So we’ve made it to Bangkok: we got a tuk-tuk to the train station, just past the Laos-Thai Friendship Bridge, and were happy to find there were first-class tickets left — not too expensive, and after the “hard sleeper” in China and “chicken bus” in Laos we weren’t in the mood to find out what second-class bunks were like in Thailand.

We were, of course, ridiculously early — 2pm when the train left at 5pm — but we figured it was better early than late. We sat on the platform, read our newly-swapped (in Vientiane) books and sorted out the Laos exit stamp once the office opened. It was thankfully nice and cool, as there’d been a bit of rain that afternoon, and before long our train arrived. We boarded for the short hop to Nan Kai, where we were granted free Thai entry VISAs (looking at it we now have until the 5th of August in Thailand — and we haven’t decided whether to go to Cambodia or save that, along with Vietnam, for next time).

First-class ain’t grand, but it was a two-bunk cabin with air-conditioning, and we weren’t really expecting much more. We fell asleep to the rattle and rocking of the carriage…

Then Dee, half awake, saw a cockroach and was startled awake. Not a fan of the little chitinous critters, it was (apparently) difficult for her to fall asleep again … on the top bunk, I was oblivious.

We arrived in Bangkok at 6:30am, then spent a good 45 minutes looking for our hotel (and refusing tuk-tuks — it should just be around the corner, dammit!). We checked in, got a free upgrade (it’s still a bit dingy, disappointing when I was looking for 5-star luxury), ate a quick breakfast downstairs … and now Dee sleeps and I watch Russia TV.

Be happy to get home now. Oh, in the meantime here’s a slideshow of photos from Laos!