SRT KiHa 183 Lopburi Tram Tour & King Narai the Great Fair 2023

SRT KiHa 183 Lopburi Tram Tour & King Narai the Great Fair 2023

The SRT Special 951/952 KiHa 183 train was organised to Lopburi mainly for the King Narai the Great Fair 2023. Before the King Narai the Great Fair 2023 went into full swing in the evening, the onward train ride from Bangkok to Lopburi had a city tour of Lopburi by tram included as part of the KiHa 183 train ticket price.

SRT KiHa 183 Lopburi Tram Tour

The façade of Lopburi Railway Station.

Trams were parked within the station compounds beside Wat Bandai Hin.

Trams are free-seating with enough space for everyone from the train.

As the trams were about to depart, I simply hopped on one with an available seat when climbing on board.

Departing from Lopburi Railway Station.

When departing, I regretted not shopping around for trams as these actual tram-lookalikes seem more fun to ride on.

The trams departed for the Lopburi tour in a convoy together.

A tour guide with a loudhailer was present in each tram, but all information is provided in Thai only.

The map of the tram tour is provided on board the Special 951 KiHa 183 train earlier, indicated by red arrows.

Wat Phrasi Rattana Mahathat

The first place of interest is Wat Phrasi Rattana Mahathat which is just outside Lopburi Railway Station. Wat Phrasi Rattana Mahathat is a ruined temple complex said to date from the 12th century, with intricately carved prangs (towers).

Wat Indra

Next is Wat Indra, a former HIndu temple, which is towards the railway crossing north of Lopburi Railway Station.

Passing by the KiHa 183 which was shunting from Platform 1 to a siding to rest for a few hours before the return trip.

Phra Prang Sam Yot

Passing by Phra Prang Sam Yot which is famous for monkeys who congregate here.

Crossing the railway tracks at the San Phra Kan roundabout.

San Phra Kan

Looping around San Phra Kan, a Brahman shrine complex dating back to the Khmer era with a golden Vishnu statue and resident monkeys.

There was a traffic jam at the San Phra Kan roundabout, made worse by the convoy of trams intersecting itself on the loop like a lost game of Snake on a Nokia.

Crossing the railway tracks again, with the KiHa 183 now in a siding.

Driving past Prang Khaek which we will get back to later.

Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House)

The tram stopped at Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House) for a visit the the ruined grounds.

Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House) was once used as lodging for foreign emissaries who visited King Narai the Great in Lop Buri. The initial group of French ambassadors who arrived in 1685 took up residence in Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House). A Greek man named Constantine Phaulkon also lived in a house on the west side of the property after he was appointed to the position of royal minister “Chaophraya Wichayen” due to his good deeds in government.

The compound of Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House) contains three sections, including a grand two-story brick building, a long and narrow one-story building with an arched entrance on the west side, and significant central buildings such as the assumed bases of a bell tower and a Christian church at the back with a gable entrance. There is also a group of large two-story brick buildings on the east side, which are adorned with arch-shaped staircases and Renaissance-style windows and archways. The interiors of some of the buildings reflect authentic European design.

Unfortunately there isn’t much information provided on the ground of the ruins, with some modern fittings around for photo-taking and events for visits today.

Once done with the visit to, it’s back to the trams.

Maybe riding on the tram-like tram isn’t such a great idea after all with longitudinal seating, making it difficult to sightsee.

While it looks like the tram-like tram has a bogie, it’s just a cladding in front of the rubber tyres.

My tram with forward-facing seats is more comfortable to sightsee in.

Departing from Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House).

The convoy follows behind.

Prang Khaek

It was just a short drive back to Prang Khaek, which made me wonder why the group didn’t just walk there, since the walk to Prang Khaek from Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House) is about the same distance as the walk from Ban Chao Wichayen (Wichayen House) to the tram boarding point which was on the mirror image side of Prang Khaek.

More interestingly, the tram route ends here, so it’s more puzzling.

The oldest monument in Lop Buri and the oldest Khmer-style Hindu shrine in Thailand’s central region is Prang Khaek, a fascinating small compound of Khmer remains. It comprises three brick prangs or spires, which were built without adjoining corridors. King Narai the Great restored Prang Khaek in the 17th century, and it has recently been restored by the Fine Arts Department.

The area around Prang Khaek is decorated with Thai umbrellas and lanterns.

The tour continues on foot on Sorasak Alley to King Narai’s Palace where the King Narai the Great Fair 2023 is held.

Along the way, there are lots of street food lining the entire road.

King Narai’s Palace

King Narai’s Palace was the former residence of King Narai of Ayutthaya. The palace ruins, called Wang Narai by the locals, can be found in the old center of Lopburi town. During the latter part of the 17th century, King Narai the Great made Lopburi the second capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and had a new palace built near the Lopburi river. The palace, designed by French architects, was a combination of Thai and European architectural styles. Construction began in 1665 and was completed in 1677, after twelve years. After King Narai’s death in 1688, the palace was abandoned. Two centuries later, King Mongkut ordered its restoration and the construction of additional buildings. The palace buildings are now utilized as exhibition halls for the Lopburi museum.

The operating hours of King Narai’s Palace does not apply during the King Narai the Great Fair 2023 which comes alive at night.

The map of King Narai’s Palace.

A brief introduction of King Narai’s Palace is also displayed beside the map.

KiHa 183 Welcome Drink

KiHa 183 train passengers were ushered over to a corner market with umbrellas to collect a welcome drink.

A welcome drink of chrysanthemum tea is provided by Tourism Authority of Thailand Lopburi Office.

The welcome drink coupon was exchanged here.

The welcome drink was served in a bamboo cup.

The corner market here has Thai products and food.

King Narai the Great Fair 2023

During the evening, however, King Narai’s Palace comes alive with the King Narai the Great Fair 2023.

There are “Palace Guards” stationed at entrances to King Narai’s Palace.

The King Narai’s Palace compounds light up at night.

There are also a lot more street food and Thai product stalls opened at night.

Gardens and buildings are also decorated with lights.

Outside King Narai’s Palace though, is where the food action is.

Food stalls have lined the roads around King Narai’s Palace with a never-ending selection of street food.

A wide variety of street food are available outside King Narai’s Palace, almost impossible to count.

Never-ending crowds throng to King Narai’s Palace for the King Narai the Great Fair 2023.

As the King Narai the Great Fair 2023 got a bit too crowded for my liking, I walked back to Lopburi Railway Station early after my random dinner of multiple snacks while walking around to be there in good time for my KiHa 183 ride back to Bangkok.

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