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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

hua lumpong 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.

hua lamphong station
Station 6

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 to aranyaprathet
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 sink train bangkok train toilet
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.

aranyaprathet train
the next coach

train sleep to siem reap
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.

train side
stepping off

kid train
curious kid

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.

inside train thailand officer bangkok
tracks | officer

train to bangkok
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.

train photo aranyaprathet
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.

train view pond
ponds

view train aranyaprathet
and trees

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.

house thailand
a house or two

poetic train
fields

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.

burned fields
burnt patches

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.

den dirty dirty tissue thailand
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!

aranyaprathet border
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.

cambodia train ride baby sleep train
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:

Check out my other adventures here:


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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, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
For updates, Like his page on Facebook or Follow him on Twitter.
For questions, advertising, and other concerns, shoot an email to ed@soloflighted.com.


19 comments… add one
  • Hehehe natawa naman ako dun sa mga travelers na natutulog. Effort talaga! Ang sakit siguro ng mga katawan niyo afterwards. Hindi ko kakayanin siguro ang ganyan.

  • grabe its so cheap! wouldnt mind riding that too, mejo concern ko lang yung dirt sa face. mejo pimple prone ako lately so hindi magandang idea yan. hehe

  • enjoy ang train ride na to, isang matinding facial nga lang ang katapat after hahaha

  • doi

    di naman ganun kalupeet ang result nung ashes. hindi naman masyadong narumihan ang faces namin. naglalagay kasi ng lipbalm si den sa face nya because it was flaking at that time kaya matindi yung pagkakakapit ng dirt sa face niya. LOL
    ako walang kwenta, nalunok ko ata sang katerbang ashes! headware lang katapat niyan! 😀

  • burado ang mukha sa alikabok pero okay na experience yan….gusto ko ren mg long train ride in a foreign country like the scenic Thailand

  • krystle

    First time reader but I just have to comment hehehe!:) Rode trains from KL-Penang, Penang,KL-Bangkok, Thailand and trains to Ayutthaya.:) It was AWESOME!:) Yeah there was dirt, lots of it, but I was so envious of them having trains to go to and from one point to the next one. With a very good view to booth! You are right, the view wipes off every apprehension you have. Diba it was good to see dawn break in provincial Thailand?:)
    I only have a thing about the toilets hahaha! The worse was the Thailand overnight train going Bangkok hahaha!!! If I was not trained by Malate's side street bars to pee when needed, I would have refused to drink till we reach Thailand. Didn't even thought about going number 2 hahaha!:) Nice blog you got there:)

  • Edcel

    @robbie: haha, ganun dun kami or at least ako. nasanay na ang katawan ko sa mga ganitong mga positions. kaya mo yan! 😀

    @chyng: way cheaper than the bus right? sayang din ang 150 Baht na extra kung mag bus ka. ok lang maging pimple-prone basta insured! haha 😀

    @lakwatsera de primera: haha, isang matinding ligo talaga. pero aabot pa ng ilang oras kasi may taxicab ride pa from the border sa cambodia to siem reap! 😀

    @doi: updated the entry with the disclaimer. close your mouth lagi when you sleep. wala pa ta headware before. haha

    @marky: sinabi mo pa! haha. ikaw yung naalala ko re: long rides. i got used to the 8-9 hour bus rides because of this. hehe.

    @krystle: thanks for the comment krystle! I guess that's difficulty with being a woman. at least sa lalaki, pwede lang ang nakatayo sa toilet. hehe. also, i made sure that I did not eat any heavy meal and do my number 2 necessities prior to the trip. haha. appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment! 🙂

  • grabe, reading this posts brings back a lot of memories riding trains in Thailand. i love riding trains pero i didn't take kasi the ordinary train. nasa first class sleeper train. but i always walk around to see what's out there. sometimes i sit in the ordinary train so i can smoke. i also love the in betweens of cars dun ako nakatambay nagyoyosi tapos sounds. but i can't believe your friend stuck her head out. katakot yun!!! 

  • hahaha… funny na ngayn ka pa lang sumakay ng train. cguro parati ka kotse dito sa pinas. hehe. khit na matagal un train ride, at least you were able to see the different views.

  • i-petition na ang city government of Cebu Ed para magpatayo mg MRT.hahaha. parang narinig nga kita dati nagkwento na nag joyride ka sa MRT when you were in Manila months ago? tama ba recall ko?hehehe. nice post and yeah, ang mga pics, naman naman!!!!

  • Hi, Ed. I love this entry very much. From the travelers trying to sleep inside the train to the kid trying to peek out of curiousity, and also your hurdles of completing this entire trip, this is (for me) the best adventure. Felt like watching a movie/documentary.

  • Ed, that's the ordinary train in Bangkok..very ordinary. Pareho tayo it was also my first train ride when I went to Malaysia twice…masarap pala feeling though mabagal nga lang. I slept like the foreign backpackers too…till sumakit na paa ko but it was fun to experience such.

  • Edcel

    @pinoy boy journals: I think the first-class sleeper train is definitely more comfortable. This was the cheapest mode of transport that's why we went for it right away. hehe. actually, we both stuck our heads out. didn't realize the danger until the officers told us to behave. scary indeed.

    @leave the cube: haha, wala kasing train masyado sa probinsya. tried riding the MRT but it's not the same as this. hehe. jeep lang ako parati. hehe. yeah, the views are the best part!

    @pusang-kalye: haha, yeah. nag MRT hopping ako one lazy Saturday when I was sent to Manila. thanks anton!

    @rizalenio: thanks a lot lito! I've so many photos stored in my computer that it's such a waste not to post them for other people to see. These comments make me want to write even more. Appreciate it a lot!

    @Eric: very ordinary indeed, Eric. I think the sign actually meant "regular" hehe. anyway, yeah mabagal nga lang. Not sure if I'll take the same route if ever I go back to BKK and Siem Reap. But I'm glad to have used this mode of transport.

  • Nagbabasa na ako ngayon ng mga entries mo related sa Bangkok at SR! 😀 Dire-diretso pala kayo nun? Grabe 0_0

  • @Jeff: Thanks for sharing you story Jeff!

    @Micamyx: go go go Mica! haha. yep. depende sa yo. 😀

  • Hi! This is very helpful. I'm planning to travel in Bangkok on August and will go to Cambodia. I even read your article on where to stay in Cambodia. Ngayon meron na ako ma stayhan. hehehe… thanks to you!

  • @Rade: Thanks for reading! Glad you found a place to stay na. hehe 🙂

  • Rade

    Yes I have a place to stay already. I even book for 1 day package. =)

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