7. Night train to Chiang Mai, Rose of the North

22:00 PM on a second class night train to Chiang Mai, stuffy sleeper cabin filled up quickly with backpackers and locals mixed up. This trip is going to be  15hr ride if no hiccups happen.

Fan cooled cabin charges around 530Baht($19) for upper bunk and 580Baht for lower ones.

DSCF8930Bangkok’s Hualamphong train station, platform 10, you can board the train from around a hour and half before the departure time. If checked out the guest house early in the morning to catch the night train, there is a luggage keeping place in the train station(10Baht per bag a day).

DSCF8955 DSCF8956 DSCF8957When choosing a sleeper bunk, paying 50Baht more and getting the lower bunk is a wise choice as the upper one has no window and very narrow bed, and the hot air stays up by the ceiling that makes the sleep very sweaty.

DSCF8960 DSCF8965 DSCF8966DSCF8958When a meal time is near, the food vendors get on board with rice, noodles, fruits, fried chickens, and iced coffee or tea.

Prices are extremely cheap.Three boiled eggs for 20Baht, a pack of fried rice for 30Baht, so don’t go ordering meals to the train conductor.

DSCF8977 DSCF8979 DSCF8980In the day time the bunks are converted into two seats facing each other.

DSCF8983

Knowing how to catch a  songtaew determines how to enjoy in Chiang Mai as there is no public bus system here. Literally meaning ‘two rows’ songtaew is a partially covered, converted pickup(or ute) truck for everyday moving.

Stop one, state your destination, and if driver says yes, hop on, finally pay the fare when you get there. There is no fixed fare though, it requires lots of haggling skills if you want to pay what locals pay. The trick I use is not to ask fare to the driver, just hop on and get the fare information from the passengers on board, and prepare exact amount of money when I pay, walk away.

DSCF8989 DSCF9079 DSCF9101 DSCF9223 DSCF9227I will take you to the world famous Night Bazaar next time.

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