Thailand and tickets.

By | February 13, 2012

I went to Bangkok with the night train and stayed 3 days. To me it wasn’t really impressive, but then again, how much can you learn about a place in 3 days? Next time I’ll take more time for Bangkok and the north of Thailand.
But I had to be in KL to catch my flight to Sri Lanka. I was afraid I might not get a train ticket all the way back. And this turned out to be true. I could only get a ticket for a night train to Butterworth, close to Penang, and I was already lucky there. You have to book these trains a long time in advance, which is troublesome if you haven’t figured out your exact schedule. In hindsight I should have taken that train and just figure out where to get a bus to KL in Malaysia.
I wanted to go straight to KL though. I wanted to spend the last few days there with friends, and didn’t feel like staying in a few guest houses along the road and missing out on seeing them. So I booked a combined bus ticket straight to KL. It was not exactly a mistake (I got to KL, didn’t I?), but to say that it was pleasant….. no…
It’s not that any of my luggage got stolen or anything. No, I had no problems with that. And I did buy my ticket from one of the small booking agents in a road close to Khao San road (which does not have a good name. double charges, stolen luggage, people getting left in a small town halfway etc). The problem was more with the tickets.
Let me explain how I think these “tickets” work. When you pay for a ticket in advance, you have a ticket as proof for it. You get on the first bus, and you still have your ticket. When you get to the first stop, which is not neccessarilly the place where the second bus leaves, they want to take your ticket. Often you don’t get a ticket back unless you really whine about it (ow, and a little sticker to stick on your clothing is NOT a ticket, no agent accepts that).
You see, I always made sure I had SOME kind of ticket, even if it was unreadable. They dragged me (and all the other tourists to different spots) to about 4, 5 different booking offices and busstops, with 3 different tickets before I got on a second bus. Sometimes they brought me there on the back of a scooter, which hurts like hell if you have 2 big backpacks to carry. The last guy with scooter wanted my last ticket and wouldn’t give me a new one. He said the bus driver would give me one, but he didn’t have anything to give me.
The scooter guy then said: “I need that ticket to get paid!”. You see they get paid when they show your old ticket as proof that they put you on the next bus or station. But they don’t give a shit if you have anything to show at the next station. I told him: “Well I need this ticket to go to KL or I have to pay my whole ticket again!” The man grumbled and took off. I’m sure the scooter guy meant no harm, and things are just that messy here, but FUCK IT! I paid for this and I’d like to get to my bloody destination!…
At the border we had to wait for a long time because it had just been Chinese new year, and it was rush hour there. We left our bags in the bus, and went through customs with just our hand luggage. No reason to be concerned, after all the waiting our luggage was still safe and sound in the bus.
I was now back in Malaysia…

 

From Koh Tao to Chumpon.

Soi 6 near Kao San Road, Bangkok.

In Bangkok.

In Bangkok.

Standing guard.

Make sure you always have a ticket. If not, take a picture of your old ticket (a sticker with “KL” on it is NOT a ticket!).

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