Getting Off The Tourist Track in Sa Kaeo

Sa Kaeo
My new friend from Sa Kaeo

Train to the Cambodia

I got up super early to head to Cambodia. I didn’t want to take a tourist bus, instead I caught the local train to the border of Thailand for 48bhat! Which is about 2.50 Canadian.

The train was surprising spacious. Mostly Thai Locals with a handful of fellow travellers/expats.

I got myself food from 7/11 and a fruit vendor. I read some of the book First They Killed My Father and spent the rest of the time watching the landscape go by.

Sa Kaeo
Monkeys on what I decided to call Monkey Mountain

Change Of Plans

Along the way I got this idea that I should just hop off at a random town without any plans and fend for myself. I decided to go for one that seemed pretty big and had a few places to sleep on my map. The idea went back and fourth in my mind, I would choose one city then skip it. Finally I decided on Sa Kaeo. It seemed a decent size and looked to be surrounded by the country side.

Sa Kaeo Landscape
Sa Kaeo Landscape

I forced myself off the train and felt exhilarated. I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I set off walking into the city in hopes of finding wifi or a place to sleep for the night.

A New Friend

Not far from the train station a local asked me where I was going, in his broken English and my terrible hand gestures. He seemed to be very helpful and offered to take me there on his motor bike. He wouldn’t accept payment for his help. I told him to take me to a local cheap hotel to spend the night.

River in National Park close to Sa Kaeo
River in National Park close to Sa Kaeo

He dropped me off at my hotel and once checked in we started to use google translate and continuous going back and fourth with simple English. Then he offered to take me around the city. He came back two hours later after I had a shower and settled in and literally took me everywhere. We went into the national park, saw a waterfall, a large lake/water reserve, he took me to his temple, we fed fish, and finally took me to a large mountain covered with monkeys. The whole day I was riding on the back of his motorbike and just enjoying myself.

My plan in Bangkok was to have met and hangout with someone local but left the city before I had a chance to connect with anyone. I also really wanted to ride a motorbike. Both those desires were instantly filled.

Sa Kaeo
The fish we fed in the pond by his Temple

Exploring Sa Kaeo

We seemed to be on the same page. I wanted to explore around his city and he wanted to show me around. He was also very concerned about taking pictures of me for me. I personally really didn’t want them, but he said that it was a must. I wasn’t looking my greatest but he would take a multiple pictures at every new stop. It felt like I had my own Instagram pappi to take my pictures and get me the best shots for my Instagram. It was a sweet gesture and I think he must have thought I wanted to be polite.

Sa Kaeo
More Monkeys, They look cute from far away but wow do they have massive teeth.

Throughout that day I offered to pay for gas and still he wouldn’t take it. For dinner we went to a local place that was his favourite. We both had pad thai and he helped me to best season my food with chilis and sugar. It was delicious. He then offered me to take me to the train again the next morning! I was so surprised, I accepted and still was trying to push money on him, there was no use. Realizing it seemed he really just wanted to be kind.

I went back to the hotel with plans to write and edit pictures, but simply fell asleep. In the morning he picked me up and took me to a local bus which would take me right to the boarder.

Sa Kaeo
Monkey Mountains, I am not sure of the exact name as my friend couldn’t speak English and I didn’t know where we were.

It was a lovely day. I never felt uncomfortable, I had made a new friend. Comparing this experience to the day before when another Thai local was extremely persistent in trying to get close to me, hold my hand and take my picture on his own phone. I was not happy about that at all and felt violated. It really shows you that you can be respected and disrespected by people all over the world.

The Unexpected

On a finally note one odd thing that did happen was that the following day, my friend my Sa Kaeo sent me a message claiming he had been robbed and needed me to send him a lot of money. It was odd, if he wanted money why didn’t he just take it the day before? Also when I told him I was unable to help, it was a quick response and happy face. It seemed a little too convenient to get robbed and I presume it was under the suggestion of a friend. No hard feelings were had, maybe just a bit of disappointment.

Sa Kaeo
Water Resovior, the first one I saw this trip to south east asia. It was so beautiful.

Overall it was a great experience. Although going off the tourist track next time would call for a little more planning. The city was bigger than I expected so having him to take me around on motorbike was perfect. Next time having my own motor bike and a data plan would be helpful.  I spent over my budget for what I would normally spend on a room but in the end it all seemed to work out quite well didn’t it.

I hoped you enjoyed another travel fail story. To learn more about Katherine on The Road check out the About Me page and follow me on social media, my favourite is Instagram. To contact me through email head to the Contact page.



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