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Personal Comments & Quotes

Relaxing & Comfortable - "All-on-all, train travel in Thailand is relaxing and comfortable.   The comfort level depends on both the passenger and the class of travel. This writer was traveling in Second Class Fan (sleeping berth). The train also had Second Class Fan (seated), Third Class, and a dining car on it. The train departed on time. The staff both on the station platform and on the train were very helpful and polite. They helped me find my seat. The train itself was clean and comfortable enough, but there was limited baggage storage, and it’s wise to arrive a bit early, so you don’t have to hoist a large bag up onto an upper rack."
-Barbara B. Traveling the Bangkok to Hat Yai Train

Communication Breakdowns - "I had a major hassle when trying to order dinner in the dining car on a Second-Class Overnight Service Train (Fan) from Bangkok to Hat Yai. I've come to expect much more professional behavior from staff on trains. I'd had a beer in the 'Dining Car' earlier and had a friendly chat with the dining car's staff. What happened when I returned to order dinner was an unpleasant surprise. My first clue should have been when I was there earlier and they'd 'offered' to exchange my 'Dollars or Euros' for me, but not my Baht. I was really hungry and had decided to return for dinner even if it would probably be at an inflated price. The main problem was that I couldn't speak Thai well enough to be able to order over the racket in the Dining Car. From the sound of the wind coming into the open windows, and the train going over the tracks, to the blaring Thai Pop Music coming out of the cheap speakers on the boombox. On top of that, the staff were too busy getting drunk with a customer to pay attention to what I was trying to say. They didn't seem to care really, and I nearly went hoarse trying to make myself heard over the racket. I asked for a menu, but they told me that there wasn't one. The head staff started suggesting things to order, which I wasn't interested in, but added that they could make anything. As soon as I asked the price though, they all started to become less friendly. They told me all the set meals were 120 Baht and there weren't a-la-carte dishes. The English-speaking customer drinking with them only made it worse by offering to help, then not helping. Just when I was about to give up, the dining manager stepped in. He told me to follow him, but he promptly disappeared for 20 minutes, so I just ordered çhicken fried rice, thinking they could handle that. I paid the 120 Baht and sat down. The head staff asked what I wanted to drink, and I said 'nothing', but she proceded to get out a large Singha. Although I said clearly several times 'NO BEER!!,' she went ahead and opened it, pouring it into a glass. Just then the manager returned with--you guessed it--'A MENU' in his hand, on which all of the 'a-la-carte' dishes were only 80 Baht. That's when the communication process really broke down. He told me to order from him, and I tried to explain that I'd already ordered and paid. Then he got angry and told me 'SHUT YOUR MOUTH!' and 'GET OUT OF MY DINING CAR IF YOU'VE ALREADY EATEN!'. I tried to explain that I had paid more than the menu said and hadn't yet eaten. Then he asked why I was drinking beer. I explained that I wasn't drinking, and she'd gone ahead and poured it despite my protests. He finally seemed to believe me and refunded the 40 Baht I'd overpaid, took my order, and went to make it. When I got out my notepad and started writing all this down, he suddenly started being really nice. He probably rememberied that I'd told him I was writing travel information. HMM. Finally, the food they served me was so disgusting that I left most of it on the plate, hoping that it wouldn't make me sick. This experience ruined an otherwise enjoyable trip. The dining staff had tried to swindle me, and who knows how many other people."
-Midori - Travelling on the overnight Service from Bangkok to Hat Yai.




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