Travel to Issan – Surin







The week before Christmas (16-18) I went on a trip to the Thai province of Surin. Some 480 KM from Bangkok. By air maybe one hour, by car, motorbike, or bus maybe 4-5 hours or by train which is about 8-10 hours. :) Now it should be obvious how I went. I wanted something fun and that I can’t do back home. I went by Train. I have always been fascinated by trains. Like most train, there were 3 classes and I took 3rd class (chepaest and not much different from 2nd – I found out later) I got ont he train at 6:30am (meaning I needed to leave my house at about 4am. Just to make sure I catch all the busses – only cost about 50 cents to go to the bus stop. The sun was just coming over the horizon, or the building surrounding the platform (platform 7). The sights and sounds of this 10 hour trip was unbelievable. Travelling along the rail in Bangkok I would see some familiar sights, road crossings, as a matter of fact the temple I will mention in one of the next  posts (About a Royal Cremation) was along the railroad, another story for later. As I travelled I saw the many cities andd some 43 station stops as I travelled along the country-side. It was clear the farther from Kangkok we went. We hit hte climb out of the central basin where Bangkok is and came out on the plains of Issan (Northeast Thailand) For miles around you couls see the farmers in the fields, the buffalos, the rice, and the cassava plants (google it) among many other things. 

On the train is interesting. THe train cars feel like they came right out of 1920. (not long after the railroad was built.) Thailand is famous for its street vendors, well that doesn’t stop at the street. Many vendors will climb on the train holding a bucket with the things they want to sell. Vendors will just come on the train and try sell, comic books, instant noodles, coffee/tea, iced tea, milk, water, fried chicken, barbequed pork, and of course rice in all its forms. I had to get my favorite of course Iced milk Tea (ชานมเย็น) Chaa nom yen. :) There was this old lady across from me that offered me some black sticky rice, we tried talking in Thai but my limited vocabulary proved limiting in what we could talk about. We had only a breif converstation – mainly what is your name, where are you going, is the rice good? 

Upon arriving to Surin my friend picked me up and took me to his village were I was ableto see the more rural landskape. The quietness was amazing. The sounds of things besides city traffic and people yelling in the streets. While there I met my friends sister and kids. Nice people. I also got to stay at my friends house. My friend had arranged a day trip to Phnom Rung which I may do a separate post because of how special it is. We also went to the Thai/Cambodian Border where there was a khmer Market. It was a huge market and since it was a Tuesday it wasn’t all that busy. I did see something disturbing. A monk looking at adult videos. It was a little odd to say the least – but who am I to judge. My Friend had told me a story of how that area was bombed by the Cambodians because of a border dispute. But when I visited it had already been several years since the incident. 

One thing I saw that I really wanted to go was a deaf school. It was not far from where my friend lives. Finally the last day I had to return to Bangkok. It was sad to leave but I was ready (considering I had a stomach ache that day) I was ready to return to the city, and the western ammeneties I was accustomed to. It was a cool place to be. I want to return – and I hope to go to Cambodia to see Angor Wat. While traveling home I saw two enourmous buddha images on the hills as we climbed from the Plateau to the low lands. I was not able to find the statue to King Rama the 5 which I saw on the way to Surin. All in all it was an awesome trip. :)