Even if you have the means to arrange for other methods of transportation, riding the rails in Thailand is a truly memorable experience. If you want to get out of the cities and see a bit of country without too much in the way of hassle or expense, a multi-day train trip is just the thing.
History buffs and train watchers won’t want to miss out on the profusion of daylong guided tours and overnight trips that lead visitors from Bangkok down the Khwae Yai section of the Mae Klong River to the so-called “Bridge over the River Kwai” made famous by Pierre Boulle’s novel of the Second World War (and the film adaptation). The bridge spans a section of the “Death Railway,” or Thailand-Burma Railway that runs between Bangkok and Rangoon, Burma. It was conceived by the Japanese during World War II and its construction resulted in the deaths of more than100,000 forced laborers (many of which were Americans and other allies). Suffice it to say, conditions have improved, and it is now possible to explore this line in considerable luxury.
Outside of Bangkok, rural trains can be boarded that will take you all the way to the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Once there, take a day or two to explore the small province of Samut Songkhram. Tourists looking for a taste of unspoiled rural life can take advantage of a variety of guided tours that make it possible to get off the beaten track without getting lost or turned around.