Night train to Surat Thani: With the narrow gauge line from Bangkok

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina

The Thai night train to the Malaysian border not only provides airport feelings, but also beautiful moments. A travel review.

A Thai conductor

Bangkok, Thailand: A train conductor checks passengers before the night train continues its journey Photo: Matt Hunt/ZUMA Wire/imago

SURAT THANI taz | If you want to travel to Malaysia from the Thai capital Bangkok, you can reach your destination faster by plane. But we are in times of climate crisis. Train 85, an express, starts its journey at the new Bangkok station “Krung Thep Aphiwat” at 7:50 PM. Although ‘train station’ is not the right term for this enormous structure. The distance from the cash register to the “gates” can easily amount to half a kilometer. In front of the gate of train 85 there is a kind of waiting area like at an airport.

On January 19, 2023, one year ago, the “Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal” was officially opened. Half an hour before departure, passengers are asked to report to “Gate E”, which creates a queue similar to boarding an airplane. A state railway employee scans the ticket. An escalator then takes you to the first floor. Only when you reach the top does the certainty grow that you have to stay on the ground: train 85 is ready. Stuarts help you find the right car.

‘Class 2 Sleeping Car (Air)’ means that there is a double-deck lounger system to the right and left of the aisle: the Thai State Railway has a track gauge of 1,000 millimeters – which in Germany is considered narrow gauge with a track gauge of 1,435 millimeters. While in Germany there are usually 6 loungers per unit, in Thailand there are only 4 loungers. But that makes it airier, more comfortable. If you can, you can rent the slightly more expensive lower lounger; the top ones have no windows. And make sure you have a sweater ready! “Air” means: The compartment is cooled.

Recommendation: restaurant on board

Each cabin guarantees privacy with a curtain. Apart from the street vendors who often walk through the train with subtle singing offering useful travel supplies, it is very quiet. The lounger, which is already freshly covered, comes with a set of bed linen – very clean – and a fresh blanket. The toilets can also be judged to be clean, although here, just like in Germany, the bare rail floor opens when you press the flush button.

A visit to the onboard restaurant is recommended. Not that special culinary discoveries can be expected here. The waiters don’t have much to do and are happy to have a chat. There are also open windows – even in the winter months it can be hot in Thailand – and the tatam-tatam of the railway lines. Pure railway romance.

Night train 85 reaches the city of Surat Thani in the south of Thailand around six in the morning after 635 kilometers. A ticket costs 714 baht, the equivalent of 19 euros can be booked online, also at the counter during the week. From Surat Thani there are two options to cross the border with Malaysia: with the next train to Sungai Kolok or the route to Padang Besar – with spectacular scenery in front of the train window. The next train is already waiting on the adjacent track. Not a quick flight, but a more enjoyable experience.

Source link

Leave a Comment

AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk