Trains are most definite my favourite form of transport for long distance journeys around Thailand. Not only are they a lot safer in comparison to taking mini buses (death traps), they also can sometimes work out cheaper.
I have often taken the train from Bangkok to Pattaya, or Bangkok to Chacheongsao and visa versa. On both of these journeys, they only cost 30b! A taxi could easily be 1000-1500b depending on the generosity and how bothered the taxi driver can be.
When taking the train, there is also the added bonus of taking in the spectacular views of the Thai countryside or looking at the city from another angle. With that, there is usually also a Lady walking round with a bucket of beer with ice in, a much more relaxing environment then being squashed in a Mini Van holding on for dear life!
The one time I took a mini van was when I was catching a flight to Udon Thani from Don Meung early in the morning so I took a mini bus from Soi Bukaho (Bukaaho Road) at 6am. Naturally the driver was a wannabe boy racer, but luckily there wasn’t much traffic on the roads. On the motorway we were pulled over by the police. I could hear the driver swearing in Thai as he got out. My natural assumption as he was getting a fine for speeding, so a quick 100b fine then we would be on our way. 25 minutes went by of the police officer looking through the drivers paperwork, he then started looking at other passengers paperwork. There were a couple of Thai people, three Burmese guys and a German guy. Once that was done, we set off again, it then seemed we were following the police officer somewhere. I am already 45 minutes behind schedule as it is. We then turned up at a Police Station, I tried to ask what was going on but didn’t get much joy. I was later handed a phone by a police officer with a lady on the phone acting as a translator. My self and the german guy were explained that the driver didn’t have the correct permit for that journey. The Burmese guys were in Thailand illegally without a visa. A taxi then appeared where a police officer paid our fare and told us to get in the taxi, he took us to Victory Monument. I just made my flight in time by the skin of my teeth, with a member of the airport escorting me through the airport skipping the queues.
If this had been an international flight, I may not have been so lucky. So from that point on I decided I would get the train down the night before and stay the night to avoid that sort of thing again.
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