My dream has become a reality at last!

Hey guys;

Title says it all. The Hua Hin trip has just ended, and…wow, what an amazing trip it was! This trip is truely amazing in every single way; evverything worked out so well throughout the duration of this trip.

It all began with an invitation for a dinner scheduled for the 24th of September. The invitation came on the 23rrd of September. At that point I have started to lose hope because my effort of organizing trips with exchange students up to that point has failed. Given that on Tuesday nights I don’t have anything to do, I decided to just accept the invitation. But little did I know that the simple dinner meal on the 24th of September would evolve into a wonderful weekend trip to Hua Hin in a very short span of time. In fact that dinner meal caused things to move very fast and, two days later, I found myself at the Salaya train station, purchasing tickets for four people on the special express train number 43 for the 5th of October and the tourist excursion train number 911/912 for the 6th of October. Then, early this past week, the accommodation was confirmed.

Since I purchased a one-way ticket for the 5th of October and a round-trip ticket (with the intention of using it as a one-way ticket) for the 6th of October, I already knew that this supposed trip was going to be a residential trip, but back then I could only imagine how it would, or should, turn out.

Excitement continued to mount as the trip got closer and closer. The dinner that proceeded the trip on the 4th of October was simply great. It was practically a dinner with all the participants of the trip plus one additional guest. Although the meal was super late by my standards and it is a home-cooked meal, the food was simply amazing. A spaghetti with I think beef grinded into smaller pieces.

All aboard special express train number 43! Next day, on Saturday 5 October, the trip began. We were scheduled to meet up at 8:20AM, but the exchange students ran a little bit late. I was informed that a fifth person would be coming along, but that person never showed up so we left without that person.

We took a taxi to the Salaya train station, which is not far from our dorm. When we arrived, there were no trains on any of the platforms. But we didn’t have to wait long until the station announces that our train is approaching.

After the announcement, we walked to the platform mentioned in the announcement, and shortly after that, the special express train number 43 pulled into the station. It was not a very long train, composing of only three carriages or so. Our seats were in the middle carriage.

The train pulled out shortly after we boarded, which was shortly after 9AM, which was a few minutes later than the proscribed departure time on the ticket. Our seats were on the right side of the central ile. This train has only one class, second class air-conditioned seats. Though this train ran from Bangkok all the way down to Surat Thani, we took the train to Hua Hin only. The seats were airline-style, with trays for meals.

Speaking of on-board meals…about an hour and a half into the journey, at around 10:30AM or so, the carriage attendance passed down the carriage, handing out meals to all passengers. Yep, all passengers, even us. I was totally surprised to get a free meal on the train, given that we only ride the train for a few hours. But I guess the ticket price includes one meal by default…

The meal was quite a simple meal, consisting of hard boiled eggs, rice and a fish soup. The meal was quite good I would say.

While I was eating, one pretty interesting and probably funny incident occurred. My tray was sliding about on thee table. I didn’t pay much attention until, out of nowhere, it completely fell off, spilling everything, including the soup, onto the seat next to me, where one of the exchange students was sitting, but luckily the fish inside didn’t fall offf and I was able to grab the rice plate so it didn’t fall over.

Although we made a few actual station stops before reaching Hua Hin, we only stop between stations once, to allow a train coming in the opposite direction to pass. That train, from what I can see, was a special express sleeper train coming from Hat Yai as the carriages looked very new and for the southern line, only the special express train running between Bangkok and Hat Yai have the very newest sleepers bought from China a few years ago.

Throughout the remainder of the journey, and indeed throughout the whole journey, I just listen to music on my phone and take photos and videos. We arrived in Hua Hin a bit before 12PM or so. After watching the train departs, we then call Grab to take us to our accommodation.

The accommodation we stayed in was an entire house, with a swimming pool. The house was indeed very spacious. Since there weren’t enough air-conditioned bedrooms for four people, one or two of us has to sleep downstairs. Two of the exchange students volunteered, so that means I and the remaining exchange student got to sleep in the two air-conditioned bedrooms.

We spent I think a few hours relaxing, and at around 3PM or 3:30PM, we headed out for lunch (yep, a super late lunch). We went to a cafe not far from the house. I ordered a medium-sized English breakfast set and a cup of cold chocolate. The food was truely amazing, and truely reminded of the English breakfast I use to have back in the UK when I was an exchange student last year. In fact the sausage tasted pretty much identical to the sausages I ate in the UK.

We sat there for a considerable amount of time, and we finally left the cafe at around 5PM or so (can’t remember the exact time). We went to 7-11 to buy some supplies, and since one of the exchange students mentioned a shop selling inflatable toys I decideed to ask her to take me there and…guess what, I ended up buying two more inflatable rings from there. The two remaining exchange students went to the nearby pharmacy to buy some sunscreens.

After all the shoppings, we went back to the house and spent quite a good deal of time in the pool. In fact we didn’t get out until like 7:30PM or so. Originally I want to take the exchange students to the Cicada market, but changed my mind. Instead we ordered pizzas.

However, we encountered a problem. The Thai phone numbers of all the exchange students can’t be used to make calls because they didn’t top up the required money. So my phone was used instead since it was the only phone that can make calls.

We ordered the large-sized pizzas, with each person getting four slices, which is enough for me. I also requested some chicken sticks, which tasted really good. Dinner, just like on the 4th of October, was super late, this time we didn’t eat until like 9PM or 10PM (yep, this was my fourth meal of the day).

After we all had dinner, we decided to hang around for a while, until like close to midnight to which point we all went to bed.

Overall, I can say that the first day of the trip was amazing and also very relaxing. The train ride waas pretty fun and I enjoyed it.

Today was the last day of the trip. I know the trip was very short, but…hey, a short, single-night trip is better than a day trip or no trip at all. I woke up at around 7AM, but the others didn’t wake up until…guess what? 9:30AM or 9:45AM! This means that breakfast was super late and since we need to catch a ttrain back to Salaya, we have to squeeze in lunch as well, at least for me… While waiting for the exchange students to wake up I decided to pack my things and by the time they woke up I was mostly done, except for the inflatable toys which I have taken out since arriving at the house.

Right before we leave, I finished packing up, mainly deflating all of my inflatable toys and I decided to put all of them into a green shopping bag which I brought along as well which was used to hold tthe two inflatable toys I bought yesterday. Oh and I forgot, yesterday I also bought a package of chips, which, at the time of this writing, still has yet to be eaten.

After making sure that we didn’t leave any of our belongings by accident, we finally leave at around 11AM or so. We decided to have breakfast at a restaurant near the main office of the accommodation. I ordered an American breakfast set, which is pretty much identical to the English breakfast set I ordered yesterday except that I got a cup of orange juice instead of a pineapple juice. It was during this time that we learned that the main office was closed, so we decided to leave.

For today, I decided to more or less take control of the itinerary and take the exchange students to Suan Soan Pradipat beach, a small beach I went to with my dad in the past. I told the Grab driver to drop us off at the train stop.

When we got there, the first thing I did was to visit the shop selling inflatable toys – the same shop I bought my inflatable toys from in the past. I bought another two new inflatable toys, which makes a total of four new inflatable toys I got during this ttrip.

After I got my inflatable toys, we went to relax on the beach for quite a considerable amount of time. Two of the exchange students decided to explore around the area, while me and the remaining exchange student relaxed on the beach.

At around 2:15PM or so, I decided to take the exchange student who was sitting with me to the seafood reastaurant where I had my lunch with my dad in the past. I ordered a coke, rice and fried squids. The food was great, as always. After the meal we went back to the beach to find the two other exchange students.

Originally I plan to ttake everyone back to the train stop by 3:15PM, but we ended up at the train stop after that, just in time for the tourist excursion train number 911/912, which was already standing by the platform. On the way, I managed to grab a bottle of sprite.

The train carriage we were in today was air-conditioned like yesterday, but it was not as good as the one yesterday for sure. No tables for food, and the seats kind of hhurt when sitting on them for extended time. Despitte the fact that we weren’t on the train in the morning for the potential souvenirs we can order, the staff did offer us two of the available souvenirs, one of them was the crispy pork snack which I ordered last time. Since I really like it, I decided to order a pack, with the intention of sharing it with the exchange student who sat next to me (this person was actually my companion throughout the whole trip). Later when we pulled out of Phetchaburi station a vender came around selling one of the desserts from the province; a yellow soft spongy thing. I actually told her about it and she decided to order it, and shared one of the pieces with me as well. It tasted pretty good but since I was still kind of full from lunch I decided to have just one of them.

For the rest of the journey back to Salaya, and indeed throughout the whole journey, I listened to music and took photos and videos as usual. The train arrived at Salaya around 6:30PM, and we all share a taxi back to our dorm. This pretty much marks the end of perhaps the most amazing trip yet so far.

Overall, the trip was amazing, as I said already. Since the trip was so great, I think it deserves more than a 10 out of 10 rating and this trip will certainly become the best event of 2019, thus making this decade a decade where the best event of every year is a residential trip. For this trip, pretty much everything went according to plan, with little or no setbacks at all, a contrast to my experience throughout 2019 so far.

And…I would like to say a huge thank you to the exchange students who helped make my dream, my dreamm of going on a trip with exchange students, a reality, especially the exchange student who was my trip companion as she was the one who did all the hard work of finding a good accommodation that I will like, she was also the one who is in charge of finding Grab drivers to take us from place to place. But most importantly, she was the one who helped make the idea of a trip progress beyond the idea proposal stage by expressing strong interest in this idea.

Once again, thank you so much to all of you who helped make this trip possible, which made my dream a reality at last, especially my trip companion…you are the one who helped to move the idea of a trip beyond the idea proposal stage. You are an amazing trip companion and I’m so glad to have you as one of my best friends. I am looking forward to organizing more trips with you in the future.

So…yeah, I guess that’s it for now…

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