4. Riding The Rails: High-Speed Train
The train to Nong Khai was an old diesel and as a result, it was a rather noisy ride with plenty of shake, rattle & rolls.
This train however is electric and the old Thai Airways slogan ‘smooth as silk’ would be perfect for it, hardly any sounds, no shakin’, quite an experience.
Uniformed (& masked!) ladies went around, checking tickets and helping out where necessary.
The monitor informed us to be ‘consciously masked and refrain from smoking’…
Not many passengers - including us - bothered with masks though.
Windows were seriously clean, but views remained hazy due to the annual field burning…
Occasionally we passed long freight trains from China which were parked at railway stations (*)
I suddenly noticed that the monitor also showed the speed of our train: 157 km/h
As the stops at the stations are short (6-10 minutes!), instructions are given in 3 languages for disembarking passengers to walk in the traveling direction to the exit doors, clever!
Two hours later the train arrived in Luang Prabang, unbelievable!
Although very impressive this Chinese train has some serious effects, as the effects can be clearly seen, Laos gets overwhelmed with cheap Chinese goods. (**)
10.17: We arrived at Muang Xai and here we got an inkling of some potential problems that can happen to independent travelers…
To be continued: https://www.art58koen.net/single-post/5-riding-the-rails-muang-xai
(*) The fast train stations: Vientiane - Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang - Muang Xay - Na Teuy - Boten (Chinese border)
The slow train stations: Vientiane - Phon Hong - Vang Vieng - Kasi - Luang Prabang - Muang Nga - Muang Xai - Na Moh - Na Teuy - Boten (Chinese border)