight flight, I wouldn’t be too comfortable with this. Furthermore, it took around 30 seconds to get to this darkness whereas with a physical window shade, it would probably take just a second.

Since all flights are non-smoking anyway, the No Smoking sign has been moved to a sticker on the seat instead of a lighted sign on top.

The slightly darkened cabin as most passengers wished to sleep during this early morning flight, whereas I was feeling energetic already, probably since I only had to wake up less than 2 hours before the departure time.

Slowing down and commencing our descend into Bangkok over Rayong.

A nice airplane glory on the clouds over Rayong and Pattaya. (Not to be confused with a full-circle rainbow.)

The cabin crew preparing the cabin for landing, with the Boeing Sky Interior switched back to blue once again.

Trainspotting from the sky: looking at the new MRT Purple Line Khlong Bang Phai terminal station and depot.

Descending into Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport.

Did you know? The greenery in the middle of Don Mueang’s two runways is actually the fully functioning Kantarat Golf Course.

A small preview of the upcoming Don Mueang Airport Rail Link and High Speed Rail station.

Before disembarking, I got a shot of another windowless seat which you should not choose on Scoot’s 788 unless you plan to sleep for the entire flight.

Blacklisted Scoot Boeing 787-800 Seats: 37A & 37K (Economy Class)

The interior of the aft cabin of Economy Class.

Don Mueang is the smaller and older airport of Bangkok which is mainly serves low cost carriers. (From Singapore, it’s Scoot, AirAsia and Thai Lion Air.) This also means it’s a shorter walk to immigration.

Looking back at my plane before it continues onwards to Osaka without me.

With a small airport, it means shorter immigration queues as well. Despite some news in the earlier part of August about 5-hour queue lines at midnight, at an arrival time of 9am in Don Mueang and without check-in baggage, I was cleared through immigration and customs, and made it out of the security area within 5 minutes. 100% of the immigration counters were open on the day of my arrival.

From Don Mueang Airport, I got on the local train to the city.