Don't get me wrong. I love Thailand. And I enjoyed taking the 13-hour overnight train from the capital of Bangkok to the northern town of Chiang Mai. I would recommend the same trip to other travelers. Compared with flying, the overnight train reduces your impact on the environment, lets you see the sunrise over pretty rural mountains, and spares you the cost of a night's lodging.
A first-class private sleeper car only costs $33 each-way. (Tickets can't be booked directly online, but you can book at the main train station in Bangkok or through a travel agent.)
Having said all of that, I was astonished that the only bathroom in the car for the "first-class" guests didn't have a toilet seat.
Ordinarily on a trip, I'm fine with a squat toilet. But this one was on a moving, rattling train. It was a bit humbling.
Which leads me to remind you about our magazine's True Stories section. It's the place where you can share your strange encounters, heartwarming tales, and funny anecdotes—the likes of which only seem to happen when you travel. So do you have a good story? Submit yours today!
The best response we receive between March 26, 2009, and April 17, 2009, wins a three-night all-inclusive trip for two to Los Cabos, Mexico, courtesy of Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa and Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau. The prize includes airfare and is valid from July 2009 to July 2010. See contest rules, here.