Drive back to Bangkok
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 25 of 62 › view all entries
December 5th, 2009 – by: sshaunaa
The minibus ride was less enjoyable than the 3rd class trains I've been taking. They cram as many people into them as possible, so I was sitting up front between the driver and a Thai man with my backpack on my lap. Every time the driver changed gears he touched my legs which was up against the shifter. Thankfully it was an automatic so he wasn't constantly changing gears!
For the first 2 hours I sat up front, but then we made a detour to drop some people off at a train station. I was very happy to get a regular seat! The ride normally takes 2 hours to get to Khao San Road but since it was the King's birthday, traffic was horrendous! Eventually, once I saw airport signs and knew we were in the city, I tried to ask the driver where I should get out to get a taxi to my hotel near the airport. He kind of grunted and pointed to the door. So I got out and had no idea where I was. I'd read and been told to insist drivers use the meter and not ask for a flat rate. Well when you're standing on the side of a busy street, you don't have a clue where you are, and the driver doesn't speak a word of English, you take the flat rate. I thought with the massive traffic jams the flat 400 baht would probably be close to what I'd pay with the meter anyway. For $15 I was just happy to be off that bus!
The drive was fine except I think it took longer than normal because I think he'd turn off the freeway to avoid the tolls, and because of the massive amounts of traffic. Until that taxi ride, I thought NYC taxi drivers were crazy, but this guy wins hands down. We were going up to 150 km/hr serving around traffic on the freeway and 100km/hr when we weren't on the freeway and the traffic allowed it. I tried to put on my seat belt but the part you clip it into was stuck under the seat. I resorted to holding onto the door handle!! haha The driving does seem scary but drivers are very accommodating to other drivers overtaking them, so overall it seems safe and I hadn't seen one accident since I've been here.
The driver didn't speak English but he called his call centre and I told the lady the name of the hotel (well she only asked for the first word of the hotel name). She then told him where it was, or at least I hopped this was the case. Abotu an hour later, I knew we were in the area from a road sign but he had no idea where the hotel was. We had to stop twice to ask locals and i eventually spotted it. It was such a relief to be in my hotel. After 4.5 hours, I finally made it!
The hotel was actually a hotel and was a very nice luxury after the past three weeks. The room had A/C, a TV with English channels, a MINIBAR, hot water, a clean bathroom, plugs and a guy to carry my bags! All this for A$25.
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