The road from Siem Reap to the Thai border - one of the worst roads I've ever took.
The bus till the Thai border me and Pavel booked was supposed to take some 6-7 hours. And we still had to get from there to Bangkok. It would be a loooong day, we knew it. And it would be a day without our travelmate Sergej. He had to take a bus back to Phnom Pen and take a flight to Bangkok as we haven’t managed to arrange his Thai re-entry visa. But he’s an easy going guy, didn’t take it too tragic. We all had some nice breakfast together and then me and Pavel went to our pickup point.
The bus trip to the Thai border was honestly a real torture.
The whole minibus was shaking all the time because of the unpaved dusty road and to make it worse it had no air conditioning. Leaving a window opened wasn’t really an option as the road was really dusty and we didn’t want the dust clouds to get in. Pavel uses to make fun of me that I’m able to fall asleep whenever and wherever I want to, but this time I didn’t manage. It was just impossible to keep my head in some position in which it wouldn’t be shaking or jumping up and down all the time. Believe it or not, there was a young Cambodian guy in our bus sleeping next to us, but his slim body was jumping up and down, from right to left, looked like a big ping pong ball. I envied him though.
Taking the train from the Cambodian border to Bangkok.
So why is one of the main road connections to Thailand in such a catastrophical shape? Well, I read somewhere that an “unnamed” airline is paying a huge amount of money to some “unnamed” Cambodian politicians not to hurry up too much to build a real road there.
Great, thanks guys from that unnamed airline.
A temple in the Royal palace area.
We were so happy when we suddenly reached the border town and could get out of the bus. Wasn’t easy to walk because my legs were still shaking. At that point I would have been a great break dancer, I guess. We passed first the Cambodian passport control, these guys didn’t seem to have smiled ever in their lives. They just returned us our passports and gave us a rushing sign to proceed. The Thai check point was quite different. The building was clean, they had aircon and even the officer smiled while he welcomed us back in Thailand. What a huge difference to the Cambodians.
Pavel did this trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap and back already in the past, so he knew more or less where to go.
Well, that’s what he thought. We managed to get to a market place, but he couldn’t remember where the train station exactly was. It was supposed to be somewhere close he said. Aha. There was one train per day from here to Bangkok and we hoped to get it. Honestly, we weren’t really in a mood to travel by bus again. We asked some tuk-tuk drivers around how much it would cost to get to the train station, but everywhere they had just a unified price of 80 baht. Quite a lot supposing it was so close. As we were afraid to miss the train we suddenly paid the price…and we did damn well to do so. We were just arriving when we saw the train standing on the only platform. We jumped out of the tuk-tuk, the driver helping us with the luggage as fast as possible. We ran towards the train which was starting to move slowly. Pavel was ahead, but an officer stopped me showing that we have to buy tickets first. Damn, I threw a 100 baht note in front of to the cashier (the ticket cost only 45 baht per person) , got the tickets and started running again. Only a couple of seconds have passed, but Pavel was already in the train watching where I’m staying.
Royal palace in Bangkok.
I threw my big backpack inside while running (the train was still moving relatively slowly) and then jumped on as well. Uff, yeaaah, we made it. Couldn’t almost believe it. The passengers around smiled at us, some of them laughed silently. And we were just happy.
Royal palace in Bangkok.
The trip by train was really nice, we had lots of space and the view out of the windows without glass was magnificient. About 4 hours later we were suddenly arriving in Bangkok, it was already evening and it got dark. At the station we went first to a canteen to get some dinner, we were so hungry. Sherry, the American girl we met in Vang Vieng in Laos, offered us to stay at her place when we return to Bangkok, she worked as an English teacher here.
But I haven’t had the possibility to check my e-mails lately so I couldn’t read how to get to her place. But there had to be an internet café around. While Pavel stayed resting with our luggage in the canteen I went to explore the area. It took me a while, but suddenly I got a flyer from somebody with a little map where to find the nearest internet café. The map wasn’t very good, but I managed suddenly to find it. But hell, it was closed. The light inside was on but the door was definitely closed. I was lucky, in the shop next to the internet café was a young lady whom I explained my problem and she called someone. Couple of minutes later a woman appeared excusing herself and let me in. I wrote everything down from Sherry’s e-mail, paid and left again, Pavel was already waiting.
According to Sherry’s description her apartment was located close to a bigger hotel, I forgot its name. Bangkok is a huge city and we could see on a map that we were pretty far away.
Allright, we decided to take a taxi. Some 20 minutes later we were at the hotel, but the rest of the description just didn’t fit. How was that possible? We asked around until a guy told us that there’s another hotel with that name in another part of the city. Oh no. The good news was that the guy meant that we could take the so called skytrain there. So we did. And finally after some searching we seemed to have found the right house. We rang the bell and the one who came to open us the door was Sherry, yeeaaaahh.
Royal palace in Bangkok.
A nice shower in the cleanest bathroom we’ve been so far in South East Asia, clean cloth and we felt like humans again, hahaha. Sherry took us out, we went first for some good Thai dinner and then walked a bit around. That was all we managed that evening, we were just too tired for any nightlife.
The following day me and Pavel went to the Chatuchak weekend market, the largest market in the world as far as I heard.
The market area covers over 1.13 km² and contains more then 15.000 stalls. Pretty impressive. It was Sunday, so we were pretty lucky that we could visit it. My sister asked me before the trip to buy her a handbag with a fake brand for fun, so I bought her a brown bag from the world famous company…Succi, hahahahaha. Almost like Gucci, right? However, you can buy a lot of cheap stuff around here and spend long hours only walking and watching. We gave up after 3 hours. I wanted to visit the Royal Palace, but as Pavel has been already inside he opted for an own program. We would meet at 6pm at the beginning of the Khao San road.
The entrance to the Royal Palace is relatively expensive compared to the usual entrances in Thailand, but the visit is definitely worth it.
The palace area is quite huge and beside the palace buildings there are some really beautiful temples and some little museums as well. Of course it was crowded by people as it’s one of the main touristic places in Bangkok. After having a little rest drinking a cool soft drink I went to a public telephone and called an old friend of my family. His name is Alan, he’s English and was supposed to land that day in Bangkok. We haven’t seen each other for years, so we planned to meet up. He was a bit tired but we agreed on meeting that night, he would come to pick us up by car together with his Thai girlfriend he had now.
Khao San road being busy.
At 6pm I met with Pavel as agreed. We both had our “shopping” done so we looked for some place to have our last Thai dinner.
Many travellers are afraid to eat something on a street, but we just sit down by 2 guys cooking and serving outside. The food was just delicious and quite cheap as well.
Me with Alan, an old friend of my parents at Bangkok airport.
It was still relatively early, but we decided to return to Sherry’s place to have a little rest. And we did well, Sherry was at home and we just chilled a bit together.
Then it was time to leave and we had to say goodbye. Couple of minutes later we were already standing at the meeting point where Alan was supposed to come to pick us up. We didn’t have to wait for long. Alan was quite jet-laged and tired, he excused himself telling us they would drive us only to the airport. So we had about 30 or 40 minutes to recall some good memories and to inform each other how we’ve been doing. Better then nothing and we got to the airport in time and for free, hehe. We were a little bit worried if Sergej will be there, this guy might have managed to miss his flight from Phnom Pen. If I will return to office alone on Monday I will have to explain our boss, why 50% of us is missing, haha. But, nope, there he was, we discovered him when approaching our gate after we checked in. Sergej told us that he convinced the officers somehow to let him stay at the airport without a valid Thai visa as he would take a flight to Europe the same night. The only restriction was that he couldn’t leave the gate area the whole day. But Sergej wouldn’t be Sergej if he didn’t find a solution how to “survive” the waiting time. He discovered a Muslim prayers room (I apologize to all the Muslim travbuddies here) and as it was empty and the carpet on the floor was so soft, he just lyed down and took a long nap.
However, we were together again and on the way home. Feeling happy to see our beloved soon, but sad that the trip was over and we had to leave this beautiful region of the world. We were as well proud of ourselves that we managed everything so well and had an unforgottable trip. What else could I say?
Let me end my blog in Lao: “Kapchai lalai“ (Thank you very much).