First Class contains one small private air conditioned compartment for two persons. Each cabin includes a sink and a stow away table. This class is available only on selected trains and tends to get booked out first. The compartment consists of two beds, one upper and one lower.
Second Class Fan or air-conditioned coaches are available in either seat or sleeper form with around 40 seats. Fan cooled sections tend to get a little hot at night and air-conditioning coaches are the more comfortable.
Overnight train sleepers
On the side of each carriage is the destination (e.g. Bangkok to
Chiangmai), along with the carriage number. For second class and
first class travel, seat and carriage are reserved and recorded on
your ticket. For third class travel, it is often first come first
served, and you might find yourself standing.
Sometimes platforms are changed at the last minute, so, if you are not sure that you have the correct train, show your ticket to the platform staff. Even if they cannot speak English, they will point you in the right direction.
First class sleepers consist of two full size bunk beds. Second class sleepers are assembled from two facing seats to form the bottom or lower bunk. The upper bunk is a pulled down and unlocked when the beds are made up. All beds use fresh cotton sheets, pillows with cases and laundered, sealed, towel-like blankets.
Beds are set up by the train staff at around 9:00 pm and stored away again around 07:00 am.
In both classes the beds are around 2m (6.5 ft) in length.
1st class sleepers
1st class sleeping-cars are modern and air-conditioned, with lockable 2-berth compartments with washbasin. Clean bedding, soap & towels are provided. The toilet at the end of the car even has a shower (cold water, but very welcome). Passengers travelling alone share with another passenger of the same sex unless they to pay for sole occupancy. The berths convert to a sofa for evening & morning use.
2nd class sleepers are comfortable and safe. Berths are not in compartments, but are arranged 'open plan' either side of a central aisle. During the evening and morning part of the journey, pairs of seats face each other on each side of the aisle. At night, each pair of seats pulls together to form the bottom bunk, and an upper bunk folds out from the wall. The attendant will make up your bunk with a proper mattress and fresh clean bedding, and will hook up the curtains which are provided for each bunk to give you privacy. 2nd class sleepers come in both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned varieties, with the air-con ones usually being cleaner and more modern, but the non-a/c ones offering windows that open. The fare for an upper berth is a fraction cheaper, but the upper bunks tend to be narrower. There's plenty of luggage room, take a bike lock if you want to chain up your luggage for peace of mind. Security is not a problem, it's a great way to travel which saves time even compared to flying, and saves a hotel bill too. Upper berths are fine for anyone up to 6' 2" tall, if you're taller than that you should choose a lower berth as these are significantly wider, allowing tall people to sleep comfortably on the diagonal.