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Cross the Cambodia border and travel up through Thailand by train.

 

The flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok is expensive and can be between $100-$200 pp, because the choice of airlines is limited.

A great alternative is to travel by train from the Cambodia border (there are no trains yet operating in Cambodia)

We chose to travel by train, all the information we could glean seemed to be in agreement that the road trip from the Cambodia border to Bangkok was a precarious trip due to the dangerous driving habits.

The alternative which is cheap and safe, is to travel by train.

We decided to take a taxi from Siem Reap to the Cambodia-Thai border which cost about $25 for the journey.

This turned out to be a poor choice as the taxi was barely roadworthy and the trip was only ablout 3 hours, a better option is to take the bus.

We started our journey North on the 6am train to Bangkok from Aranyaprathet.

After a short tuk tuk ride to the station, there was plenty of time to choose our seats on the train.

 due to

The Thai border

Boarding the train was easy on this leg, no 10ft drop!

They look like comfy seats, but they are hard plastic, no cushions here!

Leaving aranyaprathet, the Thailand border town

We had a couple of towns where we thought we might break the journey, but as Aranyaprathet was uninteresting and the towns on the way appeared to be the same, we bought tickets to go all the way to Bangkok. Ticket $1-50 each for 6hr journey!

We ended up doing the full journey in one stint as, on passing each stop they looked far too remote to be worth the stop.

The train experience was great, we knew the seats were hard so we had plenty to sit on at the ready. From the start the train resembled an indoor market, lots of lively chatter and lots of goodies on sale.

It was hilarious to see, ladies going up and down the train singing their wares! Anything from cooked goodies, always with a fried egg on top! to drinks and fesh fruit and veg,

We had chosen the last carriage on purpose as there were fewer seats, so it appeared a lot roomier, unfortunately, but we didn't know it was where the marketeers sorted their wares!

However we were enthralled and thoroughly entertained by their industry and had so much fun with them.

Different ones jumped off at diiferent stops and more got on.

When the train guard came down to check our $1-50 tickets they immediately tried to sell him stuff.

It looked so funny as he was in very smart officious looking uniform in amongst the buckets full of cold drinks and other stuff.

They had hooks on the ceiling of the train for them to put their bamboo poles on which they carried their wares on when leaving the train.

The scenery was good, passing through lots of country areas, seeing lots of Thai monks on way to daily prayer in many places.

Another thing we found interesting was everyone on the train chatted together, they included us but we sometimes got "lost in translation", but we still had lots of laughs. No mobile phones were in sight, so good to see the interaction with them all.

We arrived in bustling Bangkok and an information lady at the station actually walked with us to a tourist place to book our hotel, as we crossed the road she just walked out amongst the traffic and held her hand up for them to stop and let us cross. What power! We might still have been there trying to cross the unbelievably busy road!

We booked a hotel in nearby location so it remained to barter with the tuk tuk driver for a ride.

Thai Dancers

Thai flower market

Thai flower market

Thai flower market

Thai flower market

Famous Khao San Road Market

Famous Chatuchak market, really cheap!!

Famous Chatuchak market, really cheap and trendy

On the river Ferry

On the river Ferry  lots of junks and atmosphere

Don't go to Thailand during Songkrat  water festival

They shoot you all day for 3 days with soak em water guns

And drench you with buckets whilkst you are in the tuk tuk

Thai Temple

Thai Palace

Thai Palace

It's a good plan to choose a hotel near to the skytrain which runs all over Bangkok above city streets, very quick, cheap and easy to get to all the sites.

You can visit all the mjor sites in Bangkok from the Chao Phraya river.

Take the skytrain to the Saphan Taksin station stop, walk out and follow the crowds to Sathorn Pier.

At the pier is can be confusing as there is no information apart from expensive tourist trips.

Basically there are two ferries which operate with coloured flags on the front, the tourist express ferry has a green flag on the front and only stops at the main tourist stops.

The local line ferry is the one to catch, it has an orange coloured flag and stops at 34 stops along the river, the stop signs are on signposts on each pier and are numbered e. g. Khao San Road  is Pier 13.

Here is a small map showing the ferry system

Sathorn Pier suggested start point at the Bangkok skytrain station at Taksin Bridge.

N 1 Oriental - Oriental Hotel and river front hotels

N 2 Wat Muang Kae not in use

N 3 Si Phraya Charoen Krung Road Bangrak Museum Bangkok Folk Museum

N 4 Harbour Dept Harbour Safety Office

N 5 Ratchawongse Chinatown Bangkok

N 6 Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut) Twin bridges Memorial Bridge - Phra Pok Klao Bridge, King Rama I Monument Pahurat Little India.

 

Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut) Pier

 

N 7 Rajinee boat passes Fort Vichai Prasit, Wat Arun is on the Thonburi bank acrosee the Chao Phraya from Bangkok. The ferry to Wat Arun is from N 8 Tien Pier.

N 8 Tien Wat Pho Saranrom Park and the ferry to Wat Arun

 

Tien Pier near Wat Pho

 

N 9 Chang Grand Palace Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the ferry to Wat Rakhang

Get on the ferry going north, you can pay on the boat and hop off anywhere en route for a great meal at the ferry terminal cafe for a few Baht!

Thai people  are really extremely friendly and helpful and of course the food is unbelievable, don't be afraid to try all the street hawker food, unbelievably cheap and delicious..

During our stay we had Thai New Year, called Songkrat, which means everyone can spray you with water.

It is amazing to see all the adults bearing water guns! Seemingly it started out as a New Year Blessing when the monks shook a little water over you.

Of course unfortunately it has got out of hand with water guns everywhere. It was over 4 days so we were well armed and at the ready to try and avoid them.

Didn't always succeed but as it was hot weather we dried off quickly.The locals were relieved when it was all over as some of them refuse to go out during that time including our hotel owner.

So if you are not to keen on getting drenched in your tuk tuk, don't go to Bangkok during Songkrat (about a 4 day festival).


 

 

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