Travel to Chiang Mai, via Bangkok
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 15 of 62 › view all entries
November 27th, 2009 – by: sshaunaa
When we arrived at the pier, a man walked over asking where we were heading (it doesn't even seem weird anymore that everyone wants to know where you're going). He offered us a taxi ride for 400 baht, (I countered with 300 baht, we agree on 350 baht).
When I asked him what vehicle was taking us, he pointed in the direction of some brand new looking sedans. After we paid, he walked us over to this beaten up looking truck, and we were to sit in the back on make shift benches.
Arriving in Bangkok after a 1.5 hour flight, I decided to go the cheaper route and take the "Airport Express Bus" to the train station. It was 150 baht, half the price of what I could expect to pay for a taxi.
I bought my ticket just after 2pm and the bus leaving in "20 minutes" left about 45 minutes later. I didn't have a ticket to Chiang Mai yet and wanted to get there as soon as I could in case they sold out. Just after 4pm I arrived at the train station. When I went to buy my ticket, I received the last one. If I'd been the next person, I would have had to take the train without sleepers and spent the 14 hour ride sitting upright in a chair. Needless to say, I was very relieved when he printed off my ticket!!
The train station is big with lots of chairs, a giant tv playing thai tv programs, a food court and other food vendors. I only noticed after sitting in the uncomfortable platsic seats that there was a bakery and coffee shop on the second floor which overlooks the main, bottom floor.
I decided to kill some time by finding an internet cafe. I couldn't figure out how to cross the street with the non stop massive amounts of traffic. A guy on a moped asked me where I was trying to go (like what seems as everyone local person) and told him "across the street". He said "follow me" and proceeded to drive out into traffic creating a path for me to cross. I figured out on my way back to the station that there was a cross walk about 15 metres up the street :)
What I will remember most about the train station is the overwhelming smell of exhaust fumes while walking along the platform. I felt so bad for the man whose shop is on the platform and has to enhale that all day.
I had decided on the overnight train as compared to a direct flight to save money (it was about 1/3 the cost) and I thought it would be a more interesting experience than another plane ride. The train I was on (19:35pm) is only 1st and 2nd class sleepers. In second class you don't have a seperate room, the beds are along the corridor. Along the inside are two double wide seats facing each other. After a couple hours into the journey, one of the employees came by and made the seats collaspe into the bottom "bed" and then pull down the top bunk. He then "made the bed" and did everything besides give the pillows a good fluffing. The bed was pretty comfortable but I was glad I had my eye mask because the florescent lights shine through the gap in the ceiling and the curtains.
For the first bit of the ride I spoke with the lady who had the bottom bunk. She's living in Bangkok and was visiting her home town, Lampang (about 2 hours south of Chiang Mai). It was nice to chat with a local person who doesn't drive a taxi!
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