This post is about my 11-hour train ride from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Bang Mun Nak, Thailand.
You might think there isn’t much to talk about, but I guess that’s the point. When traveling, but in normal life as well, you get what you make out of every sitation. So.. best to do your best to make your situations awesome – especially on long journeys!
The train ride didn’t start out awesome though. Worried I wouldn’t be able to find a tuk tuk to the train station, I left my hostel at 5am to make the 5:45am train. I knew the ride would be 10 minutes at most in a tuk tuk since I had walked the journey the day before in about 35 minutes.
Well, at the corner of the street there were two parked tuk tuks, each containing the sleeping driver. I woke one up and we were on our way.
I got to the station and commenced my 30 minutes of waiting… which turned into almost three hours of waiting. The train was late. I had a “Herlthy” breakfast though.
We left at 7:41am instead of 5:45am.
My friend told me that the trains were always late in Thailand. He was right.
Anyway, nothing you can do. Below some pictures of the train.
As I got on the train, there were two white girls behind me. I didn’t know where they were from, but I offered to hold one girl’s bottle of water as she struggled to pass through the aisle with her bag.
They ended up being French.
The train got moving and pretty soon a guy with a huge smile and tons of personality was walking up and down the aisles selling food. I had eaten a bit at the station, so I wasn’t interested.
He asked me where I was going, presuming Bangkok. I told him I was going to Bang Mun Nak. He knew of the place, but was surprised I was going there since it’s not touristy.
I was tired, but I divided my time among reading, listening to podcasts, and watching a movie on my laptop. I also spent a good amount of time, as did other passengers, staring out the window at the beautiful scenery.
Pretty soon I was starving so I went back to the dining car. The French girls were there waiting for their food and invited me to join them.
We must have talked for about two hours. They had just finished up a month of traveling within Thailand and were flying home from Bangkok the following day. But they were very interested in hearing about my experiences traveling in Latin America. I must have talked for at least 30 minutes about Peru alone
It was really nice. Then the previously-mentioned guy selling food with a huge smile reminded us that we should keep an eye on our valuables, so we went back to our respective seats.
Again, more reading, more podcast listening.
Then we got to a city I recognized: Phitsanulok. It’s the oil city in Thailand and my friend Dung from Vietnam used to work here!
A couple got on the train and I recognized that they were speaking Spanish. I couldn’t figure out where they were from based on their accents though. They were too far away.
Well, pretty soon I butted in desperate for the chance to speak some Spanish.
The guy was from Barcelona, Spain. The girl was from Huanuco, Peru. I never visited there, but the more we talked I found out she lived in Lima for a long time. Where in Lima? the part of the city known as Lince! Same as Caroline! So random!
We talked for a couple hours as well and I helped them plan a potential trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I hope they were able to go in the end.
As my stop approached, the three people on the train I told I was departing at Bang Mun Nak (the policeman, the guy with a smile, and the gy checking tickets) all approached me separately to make sure I got off at my stop. They don’t annouce the stops and it’s not always easy to see which city you are in. So I genuinely appreciated their hospitality in making sure I got off at the right place!
I got off the train more than three hours after I was supposed to arrive. I went to a convenience story and asked how to get to the temple. It took a few minutes for them to understand as I was saying “Wat Pai Civil-say” and they pronounce it “Wat Pai Civil-sigh.” Given how small the town is, it’s hard to see how that was difficult on their end to figure out..
But nevertheless, I got a motorcycle taxi to the temple and showed up just in time for their wonderful chanting!