We booked the Aurora Winter Train while in Singapore. It only operates during winter (obviously since it’s called the Aurora Winter Train) and only once a week on Saturdays, from Anchorage to Fairbanks, with several other stops in between. Total travel time is 12 hours. It goes back to Anchorage from Fairbanks on Sundays.
So on day 4, we woke up at 630am to prep ourselves and checked out of Bent Prop Inn, before dragging our luggage to the railroad station we found on day 2. The train station was packed when we reached. LOTS of Chinese tourists. It was an OMG moment, like we couldn’t escape them. A second OMG moment when I realised that somehow, the train company had arranged for all the Caucasians to be seated in the first 2 cabins (with the food cabin nearest to them), and all the Asians in the 3rd & 4th cabins (with the luggage/animal cabin behind us). RACISM.
Food was not included but there was the option of dining at the dining cabin. Crowded though. Food quality was thankfully good since there were no other options.
I also had my first experience of falling snow. I was so excited like a little child!
We entertained ourselves by watching a movie on the iPad, waiting to catch wild animals in action (we saw a moose and an eagle!), but we were soon pretty bored and restless. The Discovery channel filming crew were on board with us, filming about the Aurora Winter train. The captain of the train was quite funny and even asked over the PA system who wants his autographs.
Fairbanks was MUCH colder than Anchorage, and I barely survived Anchorage. We hurried to catch a cab but our queue kept getting cut by others. I was quite annoyed because it was really cold and there was no proper cab queue, despite it being a railway station where a cab queue should be a given. And it was the Caucasians who kept cutting our queue. WTH.
Mr Goh chose to stay at Billie’s Backpackers for our Fairbanks trip and truth be told, I kinda hated the place. The people, owner and other backpackers, were fine, but it was the place that I didn’t like. I didn’t like that the rooms were small and squeezy, there was no privacy and we had to share two toilets among 20 people. Other people might have found the place warm and cozy, but I’m not a seasoned backpacker. When I travel, I’m used to having a private room with ensuite bathroom, so everything at Billie’s was a shock/surprise to me.