Rye Travel Agents Show Way

‘Rolling countryside and a fold down bed’.

A train journey through Thailand.

By Anneka Bones.

“As a stopover on my Round-the-World travels with my boyfriend, we spent 3 weeks in Thailand and, on the advice of our travel agent, found ourselves catching the sleeper train from bustling Bangkok up to the chilled-out Chiang Mai. The equivalent of £30, we jumped at the chance of winding our way up through the Thai countryside, so quickly booked our tickets and turned up at Bangkok station with rucksacks in tow, ready for our adventure.

Two hours in, we were settled amongst the locals playing cards and eating a fresh, hot meal (prepared on the train!) when the porter came to turn our beds down…I have never seen anything so amazing! Within five minutes our seats had been turned into bunk beds, complete with ladder and a bathroom down the hall (not quite en-suite, but who’s complaining?!). A bumpy train, a curtain to block out the light and a loose safety strap from ceiling to the railing ensured a peaceful sleep, until 6am when the porter banged along the bunks to wake us up. Sweet revenge for his long night-shift I’m sure…

Half an hour later and our beds were transformed again. As the fields rolled past and the Northern Thai countryside revealed itself, I had the best seat in the house and was so pleased that we had decided to stop in Asia en route to our adventure in Australia and New Zealand. Arriving into Chiang Mai was like a different world to the one we had left in Bangkok – the pace is much slower and the temperatures are cooler. It is a lovely city – there are opportunities to trek through the jungle on an elephant and float down the river on a bamboo raft, taste barbequed squid from the various street stalls, or try your hand at bartering at the late night market in the centre every Sunday! Chiang Mai has something for everyone and is the perfect place for an experience of Northern Thailand.

After our restful stay (and armed with a suitcase full of new clothes from the market) it was time to fly down to beautiful Krabi for a beach break before heading onto Perth…but that’s another story…”

Anneka’s trip (Including train journeys) was organised by Southern Cross Travel at 77a The Mint. They are experts in the long-haul field, making a stopover destination into more than just an overnight hotel stay!

“Rye’s Own” October 2011