A Travellerspoint blog

November 2005

Trat

We’ve spent all day on a coach, moving to a small town about 400km South-East of Bangkok called Trat, on our way down to Ko Chag, one of the islands off the south coast. We’ve booked into a hotel that has the luxury of hot water, so I’m looking forward to a nice long shower before setting off for the Ko Chang ferry tomorrow.

On the coach, we heard reports of a coup taking place in Fiji, but can’t find anything on the internet about it – has anything been on the news? We’ve found a bargain way to travel round our next stop, Cambodia. Apparently, it’s completely free to travel in the front carriage of any train there – the only slight downside is that the front carriage doubles as a minesweeper.

Ko Chang looks absolutly idillic, so you can look forward to some nice pictures when we get back to the mainland!

Posted by roblist 07:19 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Still in Bangkok

We haven't done an awful lot in Thailand as yet. We're trying to arrange our overland trip to Ho Chi Min, but everything closes down here for the weekend which means we have to stay until Monday at the earliest.

Last night we left our safe haven of the Siam Dang district and took the efficient skytrain downtown for a river cruise. Security chased us onto the train, and we were pretty relieved to learn that it was just because I was carrying a drink.

The taxis here are generally very good, and all use the meter which prevents drivers from ripping people off (although it does encourage them to take creative routes to places). We have had one bad experience though, when trying to get to a restaurant for dinner the driver told us he knew where we wanted to go, but instead took us somewhere different. They do this because they get commission from the owner, but it means vastly inflated bills for us, so we refused to get out and demanded he take us to the correct restaurant. Firstly, he tried to talk us out of it by saying it was over an hour away, which was silly as he already knew we had a map. When we said we wanted to go anyway, he wasn’t very happy and started shouting high-pitched Thai obscenities at us, speeding around the city and banging on the steering wheel. Eventually we got out of the taxi around the station area, with the driver shouting ‘fook you’ as we left. Eventually, we found our way and had the best meal we've had in ages.

Posted by roblist 03:23 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

Arrived in Thailand!

We arrived in Bangkok at about 6:30am this morning and spent about an hour queuing for a visa unnecessarily. Once past airport security we were relieved to find our two bags still going round on the baggage reclaim carousel. Neither of us had any sleep on the plane so it was such a relief to find a taxi that we couldn’t be bothered to argue about the price.

If you’ve been reading the blog for long, you’ll know that we found Delhi about as much fun as using a rabid porcupine to loofah, so when we left the airport and saw the clean streets and skyscrapers of Bangkok for the first time we had to check we’d flown into the right city. Given that the city looked so western I started to feel nervous about the quality of our seven pound a night hotel, so we felt absolutely elated when we saw our hotel for the first time, it’s almost as good as the Orchid hotel in Mumbai.

By the time we’d checked in it was 10am, and all we wanted to do was sleep. We woke up at about 3pm and had some ‘breakfast’. We were feeling smug about booking this hotel so cheaply, but then realised we’ve only got the room for one night. We’re going to try and extend our booking, but apparently the hotel is full. We’re hoping that there’s going to be a cancellation tonight, but we won’t find out until tomorrow.

We ventured into town to do some shopping. The Thais don’t appreciate it if you’re not dressed reasonably smartly (or at least not in a T-shirt with food stains on it), so I wanted to pick up some new clothes. In a department store we found a Marks and Spencer food section with loads of yummy stuff from back home.

We’re in an internet/gaming café now, trying to arrange backup accommodation for tomorrow and a route from here to Ho Chi Min. I might stop here a while and play some computer games with the locals (if Tabi lets me).

Posted by roblist 08:30 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Delhi

We arrived at about 11pm last night and were immediately besieged by rickshaw drivers touting for business, as is customary. After a lot of haggling we finally got the price down from 200 rupees to 60, which was still about twice as much as it should have been. Usually when you do this to a rickshaw driver they take you to a hotel of their choice rather than yours, so we made sure to explain that we didn’t want to go to any other hotel, didn’t want to go shopping first and didn’t want a sightseeing tour.

After getting lost, he did take us to our hotel, although we noticed that one of our bags had been opened by him. We couldn’t se anything immediately obvious that had gone missing so we checked in anyway. The hotel tried to increase the price of the room and give us one without a window. I became increasingly annoyed and eventually the hotel owner gave us a the correct room – probably to stop me making a scene. We’re staying in the Pahagang area of town, a very smelly, very busy, crap-on-the-street area where one of the Delhi bombs went off, although it’s incredible to think that anyone noticed.

When I woke up this morning I discovered that it was my sunglasses that the rickshaw driver took from my bag, which is annoying, as they’re prescription so I can’t just pick up another pair on the street. We went to the police station to file a police report for insurance purposes and met a couple of Australian girls who had their passports, visas, money and bags taken. On top of that, she’d injured her back landing on some rocks after falling off a camel. She seemed quite relaxed given she’d just lost all her stuff, done in her back and was complaining that she was loosing feeling in her right leg. Call me sadistic, but there’s nothing like the misfortune of others to cheer me up and the Aussie’s tale certainly put ours into perspective.

We left the police station with our police report (that I wrote, I hope the insurance company accepts it) and onto a pharmacy. I carry a nebuliser for my asthma and unfortunately parts of it got broken en route and needed replacing. Amazingly a local pharmacy stocked the spare parts, and, for an extra few rupee, one or two asthma drugs that are supposed to only be available on prescription.

We’ve decided not to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal, it’s not going anywhere and neither of us feel like facing a long train journey and a visit to another city full of tourists and locals trying to rip them off at every turn.

We fly out of India at 00:05 on Thursday morning, so tonight is our last night and tomorrow our last day. On to Bangkok in Thailand now, where we begin an overland journey through Cambodia to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) in Vietnam.

Posted by roblist 03:47 Archived in India Comments (8)

More photos!

Travellerspoint have featured some of our photos in their India gallery, which has inspired us to add some more. You can check out the all of the latest additions here.

Here's a couple of my favourites:

Udaipuir City Gates.jpg
Udaipur's city gates

Pushkar Street.jpg
Pushkar Street Scene - almost got run over taking this

Udaipur Lake Palace.jpg
Udaipur Lake Palace

We're off to catch a bus to Ajmer now, and then we take a train from there to Delhi. Two more nights left in India, then onto Thailand!

Posted by roblist 22:11 Archived in India Comments (1)

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