We left Chiang Mai at 5:30 pm on a train set to be in Bangkok the next morning at 8:30 am. We got the cheapest tickets again, but the accommodations on this train were a bit nicer than the one in Vietnam… Except a few bugs wandering around. Boo! I grabbed one last plate of Pad Thai in the train station before we took off! While we were waiting for the train to chug it’s way out of the station, we noticed a little photo shoot happening on one of the abandoned platforms next to us.
There were a lot more foreigners on this train in the 3rd class than there were in Vietnam… Kind of fun listening to all these different languages. The sun was setting as we were leaving the city and Karima and I were sitting on the west side of the train, so naturally everyone is leaning over us trying to get their hundreds of pictures of this sunset. It was really pretty, but I’ve seen WAYYYY better sunsets on Jeju. (We’re quite spoiled on that island!) Eventually everyone got their sunset-pic-fix and relaxed.
Another great thing about this train was the bathrooms! Instead of the normal, western-style sit-down toilets, we got squat toilets!! It’s not 5-star living or anything, but when you’re on a train (that isn’t the cleanest place in the world to begin with) and you have to share this bathroom with however many people for however many hours, a squat toilet is great to have because you don’t have to touch anything to do your business. The worst that can happen is that your foot slips in after you’re done but probably (hopefully) unlikely.
And a little video for all to enjoy…
Our flight out of Bangkok was scheduled for noon. We figured that with the train getting to Bangkok at 8:30 am, even if it was an hour late, would’ve given us plenty of time to make our flight… But not when it’s 2 1/2 hours late! Our train didn’t get to Bangkok Station until 11:00 am and then add in a 50 minute taxi ride, all resulting in us arriving at the airport right as our plane was pulling away from the gate. So instead of being able to transfer tickets for a later flight (like I’ve been able to do in Korea), we had to purchase new tickets. Another 10,450฿ (Baht) or about $350 USD… We were NOT happy campers! (But we did get traveler’s insurance, so hopefully we can get something back.)
Our flight was then scheduled for that evening, and like our original tickets, we’d be making a layover in Gwangzhou, China. Though unlike our original ticket, we’d be spending the night in Gwangzhou. We had a layover there on our way to Vietnam, so we had a pretty good idea of the layout of the terminal. Once we landed and were waiting in line at immigration, we were talking about where would be a good place to camp out in the airport. When we got up to the counter, the woman told us that the airline will be providing free accommodation for our overnight layover… Say what?! It was like music to our ears!! All we had to do was fill out the form for our 24 hour visas and we were good to go!
And they provided pretty sweet accommodations and breakfast to go for our early morning ride back to the airport! It was so great to have a COMFY place to sleep and a hot shower in all the stress of having to buy new tickets… Still a bummer, but this kiiiiiinda makes it a little better.