Ahhh the wonders of the overnight train to, well, …any where… but here in Thailand you don’t know if it will be the ‘new’ train (which is beautiful) or the ‘older’ train (which is not so much!)…you pays your money and you takes your chances!
We did get the new train and were very happy for that small blessing! Great service is a hallmark of Thai tourism industry and the train personnel were no different. They were friendly, smiling (which is a prerequisite) and efficient. The dining car was an actual dining room with real seats and tables and real food. We ordered a little bit of this and that (dumplings – one of my favorites) and sat in our seats and had a lovely little lunch!
The staff made our beds and had us ready to have a great night’s sleep …except…they do not dim the lights in the train cabin…ohhh for those who cannot sleep with light this was not a happy situation. Eye covers…yes…no they don’t keep out the very bright lights…so, no sleep for me! The sway of the train lulled me into a relaxed and meditative state that well sufficed for rest.
Early morning coffee from the train dining car gave us all a good boost to start the day. Arrival at Chiang Mai was uneventful (as we like it) and we loaded onto the mini-vans and four were off to the hotel or most of us opted to go on an early morning excursion to the elephant rescue sanctuary.
All-in-all, a good trip and a new experience on another over night train. The express train to Chiang Mai is well worth the trip.