After four days in the mad, steaming bustle of Bangkok, the quiet train journey to Chiang Mai was tonic. Thai trains are not altogether different from Indian trains. I rode second class, which has far more room than Indian second class, and larger, open windows (no glass, or mesh, just open); they're also much more sedate, with no vendors loudly announcing the sale of hot tea, or the violent stink of human waste.
I shared my compartment with an adorable Thai family, two kids headed to spend some time with grandma and grandpa up north. My iPod and a box of chocolate pocky sticks ensure I had two buddies for the duration of the journey.
The countryside outside of Bangkok quickly turned scenic, and the landscape slowly changed from the tropical plains to deciduous forest under the setting sun, until night time found us speeding past forests that looked wraith-like in the inky black of night.
Dawn close to Chiang Mai was nothing short of glorious.