Some students start arriving as early as 5.45 a.m. If their parents work in Bangkok then they have to be dropped off early. It is still dark at this time and the students are not allowed to go up to their classrooms. They wait in the front lobby where they can watch cartoons on the television, play games on the touchscreen computer or read school books. Most students won’t start arriving until about 7 a.m. If their classroom teacher has already arrived by this time, they can go up to their classrooms.
The students come by a variety of methods. By motorcycle, samlor and car. A samlor is a three-wheeled bicycle taxi with a double seat at the back for passengers. This is very cheap and usually costs 15-30 baht for most journeys (less than $1). A motorized version is called a tuk-tuk and is used for longer journeys and is therefore a little more expensive. The students also come together on a school bus or if they live nearby, they walk to school. A few students live on the other side of the river, so they use the ferry together with local transport such as samlor or songtaew. A songtaew is a pick-up truck with two rows of seats in the back. This only costs a few baht and is the cheapest method to get around town.
The students are helped across the road by the teachers who are on duty for that day. The female teachers on duty have to wear a brown skirt. At the front gate, the students must wai the duty teachers before entering the school. They do this to show respect and also as a form of greeting. A teacher does not ‘wai’ a student in return, but they will wai each other in the morning and before they go home. In every case, it’s always the younger person who will wai their senior first. To wai properly, a student should first put their school bag down and then place their hands together in a prayer-like gesture. The boys then raise their hands to about nose level and bow slightly. The girls curtsey. After entering the front gate, the students usually also wai the spirit house, Brahman shrine (see picture) and the Buddha shrine.

After they arrive, the students usually go straight up to their classrooms to deposit their bags. Then, if they are good students or if they have a test that day, they will read their school books. Otherwise they might sit around chatting with their friends or go down to the snack shop to buy something to eat. Early in the morning is the best time to play in the playground before the sun becomes too hot.

Before the students can go up to the classroom, they must take off their shoes at the bottom of the steps and then carry them up. Shoes are not allowed to be worn in the classrooms. There are shoe shelves outside each classroom.

From about 7.30 a.m. onwards, the radio is played over the loudspeakers. A few minutes before 8 a.m. a countdown starts for the national anthem. This is the signal for the students to start making their way down to the playground for morning assembly. However, they don’t all usually make it and at precisely 8 a.m. they have to stand still wherever they are for the national anthem. If you have ever travelled around Thailand at this time of day then you would have noticed that every train and bus station as well as town halls also play the national anthem at this same precise time. Every radio and t.v. station in the country broadcast the national anthem at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.