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Thailand

Train 257 to the Bridge on the River Kwai

Last year I wrote about my plans to travel by train from Bangkok to the Bridge on the River Kwai. I also got sucked into the history and the amazing story of Eric Lomax. You can read the article¬†here. I actually made the trip earlier this year, so thought it was about time that I shared my experiences. I like to think of this as a rather good “micro adventure”. I decided the way I wanted to do it was to take the regular train (there is also a special weekend tourist carriage) and get there and back in a […]

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The Railway Man

I have been busy planning a few small adventures on the route of my forthcoming journey across the world. Even though my trip will technically finish in Hong Kong, I will be exploring parts of Asia by rail afterwards. One trip that is now firmly in my diary is a visit to “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. You probably know all about this, but just in case you don’t, this is the bridge at the location in Thailand where the Burma “death railway” crosses the Mae Klong river, made infamous by the David Lean’s epic 1957 film. In passing, […]

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The International Express (Part 2)

Total distance so far: 17 340 km at Butterworth. Weather: 28 degrees C, part sunny. 06.52 I wake early, as before we hit the border the Thai restaurant carriage will turn back for Bangkok. Mr Grumpy converts all the sleepers back to seats and refits bedding ready for the next use. My purser sets up a table in front of me and advises me that my “full Thai” breakfast is inbound. No problems to report in the night other than using the toilet, which is so wet that it might have a leech problem. I wish I had bothered to […]

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The International Express (Part 1)

Distance so far: 16 504 km (at Bangkok). Weather: 31 degrees, part sunny. 13.30 Bangkok Central Station is “old school” and pretty small, so despite a resident army of a few thousand protestors waiting to mobilise in the concourse, it was easy to get through. I was expecting to see an Army presence here but it’s clearly not a target, as the protestors have vowed not to close the railways. No security, no ticket checks and straight onto the platforms. Then behold, there at Platform 5 – the “International Express” (aka “Special Express”) was already there and waiting, more than […]

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Bangkok

Having arrived at Hua Lamphong railway station on Sunday night it began to dawn on me that I had got into the centre of town in the “eye of the storm”. Less than 12 hours later Bangkok was due to be totally shut down as the opposition party do their best to oust the care taking Prime Minister. This is politics Thai style, and I only hope it remains peaceful, both for the people and for my own personal well being. There is talk of further action if Suthep does not resign by Wednesday and the General in charge of […]

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The Cambodian Express

Well, I finally got my wish today – I am sat in a seat next to an open window with the breeze blowing freely in my face watching the sunset very slowly. No windows have been hurt in the making of this blog, and my secret key is not required on this train! I’m on the twice daily “Cambodian Express” that travels between Bangkok and Aranyapathet, which as you might have read in my recent post, is very close to the Cambodian border. It’s also a train first for me – as I’m travelling in third class – here is […]

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Poipet

Okay, just to bring you up to speed, I have been travelling through Cambodia by bus to connect from the rail head at Saigon to the one on the Thai border at Aranyaprathet. This has meant a day on the bus from Saigon to Phnom Pehn, another day on the bus from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap, and then a taxi today to the border at Poipet. That is about 600km by roads, that to be fair, are not quite finished in places. This morning I took a fast taxi (a Lexus no less, “the Japanese Mercedes”) to the Cambodian […]

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