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Man overboard

Posted May 22nd, 2013 by debritz

Visit my new Man Somewhere travel, history and culture blog here.

Airport train is a trial

Posted July 5th, 2011 by debritz

First the good news for travellers to and from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport: The train service can be a better and cheaper alternative to taking a cab, especially in peak traffic hours. Now the bad news: It's a complete and utter shambles that may be beyond many potential passengers to fathom and navigate. The Makkasan terminal station is huge, empty and badly signed, and it can only be accessed on foot from the nearby Petchaburi MRT (subway) station by people willing to dodge traffic by crossing a road with no pedestrian lights, walk over an uneven dirt/mud surface and across an unfenced, ungated railway track in the process. Not a good option if you're carrying or dragging heavy luggage or if you are elderly or infirm; or you simply don't like to walk, walk, walk.

To add to the confusion -- if my experience of leaving on Friday afternoon and returning on Monday evening is any indication -- trains seem to run far more regularly on the all-stops City line than they do on the "Airport Express" line, making that a quicker and cheaper trip. If you're at the airport, at least there are displays that allow you to compare the two services, and the platform entrances are adjacent, but at Makkasan the two platforms are far apart and there is no sign at the general entrance saying when the next service to the airport will run.

So, in my case, it was a matter of going up to the Express platform and buying a ticket, only to be told that the next train would be in 40 minutes, but a City line service would depart in five minutes. I managed to get a refund, race back downstairs to the other line and buy another (cheaper) ticket just in time.

The Airport Express website is no help (it seems to indicate that Express trains leave every 15 minutes, which is clearly untrue). On top of all that, I can only imagine the disappointment first-time tourists must feel when they arrive at the extremely underwhelming Makkasan and feel completely lost and in the middle of nowhere.

PS: It's no surprise the airport check-in services at Makkasan have not been a success.

This is a test

Posted July 8th, 2009 by debritz

This is a test.

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