Overnight train to Bangkok, sleep not included

Matt has been trying to sell me on the finer points of overnight train travel, for quite some time now. Luckily, we dodged that bullet in Vietnam because they were sold out. But, this time, no such luck. We booked two “first class” cars on the overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and what a sleepless adventure it was!

All aboard! Our train departed at 5:00, in the evening, and was due to arrive in Bangkok at 7:00 the next morning.

This was our small compartment. We actually had adjoining rooms, though. So, that was nice.

A small sink in the corner.

The couch made out into bunk beds, more on that later.

We did enjoy the scenery, for about the two hours of daylight we had left.

Looks comfy, doesn’t it?

She had better save some of that sleep for nighttime, she’s going to need it!

We decided to go explore the train, and kill some time. This was the hallway in the first class car, the cabins were to the left.

And walking between cars was almost like having your own private balcony, there was so little keeping you from actually being outside.

A baby could have fallen through the gaps under the doors! The girls loved the dangerous adventurousness of this, and seeing the ground whiz by.

Yes, all kinds of gaps…It’s a good thing they had the warning sign on the door! Haha!

We ended up in the dining car, and decided we might as well eat to kill some time.

They actually had a fairly large menu, but seafood? On a train? I passed.

There were some chefs cooking the food at the small kitchen in the back.

Matt ordered the cashew chicken and curry set. He said it actually wasn’t too bad. I was still pretty full from our cooking class, so I didn’t eat. The girls thought that the heart shaped rice was so fancy!

Neither of them cared for the “orange juice”.

This was the second class car, just plain bench seating and also a few sleeper beds behind the little curtains. These cars were heavily filled with lots of young backpacker, twenty-somethings. There was a very strong “odor” in this car. 

After exploring the rest of the train, I actually became grateful to see our cabin again. Now to find the bathroom….

I was expecting the worst, and sure enough, I got it! You put your feet on the ribbed area and squat. Ummm… no. Luckily there was also a western option.

I was definitely no longer in the land of the heated toilet seat, but at least it was a seat! The annoying thing about this bathroom, was that it was also a shower room. So, every time I went, I had to wipe down the seat with toilet paper, so as not to sit in water. But, I guess the upside to that was that it kept getting rinsed off and seemed fairly clean.

Is it bedtime, yet? I found it very difficult to spend a full 24 hours without wi-fi. Maybe I should unplug more often….

Around 7:30 that evening, a man came in to make up our beds. He was friendly and very quick. All the bedding seemed surprisingly clean, and for that I was very grateful.

The girls thought this was five-star accommodation’s, and quite exciting! They said they’ve always wanted to sleep on a top bunk. I guess dreams do come true.

This was easily one of the worst nights’ sleep of my life. The train did not lull you to sleep, quite the opposite in fact, with the stopping, starting, train whistles, and round-the-clock-announcements. It was one of those nights where you look at your watch and can’t believe that only 30 minutes had passed, or that you still had 6 hours to go! (Though, in a way, it was better than being stuck on a long, transcontinental flight. At least you could lay down.)

Well, we finally made it to Bangkok, whew! And no, I wasn’t nearly as bright eyed and bushy tailed as the girls are in this picture.

Now, to board one more train for our final destination, the beach town of Hua Hin.

We got some interesting snacks,

and a mackerel filled lunch. (Smoked mackerel or sweet and sour mackerel, take your pick!)

Is this a joke?!

Wow, after 4 more hours, we made it! (A car can do this portion in 2.5 to 3 hours, by the way).

This is the famous and historic Hua Hin train station in Thailand, and it was beautiful. 

I was SO ready for some beach time at this point. This excursion took almost 24 hours! Not worth it, especially when the regional discount airlines are so cheap. (Sorry, honey.) Besides, I think I’m just too old for overnight train adventures, I’ll leave that to the young backpackers. Strangely enough, Matt keeps using the phrase “next time”, when discussing future train travel. WHAT!?!?


  1. Laura
    May 20, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    I once did the overnight train from Nice to Venice and yes the novelty wears off quickly for 20 something's too, but I'm glad I did it!

  2. Amara
    May 20, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    I'm with Launie -it looks so glamorous on White Christmas! I think I have you beat with the squatting toilet picture. There was this bathroom in a bar in Uruguay I had to use once…. Good thing you have it all recorded in pictures. You can whip this post out to show Matt when "next time" comes around.

  3. Heather Estridge
    May 21, 2015 / 1:22 am

    Wow, what an adventure! Have fun!

  4. Deja
    May 23, 2015 / 12:24 pm

    This post made me laugh out loud. How terrible! And it must have been especially bad because you seem like you're usually so game for anything. 😉 The line is drawn at squaring toilets for me, too.

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