Bangkok Thailand transportation travel Vietnam

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Row 30, Vietjet
All settled in for our flights out of Vietnam to Thailand.

Even though our trip from Nha Trang, Vietnam to Chiang Mai, Thailand went exactly as scheduled, that would not be what it seemed at several points during our journey. We (being Karen) had the trip all set. Taxi to airport, flights to Ho Chi Minh City with connections to Bangkok, Thailand, metro to train station in Bangkok, then an overnight train to Chiang Mai where we were to be picked up by the people we are house sitting for. Sounds simple.

The aggravation started in the Nha Trang airport when the security informed me that I had too many AA batteries and he would be confiscating about 30 of them. (This after I had just received them from my mother in law who had brought them to me from Canada) After a heated exchange and accusations that he was stealing them, I walked away 30 batteries poorer, and a bit angry. My breathing exercises got a solid workout in the departure lounge. However, one just has to let this stuff go….right? Well, let me tell you, after that type of exchange (and perhaps being a little paranoid) when you are at the next airport (Ho Chi Minh City)  waiting in line for immigration and you hear your name being paged over the airport public address system to report to the checked baggage inspection office, your stress level goes up significantly. After watching the lady in front of me have her packages cut open looking for contraband and having the clock ticking closer to our boarding time I was ready for confrontation and possibly missing our connecting flight. As it turned out no aggravation was necessary, the officer simply could not identify my diving light and knife in my luggage and was most polite about the entire exchange. We were able to get to the boarding lounge with 10 minutes to spare. Funny how we work ourselves up and most times it is for no reason. From then on it was flawless, for the most part.

Bangkok subway
As we experienced before, the Bangkok public transportation system was amazing. The subway was spotless and on time.
Metro Station
As well the Metro stations were clean and safe. As soon as we started looking around with that lost appearance an employee would appear to help us with directions.
Bangkok Train Station
It was a bit of a challenge negotiating the construction around the train station in Bangkok, but it was doable. We had purchased our tickets on line through 12go Asia. A fantastic service and very helpful. You simply pick up your tickets across the street from the station when you arrive.
Inside the station
You can board the train up to an hour before departure, however the people watching in the station waiting area is a fantastic way to pass the time.
Car 5 on train #13
We did board the train 45 minutes early because of our luggage. Yes, we are those people with the two large suitcases and the carry on bag each. So to facilitate keeping our stuff close to us we make sure to board early.
Having a drink
As alcohol is not allowed on Thai trains, we enjoyed an orange juice as we waited for departure. We find the second class coaches very nice. You have a table for cards or computers, power plug ins (if you have the right seats). And when you are ready to retire for the night the attendant comes and makes the beds for you.
Restaurant Car
On this trip we had committed to checking out the restaurant car. Very glad we did.
Breakfast time
The restaurant car is a busy place. We enjoyed a complete breakfast and great views.
View Outside
As the 2nd class coach we were in are air conditioned you are unable to open the windows. However the restaurant car has wonderfully large windows that slide right open, allowing for better views and picture taking.
Rainy Morning
Once we finished breakfast the rain started to fall as the train arrived in Chiang Mai. This made for a very cool pleasant arrival in the city.
Chiangmai Train Station
Our final challenge of the journey occurred at the Chiang Mai train station. The problem wasn’t the being assaulted by what seemed like an endless supply of taxi and tuk tuk drivers asking if you wanted a ride. That is fairly standard at any station. It was that our ride wasn’t there to pick us up and we didn’t have a functioning cell phone to call her.
Thai Pay Phone
This was the final challenge. We asked in the train station and the nearby 7-11 store, but no one knew how the pay phones worked or how much they cost. However I am happy to report that the pay phones in Thailand do work and it just takes some patience for them to connect and give you a dial tone. It turns out our ride was delayed at the gas station when the attendant put gasoline in their diesel vehicle. All was resolved though and we were picked up a short time later.

Our good luck with travel continues to stay with us. I truly believe it is more a function of good planning, good attitude and flexibility than just luck. Whatever the reason another leg of our journey is successfully underway. The people we are house sitting for in Chiang Mai are incredibly friendly and helpful and the dogs and cats are too good to be true. It looks like it is going to be a great couple of weeks here.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

2 comments on “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

  1. Jenn Pecksen

    Sorry to hear about your batteries. I’m guess buddy needed them more than you do. Perks of being an airport security employee in Asia. Looks like the train ride was awesome too!! Enjoy your stay and you are right about the travel. Go with the flow. Be prepared with your plan but be prepared for the unplanned I always say.
    Have a Changmaginificent time!!

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