We bought two third class tickets at the train station and lugged our backpacks onto the platform. It was our second experience with train travel in Thailand. Our first trip had been a short one, from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, less than two hours.
This time we left Ayutthaya for Phitsanulok. A journey of around 300 kilometres, about 6,5 hours by local train. We’d bought enough water and some snacks to get through the day. Once the train arrived we looked for the right carriage and took our seats. The third class carriages in Thai trains are decked out with wooden benches and the air conditioning consists of open windows. There was plenty of leg room and our backpacks easily fitted on the luggage racks above the seats. Much more spacious and comfortable than a lot of busses we’d been on.
The train slowly came into motion and we were on our way. Wind blew in our faces and we enjoyed the fresh air and the views out of the open windows. We stopped at every little station and the stations where decorated with flowers and little colourful statues and even fake windmills. Train personnel stood on the platform, ready with red and green flags to signal the driver when everybody had gotten on board.
At some of the small stations, people would get on the train selling all kinds of snacks and drinks. They did good business. When we got hungry we decided to try something and bought fresh pineapple with a chilli and salt dip and later on little packages of noodles.
Along the way the scenery changed and we travelled through rice fields of bright green and the water on the fields turned silver as the evening fell. The world around us was of soft pastel colours and we felt at ease, sitting on the wooden benches with the evening air on our skin and the sound of the train in our ears.
When it is all about the journey.
On this day we felt that it was all about the journey. Travelling on a Thai train in third class was one of the best experiences we had had in this country so far.
After a few days in Phitsanulok we continued our journey by train to Chiang Mai. This time the train trip led us through a more mountainous landscape and beautiful dense forests and again we thoroughly enjoyed this day of travel and the beautiful views we were treated to.
Practical information on train travel in Thailand
Train travel in Thailand is a great way of seeing more of the country. You can enjoy the scenery, travel like the locals do and try out food from the vendors in the train. It is a comfortable way of travelling as well as a very cheap one! Check out the website of the Thai trains here for more information on timetables and train fares.