Tuesday, 8 February 2011

14 September 2001

Went into the station to book a ticket to Chiang Mai and got a sleeper berth with no problems even though all the guidebooks said it was impossible to do for the same day.

The tuk-tuk driver on the way wanted to take me to the 'government export centre' for his 'free gasoline' and when I told him I didn't have time dumped me in the middle of the street. When I returned to the station later I took the public bus instead.

Hualampong station is not unlike a UK station except that instead of free Tourist Information there is a tour company of that name, probably intended to confuse visitors. Booked treking at Chiang Mai with them anyway but didn't appreciate the hard sell, which included offering to rent me a backpack when they could see I was carrying one.

The train was more spacious than those at home with few passengers. They played an anthem as we left and everyone on the platforms stood to attention.

The train filled up at several suburban stations around Bangkok before the staff came round to put down the bunks.

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