Thailand

Bangkok to Hua Hin by train

Bangkok to Hua Hin by train:

Hua Hin Station

Bangkok to Hua Hin by train is around a four hour trip. But this depends on which train service you take, and whether the train is delayed.  You can go by bus, or by taxi in a little less time. For more details on trains see, as always, The Man in Seat 61.  This blog is more about the actual experience.  For a longer trip I just took, see The Train from Malaysia to Chiang Mai.

http://tropicalexpat.com/electric-scooter-assorted-minor-matters/

 

The train from Malaysia to Chiang Mai

Bangkok Station

Bangkok Station

The train from Malaysia to Chiang Mai

The train from Malaysia to Chiang Mai is interesting and fun if you like trains. And a useful and safer way to travel if you want to make stops along the way.  And you’ll see some of the countryside, and have the experience. But if you don’t want that,  fly – if you’re flexible you can find cheap flights.

So you could make one or more stops or travel all the way to Bangkok in one go, and then take another train on to Chiang Mai. The latter is what I will describe here as in the past I have visited the below-mentioned.

Previously you could catch the train from Singapore to Bangkok on the one train. More recently it was Butterworth, Penang to Bangkok, but Malaysia has electrified the lines, while Thailand hasn’t.  So now one must change trains at the border of Thailand.

So the the train from KL and Penang to Chiang Mai is actually three trains. Train one to the border, train two to Bangkok and train three to Chiang Mai. For more photos and videos related to this trip, please see Part 2.

http://tropicalexpat.com/electric-scooter-assorted-minor-matters/

digital nomad – what, where and how

digital nomad:

A digital nomad. Someone who earns a living on their laptop often working remotely, and often abroad.  So they are working in coffee shops, hotel rooms, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles.  It’s a lifestyle that offers freedom from many of the downsides of traditional working.  Downsides such as office hours, office politics, a boss, a dress code, and commuting. And the downsides of living in just one country. Control and surveillance-obsessed governments and the accompanying bureaucracy. Not to mention confiscatory taxes. If you don’t like particulate restrictions, you avoid countries that impose such restrictions. Instead there are many of the fascinations of travelling. And being easily able to vote with your feet when tired of one’s current location, for whatever reason.

digital nomad top spot - Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, North Thailand – a hotspot for digital nomads

http://tropicalexpat.com/electric-scooter-assorted-minor-matters/

 

 

The most popular – travel blogs in Malaysia

Most popular blogs – travel blogs in Malaysia:

The most popular blogs I have written over the past six years are travel blogs in Malaysia. About Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, and travel by plane, train bus and car.

travel blogs in Malaysia

The blogs are ordered in the number of views, from the highest down. The top 14. These statistics are from my original Tropicalexpat blog. I have also updated and published some on my new Tropicalexpat site:

Penang to Langkawi by air, ferry; car, bus and/or train and ferry

Penang to Kuala Lumpur by plane, train, bus and car

Kuala Lumpur Sentral Train Station to Malacca by bus – AKA Circling Malaysia by rail (mostly) 2/4

A trip from Penang to Langkawi by car and ferry

Penang to Kuala Lumpur by night train – AKA Circling Malaysia by rail (mostly) 1/4

Penang to Kuala Lumpur by bus

From Penang to Singapore by train

Learning to drive and getting a driving licence in Penang

Malaysia’s Jungle Line; (Malacca to) Gemas to Kota Baru by train; AKA Circling Malaysia by rail (mostly) 3/4 ; late 2017 update

A trip from Penang to Langkawi by bus and ferry – mid-2014

Our trip to Langkawi mid-2014

Langkawi – some observations from my latest visit. And could I retire here?

Driving from Penang to Kuala Lumpur (KL)

Road trip to southern Thailand – driving one’s car from Penang to Songkhla – and parts north

And over the past 12 months – travel blogs in Malaysia again:

Malaysia’s Jungle Line; (Malacca to) Gemas to Kota Baru by train; AKA Circling Malaysia by rail (mostly) 3/4 ; late 2017 update

Penang to Langkawi by air, ferry; car, bus and/or train and ferry

Penang to Kuala Lumpur by plane, train, bus and car

A trip from Penang to Langkawi by car and ferry

Cleaning my air-con

Visiting Pangkor Island – 10 best things to do

A six day road trip around Malaysia – 1/6

Perhentian Jungle Trek

Road Trip – Penang to the east coast of Malaysia by car

Penang to Kuala Lumpur by bus

Learning to drive and getting a driving licence in Penang

A trip from Penang to Langkawi by bus and ferry – mid-2014

Driving from Penang to Kuala Lumpur (KL)

Malaysian Airlines mobile phone check-in and boarding works

So again – travel blogs in Malaysia. The past 12 months is similar to the longer term trend. But recently there is also more interest in Pangkor Island and the Perhentian Islands.

Bangkok side trip – visiting Ganesha

Ganesha

Ganesha

Fairly recently a big Ganesha has been erected outside of Bangkok, at Wat Saman Rattanaram.  See the size of it by Google Street view. It has proven so popular that other temples and statues have sprung up in the same area.  By private transport it would be a half day trip. We thought we’d try public transport, which meant we were away most of the day.

Bangkok's Eastern Bus Terminal

Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal

You can catch a train to Chachoengsao, but we read it’s very crowded and you’d have to stand for two hours. And after that you catch a pickup for the rest of the way, to Wat Saman Rattanaram.  We went by mini-bus (‘Rottoo’) instead to Chachoengsao, and then a pickup ( ‘Ten sou’) to Wat Saman Rattanaram.

inside the bus terminal - the ticket window for C is under that big orange sign

inside the bus terminal – the ticket window for Chachoensao is more or less under that big orange sign

The mini-bus to Chachoengsao departs from Bangkok Bus Terminal (Eastern), on Sukumvit Road, opposite BTS Ekkamai Station. We caught the 8AM minibus, but there are three earlier departures, and the next is at 11.00.  However, check the day before, as timetables change frequently.  A ticket costs THB18, from memory. It took us about two hours to arrive at the Chachoengsao bus station.  We were there at 10.10AM.

the mini-bus to

the mini-bus to Chachoengsao

the bus terminal at C

the bus terminal at Chachoengsao

The pickup to Wat Saman departs from a side street next to the market, about two minutes walk from the bus terminal. Our mini-bus driver showed us where.  We had to wait about 20 minutes for the next departure, at 10.30. The fare was THB30.

the pickup to Wat

the pickup to Wat Saman

on the pickup on the way to Wat Saman

on the pickup on the way to Wat Saman

Ganesha sign

Ganesha sign

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

on the way to Wat Saman

almost there

almost there

And then we arrived at Wat Saman at about 11.25AM.  It has no entry charge.

lots of stalls near the temples

lots of stalls near the temples

first time I've seen this one

first time I’ve seen this one – the sign for the timetable for the pickup back is in front of this.

time table for the pickup back to C

time-table for the pickup back to Chachoengsao – catch the pickup here

Erawan

Erawan

Ganesha

Ganesha

Ganeshas

Ganeshas

dragons

dragons

little island

little island

another Ganesha

another Ganesha

buddhas

buddhas

big Draemon

big Doraemon

huge statue

huge statue

another huge statue

another huge statue

lunch

lunch

my lunch

my lunch

It was interesting to do once and to experience the ordinary public transport.  Bangkok traffic can be bad, so consider which day you make the trip. And take some water to drink,  as usual.

In the Wat market area, we saw a lot of local produce shops, fruit, nuts, cookies, flowers, plants, spice, and charcoal BBQ chicken take away.

The hawker area serves food: food, quality, hygiene, volume and value all were quite satisfactory for a super touristy place.

If you became over heated you can escape to Amazon cafe which is the only air-con place in the Wat.  It is a couple of minutes walk past Ganesha.

September 2015 notes from Bangkok

I’m just back from a week in Bangkok.  So much has been written about Bangkok, I will just make a few observations, rather than duplicate others’ efforts.

  • Last month, August, as you’d know a bomb killed a lot of people at a popular shrine in Bangkok.  We stayed away from major attractions.
  • But now there is airport-like security at all malls. You have to pass through one of those gates, and maybe they will search your bag, if you have one.  Mind you, they also often ignore it when it buzzes, and don’t bother searching your bag, too.
  • The BTS and MTR have the same type of security.
  • Strangely, Hua Lamphong Railway Station had no security. And the bomber allegedly passed through this station.
  • And the airport is less stringent than some malls.Mostly escalators ascended on the right and descended on the left.  Except at the MTR,which did a bit of both, sometimes the left ascended, and sometimes the right.  If you are standing on the escalator you should stand on the right.
  • Sometimes when you ride the BTS you spot someone who is not glued to their phone screen.  You can see whole rows of seated passengers using their mobiles.  Either with earphones and listening to something, or looking at or interacting with the screen, or both.
  • Many surfaces are tiled in malls and entrances.  Occasionally they are very slippery, especially if wet.
  • Mostly, in the trains and malls you see no old people – except for foreigners.
  • One trend for girls seems to be distressed jeans. In some cases, very distressed jeans.
  • Buying fresh fruit at a market can be one fifth the price of buying it in a supermarket.
  • A Tiger beer in a supermatrket costs around THB35 – in its home country, Malaysia, the same beer costs MYR8.50, or more than double the Thai price.
Emporium food court

Emporium food court

  • I particularly liked the food court on the 5th floor at Terminal 21, Asok.  And the  Emporium food court on the 4th floor Phrom Phong.  The latter is smaller, quieter, and feels more upmarket, but still very good value.
  • I don’t drink so much soft drink, but I did buy a can of Coke once.  It tasted a bit funny, and I didn’t feel so good after it.  But I couldn’t read the ingredients as the labelling was all in Thai. I suspect that instead of sugar they used high fructose corn syrup.  Which could also be GM.  Thereafter I only bought drinks where I could read the labelling and see if the sweetner was sugar. The juices and juice drinks seemed often to have English versions of their ingredients on them.
  • In the toilets in the malls they had proper hand towels to dry your hands.  In Malaysia they supply only toilet paper, which disintegrates and leaves tiny bits of paper on your hands – so then you have to wash your hands again to get it off. I don’t use air dryers as they can spread bacteria unless they have a filter.
  • I needed more research on ATM’s as the ones I used charged huge commissions for withdrawal, even though my bank doesn’t charge.
  • And I found the mobile phone deals confusing and kind of expensive. More research needed here, too.  The data speed in Bangkok, and even in the countryside was quite good, though.
  • A note of caution if you buy duty-free and fly out of Penang.  One of the receipts in the bag they give you has all your passport details.  I’d rip it up and throw different parts away in different bins. It’s very insecure to just throw it away when someone could possibly use those details.