We shared with you our journey getting to Koh Chang from Bangkok and the return was pretty much the same process. The only difference was the weather!
Flashback to 2014:
After a week of overcast skies in Koh Chang, Mother Nature decided it was time to dump the water that was collected in those clouds. Yes, it all started the night prior to our departure. We were very excited to see the downpour in Koh Chang and even captured it on video.
There is nothing quite like a good tropical storm that rolls in starting with strong gusts of wind. When you feel those winds, you know you have very little time to prepare for what comes next. Imagine someone, up in the sky, turning on the biggest rain shower around at full blast. Torrential rain comes to mind, but we have no question at all where the term “dumping buckets of rain” comes from.
If you are out in the rain, without cover, for even 2 seconds, you are drenched through to your under clothes. You may as well just go jump in the pool, and we did! We love swimming in the rain (not with thunder and lightning though).
Anyway, the night prior to our departure there was a big storm, but it stopped after about 20 minutes or so. The rest of the evening was fine and we were thrilled that we were going to have a good travel day to follow. When we awoke the next morning, we peeked out the window and it was raining. It wasn’t dumping buckets, but it was clear it had recently.
From Koh Chang To Bangkok Thailand
The streets were flooded in some areas and even sporting some new potholes for cars and bikes to dodge. We had a shuttle to the ferry arriving at 9:30 am, so we were packed and off to the tour desk next to our hotel. There was just a light rain at this point, but no rolling of any suitcases was possible. The sidewalk and streets were far too wet and muddy.
Our shuttle arrived, but was on the other side of the main street. We needed cross over and hop in. As we each stepped off of the curb, we quickly found the shallow puddle of water in the street wasn’t shallow at all. It was a few inches deep. Well, that’s a great way to start off a 27 hour journey, with wet tooties! No problem, in the shuttle we go. The kids of course, are full of giggles and were just loving the experience.
The shuttle drops us at the ferry port and by now it was dumping buckets of rain. The port is really just a few open are snack shacks and a dirt parking lot. We quickly ran to the nearest shack, which was across from the parking lot from the ferry. The kids picked up a smoothie and some snacks and we put down all of our bags. It was nice having a little down time and listening to the rain pounding on the tin roof. It was also nice chatting with a few other travelers and we were under cover from the rain.
There were two other snack shacks alongside the ferry loading zone and they too were full of travelers, awaiting the ferry.
After about 15 minutes, we could see the ferry heading our way off in the distance. We needed to make our way to the other snack shacks.. The rain was really coming down. I went to scope out the best path for us to cross the road and get the ferry. I found no good route and people were starting to head over.
Oh well, here we go! Traipsing across the flooded parking lot in the pouring rain. This time the water wasn’t 2 or 3 inches deep, it was like crossing a small swift stream. We were soaked clear up to our ankles. For me this wasn’t a problem, as I was wearing sandals. The rest of the family had some wet sneakers and socks!
We all loaded up on the ferry and found a few good seats. We piled our bags high in the center of the ferry, hoping they would stay dry. Everyone is sporting their cool plastic poncho, except for us. We hadn’t made our poncho purchase yet.
As you can see, this is a pretty open air ferry, so most of the seats were wet from the rain sneaking in on the sides. The floor on the of the ferry was also full of water, just waiting to slosh around with the rocking ferry crossed to the mainland.
We met some very nice people on the ferry, we even chatted with 2 girls from Spain. It was great for the kids to get in some good Spanish conversation time. Actually, we have found many Spanish speakers all over Thailand. Loving it! The kids had fun trying to stay dry and made the most of it.
The 45 minute ferry only took about 5 minutes longer than anticipated and we all made it without feeding the fish! I had a few queasy moments and was a bit wobbly once on dry land, but we made it. Our son and I are the two that get the motion sickness, so we were happy it was over. Next we were off to Bangkok (departing at 12 noon).
We were scheduled to arrive at the Hua Lamphong train station by 5:30pm, which would be perfect timing for us to buy tickets for the 7:30 departure to Chiang Mai. NOT!
No, the rain didn’t let up! This slowed down the bus journey. Once we arrived in Bangkok, we took the exit for the train station. It was maybe 1km away and that 1km took us about 75-90 minutes. We weren’t 100% sure the train station was close, but we were fairly sure. Of course, all of our luggage was in the hold under the bus, so we couldn’t ask to just hop out and walk. Not to mention the rain was still coming down.
At 7:45pm, we finally arrived at the train station. It was clear, we missed our train. Luckily we didn’t purchase advance tickets. I almost did, but none of the tour agents could get the tickets to us in time for our departure. I guess that was a good thing.
We went to purchase 4 sleeper beds with AC for the 10pm train. NOPE! No sleepers with AC available. Okay, how about sleeper with fan. NOPE! Not going to happen. How about seats with AC, NOPE! not going to happen either.
There is no way we are riding for 15 hours on a train in a seat with no AC, but that is all that was left. We had them check and the next available train with 4 seats or beds in AC was 4 days out. We needed to quickly decide if we wanted to go to Chiang Mai now or in 4 days.
If it was 4 days later, we would just hang out in Bangkok and explore a new part of the city. The family voted and was all over the board. After much discussion, we all decided that we were tired, hot and figured we would just get the long train ride over with. We ended up with 4 seats in the fan car. None of us were thrilled, but it was getting us closer to our 3 month stay in Chiang Mai.
Next comes the train ride…we will share our experience with you soon.
What would you have done?