Our amazing backpacking trip to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia - part 1. (Arriving in Bangkok)
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Travelling around South-East Asia
â€śOnce upon a time there were three brave travellers who decided that it was time to leave their homes and to go to explore a bit of South-East Asiaâ€ť, I could start my blog with.
But I should start from the beginning. In 2004 I participated on an University exchange program on the Tsukuba University in Japan where I met students from all over the world. This way I met also Mit from Laos, a really nice guy who attended together with me the course of â€śUN policiesâ€ť. The funny thing about our friendship is that though we knew each other from the class we havenâ€™t interacted much till my farewell party. That night when he helped me to carry a Thai girl who underestimated the strength of alcohol in her little body we became real friends. And it stayed this way for the next 3 years as we kept the contact by e-mail. Mit returned to his country about a year later and started working for a Japanese organisation in the Lao capital Vientiane.
It doesnâ€™t make sense to tell you about all the preparations for the trip, the main thing was that we were prepared when the D-day arrived. We flied with the Taiwanese Eva Airlines from Vienna International Airport to Bangkok directly, an 11 hours flight. I have to admit that we were more the satisfied with this airline, as for me they are better then most of the main European ones.
It was early morning around 6am local time when we suddenly landed in Bangkok.
Now we had everything and could finally leave the airport. In Bangkok we were supposed to meet with Christine, a Vietnamese-American girl me and Pavel met during our trip to Egypt the year before.
youth-hostel we would stay all together. All we had to do was to follow her instructions. The first airport bus brought us only to some sort of bus station, but here we easily found our connection bus.
Little bit later we were heading direction the city centre of Bangkok and my eyes were catching through the window the first impressions of this Asian country I heard so much nice things about. I canâ€™t really describe it, but from the first moment on I knew that I would like Thailand. It was a feeling, innocent and quiet, but it was there. I saw the people outside moving around and I started to realize what made me feel that wayâ€¦most of the people were smiling.
When we arrived by the Independence monument the nice lady who sold us the bus tickets gave us a sign to get off. From here it was supposed to be already close to Khao San road (the famous backpacker street). It was only 8am but it was getting already hot and humid. We crossed Khao San which was quite empty at this early time of the day and turned right. According to a map I had we were supposed to arrive soon at Phitsanulok road where our youth-hostel was located. Remark, distances in huge cities (like Bangkok) might appear smaller on maps. The same happed to us, some of the side streets werenâ€™t even marked on our map. Every time we saw another street on the right we expected it to be ours, but we got disappointed again and again.
We checked in and I asked for Christine. The girl at the reception told me that she left a message that she went to the coast and that sheâ€™ll return on Tuesday evening. It was Monday, no problem, we planned to get a bit accustomed to everything till she would return. A quick shower, changed cloth and we were ready to go for a first sightseeing. And we wanted to arrange the visas for Laos as well. We just walked the same way back to Khao San road, but this time we made little stops any time we saw something interesting. Pavel has been to Thailand before and he told us that we had to try the local fruits they sell on the streets. It didnâ€™t take long and we found a fruit vendor woman. She had a little coolbox on wheels with a table on it.
During the afternoon we took a boat tour on the river Chaopraya and walked around as much as the hot sun allowed us.
We got back to our hostel to have some rest, we still felt a bit sleepy from the night spent in the plane and the time difference to Central Europe. Sergej saw somewhere that there were some thaibox fights going on that evening. And according to the flyer he found the prices werenâ€™t that bad. That would be definitely an interesting thing to see in Bangkok. The only problem was that as we found out the fighting arena was relatively far. At the time we left the hostel there was no other chance to be in time then to catch a taxi. We stopped one and asked how much it would cost to get thereâ€¦200 bahtâ€¦hmmm, we had no other choice and got in.
We were quite lucky anyway, because just few meters ahead we found something like a little open air amusement center.
We couldnâ€™t believe our eyes when we passed by something like a little open air fitness centre. Young slim Thai guys were training hard here and showing each other their muscles. OK, letâ€™s just pass by quickly, hahaha.
It was dark and we were quite tired. But how to get back to our accommodation? We thought about taking a tuktuk, one of these motorcycle rikshas we saw everywhere. They are very famous and popular all around South-East Asia as far as I heard. We have spent already quite a lot of money that day so we decided to get either a cheap tuktuk or leave it for another day. I have to admit that it took as a while till the 6th or 7th tuktuk driver agreed to drive us as close as possible to Khao San for only 30 baht. Till we met him we were already walking for almost an hour so we passed a big part of the distance by ourselves. Our driver was a pretty crazy guy, several times I thought I might fall off the tuktuk the way he was driving. But honestly, it was fun anyway. Even if I had to force my fingers to unhand the seat when we suddenly stopped.
Back in the hostel, it was already around 11pm, I found a note on the door to our dormitory.