This evening I went to the Thailand Cultural Centre by metrorail for the
first time. I started on a 29 bus. Two confused Italians got on at the
airport. They wanted to go to Hua Long Pong, so I suggested they join me
and take the train from Phahon Yothin.
We got off at the Central mall stop. We had a long walk down the side of
the mall, then tried to make our way down the front of it on broken
sidewalk. There was no signage anywhere to say where to find the station.
"You'd never have otherwise found it, would you?" I said. The Italians
shook their heads.
What appears to be an entrance turned out to be a one-way only down
escalator. "Terrible design," said one of the Italians. We walked round
some potholes and found the up entrance.
Eventually, we entered the station. Last time I was there, the ticket
machines were marked out of order and everyone had to queue at the
counter. Now, both machines appeared to be working. An attendant was on
hand. It was soon clear why. The machine sold me a token correctly but
took the Italians' money without giving anything back. The attendant
walked over to the counter to get them tokens.
I said goodbye to the Italians at the Thailand Cultural Centre station.
You would have thought that at the stop for Thailand's largest arts
complex there would be some information on how to get there. No luck. The
attendant hanging around spoke no English. "Wattana?" I offered in
Thai, and he pointed to an exit.
The exit was in the middle of a concrete wasteland. No information here.
In fact, to get to the Cultural Centre, you have to complete a massive
circuit, starting off in seemingly the wrong direction and curving round.
At one point you have the choice of a narrow path down the side of a crash
barrier or walking in the road. If you go the safe side of the barrier,
you then have to climb over it and are back in the stream of traffic.
Afrter crossing the roadl, you need to turn left, although there is
nothing to indicate this. Eventually you reach the unmarked entrance to
the centre, whose parking lot is full with expensive looking cars. I met
two Canadians who had also come by transit and were pretty stunned by the
effort involved. You'd be hardpressed to find any of the uppercrust Thais
who attend such events willing to gove such transport a try.
Jonathan E. D. Richmond 02 524-5510 (office)
Visiting Fellow Intl.: 662 524-5510
Transportation Engineering program
School of Civil Engineering, Room N260B 02 524-8257 (home)
Asian Institute of Technology Intl.: 662 524-8257
PO Box 4
Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120 02 524-5509 (fax)
Thailand Intl: 662 524-5509
Secretary: Ms. Nisarat Hansuksa
Intl: 662 524-6051