how to get the train from bangkok to kanchanburi thonburi train station travel guide tips

Looking for a side trip from Bangkok? Only 2.5 hours away by train, Kanchanaburi is the perfect place to go! This guide shares how to take the train to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok, including 2024 train times and prices.

When planning our trip to Kanchanaburi, I knew I wanted to take the train. There’s something so peaceful about rolling through the countryside. The only catch – figuring out how to take the train to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok. Tickets cannot be bought in advance and it seems like it’s not a common route for travellers to take, hence the lack of information about it online.

This guide shares everything you need to know for travelling by train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi.

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How to get the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

Only 140 km west of Bangkok, the riverside town of Kanchanaburi is a great place for a side trip from Bangkok. The town is surrounded by nature with mountains, jungles and rivers weaving the landscape. Beyond unwinding in nature, there are lots of things to do in Kanchanaburi like visiting beautiful hill-top pagodas, lush waterfalls and supporting ethical elephant sanctuaries.

Thailand’s extensive rail network is known for its cheap and efficient journeys, making it a great way to travel around the country. While you can get to Kanchanaburi by bus from Bangkok, we chose to take the train as it offers a relaxing journey through the countryside straight from the heart of Bangkok.

Which train station in Bangkok goes to Kanchanaburi?

While the main train station in Bangkok is the go-to place for heading North, the Kanchanaburi service runs on a separate line from a smaller train station called Thonburi Train Station to the West of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

📍 Thonburi Train Station (click to save to your GoogleMaps or check out the map below)

travel guide train to kanchanaburi from bangkok, Thailand timetable thonburi

Getting to Thonburi Train Station in Bangkok

I recommend staying near the Khao San backpacker area of Bangkok for ease of getting to the train station – it’s about a 20-minute drive to Thonburi Station from there. 

We were able to get a Bolt easily in the morning, but I also recommend leaving for the train station earlier than needed in case it takes time to find a driver in the morning. 

This map shows the location of the train stations and my recommended area for staying in Bangkok (click the star to save to your Google Maps). There are a lot of hotels and hotels in this area, but the most peaceful places I’ve stayed here are Penpark Place and Let’s Zzz Bangkok.

What are the train times to Kanchanaburi?

Different trains travel this route, but many are commuter trains that only go to the outskirts of Bangkok. The “ordinary trains” headed for Nam Tok stop in Kanchanaburi. This means there are 2 train times suitable for taking to Kanchanaburi, both taking approximately 2.5 hours to get from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi.

We opted for train #257 which leaves at 7:45 am. This was perfect as it meant that we arrived with most of the day to go out and explore Kanchanaburi.

If you prefer to leave in the afternoon, you can take train #259 which leaves at 1:55 pm and should arrive around 4:30 pm.

travel guide train to kanchanaburi from bangkok, Thailand timetable
travel guide train to kanchanaburi from bangkok, Thailand timetable

Note: The arrival times for these trains are at the final station. Train #257 arrives at Kanchanaburi station around 10:30 am.

How to get the train back to Bangkok from Kanchanaburi?

Just like the outward train, there are some different train times to choose from. The trains you want to choose from are called “ordinary trains” departing from Nam Tok. We took train #258 which left Kanchanaburi station at 2:45 pm.

Alternatively, if like us you choose to stay at one of the river rafts on the Kwai River (outside of Kanchanaburi town), then you can catch the train back from Nam Tok station (which is about 15 minutes from the pier). The portion of the railway that runs between there and Kanchanaburi stations is the infamous Death Railway. It’s meant to be a beautiful ride, although sombre to reflect on the lives it costs to build the tracks. If you choose to do this, the 1 pm train from Nam Tok is the same train that you would be getting from Kanchanaburi at 2:45 pm, so no need to change trains.

✍️ Learn more about the Death Railway from Borders of Adventure.

How much is the train to Kanchanaburi?

Getting the train is one of the most budget-friendly ways to travel from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. It’s only 100฿ for foreigners, and I believe it’s free for locals.

💰100฿ ($2.80)
⏰2.5hrs (departure 7:50 am)

This is a flat fee for all destinations along the route, so whether you decide to ride to Kanchanaburi or continue and ride the Death Railway to Nam Tok the price will be 100฿.

Buying tickets for the train to Kanchanaburi

It is not possible to buy tickets for this route online, you will need to buy them at the Thonburi train station on the day. This worried me a little before our trip, but everything went smoothly and the train left at the time stated in the timetable. 

The route between Kanchanaburi and Bangkok is not so heavily travelled that you don’t need to be concerned about seats selling out. That said, it is recommended to get to the station 30 minutes early so you can have your tickets ready to board when the train arrives at the station.

What is the train to Kanchanaburi like?

The trains are pretty basic. They’re all second and third-class carriages (no first-class AC). Honestly, this was fine for us! They have fans throughout the carriage and all the windows go down so there was always a breeze running through the train to keep us cool.

The seats are not assigned so best to get onto the train early if you’re particular about which direction or side you sit on. In my opinion, both sides of the train have similar views – we were on the right and could see fields, mountains and rivers out of the windows.

travel guide train to kanchanaburi from bangkok, Thailand timetable thonburi

Outside Thonburi station is a market where you can pick up some drinks or meals to take on board with you. We went to 7/11 the night before to pick up some snacks so I can’t comment on the food options.

Some vendors come through the train selling various local snacks you can try.

Each carriage has a bathroom. In our carriage it was a squatty toilet that didn’t have running water – It wasn’t as grim as it sounds though (I’ve experienced worse). Just bring some hand sanitiser and tissues and it’ll be fine. I understand some might prefer not to use the onboard toilets, in which case the train stations have nice bathrooms you can use.

There you have it: Overall it was a great experience taking the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi! I hope this guide to taking the train to Kanchanaburi has been useful!

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travel guide train to kanchanaburi from bangkok, Thailand
travel guide train to kanchanaburi from bangkok, Thailand

Planning a Trip to Kanchanaburi?

For more information on planning a trip to Kanchanaburi and other destinations in Thailand, be sure to check out my Thailand Travel Guide (coming soon) which includes everything you need to know for travelling around the country.

✍️ 3 Day Itinerary for Kanchanaburi (coming soon)
✍️ Hands Off Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi (coming soon)
✍️ Checking into River Kwai Jungle Rafts (coming soon)

Meet Frances; Scottish lass turned Vietnam expat, and creator of this space. She can be found sippin’ ice tea’s and writing about her adventures from her sunny base of Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis. All with a healthy side of researching her next road trip. With 5 years of living, travelling and scooting around Asia under her belt – let Frances be your guide to travelling the region.

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