A short tuk-tuk ride from the immigration checkpoint found us at the Nong Khai train station, where we were able to get 1st Class Sleeper tickets to Bangkok – despite having been told by all the travel agents in Luang Prabang and Vientiane that they were all sold out. Nong Khai train station is a pretty little station which sees just four trains passing through each day. Our train was already waiting at the station, so we had a quick meal nearby before heading back and trying to board the train.
Nong Khai station
Our train waiting at the station
When we entered our carriage, we felt like we were entering a sauna! As it was an air-conditioned car, all the windows had been sealed. Unfortunately, today of all days, there was a glitch with the electricity supply, and the A/C and lights were not working. It was steaming in there, so we had to wait on the platform while the technicians tried to fix the problem.
Departure time came and went but the problem was still not fixed. We got talking with our fellow passengers, who were part of a tour group from Bangkok. They were not pleased either. The annoying thing was that all the other carriages were fine, it was just ours that didn’t have electricity supply!
Getting dark, and still waiting
The train officials tried to offer various options, including seats in the Third Class carriage (all other seats were full) but our fellow passengers were well aware of their rights and very vocal. We decided to just leave it to them to sort things out…which was a smart thing to do, as after an hour of negotiation, they managed to convince the train guys to fully refund the price of our tickets and let us travel in the 1st Class Carriage anyways. The refund was compensation for not having electricity for the entire 12-hour journey.
12 hours is nothing compared to some of the journeys we’d been making, so we were more than happy to get our money back, and quickly boarded the train. Daniel became a somewhat of a hero after he started using his Leatherman to unscrew all the windows open, allowing much-needed fresh air to circulate in the carriage. We were soon on our way through the little towns and villages of Thailand, headed to Bangkok…for free!!
All settled in, with just emergency lights and no A/C