For the first major in country travel of the trip, we decided to take the overnight sleeper train from Chiang Mai down to Bangkok. Its a 12 hour ride which leaves Chiang Mai at 6pm, and arrives in Bangkok just about 7am.
We purchased first class tickets, about $50 each, which provided us with our own private room, complete with bunk beds, TV, wifi, and a sink.
Before you get carried away on the amenities, it was small, no larger than a closet. Let’s call it “cozy.”
Our private closet
Something I will point out is to be careful with the food situation on the train. I won’t go as far as to call it a scam, and more likely we just weren’t paying enough attention. Shortly after entering our room, a woman with snacks stopped by, and having eyed some Pringle’s in the train station and passing, we bought a tube of them, for what was an inflated price.
Then about 15 minutes after we had placed said order, someone stopped by with an orange drink of some sort, handed two of them to us and left.
And finally, just before the train left the station, an attendant from the kitchen car came to the room to take our dinner order. At this point, we were still getting settled and were caught off guard a bit. She showed us a menu, and said we needed to order now and couldn’t do it later. Through a miscommunication between Christine and I, we ordered far too much food. Two dinners and a breakfast with coffees.
She totaled up our cost, which came to a whopping 960 baht or $28.80. Now this might not sound like a lot, but after you factor in that we thought the OJ was free, and that neither of us ate the dinners or the breakfast when they came, and we felt like was just wasted that money. Lesson learned.
thai sunset via train
Now on the positive side, it was a great way to travel. The cost was low, we didn’t lose time with an airport and transfers, it was comfortable, and we were able to sleep while still traveling hundreds of miles to our next destination.
I would love to take the same train again during the spring or early summer when the hours are longer, so that we could have seen the mountains and jungles that we were traveling through. We did have a bit of luck in that it had been a full moon the night before, so the moonlight did allow us to see some pretty beautiful stuff. I spent about 45 minutes around 3am just watching the jungle fly by, and a one point watched as we crossed an insanely high ravine.
We arrived in Bangkok as scheduled, ready for some serious hustle and bustle!