Bangkok - Amsterdam and Epilogue

Bangkok Travel Blog

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It must have been around half past one in the afternoon when I opened the front door and walked into the living room. Gringo, my cat looked at me in amazement as if he wanted to say 'where the hell did you suddenly come from?". A very normal reaction when I've been away for some weeks and as always it was followed by a lot of cuddling and nuzzling before it turned into his typical 'damn you for leaving me'-attitude when he starts miaowing loudly and biting my legs. It's good to be back home. ;-)

It had been a long journey since getting up at Tad Fane; 36 hours. Fortunately the night in Bangkok made it more bearable, I had been able to get a bit of sleep on the plane (not such a big surprise after being awake for 22 hours) and the flight arrived slightly ahead of schedule.
We were met by Terry, Paul's girlfriend, at Schiphol and in the absence of Beerlao we had a final cup of coffee together before Ad, Mieke and I headed south on the train.

So what did I think of this trip ? A absolutely loved it. After Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam this was my 4th trip to South-East Asia and it's without a doubt my favourite of the four. There's various reasons for this. To name a few:

- The program. Unlike the other journey's I had assembled this one myself, based on several other organised trips, and had left the organisation in the hands of a specialised travel agency. As such the program for the 3+ weeks was exactly what I wanted. No unnecessary stops in boring places or skipping good stuff. The balance between days of travel (during which there were enough interesting stops), sight-seeing of temples, enjoying the country's nature and activities like trekkings, cycling and kayaking was optimal.

- The travellers. I've travelled in larger groups (15-20) before, and although I love meeting new people and making new friends it does come with a certain amount of necessary adaptation and inflexibility. In my journeys to Northern India and Laos I gathered people around me I knew well and of which I was sure they were great travel companions. This offered much more flexibility, especially since we were like-minded, shared the same humour (e.g. at the height of corniness 'sweet and sour chicken' has turned into 'sweat and shower') and enjoyed the same things (not the least the constant sharing of food and drinks). With the exception of the tubing in Vang Vieng, when Paul preferred to go exploring the area on a motorbike, it was the four of us all the way without any mentionable form of friction whatsoever. Good company makes great travelling and whenever possible I will make my journeys individually organised with friends like these.

- The people. Sure, South-East Asia is know for it's kind people and smiles, but never before have I found such heartfelt kindness as with the Lao people. A smile is really a smile here, no pushy street vendors and aggravating obtrusiveness. Lao people understand 'no' immediately. What's more, we had excellent guides with great senses of humour in the form of Phoumy, Shot and especially Keo. 'Baw pen nyang' (no problem) is the motto of the country and you'll have a hard time finding any country which is so laid back as Laos.

I fell in love with Laos, it's people and culture and I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't my last trip to this country. I have the feeling I need to go back sometime. If only to do the tubing trip correctly. ;-)

To my fellow 'falang' companions: thanks for making this an unforgettable journey! Bring on the next one. ;-)
Biedjee says:
Laos was the biggest surprise of SE Asia for me as well. Couldn't agree with you more about the people.
Posted on: Nov 30, 2009
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Bangkok
photo by: Deats