Surviving the Night Train during Yee Peng

Travelling is sometimes not easy at all. Having to take a 14-hour ride in an overpacked third-class night train is not the travel prototype everyone dreams of.
Some people think travelling is fancy, and it is, to a certain extent, but there will always be factors you cannot control and things that go sour.
That is life, and sometimes in life, we make our own odds. That being said, let me tell you how we got ourselves into this situation.

Surviving the Night Train during Yee Peng – Traveling third class

Planning the Trip during Yee Peng

yee peng lantern festival thailand

If you’re a travel addict like me, this is undoubtedly not the first time you hear about the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival. Yee Peng brings thousands of tourists every year to Chiang Mai and intense FOMO to travel bloggers and photographers. The iconic image of thousands of floating lanterns is on everyone’s bucket list.

We were thrilled to see that the festival overlaps the dates we were visiting Thailand, so we booked the Yee Peng tickets as soon as they were available (they sell out fast).

Once we had the pass for the festival, we started the search for accommodation and transport.
The flights from Bangkok were already expensive three months before our stay, and the schedule for the sleeper train wasn’t available online.
My cousin was returning from Thailand; and visited Chiang Mai as well. She told me not to worry because they bought the train tickets straight from the station on the exact day of departure.

Things can unexpectedly change

So here we are, in Bangkok two days before we had to be in Chiang Mai for the festival. The first thing we do, we go to the train station to buy tickets for Chiang Mai… all the trains were fully booked, and there were precisely 33 tickets left. All of the 33 tickets were in 3rd class.

Surviving the Night Train during Yee Peng – Traveling third class

The Train Ride

I can’t say it was the easiest way to travel—14 hours of sitting in a crowded place in combination with warm, humid weather. We barely slept, and my back pain was getting serious. 

night train third class thailand

There is no AC in third class, just a noisy, inefficient fan. Due to the warm weather, the windows were open all night round, which allowed the mosquitoes to have a party in our compartment.

But we made it through. Whenever I have a hard time travelling, I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to see the world. To experience the good and the bad in different places of the earth, to get a glimpse of how other people experience life. 

How to survive traveling third class in Thailand: 

Be well rested

The best idea that we had before the long night ride was to ask our hotel if they have a late checkout policy. 

Our hotel was allowing late checkout for a fee, so we could take a nap and shower before the departure, which believe me, made a massive difference in the journey. 

After a day spent exploring Bangkok, we returned to the Prime Central Hotel and charged everything: external batteries, cameras, and phones.

Have Entertainment prepared

Download some music, movies and have a book to read. Fourteen hours can go by so slowly when you don’t have anything to do. Don’t forget your power bank; you can’t charge your devices otherwise on the train.

Don’t forget the mosquito repellent

Since there is no AC in the third class compartment, you’ll most probably travel with the windows open. I had a mosquito repellent bracelet and used a Lemon-Eucalyptus insect repellent and still got one or two bites here and there. 

Use hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial sanitary napkins

Warm weather and humidity will make you feel filthy in no time; you’ll feel much better if you freshen up regularly. 

Avoid drinking too many liquids

And that’s valid for all road and train trips all over the world. Public bathrooms are sometimes disgusting. 

See the video on how I survived the third class night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. 

Also, let me know if you ever traveled in third class and what are your best tips. 

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4 responses to “Surviving the Night Train during Yee Peng”

  1. Wow! That train ride was quite something. But where there is a will, there is a way, even if that means traveling in third class 😂.


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