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Thailand and Laos (and Myanmar if I can manage it)

Hello, Sawatdee kaa and Sabai dee,

My next trip will be Thailand and Laos, and this is all about the before, the trip and the after - similar to my Malaysia/Cambodia blog. I am putting together from start to finish - tickets, do's and don'ts, tours, where to stay, places to see, things to do, as well as useful extras like transport, good places to eat, what to wear, climate, tourist traps, tricks and tips and whatever else I can think of that will be useful.

If you have any tips or advice, please, feel free to leave a comment and add your bit - whatever you think may be helpful or interesting.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

46. Train Ticket Booking Woes

"No room at the inn"
It seems we have struck a bit of a problem. After emails flying back and forth the state we are in at the moment is this - First, the first class seats were sold out. They offered me second class lower berth with air con but on a later train. So I emailed them back thanking them for their help and said I preferred to catch the 18:10 train. I must admit to having a sneaking suspicions as to why they had offered me a berth on that train and I was spot on - train tickets are sold out.

Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk so I send another email asking if they could make a booking on my befalf.

Above: Logo

Payment Problems
You have to stipulate which payment option you're selecting. I chose the Payment by Payment Gateway. I was underwhelmed by their credit card payment method which I will explain later.

So - I receive another email saying, "Important : Ticket is not reserved yet and it will not issue without the payment so, please process the payment URGENTLY after you receive the payment option". They provided the payment link and had "(not allow google chrome & firefox):". I'm not sure what that last bit was all about.

"After payment done, we will issue the train ticket (and send confirmation email within that date (working date) after 17.00. If the inquiry has some problem, we will send the TOP URGENT email to inform you."

Anyway, I filled in the details, hit the submit button only to find it didn't work because the issuer isn't enrolled in a particular program, and was instructed to contact them. I did, and they're not. So that was the end of that.

Alternative payment
So, after all I had to choose the first option - credit card option. When booking or buying products online, you just fill out the form provided (which is always on a secure website) hit send/submit, wait a few moments and Bob's your uncle, the thing is done. Alas, not so with ThailandTrainTicket.

They (The train people)
a) Provide you with an authorisation form in word document
b) Ask you to print out and verify all services are correct
c) Fill in your credit card details: Card Type, Card Number, Name as appear on the card, Expiry Date and the 3 or 4 digits (depending on your Card Type)
d) Fax it back to them at (faxz no. provided) or Scanned form as PDF or JPG by return.
e) And - attach a photoycopy of your passport and photocopies of your credit card (front & back) to guarantee payment.

Honestly, what a lot of hullaballoo - why can't they have a secure website of their own like normal companies do? It's just one big headache after another. All this pussy-footing around, wasting time.

Another email
Then I had to send them yet another email, explaining what had happened, apologising for mucking them around, say I would have to use their Fax Authorisation Form and ask very nicely could they please send me said form. By this time their office would have been closed and they won't read my latest email until tomorrow. Then comes the akward part - I don't have a fax machine. So it's a case of either go to the Post Office and fax the thing from there, or print, scan, email them a jpg thing - according to a family member this is how you do it. I'm not all that tech savvy and being technologically-challenged, it's a real pain trying to figure out how to do it correctly,

Still - it has to be done. So now all I can do is wait (again) until I hear from them.

It must also be said the people at ThailandTrainTicket have been very polite and helpful. I was impressed with the promptness of their responses.

I tell you something for free - unless you have plenty of time in Bangkok or don't mind which train or class you use, I'd recommend pre-booking early on.

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