Surviving the trip into Bangkok (28/11,900 ks)

(written by Dave)

We made it to our hotel in Bangkok – it wasn’t easy but we are safe.

To get here, we first had to survive the night in our giant pink box hotel. While it appeared to be one of those hourly hotels, it was pretty quiet out. Inside it was a different story. Perhaps it was our lovely plastic mattress cover and ultra-thin silk sheet but whatever the cause, neither of us slept very well. We both were a little nervous of sliding off the bed and the sound of either of us moving was just enough to wake the other. We were both pretty happy to be out of there in the morning.

We rode to the train station in the dark using our clip-on lights for only the second time in the trip. Funny how some items in our bags have not made it out more than once or twice in 9 months of riding. When you need them, you’re glad they are there. The ride itself was quiet until we reached what appeared to be the morning market street. Even though it was only just past 6AM, it was going full speed. We have to detour down a side street to avoid the chaos. Even though Nancy was very worried about the route and the fact that I couldn’t see my map we road straight to the station. Our first challenge overcome.

Next up was figuring out the ticket and trains. Nancy took the lead and got us booked into the 7:05 train. Tickets were less than we expected but the bike cost a little more. As the train originated in Chachoen Sao, we were able to fairly leisurely load the bikes onto the first car, after removing all the bags, with the help of several train staff. The trained filled up by the time we left so now the stress of buying a ticket and loading moved to “how the heck are we going to get 2 bikes and 10 bags unloaded” when we arrive at our stop. Much less identify the correct stop as all the announcements were in Thai only.

We rolled through 16 or so stations, most of them were marked. More folks boarded as we neared the city. Our bikes and bags were completely surrounded. Exiting fears were getting serious. A couple stops before our station, they stopped marking the stations and we were not sure where we were at when a nice train worker came to us and said, next stop. Not only that, but he was there to help us extract our bikes. He wanted to push them out the window but I talked him into using the door. Nancy stayed onboard while I got the bikes out. She enlisted 5 young Thai boys to help shove all the bags out the window to the train worker and I. Seconds later, Nancy exited, the train pulled away and we both breathed a sigh of relief. Did we really just unload all our gear through the train window at the insistence of a train worker? It took us a few minutes to load the bikes and gather our wits.

We had a short ride to the hotel and it was a good thing. Traffic was insane – 3 lanes with buses, taxi, delivery trucks, motorcycle taxi and the odd trishaw. No cows, goats or dogs, thankfully. I was pretty sure of the route but had to check the iPhone a couple times. Crossing the famous Victory Monument roundabout was exciting. We got stopped at the light and stopped 20 cars from the front. Traffic was not moving so we rode between cars up about 10 more car lengths. We stopped, losing our nerve a bit. Scooters continued to pass us in a small gap to reach the front of the queue. By the time the light changed every space between around us between cars was full of scooters. We all moved in mass, crazy.

With no more major dramas, we arrived at the hotel about 9:45. Wow, what a relief, we survived the train loading/unloading, the traffic and heaps of navigational challenges. Not to mention the near 12,000 kilometres we rode to get here. Oh what a feeling! Our room was ready so we checked in and were showered by 10:30 – did that just happen?

We rested, ate and rested more. Not a lot of riding to day but we burned a lot of nervous energy getting here. It was great just relaxing in our nice hotel – no plastic on the mattress here. We’ll be here for another 5 days. In the next couple of days we’ll post a year end trip summary and of course we’ll post some images and notes on Bangkok.

Feels a bit odd to realise that this is really the end of our SE Asia bike adventure. It has been a great trip so far and we are looking forward to the next stage.

Oh and by the way – Merry Christmas!

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14 thoughts on “Surviving the trip into Bangkok (28/11,900 ks)

  1. Great to read you made it safe to BKK.
    You have a lovely Christmas and luck, Happiness and health for 2012.
    I am sure we will meet again one day.
    Love Michael, Ciska, Jesse and Sammy

    • Thanks Kathie – we are having Xmas dinner on you tomorrow night. Even if doesn’t feel much like Christmas here, we’ll find some form of bird to eat at the famous Marriott Xmas brunch – we’re booked in!

  2. Really good to hear you made it safely on and of the train. I’m sure it was quite stressful wondering if all the bags would really end up together. I am glad you were able to get everything on and off the train as a complete set. Your luxury room is a well deserved treat after the stressful jump on and off the train. It has been great starting each day by reading another chapter of your 12K adventure. I hope I continue to receive updates from France as you deal with the dangers of French wine and pastry. Merry Christmas.

  3. Merry Christmas! So happy to hear you are safe and sound! We survived Mexico and made it home a few hours ago! Have a wonderful stay in Bangkok.

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