Today we made our way to Cambodia! Our train left the station at 5:55 AM, so we were up very early! Our hostel mom kept her word and was waiting in the lobby at 5am as we headed down the stairs! She even got us a water and a breakfast sandwich for the road. Not only that, she got us a taxi and told our driver where to go in Thai and made sure we got a fair rate. We actually wanted to walk initially, but she advised against it and we knew why after we saw how long the walk would have been with our heavy suitcases! It was so nice to know during our stay in Bangkok that we could use her as a resource and that she was looks out for us. We are very thankful for her!
One thing that was interesting is that she told us that we were very polite. We never really did anything other than say thank you, so we were wondering what type of experiences she had in the past that made our very basic manners stand out. (Little did she know that we actually broke all her rules by eating our ramen and drinking water in our room. Sorry!!)
Luckily there was no traffic at 5 am so we made it to the train station in a few minutes. We then got our tickets from the ticket office and enjoyed our breakfast that our hostel mom gave us. We decided to take the train after researching ways to get to Cambodia and realized that it was really cheap and would be an interesting experience to have. It was only 48 baht which is about $1.50 for about 6 hours of travel!
When it came time to actually get on the train, it was like we were transported back to the 1950s! This train was third class only, so basically just slightly padded benches and very basic bathrooms was what we got. We were able to find a space with two benches across from one another so that was really nice. They did have people going down the rows periodically, selling things like bottled water, cooked pork, and chips out of a basket, so it really did feel like the old days. Our tickets even got a little hole punch, just like the movies!
It was actually pretty neat to get to see a large part of Thailand from the train window. Ours was actually kind of broken and we couldn’t get it down initially, but a guard heard us say it was broken and at the next stop, he and another man literally banged on it until it went down. So far in Thailand people have gone out of their way to help us rather than scam us, so that has been really nice. We got to enjoy some really nice scenery with a cool breeze a lot of the way! As it got closer to the afternoon the breeze started to become hot humid air, but for the most part, it was very enjoyable.
The worst part about the train ride was that the seats felt like you were basically sitting on hard plastic! After 6 hours, we all had really sore butts and backs. Everything in Thailand is rock hard! At one of our hotels, Beth and Paige tried to do the ‘flop on the bed with exhaustion’ and it was actually painful because the mattress was so hard. Randy said that most Thai people are used to sleeping on the floor, so most mattresses are very firm. It is probably why the mattresses at the hospital were so thin as well. I wonder if they prefer it, or if memory foam was introduced they would all want it like most Americans. Even a little padding would be nice because most of our mattresses so far have felt like you were sleeping on the floor it was so firm!
Getting through immigration was a hot mess. We had to take a taxi to the boarder from the train, and then go through both Thailand and Cambodia’s immigration before taking a bus to the transport depot and finally a taxi to our hotel which is 2 hours away. It just sounds like a mess typing it out! You also need a visa for Cambodia which was another piece to an already confusing puzzle. We were so happy to finally get to our resort around 5pm. What a long day of traveling! It was such a hassle that we have decided to fly back to Bangkok instead of trying to coordinate all of that transportation to get to the train by 6am.
The best part of today was arriving at our resort! It was kind of like arriving at an oasis in the desert. We were all so exhausted from our long day of travel, so walking up to a beautiful entrance and having someone greet us by taking our heavy luggage for us was appreciated so much. Not only that, they had fresh, cold pineapple juice that my travel partners really enjoyed. We also get a lot of unexpected things such as a free dinner and shuttle services because we are staying here three nights which was a fun perk!
When we walked into our room, our jaws were all hanging open. We knew it was going to be nice based on the photos online, but it is hard to really know until you see it. Everything here screams luxury and relaxation. The best part of the entire day is that we booked the family room which means that we have a double suit and we all get our own queen sized beds that actually have squishy mattresses!!! It is the little things.
The pool here is also really beautiful. After dropping off our things, we all took a quick dip in the pool! It felt so good to cool off after many hours on hot busses, trains, and taxis. It is so nice here that we are going to relax and enjoy the resort tomorrow. We will then try to see Angkor Wat on Thursday! We will see what Cambodia has to offer us!