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I was reading about train travel in Thailand and noticed they have sleepers for women and children. What dangers are there that lead to having these cars? Is it just about privacy? If that is not a problem, how common is it for a woman to use a normal sleeper car? Would a woman feel awkward?

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According to this article, women-only carriages were introduced in Thailand after a 13-year old girl was raped in 2014. This article states that the rape was perpetrated by railway staff. Perhaps because of that, the staff of the women-only carriages consists solely of women.

So, it's safe to say that the women-only carriages are there for safety reasons. (Or, the perception of safety.)

That said, I lived in northern Thailand for over two years and took the sleeper between Bangkok and Chiang Mai many times. Yes, I'm male, but never did I get the feeling that, for myself or others, the journey could be construed as unsafe or risky. Very often, I saw women traveling alone or in women-only groups and they seemed extremely comfortable doing so.

Speculating, it is possible that the introduction of the women-only carriages in Thailand has more to do with the junta trying to placate the people over something relatively trivial than that it addresses serious safety concerns.

  • Data point - not Thailand: In India they have women only carriages or compartments on urban trains and these can be an EXTREMELY good diea, but I have also seen women and children travelling on relatively crowded mixed compartments without problems (To my relief as I and any assailant of women and children would be liable to be the worse for wear in such a situation (and I'm liable to be older). ). |From what I've read and heard but never seen, it is not at all unknown for women to be harassed in mixed carriages. – Russell McMahon Apr 1 '16 at 10:40
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    .... BUT on long distance sleeper trains the low cost hard sleeper beds (3+3 beds in a open ended compartment or 3 high bunks along the corridor - young unaccompanied women (say late teens ) travel over 1000+ km in apparent safety. In such situations there is no privacy at all, which probably helps safety. – Russell McMahon Apr 1 '16 at 10:40
  • From my own experience, I'd say that train travel in India is vastly different from train travel in Thailand. – MastaBaba Apr 1 '16 at 12:31
  • MastaBaba - that would be interesting to hear about. I loved just about all aspects of Indian train travel (1000km hard sleeper Chennai-Pune $NZ6 :-) ) but I know that many wouldn't. – Russell McMahon Apr 1 '16 at 12:43
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    In short, there are only a few long distance trains in Thailand and they have very limited options in terms of different classes. – MastaBaba Apr 1 '16 at 13:43

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