A Night Train To Bangkok

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to pick up our passports from the Thai Embassy in Vientiane, catch a tuk-tuk to the bus station, take a bus to the Friendship Bridge, get stamped out of Laos, take a bus over the Friendship Bridge to Thailand, get stamped into Thailand, take a tuk-tuk to the train station, and then take an overnight train to Bangkok all in the same day but that is what we did.  It was a LONG day!


At every step of the way we waited in long line-ups, most of the time with our heavy backpacks on.  As always, the kids surprised me with how well they travel.  The key, I think, to traveling with children is snacks…. lots and lots of snacks.  In fact my whole daypack is dedicated to food.  When the children start to whine I pull out a package of cookies or some bananas.  Food always seems to buy us more time.

While we munched on chips and waited in the long, hot line up to get stamped out of Laos there was a young man of the dirty hippy variety who was so incredibly stinking drunk he could hardly stand up.  I was actually afraid he was going to fall on my children and did my best to stay in between him and them.  His two friends helped him through the border process.  He ended up passing out on the bus over the bridge and his friends spent five minutes screaming and smacking him on the face trying to wake him up.

I can’t even fathom the stupidity and disrespect it takes to show up dead drunk to cross an international border.  This was the first time our children have ever seen a really drunk person and it lead to many interesting conversations about alcohol, drugs, and respect.

You would think that after waiting in lines all day the kids would be exhausted by nightfall but they were so excited about sleeping on a train.  In my books sleeping on a train is only just tolerable, in their books it is an adventure of epic proportions.


Every little thing was met with excitement; the noises of the train, the toilet that emptied onto the tracks, the seats that folded down into beds, the ladders to the top bunks.  They explored with delight and enthusiasm and were over the moon happy that they were able to spend the night on a moving train.


Mike and I barely slept with all the noise and jostling of the train and by the time our six a.m. wake up call arrived we were both happy that the ride would soon be over.

We rolled into Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok, grabbed a bite to eat at a coffee shop and then took a taxi to the shopping district of Bangkok.

We are now settled in and ready to explore this humongous city at our leisure.

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  1. Rebeca says:

    Glad you arrived safely! What an adventure you’re having.

  2. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says:

    I’m with the kids on this one… overnight trains are so exciting! My travel partners never seem to share my enthusiasm though. Ear plugs and a bottom bunk are key.

  3. Tiffany @ FiteInertia says:

    What an adventure! I’m with the kids on this one too – there’s an awesome first to every adventure!

    My (now) 10 year old saw a falling down drunk person at a neighborhood party when he was 5. He still talks about it – he was super disturbed by it. And, interestingly he’ll often check to make sure my husband and I aren’t “getting drunk” when we have a glass of wine in the evening.

    Loving following your adventure!

  4. with2kidsintow says:

    We can totally relate! Definitely being well armed with an abundance of snacks not only 1) buys you time but also 2) sometimes in travel days, you don’t always know when your next meal will be! Ditto on the sleeper train experience–not a fan!

    Were u on an air con carriage or fan only?? We were the latter but usually ppl who report an enjoyable experience were on the first class air con trains LOL

  5. Living Outside of the Box says:

    That WOULD be a long day! I SOOO agree about the snacks. We’re not a “snack” type of family…but it is truly the type of arsenal that can really make a day of travel SOOOO much easier!! Glad your boys liked the train! I’m *tempted* to do it…almost. 🙂

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