We have a little time before my friend Shirley arrives in Bangkok. After pondering the decision we decided we liked north better than south. I am secretly hoping that some of the rain and humidity that we have been seeing in Bangkok will decrease. Most likely a complete fantasy as it is rainy season everywhere in SouthEast Asia right now.
Asia is such an assault to the senses. I am used to traveling in countries where extreme poverty and wealth live right next door to each other. Where fresh and perfectly prepared food can be served outside on a folding table right next to a pile of trash. The most extreme versions of those combinations are found in the big cities like Bangkok. I am hoping the Chiang Mia will be a little smaller and perhaps a little more mellow.
Michel suggested that we take the train and the idea sounded fun to me. Setting it up was easy as we just asked our new friend and travel agent Burin to acquire the tickets for us. We are traveling second class on a sleeper train that leaves from the train station called Hualum Pong near China Town. Tickets cost 1300 baht per person for the bottom bunk (top bunk is 100 baht less but not as comfortable and colder). The train leaves at 6:10pm and arrives at 8:30am the following day (although it actually arrived at 9:30am). learning experience note: we discovered that the tickets at the train station are only 890 baht. Travel agent is convenient but not money saving
Finding and boarding the train were all surprisingly easy and civilized. When I compared it to Europe Michel laughed and said I had been away from Europe too long. There is a large board in the train station that displays the gate. When your train shows up on the display it is ready to board. Your car and seat number are printed on your ticket and there are helpful people at each door when you board. They sell drinks and food on the train but at tourist prices. 320 baht for coffee and a sandwich.
We arrive at our seats and met the gentlemen who would be bunking above us, all of whom spoke perfect French. Le conversation a commence. The train does not go very fast and I had a wonderful night either snuggled next to Michel in his bunk or sleeping soundly in my own.
The country side was serene as the sun rose and the train rolled by. Clouds curled around the hills and floated over rice paddies.
We passed many small towns that we long to explore later this year as we take our time in the north of Thailand. For now it was nice to get a glimpse of what looks like their peaceful and pastoral lives.
For now we will not be on this train again as it shutdown right after our ride. It seems that it keeps derailing :). http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/366068/
Categories: Thailand Travel