Riding the Overnight Jungle Train 1st Class

TREK TRENDY: Join me today onboard the Jungle express in First Class from Chiang Mai all the way down to Bangkok. The journey will take around 13 hours covering close to 500 miles – it will give me the chance to show you all the features of this new sleeper train. There are two levels of service offered, Second Class sleepers and First Class sleeper cabins. Only First cabins have access to showers of which I’ll try out and let you know my thoughts. This train has quite a famed dining car… but you’ll find out why food today is well, quite non existent. I’ll also break down the cost for this adventure – which may surprise you given the cost of similar overnight trains in Europe or indeed Amtrak in the USA.

NOTES:

  • Will is riding Special Express No. 10 from Chiang Mai to Bangkok on the newer CNR sleeper train. He booked the 1st Class cabin for sole occupancy which cost him 2,453 baht.
  • If he had booked only one of the two berths in that cabin, he could have had a stranger sleeping in the cabin with him. But as someone noted in the comments, if you book the more comfortable lower berth, the chances are good that no-one else is going to book the upper berth. If you see a 1st Class cabin with someone already in the lower berth, surely it is better to book the cheaper berths in 2nd Class? After all, if you are going to share a space with a stranger, better to do that in 2nd Class.
  • He mentions travelling through beautiful jungles. I am pretty sure the accompanying still is not from this route.
  • He notes that beer is not allowed to be sold or consumed on the trains. He neglected to mention the fine is 2,500 baht as he swigs his can of beer. Yes, many people do sneak beer onboard but you have to be really discreet. 1st Class is obviously the easiest place to drink beer in privacy. Just take your empties home with you.
  • He correctly notes that there is no restaurant car on the sleeper train. On slower trains where doors are open all the time this isn’t a problem as food vendors jump on and off the trains at various stations. For the sleeper trains out of Chiang Mai this isn’t so common. It is best to buy some takeaway from the food vendors in front of the station and the 7-11 convenience store.
  • He seems to suggest that the Eastern & Oriental Express operates out of Chiang Mai. But to be clear, this runs between Bangkok and Singapore with a side trip to Kanchanaburi.
  • He bought his tickets online using the official D-Ticket website. Options for buying tickets can be found here. He correctly suggests buying in advance as there is only one 1st Class carriage on the sleeper trains.
  • He seems to suggest that the national anthem is played to signal his departure. But in reality, his train left at 6:00pm which is when the national anthem is played across the country at all stations and outside of government offices. In the morning it is played at 8:00am.
  • He notes that the 2nd Class seats on this train have no power outlets. But in reality they do. They are just hidden behind the curtains. But it should be noted that this is only for the person who is sleeping in the lower berth. If you have the upper berth you will find that your power outlet is up there. Unfortunately you cannot access it until the beds are made up.
  • Overall this is a great video and review of the train ride. Don’t forget to subscribe to his channel.

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