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.