While most people opt to take the night train from Ubon Ratchathani into Bangkok, we decided instead to take the train during the day. It’s a 12 hour ride, but we love trains and we wanted to see the scenery. We did not regret our decision – we were glad to be in our 2nd class car and quite comfortable. Our wagon only had 10 rows, and the 20 seats never got full. What’s also great about a day train ride is the constant flow of food – vendors hop on and off to sell drinks, grilled chicken on sticks, sticky rice, glutinous rice grilled in banana leaves, fried rice, different sorts of eggs, crickets and many other snack foods. It smells good and keeps us happy!
6 AM – The day starts. We get out of our room as soon as possible and try to find a tuk tuk on the road. There was hardly anyone out there, but finally we manage to flag one. We get to the train station with 10 minutes to spare.
7 AM – The train departs on time. Travis drives me mad by continuously singing the chorus of Rush’s A Passage to Bangkok.
12 noon – I finish reading Message in a Bottle, which I had started just as the train left the station. I curse Nicholas Sparks, the author, for making me cry in public, thus making me loose face (what Asians call any outbursts of emotions aside from joy). The book wasn’t that good, but the ending was sure poignant. Travis offers me his shoulder to cry on.
2 PM – I start to read all of the introduction chapters I downloaded from Lonely Planet, to get a feel of our upcoming destinations and try to figure out how long to stay in each country. Surprisingly, I get really excited for Bangladesh. It might be polluted (some say Dhaka is the 2nd most polluted city in the world), but I’m pleased to read that plastic bags are banned in the country and that they are trying to remove cars from cities. I’m also surprised to read that in some places, we might be the only tourist they see for the whole year. Sounds to me like the kind of place that will still feel authentic! And bonus: the longest beach in the world is in Bangladesh.
5 PM – We reach one of Bangkok’s airport. We know we’re close! Unfortunately it takes us 2 hours to get into town from there…
7 PM – 24 hours in Bangkok starts!