Cold, clean, and comfortable
The Trains of Thailand rank somewhere just below Chinese and Russian
trains. They are not as nice as either, being much older than Chinese
trains, and more basic than the Russian ones, though there are good
First, since the ticket agents speak English, and the main train
station in Bangkok is very organized (they even had showers for
travelers!), I was very happy to spend my money with the Thai version.
Once on the train, a few distractions appeared.
The Thai trains not new like the Chinese trains. I’m not sure
if they are older than the Russian ones, for everything in Russia has a
timeless 1950’s quality. They show their age in the basic and well-worn
interiors. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are not dirty or trashed, but
more like an old shoe. If you looked closely, yes, the treads were
showing, but the fit was very comfortable and from a distance, all looked
With metal grills on the inside of the windows, I wondered if the
Thai’s worried about safety, until I realized they were for shade in the
summertime. This heat-inspired ingenuity followed in oscillating fans on
the ceiling and a shower in the toilet. Luckily, as it is winter I didn’t
need either, and late at night, I was happy for the thin blanket provided
with the bed.
The bed itself was an odd trick. With the bottom bunk converting from
facing chairs and the top folding down from the ceiling, the services of
the porter were relieving. He came along after dinner, which was expensive
by Thai standards but very tasty, and created the two bunks from what was
a rather spacious seating arrangement.
After he created the beds, he hung curtains from each to create two
little worlds separated from the main hallway. This little gesture
endeared me to Thai trains forever! Unlike the ridiculously public, six to
an open cubicle Chinese trains, and the more private, but still four to a
closed compartment Russian trains, Thai’s know that to properly enjoy a
train ride, privacy at night is required. Privacy for all the moans that a
slow, rhythmic, romantic, overnight train produces, which is great for
couples but annoying for voyeuristic singles.
Like all overnight trains, the Thai train I took from Bangkok to Surat
Thani, arrived in the center of the city at a reasonable hour. I exited
the train with decency only a train can provide. No wrestling with
overhead compartments. No long walk down endless corridors. No waiting at
baggage carousels. It was straight off the train to the bus for Koh Samui