This is part of my travelogue on my solo overland backpacking trip to Thailand & Laos in 2013.
Previously: Part 3 – The Overnight Ride
Day 3: Wednesday, 28 August 2013
I remained asleep throughout the bus ride after the stop at the rest area. But not throughout the entire journey. Sometimes, I opened up my eyes and looked out at the window. I performed my prayers in the bus as the bus will not make another stop until it reaches Bangkok.
Sepanjang perjalanan aku tidur lepas bas gerak semula dari R&R yang aku pun tak pasti entah kat mana. Tapi, tak adalah sepanjang-panjang perjalanan tu aku tertidur. Ada masa aku terjaga, tengok kat luar tingkap, termenung tersenyum keseorangan. Aku solat dalam perjalanan sebab aku tau, bas takkan berhenti lagi sampailah dah sampai Bangkok.
There were times, when I opened up my eyes, I was at Hua Hin, the beach-resort city in Thailand, famous with the locals. The road was quiet, the people still sleeping. The road lamps were still on and from the horizon, I saw the sun rose.
Ada sekali tu, aku terjaga, tengok-tengok aku kat Hua Hin. Hua Hin ni macam Port Dickson lah kalau kat Malaysia ni. Bandar kat tepi pantai yang terkenal dengan penduduk tempatan Thailand. Ada pelancong luar juga tapi ramai lagi pengunjung tempatan. Aku tengok luar tingkap, nampak jalan senyap je, orang pun semua tidur lagi. Lampu jalan pun menyala lagi dan dari kejauhan, aku nampak matahari terbit.
A few hours later, the bus stopped at the petrol station, to refuel and for the passengers to go for the long-awaited toilet break. I inhaled the air, the air of Bangkok, as I was reaching the city.
Beberapa jam kemudian, bas berhenti kat stesen minyak untuk isi minyak dan untuk penumpang ke tandas. Aku tarik nafas, macam tak percaya, aku dah menghampiri kota Bangkok.
When the bus continued moving, I looked out of the window and was overwhelmed with the feeling of being in Bangkok, after 2 years lapse. The zigzagging highway and the many lanes expressway. It did not look like Malaysia at all, with the greased-looking roads and the lack of landscaping available. But yet, I felt like home. Like I knew the place all along. I smiled.
Bas berjalan semula, dan tengok ke luar, aku teruja sebab akhirnya aku di Bangkok semula, selepas 2 tahun. Lebuhraya bersimpang siur dan jalan raya banyak lorong di sana sini. Tak rasa macam kat Malaysia langsung, terutamanya sebab jalan raya yang nampak berminyak dan kawasan jalan yang seakan kurang landskap. Tapi, rasa macam kenal tempat ni. Macam dah biasa di sini. Rasa macam di tempat sendiri. Aku tersenyum.
Soon, the bus stopped at the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok, locally known as Sai Tai Mai. I bid farewell to the brother whom I met in Hat Yai and helped me to show where the halal food was at the rest area. “Ni sorang-sorang lah ni kat sini? | Are you going to be alone here?“, he asked me. “Haah bang. Sorang je | Yes, bro. All alone“, I answered back. “Berani ya? Hati-hatilah. Jumpa lagi kalau ada rezeki | So brave of you. Be careful. See you soon, if there is opportunity“, he said as we shook hands.
Akhirnya, aku tiba di Sai Tai Mai. Aku ucapkan selamat tinggal kat abang yang datang dengan pasangan dia, yang aku berkenalan masa di Hat Yai dan yang tolong aku cari makanan halal masa di R&R. “Ni sorang-sorang lah ni kat sini? Berani ya? Hati-hatilah. Jumpa lagi kalau ada rezeki”, abang tu pesan sambil kami bersalaman.
It was not long before I found myself at the front entrance of Sai Tai Mai. I still remember this place. This place was, after all, the very place where I sent my friend Muiz before I proceeded to travel in Bangkok alone, back in 2011. [Read it here – in Bahasa].
Sekejap je sedar-sedar aku kat luar Sai Tai Mai dah. Mau tak sekejap. Tempat ni lah aku hantar Muiz untuk dia balik Malaysia tahun 2011 dulu dan kat sinilah tempat aku travel solo buat pertama kali dalam hidup. [Baca di sini].
I saw lines of taxis at the front entrance. I walked to the first taxi in line. “Hua Lamphong?“, I asked the group of drivers. “Hua Lamphong?“, they asked me back. I nodded and they laughed in unison. I was puzzled as to why they laughed but did not ask why. I just wanted to get a rest and reached my destination fast. That was also why I decided to take a taxi instead of a bus.
Kat luar, aku nampak teksi banyak beratur. Aku pergi kat salah satu teksi dan tanya driver-driver yang ramai bersidai kat situ. “Hua Lamphong?”. Seorang driver tu tanya aku balik, “Hua Lamphong?”, lepas tu pandang kawan-kawan dia dan gelak ramai-ramai. Kurang asam. Ingat aku ni buat lawak ke? Kalau aku pandai buat kelakar dah lama dah aku masuk Maharaja Lawak Mega.
The driver asked me to get into the taxi and he started to drive. Along the way, we engaged in a conversation whilst my eyes kept looking at the meter. Everything went smoothly until we faced a traffic jam. A very bad traffic jam. “When you said Hua Lamphong, my friends laughed because the road is jammed. See, jam”, he told me without me asking him, and he laughed.
Driver tu suruh aku masuk dalam teksi dan gerak. Aku pesan kat dia guna meter. Karang mau dia caj mahal-mahal, habis terkandas aku kat Bangkok ni tak berduit. Sepanjang perjalanan kami bersembang, sambil-sambil tu aku jeling kat meter. THB 100, 110, 120… meter tu naik. Elok je lancar perjalanan kami, tiba-tiba ada traffic jam, yang sangat-sangat teruk. “When you said Hua Lamphong, my friend laughed because the road is jammed. See, jam”, dia cakap lepas tu gelak. Patutlah!
I looked outside and it was amazing to see how Bangkok has changed over the period of 2 years. The BTS skytrain was being extended and constructions were everywhere. It is a big cosmopolitan and from my taxi, I could see Bangkok skyline with all the skyscrapers. Amazing, indeed.
Aku tengok ke luar tingkap dan nampak perubahan pada kota Bangkok. Baru 2 tahun tapi line BTS Skytrain dah diextend. Projek-projek pembangunan pun bersepah. Memang bandaraya yang besar.
After about an hour plus of driving through the traffic jams and along some construction sites, finally I reached my destination: The Hua Lamphong Railway Station, Bangkok.
Lepas sejam lebih perjalanan melepasi traffic jam, akhirnya aku tiba di destinasi aku: Stesen Keretapi Hua Lamphong.
To be continued – Part 5
Different destination-sectors in Bangkok are served by different bus stations. For buses heading north, they will be served by the Mo Chit bus station. As for buses heading south, they will be served by the Sai Tai Mai bus station. There is no rail connection to Sai Tai Mai, thus the options to go to downtown Bangkok are either by using local bus or taxi.
The rule of thumb when using a taxi in Thailand is “meter, kap?” or “meter, please”, or else the driver won’t use the meter. Using a meter will ensure a fair price as compared to a fix price.
My taxi price from Sai Tai Mai to Hua Lamphong during peak hour [10.00 am and still there were traffic jams] was around THB 250 [as of August 2013].
There is a bus to Bangkok downtown from Sai Tai Mai. Wait at the bus stand across the road from Sai Tai Mai and wait for bus #79. Fare was THB 19 [as of December 2011].