Chiang Mai station is light and airy with a tropical feel. There were places to have hot food but I just got a cold water.
At 4:30pm my 5pm train was already waiting. Staff treated me with reverence when I showed them my First Class/VIP ticket and we left precisely on time...
On the train I rather liked my small private compartment, with small sink and personal control of the air con, and was interested that Thais do not take their shoes off on trains. It was a little disconcerting that the young guy who came to take my food order was wearing very deep red lipstick. You have to pay for food and prices were relatively high, when compared to the places in Chiang Mai where I had excellent meals.
I picked the chicken with cashew nuts and a Western breakfast. I then ordered a coffee, which came in a paper cup, and settled down with a Four Seasons magazine to watch the Thai countryside roll by. Mr Sharp was talking about “individualised experiences”, what my time at Four Seasons Chiang Mai was all about.
The only negatives about the compartment was that the power socket did not work for most of the journey, but there was no WiFi anyway, and it was backward facing. Booking again I would try to specify a forward facing compartment.
By 6pm it was dark and a guy made up my bed. The food arrived at 6:30pm. The chicken with cashews also came with rice (in a heart shape), a red chicken curry and a clear soup with vegetables and dumplings. There was fresh pineapple to finish. The food was only lukewarm but had better flavours than I expected.
I then tried to sleep, there is something special about sleeping on a moving train. However, there was lots of noise at some of the stations, and bone shaking rattles around 5am, which woke me for breakfast, made me think about the various Thai railway accidents. An OKish night’s sleep but not perfect. On a future journey I would ask for another sheet, rather than the blanket you are given.
The cooked breakfast looked at bit garish but tasted fine. It came with more fresh pineapple and pineapple jam. I could have done with a knife to eat a fried breakfast but otherwise it was a good way to wake me up and make me feel human again. Oddly the power socket started working on the last hour of the journey, despite it still not working at 9pm when I was going to bed. I checked out the toilet in the morning. It looked good and smelt clean but was a squat arrangement, which could be a problem for the inexperienced on a moving train. After a very slow arrival, we arrived at 6:30am (15 minutes late).
If you have the time, an interesting Thai experience that I would recommend to do at least once. On the night journey darkness means you see little of the countryside but the lack of WiFi/power would be the downside for a day journey. I would like to see more of the Thai landscape and so want to undertake another Thai train journey with more of a daylight element.