All Aboard! To Ayutthaya on a Steam Locomotive 蒸気機関車で行く アユタヤへの旅

Published on: July 07, 2017

Four times a year, a special steam locomotive departs from Hua Lamphong to famous heritage sites in Thailand. Your child, not to mention the child in you, is sure to enjoy the ride!

Words and photos by Nobuko Cate Katsura / Translated by Ema Naito-Bhakdi [日本語記事へ]


With 4,000km of rail, the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) boasts the most extensive rail network in Southeast Asia. It connects Bangkok to Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai to the north, as well as to the Malaysian border in the south.

On four occasions each year, the SRT runs a special steam locomotive: the anniversary day when the railways began operation (March 26th), the Queen’s birthday (August 12th), Chulalongkorn Day (October 23rd), and Rama IX’s birthday (December 5th).

Tickets for these popular trips usually sell out on the day of sales and many visitors flock to the station just to see the unique steam locomotive.

This locomotive was brought over to Thailand from Japan after the end of World War II. In a period where many Asian countries faced food shortages, Thailand had a relative surplus of rice production. But there was an insufficient number of trains to transport rice from the Isaan (Northeast) region to Bangkok, so it is said that the American military proposed to the Japanese to produce trains in exchange for Thai rice. The Thais ordered 50 locomotives in 1948, and another 50 in 1950, for a total of 100 trains. Only a few are still operational today.

All aboard!

March 26th. Following signs from MRT Hua Lamphong Station, we arrived at the SRT Bangkok terminal, half an hour before the steam locomotive’s departure time. On the platform, tour groups and families with children milled all about the front end of the black-painted steam locomotive, taking photographs and observing the train.

I had called the SRT twice in attempts to make ticket reservations in advance and was told that the tickets were sold out, so my son and I had come this day with the intention to just see the train off.

But when I asked a tour company representative on the spot, I was told that there were two tickets left. We grabbed the opportunity and boarded the train and were off! The journey had begun.

Looking out of the window, we got glimpses into the lives of people living along the train tracks. There were also spectators standing by the tracks or picnicking on the ground who had gathered to see the steam locomotive.

Gradually the scene became more bucolic. Those from the Thai tours sitting around us opened their light meals, and my son began playing with the Thai kids.

Kids love Ayutthaya too

Approximately 80km to the north of Bangkok and a 1.5-hour car ride away is Ayutthaya, an ancient capital and UNESCO World Heritage Centre. We arrived safe and sound, although a bit later than scheduled. On the platform, we were greeted with festive music and traditional Thai dancers.

When we exited the station, the tuk-tuks were parked on the right-hand side. You could negotiate with the driver where you wanted to go; the hourly rate to charter a tuk-tuk appeared to be around ฿150-200.

We started with a visit to Wat Mahathat, which was damaged when the Burmese army attacked Ayutthaya. The scars from the attack were still prominent, and it was quite shocking to see the statues with their heads lopped off.

I was somewhat apprehensive about whether ruins would be of any interest to my young son, but, being into superheroes, he said, “Ah-ha, so this is where the monsters had come…” and seemed to enjoy looking at the ruins.

We visited a few other temples and fed some elephants before heading back to Bangkok.

The tuk-tuk driver took us to the van (rot tuu) terminal, and we took a van back to Bangkok for ฿60. My son fell asleep immediately, and a quick 1.5 hours later, we were at BTS Mo Chit Station. The final stop is Mo Chit Bus Terminal, but it’s good to tell the driver in advance that that’s where you would like to get off.

The next steam locomotive excursion is scheduled for August 12th. This time it will head 55km west to Nakhon Pathom, a renowned Buddhist destination. It will be traveling to Ayutthaya again on October 23rd.

There is no charge to go to the station platform and the kids are bound to enjoy even just looking at a real steam locomotive—so why not head out there!



KAKIZAKI, I. 2004. Railways and Rice Transport in Thailand, 1941–1957: Insufficient Transport Capacity and the Northeast. Kyoto University, Southeast Asian Studies, 42(2): 157-187


1-Day Itinerary

8:10    Steam locomotive departs from Hua Lamphong Station

10:50    Arrive in Ayutthaya Station; charter a tuk tuk to go to Wat Mahathat

12:00    Lunch at a riverside restaurant (try the tom yum soup with river prawns, Ayutthaya’s specialty!)

13:00    Head to Wat Lokayasutha, with the giant reclining Buddha

13:40    Feed elephants

14:30    Van departs for Bangkok

16:00    Disembark from van near Mo Chit BTS Station


How to Buy Tickets

Tickets are available for sale from 60 days before departure and can be purchased at Hua Lamphong Station. Reservations can also be made by phone (Thai/English); some tour companies also offer packages.

  • Tel: 1690 (24hours, free); reservations: 02-621-8701, ext.1
  • Price: ฿250 (includes round trip train ticket, breakfast, snack, and drink)



著・写真 桂信子





3月26日、MRTのHua Lamphong駅から案内に従って5分ほど歩いていくと、タイ国鉄のバンコク駅に発車予定時間より30分ほど早くホームに到着。黒塗りの蒸気機関車の前には、子連れの家族、団体旅行の人々が続々と現れ、写真撮影をしています。

実は筆者も、事前に切符を予約しようとタイ国鉄に問い合わせたところ、すでに完売と言われており、この日は子どもと二人、駅まで行って蒸気機関車の見送りに行くつもりでした。ところが、現地でツアー会社の人に尋ねてみたところ、まだ席が2席だけ空いているとのこと! ここぞとばかりに列車に乗り込み、いよいよ出発進行! 多くの人々に見送られ、旅が始まります。





Wat Mahathatは、かつてアユタヤ王朝がビルマに襲撃された時の傷跡を今に伝える場所で、頭が欠けている像などがあり、なかなかショックを受ける光景でした。幼い子どもが遺跡に興味を持てるのか少し心配でしたが、朽ち果てた像を眺め、ヒーローものが好きな我が子は「ここは、怪獣たちが去った場所なのか……」と彼なりに想像しながら、興味深そうに遺跡を眺めていました。このほかにもお寺をめぐって象への餌やりなどを楽しみ、帰途へ。




参考文献:柿崎一郎(2004)「タイの鉄道と米輸送 1941~1957年 : 輸送力不足と東北部」, 京都大学『東南アジア研究』, 42(2): 157-187



8:10  SRT Bangkok駅から蒸気機関車で出発

10:50 Ayutthaya駅到着

トゥクトゥクチャーター後、お寺Wat Mahathatへ

12:00 川沿いのお店でランチ


13:00 お寺Wat Lokayasutha(巨大な涅槃像)へ

13:40 象の餌やり

14:30 バンコク行きロットゥー乗り場から出発

16:00 ロットゥーをBTSモーチット駅周辺で下車




チケット予約は運行予定日の60日前より。バンコク市内のHua Lamphong駅などで購入できる。電話での予約も可能(対応言語は英語・タイ語)。

⬛フリーダイヤル:1690(24時間)/その他予約課:02−621−8701 内線1番




About the Author

Cate worked in Japan as editor of a travel magazine, advertisements and a web magazine with a publishing company, a subsidiary of Japan Railways. She moved to Bangkok with her husband in 2015, when he located to work in Thailand. They have a 3-year-old son. Cate has a global background, born in the United States, brought up in Hong Kong and Japanese by origin. Her interests are learning languages, traveling and reading. Lately, she finished a Thai language course. Now, onto improving her English language skills!


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