To Nam Tok
There are several possibilities to get to and over the original Death Railway part that ends in Nam Tok. A train from Bangkok to Nam Tok is one but much more popular is to start from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok.
In several other posts we have told a lot already. Posts about the Bridge on the river Kwai, War museum posts, cemeteries and even Death Railway info in those posts. Now we inform you about the actual real train ride over the Death Railway. The infamous railway from WWII whereby so many prisoners of war and slave laborers died.
As already written about too, Kanchanaburi is the small town where the Bridge on the river Kwai is located. With 3 museums about the Death Railway and 2 War cemeteries plus the well-known bridge on the river Kwai. This town is rich in war history and that brings in some tourism although far less than for example Ayutthaya.
In Kanchanaburi you have two options to take the train over the Death Railway to Nam Tok. The train stops first at the train station of Kanchanaburi. The times of departure there are 06.07 and 10.30 in the morning and 16.26 in the afternoon. When you take the afternoon train you won’t be able to return the same day from the end station Nam Tok. Keep in mind that at the train station the police might come in to put every foreigner on picture and video. That’s an easy task because all foreigners are put in one and the same compartment.
The second option you have is to catch the train at the Bridge on the river Kwai. The schedule there is 06.15 and 10.44 in the morning and 16.33 in the afternoon. Here too counts that the last train does not return the same day. The price for both step in places is the same, 100 baht (tourist price) which can be called cheap for a 2 hr train ride. You can’t buy tickets any time or day before the train that you want to catch. It means that you can’t buy tickets on Monday for the train of Tuesday or at 6 am for the train of the afternoon. You are expected to arrive about 30 min before departure time because that’s the time the ticket counter opens. Usually the train has some delay.
Along the way
When you catch the train at the train station you pass 9 stops along the way to the end point. From the bridge it will be 8 stops to the end point. The train has open windows and fans hanging on the ceiling but it can be still pretty hot. Especially in summer time. The two hour ride offers little other than scenic views of hills/mountains. Most stops are little to nothing places where are not even villages to be seen.
The most interesting part is the stop at Krassae cave. This is the only part where you have the idea to go over the original Death Railway. It’s the rail that is supported by a wooden structure several meters above ground level with at one side the river and open view and on the other side the cliff or mountain you could say. With Krassea cave entrance near the end when you come from Kanchanaburi side. This original and special part is only a few hundred meters. The train needs to pass it very slowly of course because of the old wooden structure, the curves in it and the tourists walking over it.
The train has seat numbers but those are not strictly kept. Recommendable is to ask a seat on the left side when you buy your ticket. When you have a seat on the right side you can still sit left unless you have someone with that number making a fuss later. The train conductor makes holes in your ticket but doesn’t look at the seat number. The hole does prevent you to step out at the Krassae cave stop and step in the next train on the same ticket. That could be a point to improve maybe.
After this few hundred meters and you have an almost empty compartment left when most stepped out, You’re in for 3 more stops and nothing exciting on the way. Just more of a train track as in any country that doesn’t give you a wonderful or war history feeling at all. Then why go to Nam Tok? The end point Nam Tok is nothing more than a small train station with a parking lot and several eateries.
It’s more a place to where you go by train to take you from there by open taxi to the Hellfire Pass, a prisoner of war labor camp or Sai Yok waterfalls. Except the labor camp all these places have a post on this site too. The taxi drivers screaming for passengers with laminated cards of the places in their hand. When you don’t have time or interest for that, the suggestion is to take the train at Kanchanaburi around 10.30 and you can catch the last train back to Kanchanaburi from Nam Tok at 15.30. The other departure times from here back are 5.20 in the morning and 12.55 noon. This means that you have some spare time at the train station. Take some lunch and drinks and wander around.
When this is your first trip ever to see something of the Daeth Railway it will be interesting but when you have spend several times at Krassae cave stop, it’s a rather boring day trip all the way to the end point and back just for a few hundred meters wooden structure. Do as most, take a ticket to Krassae cave only or just rent a 200 baht motorbike in Kanchanaburi and go there that way. It’s only 45 km.
A video impression can be seen here https://youtu.be/O7GrOe6v0VU