Ho Ho Ho!
We couldn’t have been more excited for our first Christmas away from home; we were in Sydney, it was a break from tradition, and it was a chance to finally have spectacular weather on Christmas Day.
It of course rained.
We had arrived in our hotel at 1am the night before, tired from traveling for days in our campervan, but this didn’t stop Charlotte from waking early and going on a hunt for some Champagne bright and early! Will and I slept in late, enjoying finally having large cosy beds rather than sharing Alvin’s wooden slats. The hotel staff were slightly concerned about Charlotte wondering around the hotel by herself in her pyjamas, and questioned her over the location of her parents.
It was time. Time to leave Thailand. The trauma of leaving Thailand was monumental and so to cushion the blow, we decided to ease ourselves from Asia to Australia, via a speedy trip to Kuala Lumpur. The fact that the train to there from Bangkok combined with the forwarding flight also proved cheaper than a direct flight, was just an added bonus. We took the overnight journey to Penang, then the bus to Kuala Lumpur, followed by a flight to Perth from there.
Regardless of sudden jerks on the rickety rails, strange warm meaty smells of people’s food and the occasional unexplained stop in the middle of nowhere for up to an hour, we consider a journey on a Thai sleeper train to be a peaceful and unmissable experience, and we relaxed and chatted merrily with our fellow train passengers. Watching the train guard come along at 8pm to unfold everyone’s seats into beds with military precision and speed was quite hypnotising, and we slept soundly until morning.
Crossing the Thai-Malaysia border caused slight confusion; “everyone get off the train!” “Everyone get in this queue!” “Everyone over there!” “Everyone wait a short while!” “Everyone put your bags here!” “Everyone back on the train!”
After 24 hours on the train, we stepped out at Penang station to… nothing. It was completely deserted, and upon finally finding someone who worked there we found out that all trains to Kuala Lumpur were full. Never fear, we could take the bus! A friendly local pointed us in the direction of a coach station, and we paid £7 for a ‘VIP’ seat. 5 hours later we arrived – hello Kuala Lumpur!