Take a Thai history trip on a cute Japanese train

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has organised a rail travel tourism programme under the concept of “retrace history,” serviced by cute KIHA 183 passenger trains recently donated by Japan, according to an announcement by government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri.

The SRT has arranged the following programme in April to give tourists a new, educational experience and insight into Thailand’s history – in Sarabui, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya and Ratchaburi provinces – serviced by cute Japanese KIHA 183 locomotives…

April 1-2, 2023: Dress up in retro costumes and ride the KIHA 183 train to Kaeng Khoi Fair in Saraburi province to learn about life in Thailand during World War II.

April 8-9, 2023: Ride the train to Chachoengsao to learn about the history of Mueang Baed Rew (Chachoengsao’s old name) and eat fresh, juicy mangoes to celebrate “Mango Day.”

April 22-23, 2023: Dress up in traditional Thai dress and ride the train to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thailand.

April 29-30. 2023: Visit ‘Art City’ in Ratchaburi, watch a shadow puppetry show and make traditional pottery.

The SRT plans on running similar programmes every month under different themes. In May, the SRT will run a travel programme themed “adventure above the water.” In June, a programme will run under the concept of “Save the World.”

In December, Thailand received 17 diesel KIHA 183 locomotives from the Hokkaido Railway Company which have undergone modification by the SRT to fit Thailand’s railway tracks.

The modified trains have undergone test runs on short-distance routes out of Bangkok to Chachoengsao, Ratchaburi and Phetchaburi.

Governor of the SRT Nirut Maneephan said that the SRT paid 42.5 million baht to have the trains shipped over from Japan and a further 200,000 baht for each train to have it modified to fit Thailand’s tracks. Nirut said it’s 400 times cheaper than buying a new train, which could cost 100 million baht.

The air-conditioned trains can travel up to 100-110 kilometres per hour. Eight of the trains can seat 40 passengers, another eight can seat 68 passengers and one train can seat 58 passengers. The trains will be in use for another 15 to 20 years, said Nurit.

Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri said…

“The government emphasises the promotion of tourism, which is an important factor in effectively stimulating the economy. Through cooperation between the SRT, the government and the private sector, we can meet the needs of tourists, distribute wealth to local economies, and sustainably build up [Thailand’s] economy from its foundation.”

The four train trips in April are priced at 1,499 baht per person and are available for purchase at all SRT train stations, including the online channel www.dticket.railway.co.th. Space is limited.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.