Author: Richard Barrow

Steam Train Excursion to Chachoengsao

Steam enthusiasts have at least six opportunities a year to ride a steam train in Thailand. Each trip has a different destination. For example, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom and Chachoengsao. Today I took the Mother’s Day excursion to Chachoengsao.

Date of travel: 12th August 2020

Bangkok Railway Station

‪Good morning from Bangkok Railway Station. Today I’m taking the Steam Train Excursion to Chachoengsao. Journey time is about one hour and forty minutes.

Chachoengsao Railway Station

The steam train arrived in Chachoengsao about an hour late. We now have just under six hours to explore the city before taking the train back at 4:30pm. Some people had tours booked. Others left the station by songtaew. I have my e-scooter.

Ban Mai Riverside Market, Chachoengsao

‪My first stop in Chachoengsao was at Ban Mai Riverside Market. This is an old traditional market with a lot of character. The best time to visit is weekends and public holidays. ‬


Boat tour to Wat Saman Rattanaram, Chachoengsao

From Ban Mai market there are boat tours to Wat Saman Rattanaram. The round trip is 100 Baht for adults and 50 Baht for children. As there were no other customers, I decided to help the boatman out by renting the whole boat for 500 Baht. I enjoy boat trips and it’s still good value.

Wat Saman Rattanaram, Chachoengsao

The highlight of Wat Saman Rattanaram in Chachoengsao is the Giant Reclining Ganesha. It is 16 meters high.

There are also other statues at the temple from different religions. This place is very popular with Thais looking for good luck.


Chachoengsao Fort

Chachoengsao Fort was constructed during the reign of King Rama III in 1794. During the reign of King Rama 5, this place was used by the army to fight the Aung Ye rebels or Chinese opium dealers who rampaged and robbed city dwellers.‬


Chachoengsao Museum

‪Chachoengsao Museum was formerly a palace of Krom Muen Marupong Siripat. King Rama V stayed here from 24-29 January 1907 after he rode the first train here from Bangkok Railway Station. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, 9am-4pm. ‬


Wat Sothonwararam Worawihan, Chachoengsao

Wat Sothonwararam Worawihan is an ancient temple established alongside the Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao. Inside is enshrined Luang Por Sothon, a revered Buddha statue. The temple building is the largest of its kind in Thailand.‬


Wat Chom Phothayaram, Chachoengsao‬

‪This is Wat Chom Phothayaram in Chachoengsao. I saw the golden stupa from the train and so I thought I would come and check it out. The temple grounds has structures that represent important times in the Buddha!s life, like birth and enlightenment.‬


‪That’s a wrap on my steam train excursion to Chachoengsao. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to do the trip yourself.‬



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Trip to Rayong for Music by the Sea Concert

Today I’m heading down to Rayong to attend the “Music by the Sea” festival on Hat Laem Charoen beach. I’m going because I want to give morale support to the local people there following the COVID-19 incident the other week which lead to many people cancelling their holiday. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports are organizing a number of events this month to help boost tourism in this region. Also this weekend is the Run Rayong 10K event on Sunday at Suan Sri Muang.

Date of travel: 8-9 August 2020

Suan Son Beach, Klaeng, Rayong

This is the seafood market on Suan Son Beach (ตลาดสวนสน) in Klaeng, Rayong Province. The fisherman go out overnight and come back very early in the morning.

They sell their catch at this famous beachside market to local people. You can either buy it fresh or ask them to cook it for you. When we arrived the fisherman were still sorting their nets.


Jae Aung Seafood restaurant, Mae Rumphueng Beach, Rayong

‪Lunch today was at Jae Aung Seafood restaurant (ร้านเจ๊อึ่งซีฟู๊ด) on Mae Rumphueng Beach in Rayong. It has a good review on Wongnai. ‬


‬‪Aerial photos of Mae Ram Phueng Beach in Rayong. It is the longest beach in Eastern Thailand at 12km long.

Paknam, Rayong

Fishing boats moored on the river in Paknam, Rayong Province. The boats returned around 10am this morning and the fishermen sold their catch straight away. The first picture was taken from Chalermchai Bridge.

These fishermen are making traps to catch squid. They said each trap can only be used twice before they have to make new ones. In the first picture he is repairing the nets. In the second one he is making a new trap.

Phra Chedi Klang Nam, Paknam, Rayong

‪Phra Chedi Klang Nam (พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ) is a pagoda in the middle of the Rayong River.

They are building a new mangrove walk here that will be 800 meters long. ‬


Hat Laem Charoen Beach, Rayong

‪Aerial photos of Rayong River taken from around Hat Laem Charoen Beach. ‬This is where the “Music by the Sea @ Rayong” concert will be taking place tonight and Sunday night.


‬Musing by the Sea @ Rayong

‪Tonight I’m on Hat Laem Charoen Beach in Rayong for the “Music by the Sea @ Rayong” concert. It’s a free event taking place tonight and Sunday night. ‬


The new normal for concerts means limiting numbers, temperature checks, checking-in, mask wearing and social distancing at all times. Maybe not as fun, but it does mean the show can go on.

‬Krua Ban Pla restaurant, Rayong

Dinner tonight was at Krua Ban Pla restaurant (ครัวบ้านปลา) by the sea in Rayong. It came highly recommended on Wongnai.



‪Good morning from Rayong. Cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms later. I will be heading home after breakfast, with a couple of stops in Chonburi.

‬Dolphinarium, Pattaya

This morning I visited the Dolphinarium Pattaya. It had some raving reviews from both Thai and international families and so I wanted to check it out for myself.

It was certainly an enjoyable show for the kids, but as an adult I would hesitate about bringing my own kids here. The days are numbered for animal shows and I can see a time when this kind of thing won’t be allowed.

They have a promotion at the moment. Thais and expats are from 300B/225B and foreign tourists are from 450B/300B. Taking a photo with the dolphins is 400B and swimming with the dolphins is from 2,500 Baht.


Che with D cafe & restaurant, Si Racha District, Chonburi

Lunch today was at Che with D cafe & restaurant in Si Racha District of Chonburi province.


Light Bullet shooting range, Si Racha District, Chonburi

This afternoon I visited Light Bullet shooting range in Si Racha District of Chonburi. I took the five gun package. This was the first tine for me to go to a shooting range. I’m not really a gun person. But I wanted to try at least once


Three Day Road Trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi

Today I’m setting off on a three day road trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces. The trip is to promote a new guidebook called “Safety and Hygienic Road Trip”. I love doing my own road trips and so I’m interested to learn more about the routes they are proposing. I will post more information about each route later.

Date of Travel: 31 July – 2 August 2020

Khlong Khon in Samut Songkhram

Our first stop is at Khlong Khon in Samut Songkhram province. Here we went on a boat trip through the mangroves and out to the Gulf of Thailand.

The highlight is the crab eating macaques monkeys that swam out to our boat.

During the boat trip, we also visited a blood cockle clam farm. Local people were on converted wakeboards which they used to collect cockles and mussels. Other activities you can do include mangrove sapling planting and wakeboarding.


‪Krua Ya Rom in Khlong Khon, Samut Songkhram

A seafood lunch today at Krua Ya Rom in Khlong Khon, Samut Songkhram.


‪Aerial photos of Khlong Khon community in Samut Songkhram.

Baan Rim Klong Homestay, Samut Songkhram

‪This afternoon, we visited Baan Rim Klong Homestay in Samut Songkhram. We are not staying here the night, but we are taking parting in three cultural activities that visitors can do here. ‬

At the first base, we learned how they made palm sugar.

At the second base we made a Thai dessert called Khanom Tom which is made from coconut and sticky rice starch.

At the final base, we learned how to do palm leaf weaving.


Aerial photos around Baan Rim Klong Homestay in Samut Songkhram. The river in front of the homestay flows into the Mae Klong River which itself flows into the Gulf of Thailand.

Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram

Our last stop today was at Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram. This is a popular day trip from Bangkok though I would suggest that you stay at least one night.

Most people come for the riverside market that takes place here from Friday to Sunday. There are shops open all day but the market really comes alive in the late afternoon.

In the past, Friday’s are best as not so crowded. I last came on a Sunday before COVID-19 and I vowed I wouldn’t come again. The Chinese tour groups had found it and it was impossible to move. Not so any more. Friday at 5pm is like a ghost town.

I was going to say this is the best time to come. But the downside is that not everything is fully open. The highlight are the boat food vendors, but they are few and far between. I was told there should be more on Sunday.

The other problem is the boat tours. You might have to wait until they fill the boat before they leave. And that might take a while. The alternative is to rent the whole boat. It’s 50 Baht per person for shared and 500 Baht for the whole boat which is not bad at all.

So, would I recommend you to come here now? Yes for sure. In fact I would suggest staying overnight somewhere along the canal. I definitely want to come back and do exactly that. I really did like this place back when it wasn’t really known by foreigners. Back when most tourists were Thai. Maybe I will fall in love with it again.


Na Tree Tara hotel, Bang Khonthi District, Samut Songkhram

Tonight I’m staying at Na Tree Tara hotel in Bang Khonthi District of Samut Songkhram.



Good morning from Samut Songkhram. This is my view of the sunrise on the Mae Klong River.

One of the traditions still alive in Samut Songkhram is the monks going on their alms round by boat.

The briefing for drivers as we prepare to start Day 2 of our 3-day road trip. Our next destination is Ratchaburi Province.

This‪ is a google map list of places that we visited in Samut Songkhram during Day 1 of 3 of our road trip.

Tao Hong Tai ceramics factory, Ratchaburi

Our first stop in Ratchaburi was at Tao Hong Tai ceramics factory (เถ้าฮงไถ่). As well as exploring the grounds and watching the artisans at work, you can also have a go at painting your own pots.

The garden & factory is open to the public every day. Free entry.


Oh Poi Market, Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi

Our lunch stop today was at Oh Poi Market (ตลาดโอ๊ะป่อย) in Suan Phueng District of Ratchaburi. This riverside market is open every weekend from 7am-2pm.


Pasutara, Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi

Our first stop this afternoon was at Pasutara (พสุธารา) in Suan Phueng District of Ratchaburi. They are well known for their lemon trees. They also have rooms in the style of European cottages.


Wat Mahathat Worwihan, Ratchaburi

‪Our second stop was Wat Mahathat Worwihan in Ratchaburi. It’s Khmer style prang was built in the 13th Century. Free entry.‬



Good morning from Ratchaburi province to the west of Bangkok. This is Day 3 of the three-day road trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces. This morning we will visit some communities in Damnoen Saduak before heading back to Bangkok after lunch.

Damnoen Saduak floating market, Ratchaburi

This morning we visited the well known Damnoen Saduak floating market in Ratchaburi. This is the one all the foreign tourists come on package tours from Bangkok. As you can imagine, the place is very quiet now. Probably 95% Thai tourists.

If it is quiet today, it must be like a ghost town on weekdays. Places like this rely heavily on foreign tourists who came every day in the past. Will they be able to survive? I’m told they are still open every day, but it won’t be as active on weekdays. So I would advise you to come at a weekend.

At the moment, there’s a promotion for both Thai and foreign tourists who take a holiday and spend money in Ratchaburi province. If you can show receipts that add up to 900 Baht, for example your hotel, then you can exchange this for a free boat ride up to one hour.

In some ways I feel sorry for the vendors as there are not many tourists. But a few of them still tried to cheat me with inflated prices. I asked about a 30 minute boat ride and I was told 400 Baht. I said no and they then changed it to 300 Baht as I walked away. When I walked back that way later, she was now saying 200 Baht. Which actually isn’t bad for a boat ride here. It’s certainly a buyers market but you need to haggle the price.


Lao Tak Lak Floating Market, Ratchaburi

Around the corner from the main Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the original Lao Tak Lak Floating Market. This used to be very quiet compared to its well known neighbor, but in many ways it’s more popular now as it’s more authentic. For a start it doesn’t have tacky souvenirs.

‪If you want to learn more about the local community, there’s a museum at Lao Tak Lak Floating Market. They also have a homestay, though it hasn’t re-opened yet. I’m thinking I might come back and stay here a few nights once it reopens. ‬


Kwan Damnoen 2 restaurant, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi

‬‪Lunch today was at Kwan Damnoen 2 restaurant in Damnoen Saduak District of Ratchaburi. ‬


‪That’s a wrap on my 3-day road trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to visit. Click here for a google map list of places that we visited:

Trip to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan – Part 3

This weekend, I’ve been kindly invited to stay at three resorts: Avani+ Samui, Anantara Rasananda on Koh Phangnan, and Anantara Bophut. I appreciate them helping support my trip. Click here for a map list of all of the places that I visited. This is part three of the trip which is about my stay at Anantara Bophut. I also did a whirlwind tour of the island. Click here for part one and here for part two of this trip to Samui and Koh Pha Ngan.

Date of travel: 17-20 July 2020

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Trip to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan – Part 2

This weekend, I’ve been kindly invited to stay at three resorts: Avani+ Samui, Anantara Rasananda on Koh Phangnan, and Anantara Bophut. I appreciate them helping support my trip. Trips like this help me answer the many questions I get about travel around Thailand during the COVID pandemic. Click here for a map list of all of the places that I visited. This is part two of the trip which is my stay on Koh Pha Ngan island. Click here for part one.

Date of travel: 17th-20th July 2020

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Four Day Trip to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan

This weekend, I’ve been invited to stay at three resorts: Avani+ on Koh Samui, Anantara Rasananda on Koh Phangnan, and Anantara Bophut on Koh Samui. I appreciate them helping support my trip, particularly as I had to take unpaid leave to do this. Trips like this help me answer the many questions I get about travel around Thailand during the COVID pandemic. Click here for a map list of all of the places that I visited. In all I took pictures at 31 different locations in just four days. So, there should be a good overview for you here.

Date of travel: 17th-20th July 2020

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Day Excursion to Kanchanaburi by Train


by Richard Barrow

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) run a number of weekend excursion trains to various tourist destinations around Thailand. Two of the most popular routes are to Sai Yok Waterfall in Kanchanaburi and Suan Son Pradipat Beach to the south of Hua Hin. This page is about the day-trip to Kanchanaburi. The train goes every Saturday and Sunday from Bangkok railway station (Hua Lamphong).

Date of travel: 2nd February 2020

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Questions and Comments about Train Travel in Thailand

If you have any questions about train journeys in Thailand, like how to buy tickets and how can you join a steam train trip, then please post in the comments below. You can also use this page to post general comments or questions about my train trips. It would also be useful for others if you can post your own tips and highlights of any trips. Thanks.


How do I buy a train ticket in Thailand?
You can buy tickets at any train station in Thailand. It doesn’t have to be the one you are travelling from or to. You can also reserve tickets by calling the hotline 1690 but you have to go and pay within 24 hours. SRT now have an online booking site but it is limited. You can also try for some routes.
Can you take a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
There are daily trains between the capital and Bangkok. It takes about 11-14 hours. Most people take the overnight sleeper which arrives in the morning. This saves money on a hotel. But, these days, budget airlines can often fly you cheaper than a sleeper train.


Scroll down to post your own comments or questions.


Exploring Bangkachao in Samut Prakan

On Sunday, I decided catch a boat across the river to an area in Phra Pradaeng district of Samut Prakan nicknamed “The Lungs of Bangkok”. This area, sometimes called Bangkachao, is an artificial island created by a giant loop in the Chao Phraya River and a shortcut irrigation canal. The area is relatively undeveloped as there are restrictions on the height of buildings. Officially they are also no hotels but you will find resorts and homestays. There is a bridge for people to drive there, but many people take a boat to one of the two major piers.

Date of travel: Sunday 26th January 2020

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