Old Asian travellers will get the reference in the title of this blog. I had a great journey here from Malaysia and the way the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) are modernising the route from the Malaysian border North was a revelation as last time I was here the work had barely started and was mostly focussed around Bangkok. But all that’s for another blog. Despite my pessimistic predictions we arrived at the new mega station at Bang Sue just 5 minutes late. To say the new multi-level stations impressive is an understatement. There may be stations to rival it in China, but there’s nothing in this neck of the woods and it would put most London termini to shame.
As I arrived in plenty of time I nipped down to its predecessor at Hualamphong which is gradually fading away as traffic’s transferred. Even so there’s plenty of photographic interest.
As I was towing a suitcase I took a taxi from the station to my hotel on Phra Artit only to be amused to find it’s a place I’ve stayed in several times over the years – it’s just changed it’s name again! I’d originally booked several nights in a place nearby but had to rearrange bookings a few times as my time in Bankok was whittled away by Chinese New Year celebrations. I wasn’t 100% sure I could book the sleeper from Padang Besar yesterday so I did a last minute booking from the train. There’s another contrast from my early traveller days whrn you simply turned up somwhere and hoped there was room at someone’s Inn – even if that meant walking for ages to find something in your price bracket.
I’m still adusting to being back in Bangkok. I feel at home here but so much has changed due to Covid. Businesses that I always knew have disappeared and others have changed use or site – hence the blog title. I suppose the problem for me is this isn’t my first time in Bangkok. I’ve been coming here for over 30 years, so of course things will change – it’s just that Covid speeded up that process. There’s a view that older people are uncomfortable with change – hence them being stuck in the past – and voting Tory! It’s a view I’m having to confront now because I refuse to be stuck in the past – or vote Tory! The world moves on – as I can see all around me now, but I refuse to kowtow to nostalgia.