Taking the Train from Bangkok to Krabi, Thailand

Endowed with the spirit of an explorer, I created an adventure by taking the 12-hour overnight train from Bangkok to Krabi rather than the 2-hour flight. 

Adventure is exactly what I found. 

Visiting Krabi

I chose Krabi to see one of Thailand’s renowned beach areas. The party scene at Phuket didn’t fit my style. I heard fantastic things about the gorgeous beaches in Krabi, including that they were much more relaxed than in Phuket. 

I decided to have my adventure by traveling via overnight train rather than visiting a party city. 

Taking the Train from Bangkok to Krabi

When I boarded the train, I was relieved that I had a sleeper room all to myself. The room had two beds, so I was worried I would be sharing with another passenger. 

Some may consider that an excellent way to make a new friend, but I prefer to avoid sleeping with strangers.

Even using the Bathroom was an Adventure!

The first mini adventure on the train ride was my trip to the train’s restroom. By this point, I had been in Southeast Asia for a little over a week, so I was familiar with squatting toilets. However, I didn’t realize I’d need to use a squatting toilet while moving. 

A squatting port-a-potty would be a better description of the facilities available on the train. It was an elevated platform with a hole in it. The outside of the platform had some grooves on it, which I can only imagine was for traction. There was also a handlebar to help keep your balance. 

As a person cursed with a tiny bladder, I had no choice but to attempt this risky balancing act. 

Success! I triumphantly navigated the Squat-a-Potty!

Sleeping on the Train

The rest of the night went very smoothly. I fell asleep on the top bunk and woke very well-rested (although I had to navigate the toilet again). 

The train stopped in Surat Thani, and I had to transfer to a bus for the rest of my journey (or so I thought). 

Since I knew when booking that the train didn’t go all the way to Krabi, I was prepared for the ride. My train ticket included the bus transfer, so I was all set. 

 I boarded the bus with other travelers, thinking that the bus would stop near my hotel in Krabi. The ticket I purchased included a hotel transfer, so in my head, this was a valid assumption. 

Little did I know that my adventure was just beginning!!

The Real Adventure Begins!

The bus only took me as far as Phang-Nga, where I was forced to disembark (along with five other passengers en route to Krabi). The driver dropped us off on a corner, instructed us to wait, and then drove off. 

And then there were five. 

I was with a lovely German couple and two older women traveling together. We glanced at each other nervously and attempted small talk while waiting for our unknown ride.

Should We Get in the Tuk-Tuk?

After what seemed like a long wait, a tattered tuk-tuk carrying a beat-up bed recovered from some ancient pickup truck pulled up to the curb next to us. 

The friendly driver jumped off and motioned for us all to get into the truck bed. We all weighed our options – wondering whether we should get into this ragged tuk-tuk, hoping it was a genuine ride, or remain stranded in an unknown city. 

We collectively decided to go for it, loading our bags and ourselves into the back. 

And we were off!

Making it to Krabi

The tuk-tuk took us as far as Krabi’s bus station. The driver helped us get our belongings out of the back and left us at the desolate-looking depot. 

After a few minutes of aimlessly wandering around the abandoned station, we finally found a sole employee hiding in a back building. I asked her how we would get to our hotels. 

As it turned out, only the German couple and I had tickets that included hotel drop-off, so the older women were left to find a taxi on their own. 

And then there were three. 

The lady instructed us to wait outside.

We waited about a half hour, trying to converse despite the language barrier. I was happy to have companions to share in this adventure; they were lovely people.

Eventually, a black SUV drove up. The driver reviewed our tickets and hotel reservations and instructed us to get in. 

With an uncertain glance towards each other, we climbed into the SUV.  

We were off once again!

Only Accessible by Boat

The SUV driver found the German couple’s hotel first, a ten-minute drive from the bus stop. They disembarked, leaving me alone. 

And then there was one. 

Unfortunately, my hotel wasn’t so easily accessible. 

When I booked from the comfort of my Southern Californian home, I had no idea that Railay, the quant peninsula where my hotel was located, couldn’t be reached via road. 

No car, train, truck, or bus would bring me to the resort. It could only be reached by sea. 

The SUV driver took me to the boat stop and gave me 500 Baht for the boat ride. He grabbed a young man (seemingly from off the street) and spoke to him in Thai, gesturing towards me. The young man seemed to understand, and he smiled at me.

My driver left me. 

The young man gestured to me to have a seat on the bench, so I did. We sat there waiting for about 5 minutes, and then I can only assume that he was trying to tell me to stay there because after he gestured to me and said something in broken English, he took off. 

The Coming Storm

After waiting about ten minutes at the empty boat taxi stand, the anxiety crept in.

As the air grew heavy, I heard the soft rumble of thunder off in the distance. The surrounding beach, lively with tourists when I arrived, grew quiet. I checked the taxi stand, hoping there would be an employee nearby, someone to talk to for reassurance that I was in the right spot, but it remained stubbornly empty. 

My nerves tingled as I realized my only option was to wait for the young man to return. 

Hey, Jump on this Scooter

While lost in thought, reflecting upon the choices that led me here, a moped appeared out of nowhere and pulled up next to me at the boat taxi stand. 

It was the young man, he finally returned! 

He was accompanied by an older gentleman, the moped’s driver. The young man leaped from the scooter and grabbed my bag, gesturing for me to get on the moped. 

Please remember, dear readers: I was a young woman traveling alone in a country thousands of miles from my nearest friend. And here I was, standing on an empty street corner, the smell of rain heavy in the air, with a choice. 

Do I get on this moped with two strange men, with their only qualifications being that an SUV driver, another strange man, introduced me to one, or do I stand here on this corner with no idea where I am or how to get to my hotel, waiting for the inevitable downpour?

I Took a Chance

After weighing the options, I decided to take my chances with the men on the moped. I sat on the back; the younger one was in the middle, and the older gentleman drove. 

My luggage was tucked between the driver’s legs (luckily, I pack light), and I wore my backpack. 

As we zipped through the streets of Krabi, I considered my escape routes. What if we stop in some strange back alley? How could I protect myself against these two? If I had to leap off, where would I run?

Reaching the Harbor

My fears eased as we approached the harbor, a small sandy bay with a line of long boats resting along the shore. I knew I had to take a boat ride to reach my hotel, and these guys were taking me to a boat, so that part at least checked out. 

We got off the moped, and the young man led me down a path to a long boat docked in the harbor. The older gentleman jumped in and started the motor while the younger one helped me and my luggage aboard. 

As we were boarding, the first few drops of the storm I felt brewing danced upon my forehead. 

Navigating Through a Monsoon in the Andaman Sea

The boat sped out of the harbor, and we reached the semi-open waters of the Andaman Sea.

By this time, I could smell the heavy stench of rain in the air, and the waters below us began to churn angrily. 

Suddenly, the clouds exploded and let forth a monsoon of heavy rain. The long boat had a tarp cover, so the younger man and I took shelter under the tarp. He motioned for me to hunker down on the floor between the benches. 

The older gentleman stood on the bow, navigating the unforgiving waters. He had no cover, and the full force of the rain drenched his body as he bravely steered onward, keeping us on course.

I cowered in my spot, hugging my knees, wondering if this was how I would die. At least I had lived! 

At last, a beacon of hope!

Through the torrential downpour, I saw the outline of land. The beach inched ever closer as the sea began to calm in the protected enclave of the small harbor. 

Miraculously, the longboat pulled up onto the sandy beach. It was still raining heavily, but at least I was on land! I wouldn’t die in a capsized longboat!

Checking In

The young man leaped out of the boat with my luggage and helped me to the shore. He motioned for me to follow, lifted my bag over his head, and sprinted towards the lodges lining the beach. 

After a 100-meter dash on the wet beach, I finally arrived at my hotel. The young man placed my luggage down, and I offered him a 1000 Baht note, telling him to keep the change. 

He earned it. 

As I made my way to the front counter, the rain began to subside, revenge the stunning beauty of the jungle beach peninsula.  

I set out in search of adventure, and after a train, bus, tuk-tuk, SUV, moped, and boat ride, adventure is what I found.

4 thoughts on “Taking the Train from Bangkok to Krabi, Thailand”

    • Thanks a lot! I’m glad you liked it. I actually just published one on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu! My goal is to post about once per week 🙂

Comments are closed.