Day Train or Overnight Train???
Ultimately the choice may come down to what I'm doing in the days before I have to go to Bangkok, but if I have a choice....
Is it worth going in the daytime to view the scenery??? Or just go overnight and get a free night's accommodation but miss the view???
I'm quite into geography and different terrain, so if it's going to vary, I would like to see it.
#1 BrumbyJack has been a member since 7/10/2012. Posts: 19
there is only 1 sensible daytime train-IF it runs-as stock is sparse and often under repair. More like a bus on rails. Tpoically Thai the windows are opaque and any Thai closes the curtains as soon as ใ80-90% its the usual ricefields, approach into BKk is urban slum-and currently a brandnew SRT-skytrain above it for part of the rails.
#2 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
Not much variety of terrain and scenery en route, mostly flat with small towns, fields, rubber trees, cows, dogs and the occasional glimpse of ocean. Depends on how much you like train travel in general. Sleeper trains are bumpy and loud so actual sleep isn't easy, and if it's an aircon car freezing cold at night.
Overnight train. On the train you'll likely find that a little bit of scenery goes a long way, and even with the long-haul overnight trains, you'll usually have some window surfing time when you first board and again as you approach the end of the trip.
The last daytime train I took was a diesel sprinter from Ayutthaya to Phitsanulok. The ride was comfortable and the train uncrowded, but many of the seats were broken, and as captainbkk says above, the windows were frosted and/or crusted with dirt, making it almost impossible to look out the windows anyway. The train was also 90 minutes late getting to Ayutthaya and over two hours late by the time we arrived in P-lok.
If you are looking for some daytime train scenery, try short trips. One I really like is the special tourist train from the Bangkok Noi Train Station in Thonburi (just across the river from the Khao San Road area) to Kanchanaburi and beyond. It's third class sitter, which may reduce your bum to tears, but it includes many km of the original track line from the Bridge Over the River Kwai saga and has decent scenery. Plus, it is relatively short.
Also, as Captain_Bob says, the sleeper trains are bumpy and loud, and the 2nd class aircon is like a meat locker. But if you can get a 1st class compartment, there is a door that shuts, which reduces the noise, lights that turn off, and adjustable twist-style air-con nozzles like on airplanes, so you can adjust the temperature a bit.
I really like the overnight sleeper option, and have done it dozens of times, but if Air Asia still flies from Surat Thani to BKK, I'd check into that too. Regards.
Thank you for the replies!!! I won't bother wasting a day sitting on a train :) Too many other things to do...
#5 BrumbyJack has been a member since 7/10/2012. Posts: 19