1 hua lampong

Taking the long way down.

 

A train ride through Thailands South.

 

In a world of low-budget airlines, online-bookings and e-tickets, why on earth would anyone choose to spend fifteen hours on a train?! Simple: Because it’s fun!

I have a thing for trains. They are by far my favourite way of getting from A to B, so when I was looking at my options to get from Bangkok to the Krabi province I was thrilled to see that taking the train would be the cheapest option! Therefore, deciding on the means of transportation was the easy part.

Turned out, so was the rest of the experience! I booked my ticket directly at Bangkoks main station Hua Lampong, the ticket counters are just on the left when you enter the building. It’s a good idea to book a ticket two days in advance – since train travel is so cheap in Thailand, tickets sell rather fast.

I got a combined ticket for the train to Surat Thani and onward transportation with a bus to Krabi town and I was thrilled to see that I would take the Overnight-Express! As much as I love trains, I had never slept on one before. This would be a first. I was so excited.

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1 hua lampong

On the eve of my romantic journey down South I arrived at Hua Lampong and simply asked at the information desk where I had to go. They send me to platform 4 and one of the conductors escorted me to my seat… the awkward of words being “seat”…

Here I was thinking I’d be on the Express sleeper, you know, with an actual bed… Only Carrie Bradshaw would’ve understood my disappointment when I sat down on an old leather seat. I didn’t dare to say anything to anyone though and just waited for the train to depart – which it did only sixty minutes delayed. Jolting, it began to move and outside the window the lights of Bangkok drifted past. My heart skipped a beat.

Ahead of me was a romantic train ride to one of the most beautiful areas this country has to offer.

2 me train

3 interior

I was just about to organize my legs to find a sort of comfy sleeping position when an employee entered the coach and asked me to get up. What now? Wasn’t this my seat? Was I on the wrong train? Was he going to throw me out? None of the above. The man turned out to be the bedmaker, this is a video showing how it’s done and this is him, by the way:

4 bedmaker

When he was finished I took off my flip flops, plugged in my headphones and went to bed with a content smile on my face.This was perfect. This was travel as it should be.

I closed the mintgreen curtain and behind it was all I needed: Me, my music, a bed and a wide window all to myself to watch the world go by. My eyes started to feel heavy and as the train slowly and laboriously pushed its way forward, I fell asleep.

5 bed

6 me in bed

Ten hours later I woke up to a whole new world. Outside my window the day was just about to stripe off its pyjamas. The black silhouettes of palm trees outlined against a pink morning sky, cows grazed on fields glittering with morning dew, muffin-shaped hills rose in the distance. A waiter approached me, asking if I would like some breakfast.

“This was getting better and better”, I thought and ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and a coffee. To be fair, it tasted a bit funny and – for whatever reason – it came with a sideorder of old fries (which were definetely from McDonalds…), but I was thrilled anyway – having room service lying in bed on a train was quiet something. I enjoyed my plastic cup of coffee and watched the sun rise over the outskirts of Surat Thani. When the train entered the station I felt a little sad – I could have travelled like this forever.

7 breakfast

8 sunrise

The rest of my journey was not less beautiful though. An air-conditioned bus took me to Krabi town along a scenic drive that was definetely roadtrip-material and from there, a local shared taxi brought me to my final destination – the remote and peaceful Bananas guesthouse, where I am right now, taking in the view and looking back on the best train-ride in the history of my travels.

More Info:

The whole trip from Bangkok to the Bananas guesthouse cost me roundabout 1.000 Baht

A plain-ticket booked through Air Asia would cost between 2.000 and 3.000 Baht, depending on when you book it + extra costs for bus & taxi to the guesthouse.

The overnight Express departs at 7.30 pm in Bangkok and arrives in Surat Thani at about 7.30 am From there it’s another 3-hour drive to Krabi town.

For more detailed information about train travel in South East Asia in general, check out www.seat61.com

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Gesa Neitzel

Hallo! Schön, dass du da bist. Ich bin Gesa aus Berlin und mir gehört der Laden. Hier erzähle ich von meinen Reisen um die Welt und immer auch ein Stück mehr zu mir selbst.

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