The night train, the ideal travel transportation to get from A to B without giving up days. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy the landscape, to get to know the locals and to fall asleep at night on the rhythm of the driving train. At least that’s the image most people have in mind when they think of the night train. But is this the case? What’s it like sleeping in a night train? And does it matter in what country you choose the night train? You can find the answers and a lot more in my new feature ‘The night train’. Every episode takes a look at a different country. Last time I talked about the Russian night train. Today: the Thai night train.
After Bangkok many people travel to the northern parts of Thailand. The ideal base to stay is Chiang Mai. This city is known for its friendly people and a laid-back atmosphere. And don’t forget the temples, the green rice-fields and the mountains. It didn’t take long before we were sold and made our way up north. There are two ways to travel to Northern Thailand: by plane or by train. We chose the last option, because that way we could see a bit more of the country and travel cheap.
The Thai night train has three classes. We chose the second class, and explicitly asked for the sleeper. If you don’t do this, you will get stuck in some sort of airplane seat. This is not for me. I will get the most sleep when I lie down. Also a bed is more comfortable than a seat. The Thai train has no lockable compartments. Instead you have an open compartment with a little curtain for some privacy.
Diner is served
Every car has its own conductor which I call the ‘train lady’. In comparison with the Russian ‘train ladies’, the Thai one is a breeze. She is a smiling giggling woman with a constant smile on her face. And with that same smile she brought us the menu to secure our dinner ánd breakfast for the next morning (which was served in our compartment). It’s a different world in the Russian train, where you can only get some tea in your compartment. And if you don’t like the Thai menu, you could also buy something from the men who walk around with the buckets filled with drinks and snacks.
Get ready for the night
An additional advantage is that the sleeper comes with a guy who makes your bed. Around 8 in the evening he swings by to transform the couch, where you were just reading a book, into a comfy bed. And he also gets you some fresh sheets and a pillow. How nice! The same ritual continues the next morning when he folds the bed back into a couch.
The sleeper consists of a top and bunk bed. Tip: take the bottom bed. It’s rather wide so that you can even lie there with two persons (also recommended for warmth). The lights aren’t switched off. That’s why it can be wise to bring an eye mask so the lights don’t bother you that much.
At some point you’ll probably need to go the toilet. Just like any night train, don’t expect much. There’s a toilet, some toilet paper and a mirror with a sink, but that’s that. It’s definitely not clean, but it suffices for one night.
Yes, I can really say that the Thai night train is comfortable. The beds are big enough and come with some nice maiden service. Also diner and breakfast is served right into your compartment. I liked that very much. Still it’s a night train, so the sanitary facilities are what they are. Just bring some sanitary wipes and fresh clothes with you, and you’ll be fine.
Did you ever spend a night in a Thai night train?