From Wongwian Yai to Maha Chai by Train…
Wow, I had to look…it’s actually been two weeks since I last posted about my travels in real time, BUT by magic (okay not really magic), it’s only been a day in blog time, ha ha! So, back to my adventures in Thailand and Vietnam! What the heck do I do since I missed my train to Cambodia, and Siem Reap? Well, my first goal was to figure out how to get back to the hostel, and with a bit of Joy’s help (if you read my last post, yes I did wait for her to wake up)…I finally managed to make that happen. Once back to the U-Baan, I thought I would ask Joy for some ideas on what to do over the next few days. She suggested catching two train lines that run in conjunction with each other, that way I could see some of the outlaying areas around Bangkok.
That sounded like a great idea to me, so having the rest of the day to kill after my misadventures at the Thonburi train station, I decided to go on a trek to find the first train I would be catching. I knew it had to be somewhere in the neighborhood, I mean, after all it IS the Wongwian Yai Train Station, and I’m staying in Wongwian Yai, so how hard could it be to find? Well…if you look at the photos above, and to the right, you can see that this is NOT your typical train station!
Thirsty from the afternoon heat in Bangkok, and from what seemed like walking around Wongwian Yai forever…(the name Wongwian Yai literally means “large roundabout”), I decided to buy a smoothie. It’s possible that if not for my thirst, I might have NEVER found the station. I can honestly say this particular station is camouflaged pretty well by it’s surroundings. I took a few sips, then looked up from my drink, and was amazed to see that down the narrow road I had just entered, was actually the train station I was looking for!
Now, after trekking around for hours, looking for, and finally finding the station, I left the area with the train schedule in my possession, and hopefully with a decent sense of direction on how to find my way back in the morning. After all of this, I came to the conclusion that my evening would be much better spent back at the hostel drinking some Chang beer and sharing stories with my new friends! After all, what better way to get ready for tomorrow’s adventure than drinking Thai beer all night!
Armed with the train schedule in my hand, I woke up bright and early to catch the first train. Okay, so I’m lying… I didn’t wake up bright and early, time stamps on photos don’t lie, right?… I actually caught the 10:40 am train (that is KIND of early when you’re drinking beer all night!). I didn’t have a clue as to where the Wongwian Yai train was taking me, but that’s half the fun, right? Joy had talked about two trains, and I was getting ready to embark on the first. I only knew that it was about an hour ride to the end of the line. She didn’t give me too many details other than to say that once you get off the first one, there would be a second train that I might like to catch. I guess she figured my awesome sense of direction would help me find it! I had been doing so well in catching trains so far, right (yeah, sure… hadn’t I JUST gone to the wrong train station hoping to travel to Cambodia)?
Joy was right, it was a really beautiful ride once the train made it’s way out of the city. So far, all I had seen on my trip was the vastness of Bangkok, and now I was able to view more of the surrounding areas. We made several stops along the way to the end of the line. Most of them were fairly small stations, some seemed like they were out in the middle of nowhere, while other stations were near very large Buddhist temples. I enjoyed the ride immensely, but learned quickly not to put my head out the window! There’s a lot of vegetation that grows VERY near the train tracks, and the plants can grow rather large, as you can see in my photo. I am pretty sure getting hit in the face by one of those leaves will sting, so I kept my head where it belongs, inside the train!
After almost an hour of the comforting clickity clack of the train on the tracks, and the amazing view through the windows, the train arrived at it’s final destination, for this section of tracks. I rose slowly from my seat, stretched my cramped legs…(the trains are built for shorter passengers), and made my way out the exit. I quickly noticed this was not one of those remote, out of the way stations.
This last station, if you look at the link I provided above for the train schedule, is called the Maha Chai Railway Station. There is a very vibrant market all around the station, and one could spend a good part of a day just hanging out here, but I was set on trying to find the other line. Strolling up and down the streets, I came upon an area of the market that specialized in selling sea food, and there was a LOT of it. I hadn’t looked at a map before I arrived, so I wasn’t aware this place was so close to the Bay of Thailand. I am sure there are many great places to sample some of the seafood, unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to do that.
I really do wish I would have spent more time in Maha Chai than I did. It seems like an awesome place to spend a day…but if I had stayed longer, I would not have my next story to tell. How I met two awesome new friends on the second half of today’s journey, Pierre and Bila, and the adventures we were about to embark on…like, should I risk jumping from a pier to catch a ferry with my $3,000 lens/camera strapped to my shoulder, should three tourists (Pierre, Bila, and myself) get into a truck with someone they don’t know, going who knows where, and can someone tell me what exactly is the Train Market, anyway? I hope everyone continues to read my blog posts about my crazy, fun filled, unforgettable trip to South East Asia. And, if you haven’t read my earlier posts, please do, and please post comments! All questions, thoughts, anything anyone wants to ask or say, will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading my blogs, and I hope my stories motivate some of you to take a chance in life, and travel. It will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do!