Monday, July 29, 2013

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train

This is for travelers in Thailand!  It's been a while, but I finally got to blog about some of our travels!  We were in Bangkok and decided to check out Chiang Mai.  Everyone said we should take the night train....which we did!  It was fantastic!  Very very fun, not too crazy, and very comfy...on the way there.  Air con, fairly clean bathrooms, overpriced (but expected) lousy train food - all in all a good time.  On the way back, we had a non Air Con compartment on an extremely old train.  Both ways, we were about 3-4 hours late from some advice:
1.  Don't book any connecting trains.  Leave plenty of space for a good long 3 -5 hour delay.  We were able to rebook our connecting train down to Hua Hin with the help of the conductor. 
2.  Bring your own snacks and food.  The food on the train was expectantly expensive, and not very good.  So was the beer - but who wants to drink warm beer you brought in your bag?
3.  Go to the restaurant car later in the evening for fun and dance party music.  It was awesome.

All in all, a wonderful trip!  I had a great time, and would love to do it again!  On the way back, I wished I would have been able to stop at some of the cool towns we passed.  If you have time, I would do this for the return trip as it was more of a night AND day trip.  It took way longer to get back to Bangkok as it did to go to Chiang Mai.
I did NOT like taking the regular train from Bangkok down to Hua Hin - 2nd class seats were hot (no AC), overcrowded, and our 2 hour trip took us - no kidding - 6 hours.  The morning train we had missed was supposedly the 'express' but really, what does that mean in Southeast Asia time?  Probably the same as it means in Paraguay time: IT WILL GET THERE WHEN IT GETS THERE
But if you're cool wit dat, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

We had top berths on the way to Chiang Mai.  Try to book early, so you can get good spots, which of course are on the bottom.  On the way back, we had a top and a bottom.  This train was newer, and fancier than our return train.
The train attendant comes through when it gets closer to sleep time, and brings you blankets, sheets, and pillows - all in bags so you know they've just been laundered.  They will even make your bed for you!  They also come through at meal times and let you order food and coffee to your bunk, without having to go to the dining car!  But you HAVE to go to the dining car!

You try taking pictures in the Bogie Restaurant Car while the train is moving.  It's all blurry to me!

First this officer wanted to show us card tricks. Then it turned into dance moves.

 This french guy wanted to get in on the action.

 And then the Macarena came on the radio...

 The restaurant car closed at 11:30.  Time for sleep.
 Oh wait!  Snack time!  A delicious sandwich from Subway????  Whaaa?

 mmm....delish!  Now, time for sleep.

Good Night, Bogie Gourmet!

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