Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sleeping our way to Bangkok

Our time in Chiang Mai and the north of Thailand has come to an end, and we needed to make our way back to Bangkok. Time for a sleeper train!

We've tried an overnight train before, on our way south to Lang Suan, but that was a "reclining" seat, not a proper sleeper train.
So we went to the train station in Chiang Mai soon after arriving, so we'd be sure to get a bed, not a recliner again.

We bought the tickets, having been told that the ones we were getting were the best type, and only upper berths were still available. Naomi was a little unsure about being high up, but we had no choice, so went ahead and bought them.

On our last day, after returning the motorbike we'd rented for the week in Chiang Mai, we wandered around town for a bit (had lunch after searching for a restaurant for ages, only to find it to be closed for the day), before hailing a songthaew (red pick up truck) to take us 'home' so we could pick up our bags, and then onwards to the train station.
Example of a songthaew
Image "borrowed" from americanexpatchiangmai.com

We'd managed our time well, so we had some waiting to do at the station. Luckily, there's a nice little cafe just next to the main station entrance, so we went inside to the blessedly cooler shade, and ordered an iced cappuccino for Naomi and an Oreo ice-cream sundae for yours truly.
Oreo sundae needs more Oreos!

The time arrived and we gathered our bags - surprising how much stuff we still lug around - and found the train waiting at the platform.

We found our carriage and berths and after moving someone else's bag off one of them, climbed up the ladder and squirreled our stuff away in the storage compartment.
The ladder
Settling in on the top bunk

Also settling in..

Our trip went pretty well, the only disturbances being
  • Loud conversations by locals and tourists.
  • Drunken, dancing-in-the-halls, French seniors. I wish this was a joke, but it isn't. The same group was responsible for a lot of the loud talking. Bad representatives of France...
  • The guy in the lower bunk on my side snoring like a timber mill in peak operation. Thank goodness (and ANA) for earplugs!
We both napped/dozed from around 16:30 (train left at 16:00, pretty much on the dot) for a couple of hours. Naomi was kept awake longer than myself by snoring guy, but we both got several hours, so it was muuuuch better than the train to Lang Suan!

As I write this, we're recovering in the Royal Silk Business Lounge at the airport (free food, drinks, internet and power - yay!) waiting for the flight to Kolkata, India tonight!
They let us check in ridiculously early - thank you Thai!
Royal Silk Lounge