Sometimes when you travel, you make a bad call. Today was one of those days.
I had read that the Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok train ride along the Death Railway was scenic and interesting. I also read that it only took two hours and was a common day trip from Bangkok. Let me get this out there right off the bat – it was not terribly scenic or interesting. As for being only two hours? I had been lulled into a false sense of security: Thailand is still a developing nation and time is not linear here.
We spent more than ten long hours on the train today. It is ten hours of our lives we will never get back.
Yes, there were interesting moments, like watching the big trestle bridge go past as we rounded a bend in the river (note, this is only less than 5 minutes of the entire train journey) and watching a group of ladies doing aerobics in a railway station carpark. But the scenery was the same as we have at home and there were certainly plenty of better things we could have done with our day.
As I wrote the first part of this post this we were still an unknown distance from Bangkok on the train back from Nam Tok. It was almost 8pm and we had boarded the beast at 10:30am in Kanchanaburi to travel out to Nam Tok where we hopped back on board to travel back to Bangkok via Kanchanaburi. The train was to arrive in Bangkok at 5:30pm, leaving us an evening of ferry rides, dinner, massages and a nice hotel.
I guess this is all part of the travel adventure. One day when we are more experienced at this travel caper, we will look back and laugh. But I can tell you this: I am not a railway man. Give me planes, motorbikes, cars and bicycles any day of the week. I want to choose where I travel and when without finding myself stuck to someone else’s timetable (or lack there-of).
We arrived at our hostel in Bangkok after 9pm. After a quick shower we treated ourselves to an oil massage. It helped us to unwind and also to talk about how we can avoid this type of thing happening in future. Most of that conversation went around my needing to be less tight fisted with money, which was a fair call. It turns out that if we had spent 1,600 baht we could have been back in Bangkok within about three hours instead of six (which cost us just 200 baht). It would have been worth it. Also, next time we pay to do something scenic and find ourselves bored with the experience, we will just call it a wash and forgo the cost of the scenic activity (i.e. the Nam Tok train).
Travel is an adventure. Sometimes in adventures things don’t go according to plan. On every trip I’ve taken this year there has been that moment when I realise I should have done things differently. And every time I hope I learn from the mistake.