After 24 hours on a plane, a few stops in Moscow and Singapore, and only dinner rolls and roasted peanuts in our stomachs, we still had the daunting task of finding our way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Instead of a quick 2 hour flight, we took some bad advice and headed toward the train station. We both agreed it would be a nice change of pace, plus I had never ridden a train before. It was said to be scenic and quick.
Besides nearly losing my life to a taxi van the moment I stepped off of the curb, our taxi ride to the train station was the highlight of our day. The adorable taxi driver, Vanda, was giggly, jolly, and a sight for sore eyes. She popped in a CD that she clearly only played for her American passengers and got us to the train station in one piece.
We purchased our tickets for the "Rapid Express" train that would board a few hours later. I asked a gal working there how long the train ride would be and nearly shit myself when she said 15 to 16 hours. We tried to stay optimistic by telling ourselves that this was the worst case scenario and sat down to await the 13:45 train to Chiang Mai.
Hualamphong Station in Bangkok, Thailand
The people watching was PRIME at this train station so the two hour wait was nothing but a pleasant experience for me. Kadison watched a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy on her laptop and I stared at any and everyone who passed me by. A crawling man, a couple performing some sort of tantric love karate, and bob-tailed cats were just the tip of the iceberg...
We boarded the train 45 minutes early, struggled to lift our beyond-heavy bags into the overhead storage and slumped into our seats, exhausted. This was not the sort of train I had always imagined I'd ride through a foreign country.. this was the kind of train you take from one side of Disneyland to the other. But worse. The chairs were busted, their was no air conditioning, and the bathrooms...well, the bathrooms were holes that you had to squat over while you bounced down the tracks. We stayed pretty optimistic throughout the entire endeavor.. despite the heat, the bugs, and the f.i.f.t.e.e.n. hours we spent on that damn train. But! We did make it to Chiang Mai and we did save $90 in the process.
All aboard the shit train
We took a taxi to our hostel, threw our bags down, took the best showers of our lives and reminded ourselves that we were in Thailand for the next 16 days! And also that we it could only get better from here.
View from the rooftop of Hug Hostel in the center of Chiang Mai, Thailand