We took a train ride from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet so we could reach Siem Reap, Cambodia the cheapest way possible. On land, you can either take a bus or a train, the former is faster though more expensive. 200 Baht vs 48 Baht, it was a no-brainer for us since our funds were already depleted back in Cebu, Philippines.
Aranyaprathet is a district of Sa Kaeo Province in Thailand that borders Cambodia to the East. Riding the train was an experience that is foreign to me. Unless you include those small train rides in theme parks, I can say that I've never ridden this mode of transport before.
Bangkok Railway Station
Hua Lamphong Train Station
Around 4am in Hua Lamphong Railway Station, we waited for the 5:55am train schedule by eating Thai food and buying snacks at a 7/11 convenience store. It was going to be a 6-hour ride, and we've been traveling and stopping from Cebu to Manila to Clark to Bangkok for over 24 hours. You can imagine how stressed I was considering that I wasn't used to long journeys. But it would've been useless to give up knowing how far we've already come.
The sign said it was an ordinary train going to Aranyaprathet. But after the whole traverse, there was nothing plain about it. In fact, it was one of the most notable experiences of the trip.
Ordinary Train? Didn't see this one coming.
The train arrived and they started cleaning it. Not that I'm OC when it comes to the places I stay, but I still had to ask my friend for alcohol to sanitize our seats. We were going to sleep there for awhile so it proved to be a wise decision on my end.
toilet inside the train
Choosing a spot at the last coach was also a good pick because not many people bothered going to the end section of the ride. It meant more leg room to stretch which was necessary for comfort when resting.
The first couple of hours were spent sleeping as the process on reaching where we were was truly tiresome. It was the same for a number of people who were inside the commute.
the next coach
other travelers, one for each seat
We stopped over a few stations which added to the total hours of the train ride. If only for a couple of minutes, it was a good moment to step off and inhale the air outside.
Due to my fascination for this mode of transfer, I took a lot of pictures in surrounding areas and stations. Pardon my ignorance but like I mentioned, this was my first time to ride a train.
Other people and vehicles greeted us along the way.
tracks | officer
greeting another train back to Bangkok
Word of caution, DON'T STICK YOUR HEAD OUT like we did!
We didn't realize the danger until after being reprimanded by an officer to stop sticking our head and body out of the train. Aside from the tendency of falling off, there were truss bridges along the railway that were only good for the train's size to pass through. Had we not listened, we would've been hit by the bridges' steel bars. That would've ruined our vacation altogether. I'm still crazed about it when I realized how risky it was.
Nice shot but not worth it if you're headless.
There’s a reason why we took the longer route. Mainly because of it being a cheaper alternative. But hey, I bet people didn't get to appreciate the scenes from a bus heading the same point, especially when they’re enclosed in an air conditioned vehicle.
As daylight struck and soil transitioned from dark to tan, I felt more anxious knowing that we're almost near this orange land. With the wind passing through our windows, I felt the air brushing through my scrawny head. It was a sign from the heavens for me to take a shower.
a house or two
We witnessed fields that were bare and patches of land that were burned. I later found out that burning the ground is a farming method to fertilize the soil and make way for new crops to be planted.
As the same wind entered through the windows of the train, dust and ashes also passed through. Take cover, else you want to have these dirt particles stuck to your skin.
If you're lucky, you wouldn't notice it until you've awoken from your slumber. The dirt was just temporary; nothing a couple of wet wipes and tissues couldn't handle. By the way, this isn't as bad as you might think. My friend put moisturizer on her face which explains why so much ashes were stuck.
photo published with the consent of the subject – thanks Den
Looking back, I recall the sign at the station during our starting point and proved it to be false. There was NOTHING 'ordinary' about the train because I saw it in another point of view. Upon our arrival in Aranyaprathet, huge toilets awaited us. It was time to freshen up as we were to continue our journey to Siem Reap. It was 5 more hours of travel and we're there!
almost in Siem Reap, but not quite.
The train itself may be ordinary but I did not want to put in a small light. I thought about how many passengers were able to benefit from the travel, as well as travelers who’ve seen sights like the ones I've witnessed. I became thankful for having these useful forms of transportation that gave me more than what I bargained for.
Scenes captured through my lens showed how I hold little value on things that I'm unaware of. The train did not only give me scenic views outside the window, it showed me another beauty in small actions that I easily take for granted.
sights like these make one see the essence of life
In the end, I realize it's not all about reaching the end of the road; there's value in the actual ride itself.
Train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet – 48 Baht*
Train Schedule – 5:55am to 11:35am
*1 Baht is 1.50 Php
Here’s a couple of comprehensive guides about Siem Reap:
- Tips and Things to Know about Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Digital Nomad Life: One Month in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Check out my other adventures here:
- Quick Update from Bousavy Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Siem Reap and Bangkok Chronicles
- Getting There: Cebu to Manila to Clark to Bangkok to Aranyaprathet to Siem Reap
- No Ordinary Train Ride From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
- Bangkok to Siem Reap: Avoid Scammers from Aranyaprathet to Poipet Border
- Where to Stay: Bousavy Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Where to Stay: Victory Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Cambodia Trip: Angkor Thom Gate, Bayon Temple and Elephant Terrace
- Cambodia Trip: Trees in Ta Prohm Temple, Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Walking Barefoot at Angkor Wat Temple
- Cambodia Trip: Pre Rup, Banteay Srei and East Mebon Temples
- Cambodia Trip: Haggling Prices in Angkor Night Market
- Cambodia Trip: Those Khmer Kids Selling Merchandise
- Cambodia Trip: Chill Out and Relax at Pub Street in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Insightful Conversations Over a Fish Massage
- Cambodia Trip: Land Mine Victims
- Cambodia Trip: A Guide to Eating Cheap Khmer Food in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Engrish and Random Sights in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Shuttle Bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok, Thailand
- Total Budget Expense in Siem Reap, Cambodia
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines and the rest of Asia. He just started his backpacking trip across Southeast Asia in order to live as a digital nomad. Read more about the beginning of his delusions of grandeur here.
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