closing the circle

Bangkok Travel Blog

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closing the circle

i decided to head straight back to bangkok to finish my grand tour of south-east asia where i've started it. i don't know why, but this city will forever have a place in my heart. so i was looking forward to get back.

only problem is the 'how' of getting back. it's a big cambodian style ripoff mess: there is one flight which is pricey not to forget the 25usd departure tax on top of it. that's out of the question.

busses are part of the big siem reap bus scam, mainly the other way from bangkok to sr but i don't want to support them to continue what they are doing and as i've heard even the route siem reap to poipet (border town with thailand) is a bit scam problematic.

since there are no government busses that leaves shared truck and taxi. the trucks would have been fine 4 months ago but i've seen the riding open air on a dust road already,no thanks. so i've opted for the deluxe version of hiring a cab for the 4 hours trip. 30usd since i couldn't convince anyone to share... a lot but not much more than just the airport departure tax...

besides, the road to poipet is the single worst road i've seen on this trip. mostly unpaved, dusty, holes, cows and crazy traffic. not bad for one of the most common routes in the whole of se asia, it's probably the route every tourist around here takes at least once in his life; mostly by plane though.

i ordered the cab for 6 in the morning to get a competitive edge at the border crossing since i've heard it can get a bit messy there, especially with thai immigration. since i couldn't reserve a nice room anywhere i wanted to appear at khao san road not very late, too. so 6 it was.

at 09:30 i was already at the border... departure was easy on the cambodian side: no queue, no bribes. i walked past the 5 or 6 big casinos between the two countries and almost missed thai immigration. it's quite confusing where you need to go and where to get your immigration form but i managed. queue was not too bad but moving slooooow...

two monks came pushing into my line 10 people before me. i'm not a big fan of the clergy in general, but i seriously don't understand why with all the other benefits they seem to have the right to jump the queue. i wish them never to find enlightenment haha

the foreigners line was full with cambodians, btw. just one older westerner and one visa-runner around. they should make a quick-immigration for their neighbors... 5 border dudes were just sitting around or at the empty thai counter anyway. tataaaa - back in thailand, where nobody moves his ass :)

there are rumors of this thai immigration hassling tourists as much as possible and there are also rumors of the onward ticket proof being enforced at some posts. so i was a bit worried, especially since the 'onward ticket <30 days from now proof must be shown!' posters are pinned to the wall.

and of course, the immigration dude was checking every single of the 19 filled pages in my passport, counting thailand days from the last time and asking 'do you have a onward ticket?'. i smiled and handed him my rtw ticket with the singapore - london flight on the 25/6 (puh lucky that i didn't move it later than 30 days from now on my paper ticket back when i was in shanghai...) and he seemed somewhat satisfied with it and let me pass. not before writing a big fat '2' in my passport next to the new immigration stamp.

it was 10:15 now, no chance for the 10:30 bus i wanted to catch (government-run, a bit nicer than the regular subcontracted buses... yes!). took the tuktuk ride (80baht... i could not bargain them down to the fair price of 70baht, using all my skills... i felt miserable) into aranya prathet town where the busses to bangkok run. the tuktuk driver delivered me at the market where some guy shouted at my face trying to sell me a ticket in a way that all my scam-alerts went off. i told him to bugger off and on my way to the long-awaited 7eleven i found the real government bus office on the other side of the road. got a ticket for 11 and went to get my 7/11 hot dog and super-huge coke i dreamt of all night! that felt good... but i think this poor dude from before was just selling second class bus tickets that nobody wants, so i don't think there was any ksr bus style scamming going on.

jumped into the bus and off it went. i didn't remember how comfortable thai busses are... and the roads... mhhh and only 4.5 hours later we arrived at mo chit station in bangkok. scaring off all the scam taxidrivers, heading to the efficiently run taximeter area and then the 45 minute taxi ride back 'home', khao san road. i thought long about really going back there or sticking with the more grown up sukhumvit area. but i missed khao san road and definitely wanted to stay here for the 2 nights.

got a (mediocre) room in d&d inn with khao san road window exposure and went down my ksr todo list:

1. jump into the d&d pool
2. eat at burgerking
3. eat a banana chocolate roti
4. get dreadlocks... damn no hair left! just kidding

khao san road has changed soooooo much during the last 2 months. it looks really really different, especially being here alone and not with friends and later with chona as last time. d&d is full with english bold-head-tribal-tattoo-and-sunglasses blokes and the dreadlocked slu... err partygirls. but it felt good to jump into that pool and it felt even better to eat at burger king again, after two months of burger king free time in north thailand, laos, vietnam and cambodia!

so much for me living the true thailand experience... fuck that... burger king and khao san road all the way, baby!!!

tonight - khao san nightlife. tomorrow maybe bed supperclub, dont know yet. and i will try to get my train-bus-ferry combo ticket to ko samui for as soon as possible.

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what is going on... i'm back in bangkok (more on the journey and the last angkor wat days later!) and everything has changed at khao san road!

well, everything but the traffic... cab ride from mo chit took 45 minutes hehe

building have been taken down, new ones are here, scaffolding has changed, names have changed, people have changed... damn! it was only 2 months ago that i've left bangkok and i almost don't recognize it :)

also, i'm back at d&d inn and everything reminds me of chona :)

photo by: Deats