Why you should take a 6 hour train from Bangkok to River Kwai

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
We traveled from Bangkok to River Kwai in a six hour, non-air conditioned train. I will start this post off by saying, this is NOT the way I wanted to travel to Kanchanaburi. Luckily, I did not win the battle and was humbled with an incredible 6 hour journey..... here we go!
After 3 days in Bangkok, our next adventure awaited for us at Floathouse River Kwai (in close proximity to Kanchanaburi & Erawan Falls). We initially planned on renting a car and driving ourselves but the crazy driving in Thailand scared us away (after being there for nearly 3 weeks, I don't suggest that route to anyone). This left us with 3 options to get there: hiring a private car, going on a bus or taking a 3rd class train. Up until the night before we left, we were still undecided. To be frankly honest, I had zero interest in being on a train for 6 hours with no AC in nearly 100 degree weather. Not to mention, this option would take up the majority of our day. However, the bus option didn't sound much better and renting a private car would have set us back $150 USD.
Let me tell you about this magical journey. We arrived at Thonburi Railway Station in Bangkok around 7:15am for our 7:50am train to Namtok (there is also an afternoon train at 13:55). Namtok happens to be the end of the railroad so we didn't have to worry about missing our stop! Our tickets set us back around $2 USD each. No reservation is necessary and they cannot sell out, all you have to do is show up, buy a ticket and make sure you're on the train before it departs. We had some time to spare and checked out the local market while waiting for our train. We tried Durian fruit for the first time (we ate it before we got on the train!)
I also got my go-to Thai breakfast iced coffee and Jok (Thai congee porridge). I really miss this breakfast, the one in the photo consisted of porridge topped with pork, a soft boiled egg, cilantro and fresh ginger. One day, when I am back to eating carbs, I will make this at home.
It was time to board the train, which was far more spacious than we expected. We each had a bag and a carry-on, which fit fine above us. We took off and I was instantly happy with our decision. We traveled through Bangkok and saw multiple temples and residential areas. We even passed a floating market!
The windows were giant and although it was warm, I never found myself uncomfortable. You could even hang out the windows if you felt like it. The seats were large and the train itself was amazingly clean.
Once out of the city, we were in magical Thai countryside. We saw wildlife in many forms, mountains galore and Buddah's in the middle of no where (see above photo!).

 We even saw what we thought to be a castle on top of a mountain.
Throughout the trip, vendors walked through the train selling a variety of prepackaged food, fruit and drinks. All of the food we saw was 10 baht ($0.30). Ryan tried the pad thai noodle dish. Gabe got a doughnut. There were so many items for sale and you could easily have a very cheap lunch aboard the train. We were excited to see Coke products (this was the first soda we've had since March).

There were multiple stops along the way but the busiest was when we got to Kanchanaburi. We passed over the River Kwai Bridge and tourist were everywhere taking photos of us, so we took one of them too! I did learn while on the train, that there was a tourist train on the weekends. You do have to book that in advance and I wish we knew about this ahead of time.
I will say, this was not the fastest form of travel. However, it was one of the best journeys of our trip. We did purchase a car hire to go back to Bangkok and we basically threw away $150. The train was far better.

So, this prissy girl is here to say - I survived 6 hours on a non-air conditioned train and loved every moment of it.

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