Let me tell you about the night train…
First off, I did have a few people tell me just to fly. True it’s about $10 more to fly and only takes like an hour, but for anyone who knows me, they know I’m always looking for an adventure and a new experience. So yes, the night train was for me :). Plus it saved me a night’s accommodation! So win win!
Thai trains fill up. In fact my train was full. I heard it’s wise to get your ticket at least two days in advance. But you do have to go to the actual train station to get your ticket. Or, you can do what I did and go through an agency- 12go.Asia. It cost me a little more but not much, and I didn’t have to go to the train station before. You’re basically paying a guy to get the ticket for you. However, it did seem a little shady. I had to go to a hotel on the day of departure and pick up my ticket. But I went an hour before and the hotel is directly across the street from the train station, so really easy :). And all good!
I’m always way early to the party, and today was no exception. I was first on the train. I saw two bench seats across from each other, but was wondering where my top bunk was. An American couple from Atlanta boarded behind me and were sitting diagonally from me. They were extremely nice, I took to them immediately. They’ve been retired for 5 years and now spend half the year traveling everywhere. Really lovely people. We shared our confusion about the train until an older American gentleman who now lives in Thailand boarded and told us he’s done this trip about 50 times. He’s going to Bangkok to work for the King! I thought it was so cool but he made it seem otherwise. Apparently before a movie here they play a 2 minute tribute to the king and everyone must stand! I kind of want to see this! I may have to check out a movie in Bangkok ;).
But back to the train. You sit up for about two hours while they offer you dinner for a price. It was pretty good! I got the sweet and sour chicken mild (which still means spicy in Thailand) ;). You can talk with the other travelers, some locals some tourists, and then two Thai gentlemen come to make up the beds. And this is where I found my top bunk- it’s hiding up above. 😉 And this is also where the train turned into one of my favorite movies, Some Like It Hot! Literally there where two rows of beds with curtains. It was very retro. Do they still do this in America? I don’t believe so?? And the beds were so comfortable! My goodness was I surprised! I didn’t want to leave the bed!
I should also maybe point out that I purchased a second class upper air conditioned sleeper. It’s cheap and very comfortable! Though bring a light sweater or scarf as I had, it gets cold! But it’s warmer on the upper bunks. Also bring an eye mask for the upper bunks as the curtains don’t block out all of the light. Oh and I should mention the bathroom perhaps? They aren’t bad at all! Probably not something my dear friend Crystal would want to use (love you so much friend!), but not like the one on the train from Cairo to Aswan in Egypt ;). And!! For the technology savvy people, there were four outlets on my train. I was in seat 21 and they just happened to be right beside me… that was lucky as I was originally just going to shut down my phone to save it for Bangkok photos ;).
After the beds are made up you’re pretty much just left to sleep. As I said before it was very very comfortable! Though every time the train stopped it was quite the jerk! But it was easy to go back to sleep. The American couple said it was on par with the trains in Burma (now there’s a place I need to go!) :). Oh and do be weary of the AC leaking! My bed was fine but that couple woke up to wet pillows! It continued as we arrived into Bangkok. I offered to let them sit with me and the Thai gentleman across from me, but they didn’t mind. He pulled out his umbrella instead. 😉
The next morning (about an hour and a half out) they wake you up so they can put away the beds, offer you breakfast for a fee if you want and you then await your arrival into Bangkok!
I honestly had the best time! It was so much fun and I loved the people in my car. It was like our own private party. The American gentleman (he was in his 70s but looked amazingly younger!), told me some horror stories before we set out but it ended up being really great for me. That guy was so fascinating! He’s seen some things!
So would I do the train again? Absolutely! It’s fun, adventurous, and very comfortable.
And now I shall explore the exciting city of Bangkok! Do I feel a bit like one of my favorite literary characters from The Beach? Perhaps (I’m staying on the famous Khao San Road), too bad we can’t drink snake blood anymore ;).
Love you friends! Have the best days :).
Chiang Mai train station. 🙂
Let me tell you about the night train…