Bangkok to Vientiane

Written 16 December
It all started with a chilli squid salad, a half hour of brain sapping ‘Thai Fight’ mixed martial arts television viewing (between ordering and whilst pleasuring my taste buds); and  630ml of SINGHA to occupy our two hour wait at Main Station, Bangkok – awaiting embarkation onto Train 69, bound for the Thai/Laos Border.

However, this is not the commencement of my story dear readers, for we’d just taken in an evening and a day in a city that serves up fabulous food both street side and restaurant way as well as providing my 12 year old with immense food for thought (and questions), specifically as we walked around hostess street heaven, very late last night.

This town’s great…Bangkok…that’s if I’ve already lost you.  For not only does anything go… here are some other reasons:

  • the five star hotels are accessible to the not entirely rich
  • the service and friendliness of its people, incredibly appreciated
  • the Skytrain’s clean, efficient, air-conditioned, inexpensive and a wonderful way to sightsee in comfort
  • if you decided to fall asleep in the street, it’s OK. Lots of people do it so you shan’t look weird, rather at ease in your environment
  • And the backing music that played whilst I consumed this evening’s hearty feast was exquisite soft eighties rock at its Asian covered/pirated best.

Just dress in linen, embrace the 30 plus temperature and marvel at the difference a simple, give-or-take 16 hours (including check in + immigration) can provide the excitable traveller (that’s if you are flying from Heathrow, please adjust flight times from other departure cities of course).

And one more thing before I reflect on current travelling compartment situation and this is really important…the massages are indisputable champions of cheap, long and wonderfully satisfying – so make sure you keep £4.00 (in equivalent THB) in your side pocket for these little treats.

To Train 69, Carriage 13, Compartment 21/22. Recommended by the Chap in Seat 61 and a super way to combine overland travel with a sight-examining component, as well as not having to pay for an additional evening’s accommodation (crafty hey).

The train leaves nightly at 8.00pm and apparently takes approx. 11 hours – and better still, though we don’t have Wifi, my boys have just returned from the Bistro car where they’d happily sipped on their beverages of choice whilst soaking in the atmosphere of open train windows (and doors) which circulate the smells of Thailand; taken in the sound of Thai Disco Legends; and absorbed the company of a mixed bag of travellers, whom sounded perfect for material and essential for memories.

I’ve just realised you might be concerned about the open window bit…please don’t be alarmed…for if you take up evening lodgings in Carriage 13 you’ll be bathing in the refreshing beauty of air-con.

Additionally, a train steward (I assume that’s what they are called), will create your sleeping world with precision – for the triangle corners he produces in his 60 second make-over of your room – not only looked good to me, but really impressed one of my co-travellers who has incredibly high standards when it comes to folding, polishing and definitely ironing.

Now to bed and tomorrow – Vientiane, Laos

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