Friday, 25 March 2016

Paradise on a Night Train

After a harrowing morning we were elated to get tickets on the KTM night train!

In a gift of grace we got tickets on the train we always wanted - the night train from JB to Hat Yai! The time was only 9am and we had until 5pm - the whole day to have fun together in JB Sentral. So we made our way into the mall, up past the Koi Ponds to buy movie tickets. 

Today would be the first time for Ethan and I to watch a movie in the cinema together. As it was the beginning of school holidays we had 2 movies to choose from: Kung Fu Panda 3 and Zootopia. So Daddy didn't choose, we watched both! Zootopia was excellent and we had so much fun scoffing popcorn together. We are looking forward to show to movie to Talia cos she will love all the animals!

In between movies we found a nice Japanese cafe. Still overflowing with happiness and gratitude, I cold not resist buying Ehan a green tea cake while he did his homework. 

Meanwhile, across the Causeway the girls were having fun at a Cat's Cafe!

Us boys preferred trains and nasi lemak! Well, we also bought 2 pairs of jeans  for Ethan and snacks for the trip. The 5pm train was delayed for a long time. In fact it only left at 8pm, but I didn't mind because I was just so happy to be able to ride it! Ethan said maybe I prayed for the wrong train to be late! 

Finally, we were allowed to board! This was the first time Daddy used my trailer on a train trip cos we were carrying lots of stuff for the missions trip to Thailand!

We settled into our beds and unpacked our drinks and nasi lemak. Ethan always look forwards to nasi lemak on the train! This time I had bought a "branded meal" as the restaurant was the only place I could find nasi lemak! But the packaging and quality was excellent, making it worth every ringgit!

We bedded down for the night, supremely thankful to God for our trip. My Hotlink SIM card was working excellently so I messaged the girls and kept them updated. 

The next morning we got up early. Ethan was elated to still have more than 6 hours on the train even after waking up! We visited the restaurant car to enjoy coffee, Milo and the buns we bought the night before. 

Ethan is so happy on a long distance train, doubly happy on a night train, and quadruply happy to be with Daddy. I had also planned to tell him something special, so we went back to our beds after breakfast and closed the curtains for some privacy. 

Ethan had asked me some months ago for further details about where babies come from. "But how do they get into the mummy's tummy?" he queried. I had always wanted to be the first one to tell him, not read it in a book or from school, or from a giggling older boy. So I told him about a boys and girls private parts, how babies are made, and how God designed sex this way for when we get married! He was stunned! His reaction was similar to last year when he found out that Mummy and Daddy were both the tooth fairy and Santa Claus!

He did say that he thought the news was "a little disgusting" because though Daddy told him he would like girls one day, he doesn't like them yet! 

Ethan settled into his travelling bed and made himself comfortable. He loves watching the views, and now reading his Kindle. I loaded a few "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books on it which he enjoys immensely. 

Watching him take in the views, enjoy the train, and seeing that precious smile spread across his face is all the reward I need to begin planning the next trip with Ethan even before this one is over. He is old enough now to turn to me every now and then, clasp me in a warm hug and say, "Thank you for bringing me on this trip Daddy."

Snacks are of course a wonderful part of any train journey! Mummy had packed delicious rice crackers and green tea Pocky for her boys. 

We finally arrived at the border town of Padang Besar. We didn't know what to expect as this was our first time crossing the Malaysia-Thailand border over land. 

We saw many interesting trains, Thai carriages and engines. 

We left our luggage on the KTM car and took our passports and valuables for immigration clearance. 

The train trundled off to refuel while we stood in line first for Malaysia immigration then for Thai immigration, all in the same building on the Malaysia side of the border. It was very convenient!

I taught Ethan how to fill up his Thailand immigration form, then the friendly staffed informed us that the train would take 30min to come back and there was a cafe upstairs where we we could get a drink. 

Daddy had an excellent tea and we shared some delicious french fries. These  really hit the spot and kept us happy while we excitedly waited for our train to return. 

There wasn't a whole lot of people crossing the border on the train. In fact when the train came back it only retained one seating car and one sleeping car. The rest of the cars would not go into Thailand. 

We reboarded the train and it quickly left the station. Without fanfare, after the past 20 hours, it smoothly crossed the invisible border and all street signs morphed into Thai. It would be another hour until we arrived in Hat Yai so Ethan cuddled into his bed to enjoy it for a few more precious minutes. 

Finally we made it! As always, Ethan was excited to arrive but not sick of the long train ride. "Was it too long for you Ethan?" I ask playfully. "Of course not Daddy!" he laughs. 

We crossed a few tracks and snapped a few pictures. Train buffs always take pictures before getting on and after getting off their train!

Hat Yai station was very nice and much less hectic than Bangkok! The time table here showed the next night trains running to Bangkok and on to Chiang Mai. Ethan gleefully wanted to take that the next time! 

Connected to the station was "The Train Hotel" where you could stay the night if you were transferring to another train soon. Guess who wanted to stay there? They conveniently sold 299THB data and mobile phone SIMs which got me connected immediately. 

Just outside the train station was the cutest little train engine on display. Ethan stared at it for an eternity while I got my bearings. We began walking to our hotel, bypassing all the Tuk Tuk touts. I was so pleased with my superb Burley Travoy trailer!

We checked into the hotel that I am so familiar with, and basked in the cool aircon and comfortable bed. Ethan enjoyed a relaxed poo (and read his Kindle) while I went back outside to buy lunch to eat in our hotel room. The big windows on the 14th floor displayed an unbroken view of Hat Yai. "Daddy look! You can see the train station from here." 

Sometime in the quiet of the night that week, a train horn would sound in the faint distance. A little boy would spring from his bed and clamour to the window. His dreams are filled with the next train adventure with his Dad, and his Daddy's dreams are filled with thankful memories with his son. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Ivan, I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm also planing my first ever train trip from JB to hatyai coming Sep 2016. Can you share with me where do you book the ticket and how many weeks in advance, really appreciate your help, hope to hear from you soon.