Tl;dr – big breakfast, Malmo stroll, loooong airport wait, overnight flight to Bangkok (with no sleep), sky train, Bangkok has Uber, hostel staff are super nice, epic nap.
So after our luxurious nights sleep being watched over by this guy…
…we awoke at 7ish to try and get ready for the time difference in Bangkok and hopefully be able to sleep on the plane. Turned out breakfast was included too and I got 2 of everything. And a spoonful of meatballs of course, it being Sweden and all.
We had an hour or so to kill and we wondered round the town. We’d come to Malmo previously about 5 years ago on a day trip from Copenhagen so it was nice to remember bits we’d seen before but we didn’t have time to see very much. We headed back to the station and got on our train for the airport, arriving a world record 3 hours and 15 minutes before our flight. The reason for it was that we hadn’t pre-booked seats (£25 each!? No thank you…) so we managed to bag a couple whoch included the last window seat and headed through security in no time at all.
And then we sat and waited…
We prepared ourselves with sandwiches and drinks for the plane (I believe an inflight meal was £25 as well) and went to the Irish pub for the only non-sandwich food we could find. The waitress told us food would be 45 minutes but with 2 hours still to wait we scoffed at this piddling amount of time. I was mildly disappointed when it arrived 10 minutes later.
We had to head through passport control to get to the non-EU gates and they had the automatic passport scanners with the footprints and the camera. One travelling tip for speeding up your passage through, if there is a choice of queues and in one there’s a bloke who gets a phone call that he doesn’t know how to answer, pick any other lane. They may have multiple signs and videos with clear instructions on what to do but they unfortunately require people to look at them.Thankfully once this guy had worked out what step forward meant (because I told him) and he’d figured out to open his passport to scan it, the kind machine decided to forgive his decision to ignore the sign instructing him to remove his glasses and let him through anyway. We needed those 3 hours after all.
We got on our plane hassle free.I didn’t know what to expect as neither of us had been on a budget long haul flight before. However with it being Norwegian in both name and nationality, it was far from the quality you expect from budget in the UK. Brand new plane, screen with some recent films and a window that had some super fancy variable tint like those glasses that become shades in the sun, except you control it with buttons. I watched The Descendents (George Clooney plays a hardworking husband who has to step up his fathering game when his wife gets in a boating accident) and slowly realised they had made it family friendly. I was a bit surprised when one of the daughters was told to watch her language when she said “freaking” but it really twigged when her friend said “what the muck”. “For kid’s sake” was a highlight.
Neither of us got anywhere near a decent amount of sleep, probably largely due to the fact we landed in Bangkok around half midnight GMT (6:30 am local time) and we were therefore a little tired. I knew UK citizens were exempt from needing a visa and, as we walked past a monstrous queue for visas on arrival that snaked past 3 travellators, I was glad I’d done my research.
With customs passed and bag retrieved it was off to the train. We got our tokens for the city line (Lonely Planet told me it was half the price of the express line) and headed to the platform. There was a small security checkpoint with metal detectors but nowhere to put your metallic items through seperately. We walked through with 2 big backpacks chock full of various bits of metal, like some kind of international scrap metal business and the robotic doorframes beeped away, so proud of themselves that they’d found all this treasure. But the security staff just waved us on. As they did with everyone that was getting on the airport train with their bag, wallet and phone. Seemed a smidge redundant.
The train was a great way to arrive into Bangkok. Because it’s so flat they decided the easiest way to get from A to B (airport to Bangkok in this instance) was to build a really big raised platform which also means you get to see lots of Greater Bangkok on your way in.
We also observed the first occurance of the twice daily observance of the national anthem, whereby everyone stops what they’re doing and listens as it blasts out of loudspeakers, although I didn’t know this at the time and must’ve looked a tad disrespectful as I looked everywhere for the non-existent choir. We got to the end of the line and continued our best impressions of naive tourists so a helpful bloke would point us in the direction of somewhere to get breakfast, chicken/fish and rice in this instance, and some sweet WiFi.
Whilst searching for directions to our hostel, Google maps informed me an Uber would cost around £2 and I thought that’d be easier than trying to pronounce the address. In a time honoured Uber tradition the driver asked us “where to?” rather than check the screen. After some terrible attempts to pronounce the hostel name he checked his phone and set off. Turns out Google maps is not really set-up to deal with Bangkok’s collection of varying road widths. Some were 8 lanes wide, some were about a half of one and therefore not suitable for a car. We ended up doing a short loop and settling for the other side of the canal. We walked over a bridge and through what seemed to have been a path one day a long time ago and ended up at the hostel: Baan Nampetch. They were very welcoming and told us where to go get coffee whilst we waited for our room but they got it ready for us for 10:30 (3.5 hours ahead of schedule) and so, after a drink and some snacks it was time for a nap. We got ourselves a private double room which, after some turbo air conditioning, was just what we needed. We aimed for an hour but ended up with 5… I think we needed it.
10:50 (GMT +2) walk from Master Johan Hotel to Malmo Central Station: 8 minutes
11:13 train to Copenhagen Airport: 20 minutes, £39
14:58 (8 minute delay) flight to Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok): 10 hours 44 minutes (8 minutes ahead), £407.40
07:50 (GMT +7) train to Phaya Thai: 23 minutes, 90 baht (£1.95)
9:33 Uber to near the hostel, somewhere…: 16 minutes, 94.74 baht (£2.05)
9:49 walk from last known spot to Baan Nampetch Hostel: 3 mimutes
Total time in transit: 17 hours 46 minutes
Total travel time: 12 hours 10 minutes
Total cost: £450.40 (£225.20 each)