I read a lot of blogs before coming to Thailand and as lovely and as informative as they were, they were too wordy for me to take any of it in.
So here is a quick survival guide with everything you need to know.
1. It’s cold. Bring warm clothes.
I packed some long trouser pjs and a long sleeve top in my day pack and still had to put a jumper on.
2. There are different class trains.
2nd class sleeper with a/c seems to be the most popular. There is a top bunk and a bottom bunk with 20 pods in the carriage. Our journey was very quiet. You choose the class when you book your tickets either direct at the train station or online from a vendor.
3. There are plug sockets on the lower berth.
I read there wasn’t any so was super happy to find there was. My iPhone would not have lasted the 13 hour journey. Keep an eye on anything charging, they can be a bit temperamental and need a little push now and then. Our train (9) was a year old so maybe the older ones don’t have them.
4. There is no wifi.
I thought I was going to die around Asia not having 4g and constant access to the Internet. I considered buying a local sim which are dirt cheap, but I’m glad I didn’t. I felt refreshed not constantly checking my social media and happy with a little log in at the hostels and bars.
5. There’s a restaurant cart.
There’s a shop and proper little dining area, everything is very reasonably priced. They come around the train with a little bottle of free water too.
6. You store your luggage under the bed.
If you’re a solo traveller and on a top bunk, I’m sure the person below you will let you store your luggage under their bed.
7. Your bed is made for you.
In our case this was about an hour after we got on the train at 18:10, but I guess this is dependant on your train time. I’m 5ft1 and a half (yes the half is important) and it was just my size. Any taller and you may have to curl up! Beds being made
8. There’s nothing wrong with the toilets.
I read some horror stories about the toilets on the sleeper train so was anxious to use them. They’re exactly like a toilet on a uk train except cleaner!
9. It’s a bit bright
I bought a sleep mask from pound land for the plane and occasions like these. Somewhere between the hostel and the station, it disappeared. (I definitely didn’t leave it there and it most certainly won’t still be in my backpack somewhere 🙄) But I wish I’d had it, sleeping would have been a hellof a lot easier.
10. Wake up time
When you wake in the morning and you open your curtain the train staff will ask if they can turn your bed back into chairs. They did mine whilst I popped to the loo.
All in all, its a lovely way to get up to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. You pay about the same price as a flight but you don’t get the experience and your accommodation for the night is covered: bonus! If you have any other questions feel free to comment with them and I’ll do my best to answer.
P.S click here to see what I got up to in bed!