曼谷酒店眾多，價錢豐儉由人。 跟 Agoda 說，我們不要購物區，但又想有點新意。Agoda 建議 Amanta Hotel & Residence Ratchada，平民價位，服務式公寓酒店，去旅行時亦有回家的感覺，的確是一個有趣的體驗。
我們的柬埔寨過境巴士停在 Hua Lamphong 地鐡站，而酒店在 Din Daeng 區的 Thailand Cultural Centre 地鐡站上蓋，坐 MRT 20 分鐘直達門口，非常方便。加上我們接下來會坐火車到南部合艾，從酒店到 Bang Sue 火車站，數數手指就到。若從機場過來，坐機場快線，亦只需 45 分鐘。
Amanta Hotel & Residence Ratchada 共有五幢大廈，三幢以住宅出售，大部分業主購後再出租。另外兩幢為服務式公寓及酒店，116 個單位中，現有四分之一為長期租客。五幢大廈的住戶共同享用餐廳、泳池及健身房等設施。每個單位都有衛星電視、網路 Router、洗衣機和獨立陽台，我建議訂房時選擇 Pool View，因為晚上坐在陽台放空，看著對面三幢燈火通明的住宅，會對曼谷產生多一份的歸屬感。
Din Daeng 是金融區，Amanta Hotel & Residence Ratchada 就有不少外籍人士居住。這區看似遠離港人熟悉的 Ratchathewi 和 Panthum Wan 購物熱點，但酒店鄰近分別有兩個新型購物中心——The Esplanade Complex 和 24 小時營業的 The Street Ratchada。我們不時看到港人一袋二袋的從商場進出，應該都是有名氣的商場吧。
First 1st Class Train Journey/Kimberlogic
Initially we thought a train would be less expensive than flying from Bangkok to Hat Yai, but we soon found out that was not the case. The prices were very similar and since we were already excited about the idea of the train, we decided to book a first class cabin which was actually a little more expensive than flying. The overnight train runs only a few times per day, so we knew it was best to book our tickets before hand to insure we could board on the day we planned.
We found the correct train’s website, but there was no English booking available. We also found that in order to buy a ticket, you must pay a surcharge to have a local person go to the train station, purchase the ticket and then mail it to you. Luckily, we had a friend in Bangkok to get us the tickets.
To anyone who has taken a train in Europe, this train was a bit shabby looking, but knowing we booked first class, we realised we were sitting in the nicest part of the train; and this was Asia, not Europe. Besides the train being freezing cold (which we put plastic bags over the vents), everything else was wonderful; the cabin was clean and comfortable, the staff was nice and accommodating, and the toilets stayed clean for the entire trip.
Every half hour or so people would walk down the hallway selling food and drinks. Not being able to speak any Thai, I had to open the curtain each time to look at the goods being sold which became a highlight of our time on the train. Then, around dinner time a woman came to take our order and brought us a feast. Although we had the option of going to the dining car, it was more fun to have a picnic style dinner on our seat. The food was quite good, inexpensive and left us feeling satisfied with our decision to take the train.
Shortly after our meal, a man came to change our seat into bunk beds. For a 16 hour train ride, we were very comfortable and well taken care of. Around 7 am the next morning, we packed our things and got ready for our 7:20 am arrival at Hat Yai. When the train stopped at the station, we hopped off, but luckily the train worker knew where we were going and informed us that this place was not Hat Yai and the train had been delayed 3 hours over the night.
The extra 3 hours we got to enjoy the scenery of Thailand, which was the reason we decided to take the train. Once we arrived in Hat Yai, we were already in the middle of the town and didn’t have to deal with the normal hassles of getting to and from airports which saved a lot of time and sanity. An overnight train is a great experience and I will always opt for a train over flying.