Two Trips Planned

I’m headed to Bangkok in a couple of days for an overnight trip. There are several things I want to do in Bangkok. What I have to do is visit the US Embassy to have them notarize an Income Affidavit for use later when getting a Thai visa. After that it’s some shopping and possibly an English language movie for the first time since leaving the Phils (‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’, if I remember correctly).

The unpleasant parts of the trip will be getting out of the apartment before dawn and becoming one of 12 people shoehorned into a van designed for 9. ‘Why not take a regular bus?’, you might be wondering. The bus is slower and ends far from where I want. After I get off the van there is a short walk to a BTS (elevated train) station and then five stops to the Embassy.

The second trip is to Penang, Malaysia. Guidebook descriptions of Penang make the tourist bits sound interesting. I’m also keen on the abundant Chinese and Indian food. But such adventures will be the backdrop for getting a new visa. I expect to get a 60 day Non-Immigrant Type ‘O’ Visa, will settle for a 60 day Tourist Visa and will be pissed if get neither, though that won’t stop me from returning to Thailand. Confused? Good, then the Thai Immigration people have achieved one of their goals.

My itinerary:
Saturday – Board train in Hua Hin at 6:24pm. I’ve been advised that all times on a Thai train schedule are approximate. Sometimes very approximate.
Sunday – Arrive Butterworth, Malaysia at 12:55pm. Short ferry ride to Penang Island. Eat, nap, explore, sleep.
Monday – Submit visa application in the morning.
Tuesday – Pick up passport in the afternoon.
Wednesday – Leave Butterworth at 1:15pm.
Thursday – Arrive HH 5:45am. Plan post trip nap.

I’m told the bus is faster and cheaper but to my mind the train has it beat for more comfort. I’ll be able to walk around at will or until a conductor tells me to stop pacing and sit down. It also has sleeper berths. Will my 6′ frame will fit without scrunching?

Round trip ticket was 2270 B ($ ~72) for second class sleeper. There is an upper and lower berth on each side of the train. A curtain separates the berths from the aisle. First class has two person private rooms and a cold water shower at the end of the car. I’ll save that experience for when I’m traveling with someone.


One Response to Two Trips Planned

  1. Ellen says:

    “an upper and lower berth on each side of the train. A curtain separates the berths from the aisle.”

    I would never be able to sleep in such an environment, separated from G-d knows whom by just a curtain??? This may be a gender thing, any other women reading this?

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