Finally setting off to Siem Reap!
Started the day early and checked out at about 5am because we had planned to catch the 5.55am train from Hua Lamphong Station. If we miss this, the next one is at 11am and that means arriving Siem Reap late at night.
Some cab drivers were touting their services outside the hotel, for about 150baht. None were agreeable for metered-fare cab ride, so we walked down to main road. Luckily it was easy to get a cab.
We were staying at Pratunam area and the cab ride took about 15-20min. It was 60baht, less than half of whay quoted by the touters.
We purchased our ticket to Aranyaprathet, for 48baht per person. Tickets were still available though we bought them only half hour before departure. Hua Lamphong is the first station, thus not as packed. So, it’s safe to say that travelers need not be at the station more than an hour ahead to purchase the tickets.
With still 15-20min to spare,we made our way for Fajr prayers before boarding the train at Platform 6.
The train departed punctually at 5.55am…
It’s the third class cabin, but it was a comfortable ride.
We didn’t encounter any cockroach, bugs or other creepy crawlers, so that was good enough. Some cabins are wooden seats, so do avoid that as that won’t be comfortable for long ride to Aranyaprathet.
What was the 6hr train ride like..? The first few stops are in Bangkok, so it was not much of a view. But I think it was quite interesting sight to see parts of Bangkok getting ready for the day.
Then, we slowly drifted to sleep since we were tired from starting the day before sunrise. The next moment, I woke up to this view.
And this was pretty much what for most part of the journey. Plenty of greenery of paddy fields, crops and plantations, vast field and forested area.
But not all are beautiful scenery. Some parts were constructions and manufacturing stuff, but it was really few.
As the train approached town stations, one can get views of temples, houses, schools, roads etc. Somehow, I kinda remembered snippets of Geog Elective lessons back in Sec 3 on something along the line of town planning??!
Some stations are more popular than others… perhaps because of school, trading or travel destination.
But some are quite deserted and even dilapidated.
How did I spent the 6hr in the train?
Sleeping, snacking, people watch, gazing out the window, watching videos on phone, taking photo and… pondering over possible lesson materials, like…
Serious job hazard =\ oops!
Back to the trip!
Upon arriving at Aranyaprathet, we took a 10min tuktuk ride for 70 baht to Thai custom for exit.
Then, we crossed the friendship bridge to Cambodian custom area. It was about 5min walk.
And tadaaa… finally we’re a Poi Pet, the border town of Cambodia.
Our journey sounds kinda uneventful, right…? But, just when we thought we had a good trip, we had a weird encounter on our last leg to Siem Reap.
After completing Cambodian custom, we were ‘ambushed’ by alot of touters but continued to walk ahead to shake them off. One of them was quite persistent though and quoted 20USD for a 2-3hr ride to Siem Reap. It was quite cheap as to what we read online (about 25USD-30USD), and we were wondering what’s the catch. Some stories we read online include drivers making a stopover where tourists will be pressurised to purchase some stuff. But he assured us that it will be a direct ride with no stopover.
We eventually agreed to take his service. During the ride, I did comment to Dayah that it’s quite strange that the driver seems to be always busy on the phone…
So, we eventually found out why. He was actually on the phone with another passengers he gonna pick up- a couple with a baby.
Yeah, the couple sat at the front seat, so we kinda let it slide as we were still comfortable at the back.
Then, again he was busy on his phone and…
Yupps, he picked up another passenger.
Remember at the start we were wondering what’s the catch… why he offered a cheaper price? well, we got our answer. He didn’t even ask our permission and simply told us non-chalantly that those passengers were going to Siem Reap. Well, since our safety wasn’t compromised, we didn’t make a big fuss about. Pretty amusing though cuz when we agreed for a ride to Siem Reap, we didn’t expect to be sharing it with others.
So, never ever think a trip is uneventful. There’s always some stories to remember about for any trip 😉