AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Tricky Thai Train Ticket

Today we are taking the infamous ‘‘, properly known as the Thailand-Burma Railway from Kanchanaburi to the end of the line at Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi.

There are normal trains running, which are 100 baht each way, or there is a special train which only runs once a day on weekends which goes about 1km further (to ) and is 120 baht return.

We wanted the special train but when we asked for tickets we were told the train will probably be full and we can’t book it. We argued it won’t be full and we should at least wait and see. There was also some mention about booking the tickets in Bangkok. That was 20 minutes before the train was due. The train was then 35 minutes late, so we spent quite a long time during around waiting.

Finally as the train approached the station we grabbed our bags and went to stand on the platform. Our plan was to just get on and if anyone asked for tickets attempt to pay then because it seemed impossible to buy tickets for this train at the station. As we stood there the railway official (the one who wouldn’t sell us the tickets) asked if we had tickets for the train. Of course we don’t, it was him who wouldn’t sell them!

He then hurried us to the ticket office to buy the tickets and ignored the other 6 people stood patiently in the queue. The train was only stopped for 3 minutes but luckily we bought the tickets and boarded, but not without a lot of confusion and pointless messing around.

A couple of British tourists were also in the queue at the train station trying to buy tickets for the normal train. Imagine our surprise when they boarded the train by the bridge over the river Kwai, about 10 minutes up the line. It transpires that they had also been able to buy the tickets just as the train approached but the train was departing the station by the time they had completed the purchase and were ready to board. They grabbed a taxi up the road to the bridge to board there. A strange way to sell tickets indeed.

Another annoyance is the timetables. Every train we have been on in Thailand is late. And they are consistently late by the same time every day. So the timetables should be updated to reflect reality. Today our train arrived 35 minutes late but got to the destination just over an hour late.

Posted from Ban Tai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

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