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survive the night train in Thailand

On the trip to Thailand, we went three times with a night train in total. Most of the group were pretty intrigued by the idea of sleeping on a train. Especially, because you hear a lot of bad stories.

Night trains in Thailand

Thailand is such a big country and because every part has something people want to see, you want to visit the whole country. The night trains make it a lot easier because you can travel a long distance while sleeping.

There are a lot of different routes you can take, but the following routes are the most familiar. We were so lucky that we went from the first to the last stop, so we did not have to wake up in the middle of the night.

All the trains kinda look the same, but there are some differences. We had one train with very small beds and the other two had normal twin size beds.

Also, the power sockets, bathrooms, etc can be a little be different. Sometimes they are at the front of the cabin, sometimes in the back. But these are not the biggest problem.

The most important thing to surviving the night train is to be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need, so it is not a total surprise. Of course, you can not prepare for everything if you are not even in Thailand yet.

To help you prepare a bit, here are how my three night train adventures went and also a few tips for you to prepare.

Chiang Mai to Bangkok

After a few amazing and busy days in Chiang Mai, it was time to go back to Bangkok.

We were at the train station pretty early, so we put our backpacks on the train and went for a walk.  When the train was leaving within 15 minutes, we went on board again. We all start playing games, reading, watching movies and talking.

You have 2 seats on either side. One for the top bed and one for the lower bed. I had the lower bed and my roommate had the top bed. Someone came by so we could order food.

Around eight o’clock we got our food. And let me tell you, Not a lot was edible. I was glad I also brought Pringles and Oreo’s.

After dinner time, a guard came by to make the beds. I was surprised at how fast he did this. He pulls the top bed open, changes the seats to the lower bed. Add a mattress and places the blanket and pillow. After the beds are done, he takes the curtains and hangs them on the top bed to cover the lower bed. This gives a lot of privacy.

Around 5 in the morning, the guard came by saying: ‘wakey wakey’ The beds become seats again and we arrived around 6.15.  I actually slept pretty okay. It is no night in a hotel, but I slept worse.

Bangkok to Suratthani

Most of the group decided to fly to Krabi instead of going with the night train. We were just with 9 people on the train and we had 17 seats. So everyone had the lower and top bed, except me. There was a very quiet Thai lady above me. She was so quiet that I forgot she was there.

There had been an accident with the tracks, so only one train could leave or arrive at the same time. We left an hour later than planned.

We eat something at the station because we did not want to eat train food. We brought also a lot of snacks, so we would make it through the night.  I was very tired so I asked the guard to make my bed pretty early and I just spend a while reading and watching movies.

This train was a bit newer. The beds were as wide as a normal one-person bed. You could actually sit with two people on the bench. On the first train, you could sit with 2 children or one adult. So it was a bit wider. The bed was also more comfortable.

We were woken up around 6 before we arrived around 8.15. We were supposed to arrive around 7.15, but we left an hour later than planned.  After the train to Suratthani, it was a 2,5-hour bus drive to Krabi. So you can imagine that it was a long night.

This newer train was better than the first. I was happy I did not spend extra money on the flight and just went on the train.

Suratthani to Bangkok

The last trip was from Suratthani back to Bangkok. It was the same train as the second time, so the bigger and better train. We did not order food and brought enough snacks again.

It was basically the same as the second trip and I can’t add a lot more.

Tips for surviving the Night train

With a few easy tips, you will survive the night train. You will also survive it if you do not follow the tips, but it won’t be nice.

  • Bring socks and a sweater. It is cold and the blanket is more like a towel, not that warm. The air conditioning also stays on the whole night.
  • Bring snacks. As I just told you, the food was pretty bad. It was cold and not edible. The best part was the spring roll. Eat something at the station and bring snacks. You will survive.
  • Bring something to do. Especially when you are traveling alone. Bring a book, a coloring book, download some movies or series on Netflix or whatever you like to do. It will be a long evening without wifi.
  • Bring a power bank. There are some sockets, but only at the doors or one in the middle. I would never put my phone here if it is not my bed. With a power bank you can still charge your phone, but safe and sound in your own bed.
  • Bring something to cover your eyes. The lights do not go out and the curtains do not block all of it. There is a small gap by the hooks of the curtain. I brought a buff and it was ideal. But a simple eye mask will also do the trick.
  • Bring earphones/plugs. Because there are different stops during the night, people will be walking around, talking. I slept with my music on and did not hear anything. You will not have a good night’s sleep anyway, but you can make it a bit better by cutting out some sound.

Overall experience

Traveling by the night train is ideal. We made a good distance and you do not lose a lot of time.  I slept pretty okay and caught up on a lot of reading. I was reading the series of Throne of Glass (which I could not lay down) Maybe three times is a bit much. But I definitely recommend the night train for one or two times.

If you want to share these tips, please pin and share!

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