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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...you know, of course, you're only a few steps away from some of the tastiest Italian cuisine in bkk-Pala...
    You were not lying there. Place looks great!!


  2. #102
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Place looks great!!
    ...the fact that's it's always busy says it all: folks will pay a little more for quality menu items, good service and an enthusiastic clientele...we're there at least twice a month...
    Last edited by tomcat; 17-07-2020 at 09:59 PM.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by beerlaodrinker View Post
    The new overnight trains are bloody great. Done bangkok to nongkhai a few times and surat thani once. Always pay for 2 berths and get the whole cabin to yourself. Theres no beer to be had but ive never been hassled bringing my own. Likewise a sneaky smoke can be had in between carraiges.
    Iíve done the Surat Bangkok sleeper a few times when I lived on the mainland. My first experience on that sleeper was when I lived in Samui. Got the evening jet boat up to Chumphon, and Withnail met me at the bus station where we were dropped off. After introducing me to a pub, he took me home via 7-11 to stock up on a liquid meal.
    He kindly escorted my drunken body to the station the next evening, in time for the sleeper to Bkk.
    Beer and food was still served back then. Had a sleeper cabin to myself, which is lucky because they used to get booked up well in advance.
    No countryside pics, started at last light and arrived Bkk early oíclock/sunrise. Might have done a pic thread under my old nic. Second thoughts, itís probably on SZS.

  4. #104
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    Did you stop in Thermae on the way to T21 and say hello to Baldrick? He was the one with matching handbag and stiletto high heels.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Your daughter is a wonder, as you are. What is she investing her winning in?
    She seems to enjoy giving tips to just about anyone who crosses our path. I guess she'll learn...

    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...that fact that's it's always busy says it all: folks will pay a little more for quality menu items, good service and an enthusiastic clientele...we're there at least twice a month...
    And Pala was busy again today... it's definitely on my list for next week!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    Did you stop in Thermae on the way to T21 and say hello to Baldrick? He was the one with matching handbag and stiletto high heels.
    I didn't realise that was Baldrick... cracking pair of legs on him! I wish I could delete those thoughts I had now.


    Anyway... our last day today and it has been a lovely sunny but breezy day... so good to do some outside stuff.

    The day started with a swim... the same girl from yesterday was there again today, but with top on. I find if you stare long and hard enough they soon leave... so we had the pool to ourselves again! This hotel feels pretty well deserted.



    After much discussion I've persuaded the daughter to agree to return back to Korat tomorrow by train ... after all that was the whole purpose of this trip!

    If you buy train tickets online they are almost double the price, and there are weird instructions telling you to take the electronic receipt on your phone to some building near the train station on the day of travel to pick up boarding passes... this seemed full of opportunities for a fuk up, so to avoid the disappointment of a fully booked train tomorrow we went along this morning to Hua Lamphong to get tickets.

    During the taxi ride there I noticed the daughter holding her baseball cap against the back of the front passenger seat, which seemed odd.



    I asked her why she was doing that... and she showed me.

    Aah... I am braced for some awkward questions at some point...



    I'm back in Bangkok on me own next week... so doesn't seem much point in using this taxi again!

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    If you buy train tickets online they are almost double the price, and there are weird instructions telling you to take the electronic receipt on your phone to some building near the train station on the day of travel to pick up boarding passes... this seemed full of opportunities for a fuk up, so to avoid the disappointment of a fully booked train tomorrow we went along this morning to Hua Lamphong to get tickets.
    You found a way to go through an "agency". SRT does not bump up the prices..

  7. #107
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    We arrived at Hua Lamphong, and not for the first time this week I wished Coco had come along. This would have made a great shot for her thread.



    All of the front is taped off and inaccessible... maybe due to Covid? You have to walk around the side, past a barrage of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers touting for business.



    And the main hall... very busy.



    But very quick and easy to sort the tickets out. We waited maybe 2 minutes in our queue with one person in front.



    And here we are! I've been here before... but hopefully we'll have more success this time around. The return fares are the exact same price as we paid for our refunded outward leg from Korat... 268 Baht for the littlun and 325 Baht for meself.



    This should give the whole thread some justification... I even booked seats for the starboard side of the train to ensure a good view at Lamtakong, that's the level of planning involved.

    And I really can't see how a train can be 'deelayed' when we're embarking at it's origin. Roll on tomorrow!

  8. #108
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    good to see you got the right price...

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    good to see you got the right price...
    Yeah, I thought he might have to buy 2 seats.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I really can't see how a train can be 'deelayed' when we're embarking at it's origin.
    It might be arriving from Korat, 'turning round' and heading back again.

    So if the train from Korat to BKK is late then it will be late starting off from its 'origin'.

    Happy to help.

  11. #111
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    A big shout to Chitty... his suggestion of Lumphini Park was spot on. It was just what we needed today with such nice, breezy weather.

    We hadn't had breakfast but the taxi driver assured us we could get some food there...

    ... but he was wrong.

    I had two bottles of water, two apples and the two Dunking Donuts from last night (next to Pala) in my bag for life, so we decided to sit down and have a snack before walking round the park.

    Not possible! I do understand the need for social distancing, but who the fuk sits down next to a stranger on a two-man seat in the middle of a big park? That would be strange indeed. Surely you're only ever going to squeeze together on a seat this small of you're already intimate?



    We had to eat our donuts on the move... like these chaps on the sign.



    I've never really walked around Lumphini Park before... shady and wonderful on a day like today.



    And monitor lizards abound... I'd love to get a couple of these back home for our pond but not easy to get on a train I suspect.




  12. #112
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    This was our destination... well, my destination. The daughter hates going on boats so I had to keep it a secret until we arrived!



    A scowl rather than a smile behind the mask I feel...



    But new experiences are good for her... so off we went (thanks Chitty... this was a great suggestion).

    My view...



    The daughter's view!



    I haven't rowed a boat for 20 years... but I've still got it!

    I rowed us around the margins to try and get some shade... forget that breeze, it was bladdy hot by now.

    So I rowed and the daughter was in charge of the wildlife photography.

    This monitor was around 4 to 5ft long...



    This bird was catching little fish fry and eating them.



    And a monster... 6ft easy.



    Another fisherman.



    And a big dead fish... maybe 3kg I reckon and it bladdy stank. It's rear end seemed to have been bitten off and I guess these are on the monitor lizard's diet.



    It was just us and the wildlife until these guys turned up in one of those silly swan paddle boats. Mind you, I was a bit envious of their roof!



    And three more monitor lizards! They say if you've seen one monitor lizard you've seen them all... but I don't agree and could watch them all day. Now... Thai temples are a different matter!






  13. #113
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    No... I hadn't lost the daughter overboard, she was back with the landlubbers. This bit of boating brought memories flooding back from my times fly fishing on Blagdon and Chew Valley Lake back in Somerset in the UK. I would have loved to cast a fly on the lake at Lumphini today. What do you reckon HH?




    Incidentally... if you try a bit of boating on Lumphini Park, the cost was 40 Baht for half an hour, plus a 40 Baht deposit. The old gals running the booth seemed pretty reluctant about offering the deposit back... but after me bladdy daughter had just tipped one of them 100 Baht it seemed a bit churlish to demand me deposit. And who cares... 80 Baht (plus 100 Baht tip!) for 40 minutes boating... worth every satang!

    It was bladdy hot and we were famished and dehydrated by the end. The daughter wanted McDonalds for a late lunch and I wanted a pint of cider... so we each had to compromise and went to ... the Robin Hood!

    I got my pint...



    And she got her chicken nuggets and fries!



    And just to prove they can do it... a lovely runny egg yoke!



    And our last meal of the holiday... TC's Pala was again packed out at 7:30 tonight, so we headed on... back to... Luigi's!



    Nice and quiet... although there were a few sat outside but nothing for a Friday night. If this is typical for post lockdown Bangkok restaurants then I can't see how many can survive, especially the ones that rely on the tourist dollar.

    The daughter had her first non pizza dinner of the trip... and I went for some kind of 'del mar' concoction. It was delicious, and came with a kind of pizza hat which was a surprise (for me at least).



    Last edited by Mendip; 17-07-2020 at 11:04 PM.

  14. #114
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    Nice one, glad you enjoyed it.
    Don't have to spend a fortune to have fun.
    Those lizards are flaming scary!

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I haven't rowed a boat for 20 years..
    So that's why you opted out of working offshore in Scotland

  16. #116
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    Today was the day!

    We got up early, checked out and headed off to Hua Lamphong in a taxi. I allowed plenty of time in case of traffic... but there was none, so we arrived at the station an hour early. I tried to ignore my daughter's complaints that we could have stayed in bed longer and tried to find out where we needed to be.

    This girl in a blue uniform attached herself to us and pointed us towards Platform 10... and she even offered to take our pic. Here is my daughter about to embark on her first ever train journey, and meself about to break my Thai train virginity.



    We found Platform 19 no problem.



    And a close-up for Cyrille... 00 minutes delay!


  17. #117
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    I have found a rule of thumb with Thai trains arrival times is <1 Hr journey time they will be 15mins late, 1 hr to 5 hrs upto one hour late, > 5 Hrs 1-2 hours late.

    I used to love sitting outside the back of the train legs dangling and a cold large chang in hand - til SRT killed the fun.

  18. #118
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    We had about 45 minutes to wait until departure time and after the initial excitement it got a bit boring.



    The daughter was threatening to go into one before we'd even left. She wanted her tablet but it hadn't charged properly and was down below 60%... I needed that for later. I offered 100 Baht if she could spot the train coming. Of course 2 minutes later... what's that in the distance?



    Yep... 20 minutes early!



    Before we embarked I popped round to take a pic of the front as the train must have reversed in. The front looked just as un-aerodynamic as the back. Why don't they make them more pointy?


  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Why don't they make them more pointy?
    Not necessary at 45 mph

  20. #120
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    We'd been allotted seats 51 and 52... but after searching the starboard side of the train I eventually found this...



    I dumped the bags down...

    This wasn't the starboard side of the train as promised (kwa, kwa... mai mee si), but not only that, there was a bladdy great metal box where my feet were supposed to go. And we only had half a bloody window!



    Bollocks to that I said to me daughter... and found us a couple of decent seats on the port side of the train. It was pretty well deserted after all. The luggage went up on the shelf and we settled down.

    Bang on 10:05 we departed...



    And my first pic as we trundled out from Hua Lamphong.


  21. #121
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    All was great for about 10 minutes until the ticket inspector Naziz turned up.

    The clipped our tickets, then stood back agape... we were in the wrong seats!

    The train wasn't even half full, and they made us return to our allotted seats. I mean... FFS... I indicated all the empty seats, said I needed a window on the starboard side to see Lamtakong, but all to no avail. I was bloody fuming.

    Back we went. You get more bladdy legroom on an EasyJet.



    See all these empty seats around us... but the ticket inspector Nazis were sitting just out of view and wouldn't even let me sit over at the other side. Nice to have the carriage bin bag as well.



    So anyway, fuming as I was I settled down for the 4 hour 22 minute journey. Not even a proper bladdy window.



    And what made it worse... me daughter was saying thing like, 'just relax papa... it'll be alright'. I'm getting anger management from a bladdy nine year-old. I'm certainly not the type of person that expects special treatment because I'm from the West... but this just pissed me off. A train seat without a window... never heard of that before.

    But the daughter was right of course... so I decided to do my best with what I had.

    Here's a temple as we trundled at walking speed out through northern Bangkok...


  22. #122
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    I'm glad you kept your cool, Mendip. Again, thanks for the pics & stories. Few years ago, I took the Bkk to Ayutthaya train. It was 3rd class (I think), no A/C, wooden seats, open windows. It was the peak of summer, so the breeze from the window was great. I remember that I was seated across two German backpackers and I made small talk.

    They were travelling on to other TH provinces after a brief stay in Ayutthaya, while I had a flight back to PI after my trip. I remember being surprised that one of the guys was heading on to Australia to work for a few months. That was when I learned about the work-holiday(?) visa program in Australia. The other guy was going back to Germany to study in University after his brief travel stint. I remember thinking hmm... first world stuff, this "gap year/ gap months" thing. Prior to that, I didn't know of the words "gap year", because it's just not done in PI. You either continue studies (university) if you had the $$, if not then you stopped studying & searched for work. No travelling around the world/ discovering yourself stuff between studying & "real life".

    Btw, Luigi must've been glad that you went back to his resto. That Luigi does get around! Cheers!

  23. #123
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    Hey Mendid, perhaps the conductor knew the seats were booked out further up the line. The photo you put up is before Don Muang and I am guessing a few people got on there. Hope it all ended up okay.

  24. #124
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    ^ There is some truth to that I can grudgingly admit... the train was pretty full by the time we'd left Ayutthaya but it didn't stop me being pissed off at the time. I guess it was mainly my lack of legroom, being on the wrong side of the train and having the only seat on the train with no window... oh, and having the rubbish bag 3 inches from my nose... that annoyed me.

  25. #125
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    With only half a window it was going to be difficult to give 'one of the most picturesque railway journeys in Thailand' justice and I don't think I've offered up the visual feast I was hoping for, but I gave it a go.

    The train trundled out through northern Bangkok for what seemed like an age and it was an hour into the journey by the time we were clear of the suburbs. At one station, maybe Don Muang, I noticed a monk with a matching face mask (I've added a raspberry ice cream stain to the mustard stain on my mask now and am desperate to get a replacement).



    And then into the rice paddies north of Bangkok... the wet season seems to have been kinder this year than last... certainly in my part of Korat I would say we've already had more rain this year than during the entire wet season last year.



    I think this was Katie's Ayutthaya station. Not the best view admittedly.



    As we pulled out of the station I caught a glimpse of what I think may be a Khmer ruin that Auatthaya is famous for. And I'm talking about the pointy temple outside, at the right of the window. See... I knew I should have been sitting on the starboard side!



    Then more rice paddy flatness...

    Last edited by Mendip; 19-07-2020 at 11:26 AM.

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