On the Tuesday we took the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Glynn had thoughtfully booked us bottom bunks so that we, being geriatrics, didn’t have to climb the perilous-looking ladders to the top bunks. This was a good move as the bottom bunks are wider and more comfortable than the top bunks. I had thought that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all on the train, but, in fact, I slept soundly and woke refreshed in the morning.
When we first arrived in our carriage, we couldn’t imagine how the bunks would be arranged as the carriage looked like a normal railway carriage. Even though our seats were either side of the aisle, we were instructed to sit together by the carriage attendant and a kind Thai gentleman showed us how to extricate our table from under the floor and assemble it. We were then brought the menu and asked to select our meal. We noticed that only the farangs (foreigners) were ordering as the locals all had brought in take-aways from the station kiosk and – too late – we realized that this was the thing to do as the meal was overpriced. Notwithstanding, we enjoyed the meal tremendously and put it down to experience.
Soon after finishing our dinner, the carriage was magically transformed into sleeping booths with curtains – rather like that scene in ‘Some Like it Hot’ where Marilyn Monroe joins the band on the train. Another advantage of the lower bunk is that one can either draw the curtains or look out at Thailand rushing by. Before I finally fell asleep I saw numerous markets with people still shopping or eating and families sitting outside enjoying their evening meal.