I have arrived in Thailand!
I am of course ridiculous & decided that I needed a new Chanel lipstick for my month of backpacking in Thailand. I know. I was rolling my eyes at myself when I was walking towards the till in duty free. I’m sure that was a lovely sight for the anxious cashier.
When I arrived in Bangkok I opted on taking public transport to my hostel rather than the easy-way-out taxi – mainly due to it being rush hour & my massive dislike of sitting in traffic. The public transport was very straightforward, frequent & easy to navigate. I was pleased despite not being accustomed to the weight of my backpack yet!
I stayed at the Saphai Pae hostel. It was clean & spacious with a well laid out big bathroom block. I stayed in an 8 bed dorm on the female only floor. The staff were helpful & I would stay there again. After my well deserved shower I went for a wander about the area then went to bed. It was pure bliss to lie horizontal on a bed & stretch out. I was in heaven!
The next morning, after breakfast, I went to Hua Lampong train station to get a ticket for the overnight train to Chiang Mai for my Thai massage course. You can’t buy these tickets online & they sell out quickly so I was risking them being sold out. Luckily there were 4 seats left in the 2nd class air conditioned carriages. I opted for seat 15 as the other seats were very low numbers indicating they were near the toilet which might be a bit smelly & have through traffic all night with people using them. The only seat available that wasn’t near the toilets was an upper bunk. The upper bunks are slightly narrower than the bottom bunks but this didn’t really bother me. The ticket was 791b & would leave Bangkok at 6.10pm & arrive in Chiang Mai at 8.10am the following day.
I wandered around Bangkok & had some street food of gyoza for 50b (£1). I went to MBK & Siam centre to browse – I bought a few things I ‘needed’ but I didn’t go crazy because everything I buy I have to carry on my back.
I arrived at the station 45 mins early & my train was already being boarded. We took off at 6.10pm & an hour later a lady came around & started converting the seats into bunks. I was delighted! Another lady came around with a menu for dinner but I wasn’t very hungry. She seemed a bit offended that I didn’t order anything….
The bunks on the train with their curtains closed
When I climbed into my bunk I fell straight to sleep – I’m not sure how as everyone was talking so loudly. I woke up a few hours later & read for a while, then I noticed a cockroach walk down the wall & under my mattress! Oh the horror! I was determined to go back to sleep so I put my earphones in (so the cockroach wouldn’t be able to burrow into my ears if he had the inclination, obviously) & anxiously fell asleep. At around 7am the lady came back to convert the bunks back to seats. I was massively jealous of the people in the bunks that she left until 8am. It seems that I have become obsessed with lying down.
I heard that transport is rarely on time in Thailand so I was surprised when we arrived bang on time! This was the last stop so everyone left the train & there was the usual hub bub in the train station of taxi & tuk tuk drivers, hostel owners, confused sleepy backpackers etc. I slipped into a nearby cafe to escape the bustle & enjoy a coffee. When relative calm resumed I found a tuk tuk driver & haggled him down to 200b for my trip to Baan Hom Samunphrai – Thai Massage School Herbal Retreat Centre. It was a bumpy 20 minute drive out of the city over a bridge, past the tamarind hedge to my home & haven for the following 2 weeks.
Saphai Pae Hostel, Bangkok http://www.saphaipae.com
Baan Hom Samunphrai, Chiang Mai http://www.homprang.com