To keep travel costs down we didn’t fly between destinations in Thailand, so sorry, this headline was a bit of a lie. Instead we used Thai public transport to head from the bustle of Bangkok over to Thailand’s island paradise.
Being a pedestrian in Bangkok
Our journey began by making our way from our hostel over to the train station to catch a night train. Being a passenger in a car is pretty perilous, but being a pedestrian trying to cross the roads is even worse!
Zebra crossings mean nothing – we found the best way to cross any road was to find a Thai person who also wanted to cross and just not get left behind as they walked nonchalantly into oncoming traffic. Once an elderly Thai lady pushing a cart saw us having trouble and went out of her way to come and guide us across!
Taking a night train in Thailand
We got the night train from Bangkok at 18:30 Tuesday night and arrived in Surat Thani at 7:00am Wednesday morning. There are single seats facing each other, which the train staff pull out for you to make a bed, and another bed pulls out of the roof. You get a sheet and pillow, but it’s a nice enough temperature with just the air con.
Sleeping on a Thai night train is difficult. I had a top bunk and while you have a curtain, that doesn’t block out any of the light which hangs on the ceiling next to you. And it can also be very noisy, especially when you stop at stations and guards stomp through the carriages telling people where we were. In all I think I had about an hour’s sleep in a ten and a half hour journey.
We were also two hours late because, we found out later from two Irish guys, that the train they were on had lost a wheel and was delayed for five hours, so our train was held up behind them!
Thai coaches and ferries
When we got to Surat Thani we were rushed onto coaches. There were people sat in the aisles and up the stairs, and my friend and I were sat on the seat (really made for one) at the front with the driver. It took one and a half hours to get to Raja ferry port where we got the ferry to Koh Pangan.
We missed the first ferry and had a two-hour wait at the cafe by the pier because of the delays in the morning, but once we embarked it took about two hours to finally arrive. It was a long old journey, but it all felt worth it when we reached our destination and saw the amazing views!
Have you ever experienced a night train in Asia? We’d love to hear your travel stories – what’s the oddest public transport experience you’ve ever had on your travels?
Featured image credit: Clay Gilliland from Chandler, via Wikimedia Commons.