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Friday, September 14, 2012

Aranyaprathet: Thailand's Gateway to Cambodia

We left Thailand earlier than originally planned. We couldn't go to the North anymore because it was more flooded than Bangkok. So on our fourth day, we transited to Cambodia. We decided to take the train instead of the bus. We knew it's slower than the bus, travel time difference is about 2 hours (or more). Why then? It is way cheaper! Taking the bus costs a whopping THB 200 while the train is just THB 48. We were not in a hurry anyway. Our goal that day was just to successfully cross the border and arrive in Cambodia.

Hua Lamphong Train Station

We wanted to take the first train so we'll make it in Siem Reap before dusk. We left Khao San at around 4:30 AM. It just took us 30 minutes to get to the train station and we were lucky to get an honest taxi driver. We just asked him to keep the change. Maybe we became skeptics about taxi drivers because of those terrible ones that we have here in Manila.

our train tickets :)

We secured our tickets first then went to that eatery across the street (the one that we found the day before) to have breakfast.

my chicken noodle soup

I love something hot in the morning, may it be coffee or soup. So I just ordered their chicken noodle soup.

khao man kai

Beau wanted something heavy so he ordered a rice meal. This is the Thai version of Hainanese Chicken Rice.

my last photo in BKK ;)

We went back to the train station 10 minutes before the departure time. We didn't want to miss the train! When the train departs, I started to observe how it was in the outskirts of Bangkok.

typical home along the riles community

It is also similar to what we have here. There are people inhabiting near the railways, selling their products, people crossing the rails, getting by their day to day living.

bored... hahaha!

The train itself was okay. It was clean, it has fans and it has toilet. For THB 48, don't expect a very comfortable travel. The only thing I really didn't like was the black smoke it was emitting and the boredom you have to contend with on this 6-hour train ride. The dust was not as bad as what others described.

green guava?

We were glad there were vendors in one of the stops. We bought green mangoes to munch on (at least there was something we can do besides numbing our butt). Instead of the shrimp paste (alamang) that we're so used to, their dip for the mango is a mixture of salt, sugar and chili. It is a nice combo! But then their mango didn't taste like our mango. It tasted more like a guava! I'm not kidding. I will never forget eating a mango that tasted like guava. Our mangoes are still the best. :)

cute-colored train :)

The rest of the time I killed by sleeping. I also can't remember how many times Jason Mraz and Natasha Bedingfield played in my ipod haha.

endless ricefields...

I'm not complaining because the countryside view was picturesque. I guess it was better than the views we'll see if we took the bus which passes through the highways.

and lovely trees

It can be tiring for a long time though so better be sleeping. :)

woot! we're here!

After 6 hours, we disembarked in our destination - Aranyaprathet. We took a tuktuk that will bring us to the Cambodian border. They normally say it's THB 50, it's up to you to haggle. We got it for THB 40. More okay than the THB 80 they offered to the Japanese girls.

We were aware of the ongoing scams in this border. In fact, we've read that they have the most notorious border scammers in South East Asia (not sure if it's accurate). We've been very careful in dealing with things and people there. The tuktuk driver suddenly stopped into an office like structure where there are men in white long sleeves who tried to talk us out to go to there office for visa assistance.We told them right off that we don't need visa because we're from the Philippines. We insisted for the driver to just take us to the border directly after brushing them off. But that annoying guy in long sleeves scolded us to just walk ourselves to the border! Maybe he was so disappointed he couldn't get a single cent from us. We just walked then even if it was too hot.

It was a 10-15 minute walk under the midday sun. When our passports were stamped for departing Thailand, we couldn't wait to tread to the Cambodian side. And so our adventure continued... :)

1st Overland Border-Crossing

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