Hua Hin, actually getting sleep on an overnight train and reaching paradise
After 6 days in Bangkok (which weren’t as we’d planned or expected) we headed south on an overnight train to Hua Hin.
We have little useful travel advice to offer about Hua Hin other the 2 things we learnt whilst we were there. These are firstly that Evason Hua Hin (the resort where we stayed) is one of the most vegan friendly places we’ve ever been to (it included experiencing the onsite Matthew Kenney Culinary Institute which was nothing short of inspiring) and secondly that the railway station is pretty awesome.
It’s probably obvious why we loved Evason, a seaside resort where there are vegan food sections at breakfast, raw food cooking schools and luxury villas with private pools and proper coffee machines, but you might wonder why we were taken by the train station.
Imagine being welcomed by this sign every day at breakfast?
Chillin’ by the pool at Evason Hua Hin…
It’s true that we love train travel in general but that’s more about the actually journey than the staton, until of course we spent a couple of hours on the platform at Hua Hin. Now we love train stations too. It’s a historical building, beautifully preserved to give you a glimpse of both Victorian and Chinese architecture but it’s the way that people interact with their surroundings there that was fascinating.
Hua Hin station, definitely worth a visit.
There were more tourists than actual passengers for a start, groups of young people from Thailand and Thai families mainly, all taking a multitude of selfies with the whole range of possible posing faces thrown in. Pout at the camera, check. Look surprised, check. Gaze into the distance, check. There are few things more entertaining than watching young people in Asia take selfies with their friends; the laughter itself is infectious.
Then there was the historic station bell, only to be rung by the station guard. We knew that ringing the bell was off limits because every time a tourist rang the bell, the guard or a man selling fried chicken who obviously had some extra responsibility awarded him, would rush over in annoyance and detach the ‘clapper’ (the bit that strikes the outside of the bell to make the noise). That and the fact there was a huge sign right by the bell saying “do not hit the bell” in English and Thai.
Do not hit the bell. Repeat, do not hit the bell
Call it compulsion, call it nothing but pure mischief, but people just couldn’t resist running up to it and giving it a ring. This went on consistently for the two hours we waited for the train. It never got boring to watch but we suspect the nerves of the station master were becoming a little frayed.
Happy travelling at Hua Hin
Once we boarded the overnight train, over the following 17 hours, 2 rather wonderful things happened. Firstly, Caryl fell back in love with the overnight sleeper train. Some of you might remember reading the myth of the overnight sleeper train, our exposé of overnight train travel; somehow this journey mended the painful memories of all those sleepless nights with cockroaches, snoring men and leaking toilets.
The secret ingredient? A first class sleeper cabin
Oh the joy! Air con that didn’t freeze you half to death, a sense of privacy, no flourescent strip lights beaming down on you and best of all? It was (relatively) quiet, nothing but a little quiet chatter from our neighbours in the next cabin and the rattle of the train as it made its journey south.
Caryl actually woke up with as smile on her face in the morning; sleep was actually had.
The second wonderful thing that happen in that 17 hour period was that we arrived in paradise, (a tiny island in the south of Thailand and our favourite place on earth), to begin a 7 week stint in the place where we’ve spent some of the most significant times of our life together since we first visited in 2001.
Back in paradise!
The bliss at being back, the intoxicating thought that we were staying for 7 weeks, the relief to see that little had changed since our last brief visit a year ago. Sometimes when you travel you crave the new, the exciting and the challenging, but sometimes you just want familiarity and peace. Perfect peace.