Thai train is a legacy and legendary. You only do Thailand right once you’ve completed (a) train trips from Bangkok. Overnight trips from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and to Nong Khai (bordering with Laos) have proven to be travelers’ favorites. But there are several train trips from Bangkok you can do within a day or over a weekend. They are perfect if you have limited time, yet want to maximize your local travel experience. It’s time to travel slow, watch scenic countryside whizzing past out of your window, and be hypnotized by the clickety-clack sounds!
ONE WAY TRAVEL TIME ON TRAIN: 1.20 hour
RECOMMENDED TRIP LENGTH: 1 day
Thanks to Ayutthaya’s proximity to Bangkok, Ayutthaya can be reached by car in one hour. Without having your own ride, a train is the second-best transportation option to get to Ayutthaya. Trains from Hua Lamphong, the main railway station in Bangkok, leave every hour and takes takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to arrive at Ayutthaya Railway Station. There are plenty of things to do in Ayutthaya once you arrive. Temple and palace ruins in Ayutthaya Historical Park will keep you busy all day. You may visit a floating market, elephant camps, museums, once you have enough of the historical ruins. The best way to get around Ayutthaya is by motorbike or bicycle which you can rent from shops opposite to the train station. Or you can charter a local Tuk Tuk. Price for the whole day starts at 900 THB.
ITINERARY FOR THIS TRAIN TRIP
|7am||Take the Rapid Train No.111 at Hua Lamphong Train Station|
|8.40am||Arrive at Ayutthaya Railway Station|
|Morning||Visit Ayutthaya Historical Park. The highlights are Buddha statue’s head in trees at Wat Mahathat; the Big Buddha at Wat Phanan Choeng; Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon; Ayutthaya Elephant Palace|
|Lunch||Have grilled giant river prawns with steamed rice at a riverside restaurant. Try Phae Krung Kao Restaurant or Krua Ya Bua.|
|Afternoon||Ayothaya Floating Market or Million Toy Museum|
|4.30pm||Take the Ordinary Train No.301|
|6.30pm||Arrive at Hua Lamphong Station|
***However, if you’re looking for an easier way to do Ayutthaya in one day with a professional and fun tour guide, check out our Ancient Ayutthaya Food & History Tour.
Short Train Trip from Bangkok #2
Maeklong Railway Market
ONE WAY TRAVEL TIME ON TRAIN: 2.30 hour
RECOMMENDED TRIP LENGTH: 1 day
Maeklong Railway Market is famous for the train track that cuts through it and vendors’ awnings that withdraw to give way for a train to pass through. While you can get to the market by van or car, secure a good spot on the ground for photos, and wait for the train to arrive (which is what most tourists do), you can be on a train yourself and see the hustles and bustles from a different perspective. Riding a train through Maeklong Railway Market is a unique experience. The trip can’t get more local. The scenery is along the way is stunning. With people waiting to take photos when your train arrives, you feel more or less like a super star!
A train trip from Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Market is not all that easy and straightforward. Plus, you must make an early start. That’s why travelers usually join arranged tours with private transportation like Offbeat Floating Markets Food Tour. However, it’s totally doable.
And once you arrive at Maeklong Railway Market, Amphawa Floating Market is only 7.5 km away. You can easily spend 2-3 hours there and might miss the last train back to Bangkok. In this case, the last minivan leaves Amphawa at 8pm.
ITINERARY FOR THIS TRAIN TRIP
|5.30am||Leave Wongwian Yai Train Station (Bangkok) to Maha Chai Train Station (Samut Sakhon province)|
|6.30am||Arrive at Maha Chai Train Station. Walk a few hundred meters to the Mahachai Pier. Take a short 3-THB ferry ride across a river. Once across, walk 5 minutes to Ban Laem Railway Station. Buy a ticket for the 7.30am train to Meaklong Train Station.|
|7.30am||Depart Ban Laem Railway Station. Sea salt farms are along the way – photo opportunities.|
|8.30am||Pass through Maeklong Railway Market. Have your awesome photo moment. The train terminates here. Get off and have breakfast. Explore Maeklong Railway Market and be submerged in piles of fresh seafood and colorful local produce.|
|11.10||Now it’s your turn to be on the ground, take a spot near the track, and wait for another train to pass through.|
To continue to Amphawa Floating Market, catch a songtaew (a pick-up taxi) in front of Tanachart Bank. The ride takes 10 – 15 minutes and cost 8-10 THB per person. If you plan to return to Bangkok on the same day, it’s wise to secure a seat in a mini-van back to Bangkok as soon as you arrive at the floating market.
Short Train Trip from Bangkok #3
The Death Railway of Kanchanaburi
ONE WAY TRAVEL TIME ON TRAIN: 2-6 hours
RECOMMENDED TRIP LENGTH: 1/2 days
The Death Railway is perhaps the most popular short train trip near Bangkok thanks to its the breath-taking scenery along the track, natural attractions, and its notorious history. The track was built during WWII by Japanese army which used forced labour of local civilian workers and Allied prisoners of war. The construction caused up to 100,000 deaths of the forced laborers, giving the track its name.
Once you leave Bangkok, your first stop is Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest golden stupa in the world (127 meters). Next is the famous River Kwai Bridge which inspired the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). Then, your train gets on the wooden tall Tham Krasae Bridge. And there you have a mountain cliff within an arm’s reach on one side, and the snaky pretty River Kwai down below on the other. It’s really pretty here so get your camera ready. The bridge is next to Tham Krasae Station from where you can make a short hike to the cave of the same name. Trains terminate at Nam Tok Station, an access to the beautiful Sai Yok Noi waterfall.
HOW TO TRAVEL ON THE DEATH RAILWAY
To travel on the Death Railway, catch a passenger train at Bangkok’s Thonburi Train Station or do a day trip on Kanchanaburi Excursion Train (Special 909/910). Passenger trains don’t stop and wait for you to visit any attractions. If you get off one, you have to board on the next one going on the same direction. Unfortunately, trains on the Death Railway are not that frequent.
The excursion trains are available on Saturdays and Sundays – 1 trip on each. They stop at most of the stations where there are attractions and allow you enough time to explore them. You leave Hua Lamphong Station at 6.30am on Special 909, ride Special 910 back to Bangkok, and arrive at Hua Lamphong at 7.30pm. A round-trip ticket costs 120 THB for non-AC car and 240 THB for AC car. If you plan to stay overnight, you’ll need to buy 2 tickets (1 for Special 909 on Saturday, and 1 to return to Bangkok on Special 910 on Sunday) Tickets are available at Hua Lamphong ticket counter. No online booking. It’s usually full so do it well in advance.
***If you decide to spend a few days in Kanchanaburi, check out what you can do here. There are several tours you can join to get local travel experience.
Short Train Trip from Bangkok #4
Of course you can reach Hua Hin faster by car (2.5 hr) But slow travel is more romantic and allows you to see more! One of the most popular beach destinations near Bangkok, Hua Hin now offers beyond sand-sea-and-sun. The train station itself is an attraction. Brightly painted, the wooden building features traditional Thai architecture with Victorian touches. It’s located right in the city center so reaching your other stops is super easy. Plernwan is a retro village offering quaint shops, eateries, and cute colorful accommodation. You can eat traditional food and shop for souvenirs at Sam Phan Nam Floating Market. Kids would enjoy the Venice-themed Venezia Hua Hin, an amusement park plus community mall with a small zoo and a toy train. If you want nature, the quiet Suan Son Pradipat beach and Khao Takiab hill is one train station away.
Like the Death Railway, there is an excursion train to Hua Hin. Special 911 departs from Hua Lamphong Station at 6.30am. Special 912 takes you back to Bangkok at 7.30pm. It works the same way as the Death Railway Excursion Train. There are 3 stops en-route: Phra Pathom Chedi, Hua Hin Station, and Suan Son Pradipat Station.
Short Train Trip from Bangkok #5
ONE WAY TRAVEL TIME ON TRAIN: 2-2.5 hours
RECOMMENDED TRIP LENGTH: 1 day
The much history Lopburi holds makes it a great one-day train trip from Bangkok. Lopburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand and had been a center of power since the 6th century. It was the Khmer empire’s primary western outpost in the Chaophraya basin. The city reached its most glorious period during the 17th century under the power of Siamese King Narai. The town is compact and can easily be explored on foot. Expect Khmer ruins, temples, palace ruins, and charming upcountry locals!
From the train station, walk across the street to Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat. Then to the Lopburi Palace, ruins of King Narai’s warehouses and reception halls. Next is Wat Sao Thong Thong, which used to be a Catholic church. It was converted to a Buddhist temple after King Narai’s time. Up Rue de France from the palace is Bahn Vichien, a grand mansion and the first French embassy in Thailand. Heading back towards the train track, you’ll pass Prang Kaek, one of Thailand’s oldest Khmer ruins. Nearby is Prang Sam Yod, the 13th century Khmer temple where troops of monkeys have taken a hold of. Lopburi Monkey Banquet is held here and at the San Phra Kan Shrine every last Sunday of November.