- This is a brilliant website, lovingly created and meticulously maintained, about worldwide train travel, including SE Asia: The Man in Seat 61
- We travelled second class, air con. It was fine, although I was hot during the night, but then I’m always hot. The fan option seemed OK too, and marginally cheaper. First class cabins sleep two, and are private. They were fully booked on our dates. Book a few days in advance if possible, especially in high season or during festivals. Virtually all guest houses will help you book tickets for a small commission or you can buy direct from the station if you happen to be in the area.
- Lower berths are better than upper berths due to their increased width, and proximity to the ground meaning less clambering. They are a fraction more expensive as a result. Sadly we could only find upper berth availability on our trips.
- The configuration of the second class carriages is two armchair style seats facing each other on one side of the aisle, and the same on the opposite side of the aisle. These seats are then made into the lower bunk. The top bunk is pulled from the ceiling. If travelling as a couple a good idea is to get a matching lower and an upper bunk so you can sit opposite each other before the beds are prepared and after they are put away. The train staff do this for you with practiced efficiency. We had one who looked and acted like she’d just changed careers from being a prison guard; all bulk and no nonsense. Lights out animals! Boy she was quick. She never found the hole behind my Raquel Welch poster though, sucker! Clean bedding is provided.
- Food and drink are available on sleeper trains. The train stewards come to you. They work on commission so don’t worry, they’ll find you. The food is OK for train standards, but a bit overpriced so we tended to stock up on provisions before we boarded.
- There is a restaurant that serves surprisingly good food at Bangkok station. It’s on the upper balcony level on the right hand side as you face the platforms. The restaurant furthest from the platforms.
- There is luggage storage at Bangkok station in the far left rear corner (i.e. behind you) as you face the platforms. Fairly expensive but very useful if you have a day to spend in Bangkok before catching a night train.
- The trains seemed fairly secure but we padlocked our rucksacks to the racks when we slept, and took our small bags with valuables into the bunks. On this subject, a pacsafe has been a fantastically useful addition to our travelling clobber and has been used in planes, trains and automobiles and as a mobile safe when hooked around relatively immovable objects in guesthouse rooms.
- The buffet car is fun but can be seriously damaging to a relationship…
|L: Helen in the 2nd class corridor. R: me clambering off the top bunk|
|Kantiang Beach in the background. An oversized jockey in the foreground.|