Monday, 28 January 2013

Travelling with children: Train trip from Aonang/Krabi via Suri Thani to Bangkok

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Waiting for the bus to Suri Thani
Later on Sunday we packed up all our stuff and headed towards Bangkok. We wanted to go by train, but the closest train station is Suri Thani which is about 2 hours by bus from Krabi. But, not to worry, all travel agencies will sell you a combined ticket.

We got picked up from our hotel at 4pm.We were the first to be picked up, so then followed a round trip through most of the beaches around Ao Nang to pick up more travellers before we arrived at the bus station at Krabi around 5pm. Here we got our train ticket and we were told to wait for the bus to depart to Suri Thani at 6pm.

The bus trip to Suri Thani was pretty uneventful although a bit bumpy, and at one point big brother fell of his seat due to the bumpy ride. But, no one got hurt and after a kiss and a cuddle all was good. Little sister slept through most of the bus ride, and woke up in an excellent mood when we arrived at the train station.

Having some grub at a street stall
We wanted to find a restaurant where we could eat and drink a few hours seeing that we arrived at the train station at 8pm and our train was scheduled to depart at 23.30pm, but that worked out more difficult than we expected. The only two restaurants close to the station was in the process of closing up, and besides that there were only a couple of street stalls and a coffee shop located on the second floor. Seeing that we are lugging 75 kg of baggage around (25 kg of presents and clothes to be given away and 15 kg worth of baby pram) we decided to stay on ground level and sat down at one of the street stalls. But, not a bad decision. Had a yummy meal of green curry, shrimp omelet, spring rolls, and an egg roti with chocolate sauce for dessert. And all this for the net sum of 350 bath including drinks (about US$12).

Watching over our pile of luggage
Eventually we made our way over to the station and set up shop at the far end. And started to wait or the train. And waited. And waited. The scheduled departure time came and went without any train showing up. At last, at 1 am the train finally turned up and we hauled all our luggage, one sleeping baby girl, and one very sleepy 4-year old onto the train. 

Waking up at the train
We had bought 1st class tickets in a sleeper car with three beds. In Thailand there are two types of 1st class tickets, either seats in an open carriage where the beds are behind curtains, or slightly more expensive, seats in a private compartment. We weren’t sure which one we had ended up purchasing as the travel agency guy didn’t seem to know nor care and only kept telling us “yes, 1st class, yes, yes”. But to our delight we had ended up with private compartments. Normally I am quite happy with the open carriage, but with a baby and a 4-year old in tow it was lovely to not having to deal or interact with anyone else. Actually, we got two tiny compartments as each compartments only holds 2 beds (an upper and a lower) and we had bought three seats, but there were a door between the compartments which could be opened, and the fourth bed was empty (lucky us). For all this we had paid about 5200 bath including the bus from Krabi to Suri Thani (US$175). The 4-year old were thrilled with the upper bunk. It was his very first time sleeping in an upper bunk, and on a train to boot…

Yummy breakfast on the train all
wrapped in plastic
The next morning we were woken by some brisk knocking on our door at 9am. A man from the restaurant carriage was standing outside holding a menu with pictures, wanting to know if we would like breakfast. We ordered fried eggs and toast, and rice porridge. Both meals came with orange juice and coffee and set us back 100 bath for each.

Then we wheeled away a few hours admiring the scenery and waiting to arrive in Bangkok. When we arrived at 11.50am there were lots of men with trolleys waiting to help passengers with their luggage for the net sum of 60 bath. With the amount of luggage we had we couldn’t fit into a taxi, so to the 4-year old’s delight we ended up getting a tuk-tuk to the hotel.

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