Thai Train Travel

Bunk beds on sleeper train from Bangkok to Chang- Mai.

There is a lot to be said for travelling through Thailand by train.  We recently needed to travel from Hua Hin to Chiang Mai.  After checking out all of the travel options available we decided to take the trains!

Trip 1: Hua Hin to Bangkok

For the princely sum of 44 baht each (about $1.50), we enjoyed a relaxing five and a half hour day trip on a slowish train.  Leaving the seaside resort town of Hua Hin just after 2:00 pm, we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed all the passing scenes, arriving in Bangkok around 7:30 pm.

The views from the train window were great: farmland, rice paddies, villages, small towns, thick tropical vegetation, people going about their daily business, vehicles stopped at all the crossings.  While all of this was going on OUTSIDE the train, there was plenty of action INSIDE the train as well.  School boys having fun, young kids interacting with other passengers and lots of salespeople coming up and down the train selling food and drinks.

Trip 2: Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After the value of the local train, we booked the overnight sleeper to Chiang Mai.  This was advertised as a 15 hour trip, leaving Bangkok at 10 pm and due in Chiang Mai at lunch time the next day.  We each had our own bed, Jenny a ‘lower’ and me an ‘upper.’  Again, this was sensational value at $20 per person, for a journey similar to Adelaide – Sydney.  Only the foreigners could afford this luxury though.  The local Thais sat happily upright in other carriages for the entire journey, obviously paying much less!

After clearing the lights of Bangkok, we settled into a relaxing sleep.  We woke not long after sunrise and again were met with stunning views of rural Thailand.  One of the most amazing things was the variety of ‘homes’ we saw along the way.  From valuable mansions to flimsy thatch-covered huts, Thailand has them all.  Hot coffee and pre-ordered breakfasts were delivered as the train chugged on.

Several hours out of Chiang Mai the train appeared to be struggling up the steep mountain rises.  Our speed slowed considerably.  At the next station we were transferred on to buses for the rest of the journey.  We were soon relaxing in the swimming pool at Eco Lodge, reflecting on our amazing journey.

Best link for train travel:  if you want to travel by train in Thailand, or ANYWHERE (!!) check out this incredible website:

http://www.seat61.com/       It has to be the best privately developed travel website I have ever seen! It has information on train trips, great

advice and then direct links for you to buy the tickets!  Amazing!

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Thai Fishing Village – VIDEO

Click on photo to view video.

There are AMAZING beaches and coves around every corner in Phuket. We have been lucky enough to explore some of the smaller islands by boat.

One of our favourite places is this beach at Rawaii that is only 20 mins. by local bus from where we are staying.

We visited on a Sunday when the local fishermen and their families were relaxing.

 

 

Sightseeing, Phuket Thailand

Jenny loves her elephants.

During our time here we have been doing a lot of sightseeing.  Every day we try to get out and about, whether it’s walking, taking the local bus, getting rides with our hosts, or even lashing out with our own personal driver!  We haven’t been tempted to use the motor-bike taxis or hire a scooter like most other foreigners.

We have visited a couple of isolated beaches on the surrounding islands.  We have seen the sea gypsy villages and explored the coast.  The Big Buddha that sits perched on the island’s highest point, was impressive.  Jenny of course enjoys visiting the elephants and the monkeys whenever she can.  All of the local beaches have their own individual characteristics, although our favourite so far is probably Kata.  The swimming beaches are always crowded with swimmers of all shapes and sizes.  There is lots of activity with restaurants, bars, shops, massage places, tailors and so on.  But you don’t get hassled as much as you do elsewhere.

We had a great day of extended sightseeing with a driver just the other day.  The weird thing is that you can hire your own car for $40 – $50 per day, or you can hire a car, WITH a chauffeur, for $30.  We took the chauffeur.  He was happy to take us wherever we wanted, stay as long as we liked and the car was always waiting, air-conditioner running, when we were ready!  A seafood lunch right on the waterfront added to a great day.

Adventures in Thailand

Follow our adventures in THAILAND

We have been staying in Phuket this week, near Patong Beach, which is the 1st stop of our 2012/2013 world trip!  The weather has been fantastic and we have really been enjoying ourselves.  We have been staying at the APK Resort and Spa, which is a 10 minute stroll from the beach past all the ‘entertainment’ venues.

There are bars, restaurants, money changers, tattoo studios, souvenir shops, DVD stores, massage parlours etc everywhere!  The beach itself is unbelievable. For those who haven’t been to Patong beach, it’s a beautiful bay surrounded by hills and the water is so warm.  And every nation on earth seems to be represented on the beach.  There are umbrellas, lilos, water sports and food/drinks available for those who want them.

We have had some magnificent meals in and around our hotel and everything is very cheap if you are experienced bargain hunters like we are.  Our days are filled with walking, swimming, shopping, eating, relaxing, reading, internet, chatting, drinking and the odd massage.

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