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Day 15: Bangkok to Chumphon by train

Day 15: Bangkok to Chumphon by train

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Ah, another transit day. Today we packed up our stuff at the Soi 1Guesthouse and headed to the train station in Bangkok.

I have one complaint about the Soi 1Guesthouse. I like the place, and will continue to use it in Thailand, but the problem is a little annoying. You see, the beds are all bunk beds...cheap metal frame bunk beds. This isn't a big deal in and of itself, but the cheap frames make the beds squeak whenever you move, especially if you are on the top like I was last night.

I am glad to say I have lose a little weight while I was here, but I still weigh a lot, and even when I moved my neck the bed squeaked like all hell. This resulted in me waking up a lot, and I didn't sleep all that well. Oh well, what can you do?

Anyway, we headed off to the train station in the morning to discover that the next train out to Chumphon wasn't until 1 pm, so we bought our tickets, ate breakfast, and wandered around the station for a few hours.

The train station is right next to the MRT, or Mass Rapid Transit. The MRT is the newest public transportation system in Bangkok. It is a subway and it was completed in 2002. I know all this and more because in our boredom, Mateo and I read the illustrated history of the MRT in the underground hallways from the train station to the MRT terminal. The drill they use for the tunnels goes 10 m/day and lays the concrete as it drills. Isn't that awesome!

...anyway. We also wandered around Chinatown, and I guess there is a big festival happening today, but I have no idea what it is. Do any of you with Chinese relatives know if there is anything special about 8/8/06? Many households were burning fancy-looking paper and there was offerings set out. One man we talked to mentioned that there was going to be fireworks later in the night, but we left before we had a chance to see them.

The train left on time with us on it and we took off for a 10-hour train ride down to the beach town of Chumphon. You would think a 10-hour train ride would really really suck, but actually it was quite nice. The train is old, and all the windows can open all the way. The doors can swing open as well, even when the train is moving. The seats were nice though, with much more leg-room than on the buses we have traveled on, and with fans constantly going (at 6 rpm...I was bored) and open windows it was quite cool.

Vendors sold various foods on the train throughout the trip. I bought a local type of rice crispy treat with peanuts and sesame seeds that tided me over until the trip was over. Mateo endured the entire time on a few slices of bread and water. A better man than I. :P

We got to Chumphon around ten and boarded a pickup truck that took us to a small guesthouse that set us up with a boat to Koh Tao the next day and settled in for the night after a quick run to 7/11. There are a lot of 7/11s here in Thailand. There are some other convenience stores in Bangkok, but the only one I have seen consistently all over is 7/11. They must have gotten a pretty sweet deal here.

OK. You might be wondering where the heck Chumphon is and why we came here. Well, Chumphon is the jumping off point for the small island of Koh Tao, which we will be staying at for about a week to relax and soak in the sun. The Lonely Planet says that old Chumphon is really only a stop over town for Koh Tao, and it really seems like it. Nothing much is going on here, but people going to the island.

Which is where we will be tomorrow.

Until then, take care.

Yours,
trv
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