All aboard tourist excursion train NO.911! I know, I’ve been on to this particular train many times (twice so far this year, the last time being just a few weeks ago), , but since those were done with my dad, they didn’t really count as events, according to the guideline I’ve written some time back. But…today’s trip is different. Since none of my family member are involved, I get to count it as an event.
This trip can actually be considered a successor to a residential trip that I’ve mentioned some months ago. Quite a downgrade, isn’t it? Instead of a guaranteed easy residential trip for 2019 now I have to pretty much rely on whether my effort of organizing residential trips with exchange students will be successful. That’s why I mentioned in my earlier posts that for this semester I’m actually intensifying my effort, to make sure that I can actually get one.
Since this is the first time I’m writing about this ttrain, I think it makes sense to give you all some background information.
Basically, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) runs tourist excursion trains every weeekends and public holidays. There are two trains; one of them, which is the one I took today, runs between Bangkok and Hua Hin, terminating at Suan Soan Pradipat, a small beach not far from Hua Hin station. The southbound train is assigned the train number of 911, and the northbound train is assigned the train number of 912. The other train runs between Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, tterminating at the Sai Yok Noy waterfall. The westbound train is assigned the train number of 909 and the eastbound train is assigned the train number of 910. For the Hua Hin train, SRT offers travelers a choice between a second class air-conditioned seat and a third class non-air-conditioned seat. The second class air-condition seat costs 240 Thai baht per person for the round trip, while the third class non-air-conditioned seat costs 120 Thai baht per person for the round trip. Both classes require advanced booking, which I think opens 30 or 90 days before the intended travel date. From my latest experience some years ago, train NO.909/910 only offers third class non-air-conditioned seats for the price of 120 Thai baht per person for the round trip, although it mmay now also offer air-conditioned second class seats, for possibly the same price as the Hua Hin train.
Both trains leave from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station, picking up passengers along the way as far as Salaya station. Fromm there, both trains makes a 40-minute stop at Nakhon Pathom whereby travelers can get off to buy supplies and explore a bit. From there, the two trains continue on their separate routes, with the Kanchanaburi route possibly branching somewhere in Ratchaburi province.
So…I guess that’s enough for the explanation of the tourist excursion trains…let’s continiue with today’s trip…
For today’s trip, I’m traveling with two staff from the disability support service and another student, for a total of four people. We met at my old dorm around five to ten minutes before 7AM, and then we walked to the Salaya train station to catch the train.
As the train station is not very far from the campus, we ended up arriving quite early. But after ten or so minutes the train finally arrives, which is a few minutes after 7:20AM, the time stated on the train ticket.
The seats that we were given were not too bad. At least some of the windows are still visible which allowed me to capture the scenery.
We pulled into Nakhon Phatom at around 7:45AM. We decided to go grab some food at a restaurant not far from the station. I decided to have just some chicken and rice, as I already had cookies and milk for my breakfast beforehand.
Even though we made it back to the train in time, the train, for whatever reason, ended up leaving between 8:30AM and 8:35AM, which is between five and ten minuttes later than the announced departure time of 8:25AM.
Once the train left Nakhon Pathom, I decided to listten to some music while also taking photos and videos of the scenery, given that it is a long journey. Once we pulled into Ratchaburi station, one of the train staff gave passengers information about the available travel destinations as well as the departure times for the return trip, and…most importantly, information about the available souvenirs. I decided to order one box of the famous ‘Ratchaburi noodles’, two packs of crispy pork snack, and one box of fried fish.
The train finally arrived at Suan Soan Pradipat between 11:30AM and 11:45AM. Although the main activity was to collect trash on the beach, but since some things needed to be set up first, I decided to go to the very same shop selling inflatable toys that I visited literally every time I come to this place, and…as expected, the seller remembered me and I think because I’ve been her customer for so long she gave me a little discount.
The purpose of collecting trash on the beach is to help make the beach, which is already very clean from our inspection, even cleaner and also to prevent the same tragety that happened to Marium – the dugong that died earlier this year from happening to other marine creatures. We found lots of things, including some plastic bottle caps, I think even a few plastic bottles themselves, and an array of other items.
After the activity, we had lunch at a restaurant which is on the other end of the beach. Knowing that the size of my dinner would be quite large, I decided not to order much. Given that every plate is shared, I didn’t really get to eat much anyway.
After lunch, for some reason, rather than walking back along the length of the beach, we decided to try walking back using a different route, which turned out to be both difficult and annoying as we have to cross the train tracks on a set of small, flimsy wooden bridges. But eventually we made it back to the other side of the beach and I decided to continue my shopping for inflatable toys, picking up two more in the process, in addition to the two I got before the start of the activity.
We made it back to the train station (which is not really a proper train station, but rather it is like a train stop) well before the announced departure time of 3:31PM, and…turns out, the train did arrived early so we decided to board the train right away.
Soon after we board, the fish and the pork snack I ordered arrived. But since I intend to save them for later, I decided not to eat them right away. For the return trip, I decided to sit one row behind the seat I sat in before, which turned out to be a good idea as I got a nice big window view, perfect for taking photos and videos.
During the journey back to Salaya, I listened to music and took photos and videos of the outside scenery. Then, shortly after leaving Ratchaburi station, my ‘Ratchaburi noodles’ finally arrived, and I decided to mix it with the fish I got earlier, which resulted in quite an amazing meal for my dinner. The noodles were spicy, I must say, and I have to drink lots of water. Even the fish didn’t really help. We finally arrived back in Salaya some time after 6:30PM, and that marks the end of today’s trip…
I must say, the trip waas quite good. I got four new inflatable toys, which is pretty cool. The train was pretty comfortable and the custom dinner meal I created was quite good. The weather was also amazing today, with no rain and since there weren’t much sunshine while we were at the beach it didn’t really feel very hot.
So…yeah, I guess that’s it for now…