Wednesday, September 25, 2013

no sleep till bangkok... well maybe a little

We made the journey back to Bangkok from the beaches in the south--specifically from Ao Nang. It was a multi-legged journey that ended up taking us a total of 32 hours from Guest House to Guest House.

The first leg was a ride in the back of a truck (called a songthaew here--it's a truck with two benches in the back) from Ao Nang to the Krabi bus station which was around a half hour journey.

Thai bus stations are a tad different than an American bus station. As they would say "Same, Same... But Different."

Krabi bus station
Once at the bus station we got our sticker (Farang Badge) that lets everyone (who doesn't speak English) along the trek know where we are going so they can make sure we are on the right train, bus or boat. 

Getting a combo ticket like this (in our case, bus-->bus, but they can involve ferries, trains, etc) is a really popular way for farang (foreigners) to travel in SE Asia. It takes a lot of the planning and guesswork out of getting from place to place (for a price, of course, but sometimes it's worth it. Like here, we just took the bus part, and did the train ourselves.) These combo tickets are part group tour and part kindergarten field trip. Everyone on the same route gets the same color sticker, so the Thai bus drivers can go around the bus station and say, "You! There!" and hopefully, everyone gets to where they're going.

The bus took us back to the East Coast of Thailand to Thong Sala, where we had originally caught the night ferry to Koh Phangan, and where all the trains to the north stop. It was about a 3 hour journey with a stop in the middle of nowhere for about 6 of us to get off and climb into a minivan for the rest of the journey to the Thong Sala train station (since the rest of the 30 or so people on the bus--the ones with different colored stickers--were going to the islands, which is a completely different place many miles outside of the city).

Once we got to the train station and got our tickets we had 6 hours to kill before our train was supposed to leave. We passed the time with a few meals and some work before finding out that the train was delayed another 2 hours. So around 11:30pm we climbed onto the night train to Bangkok, which was supposed to be a 9 hour journey.

Bedtime in the upper bunk (photo taken from the opposite upper bunk)

After a fairly good night's sleep we awoke thinking we should be close to Bangkok... boy were we wrong. We were still nine hours away, because...we never really figured out why. So we had a whole day to kill on the train, and our laptops were dead at least half that time.

But hey, at least we weren't our seatmates across the aisle--they had a flight to catch that evening, and figured with the train getting in early in the morning, they'd be safe. Oops...

Really, though, the train was pretty nice. And we needed more practice sitting still and doing nothing anyway...

A shack with satellite out the window of the train

The lower bunks turn into two facing seats

No comments:

Post a Comment