On my eight week so-called internship, I was at my lowest point due to the modest progress on my research. I needed to recharged myself. And what would be a better energy booster than a trip to a new place!
Still at my lowest point. I felt that I can’t travel that day (Sunday, June 16). I had been awake, no I had no sleep for the reason I have yet to found out. But, I remember an adage: Expect the unexpected!
There, after Fajr prayer I calculated the possibility to go to Huahin. I decided to go with the train (rot fai—Thai). I walked to the nearest BTS from my apartment at Sukhumvit 71: Satani (station) Phra Kanong. Ten minutes walk, I was with few others who already stand in line waiting to board the train that comes every ten minutes. My destination was Satani Asok and continue with Bangkok MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit) to reach Satani Hua Lamphong. It turns out that BTS and MRT have yet to integrate their ticketing system. Akin to Skytrain from Satani Phayathai to Sanambin (สนามบิน) Suwarnabhumi, MRT is using a circular plastic equipped with micro chip to track passengers travel from one stop to the other.
From Hua Lamphong to Huahin station. A four hour trip in Thailand’s exotic (the word used by Westerners to describe the landscape of almost every tropical countries) nature.
I was still in the MRT with few people taking off at Satani Hua Lamphong. I have to say that I was impressed with Bangkok’s transportation system; in relative comparison to Indonesia for that matter. Proof? Here you go:
The BTS Satani Hua Lamphong is connected through an underground passage to the Railway Station lobby. Once I entered the lobby, I saw classical Thai architecture building with people of different nationalities walking through. At left hand side of the entrance, there was (is) a panel board with manual train schedule. Finding departure time to Huahin from Bangkok to my disappointment. The next train will leave at 9.20 and I will arrive at Huahin at 13.35. Should I patiently wait for two hours and twenty minutes? No.
There I think that my will to escape has been challenged by nature. Should I go back and work my research? Probably….no. I remember that another means of transport from Bangkok to Huahin is by minivan. It takes less travel time than train’s four long hour. The reason why come to my surprise later.
I saw a yellow bus (rot me; e as in ‘pet’) number 29 at the station’s driveway and hopped in. I confirm (I always do to avoid getting lost like I did five months earlier) that it goes to Victory Monument (anusawari—literally for monument) where these minivans and others are base.
On the eastern side of the monument, I approached a travel agent to ask where was the van heading to Huahin. He pointed me at the lady across the street. Assuming that I look like Thai people, she spoke to me in Thai to which I asked “thao rai?” (how much). She said, “Ning roi ped sip baht” (180 baht). I handed in two one-hundred baht bill and she returned yii sip (20) baht with a ticket.
I boarded the van not ten minutes later. It was 7.27 when I found myself a right-back corner of the van. The van then started to cut through Bangkok’s traffic. Our first stop was a gas station in Bangkok yai. I was still in the back seat with a couple next to me. Yes, it was bad call. But it wasn’t them who motivated me to move forward to an empty seat two rows ahead. It was the driver’s manner of driving!
The driver was speeding at 100 km per hour as we leaving Bangkok. Didn’t mind the road’s frequent bump and what the suspension did to the backeast passengers, the driver, to my surprise has yet to show his driving skills!
Without asking the driver to stop, I moved forward to a single seating chair with a loose seat belt. I was expecting a more safe facilities, honestly. I moved to the left side of the car since my two year high school physics concerned about the distribution of the weight on the car surface. Especially with high-speed driving and frequent ‘jumps’ whenever the driver did not slow down at the peak of street bumps.
Then, he pulled his the tricks that I would call ‘street bullying’. He drove so close to the car in front of us, blinking the big lights symbolizing he want the street or commanding the car to ‘move aside’. He did that with less than 50 cm distance from the other car. Occasionally, whenever he found a ‘contender’ he would turned into racing mode. Weaving his way sideways in the three lane road as he pleases. On top of it, he continues to drive at least at 130 km per hour. All of that also did not avoid him answering his cellphone.
For those considering taking this option for a trip to Huahin from Bangkok, I would suggest you think and rethink and rethink you options. It turned out that my other friend had the similar experience. When I posted a status about this on my facebook, my Thai friend responded,”That’s normal. Thai standard.”
Only if you are looking for adventurous ride and cover by lavish health insurance that I would be neutral if you consider.
Along the way, there are three check points where an associate of the travel agent will check on the number of passengers and—maybe this is another reason for high speed dangerous driving—time from the previous checkpoint(s).
Also, to my—yet another—surprise, other passengers who were Thais are acquiesce about it. That time, I am afraid to disturb the driver’s attention if I talk to him during his saga race.
Later, when we at the stop at Chan Am, I took a picture of his personal information, just in case.
It was another straight line from Chan Am to Huahin and he made it within 20 minutes duai (only). Then, finally, Huahin!
(photos of this trip is available at here)
To be continued…