Took my first ever sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, which is the travel gateway to the south of Thailand. Had I not have been told what to expect beforehand this would have been a shock for sure. At 6pm in the train station (everyday) everybody stops as the King’s song is played. Travellers stop mid walk, stand from waiting areas, remove hats and face the flag to respect him for approx 30 seconds. At the end, normal service is resumed. Can’t imagine the Queen getting this attention at Waterloo station around rush hour. Or any hour.
The trains run on ‘Thai time’. That is the train was scheduled to leave at 6:30pm, but tends to run closer to 6:50, or 7, or just whenever. No surprise that arrival came about 2 hours behind schedule, but that was after a surprising all comfortable sleep on the makeshift bunk beds.
Khao Sok was definitely worth it. A further 2 hour bus ride on from Surat Thani followed by an hours long tail boat over the man made lake took us to a quiet spot in between the towering limestone cliffs for a cooling swim and some lightweight cliff jumping.
I stayed in some floating bungalows. Quite an impressive small complex with access to swimming and kayaking around the area. Another long tail boat in the early evening found us monkey spotting in the surrounding trees, before dinner and a few games with the gang whilst the power generators were still on.
Amazing scenery and so worth the visit!