This set of travel notes is not going to be as detailed as the previous ones, since I have waited a little long before writing them, but you should get an idea of what I have been doing. I have actually spent more time Malaysia, which I will go on about in the next set of notes, than I was planning to, so I will probably find myself going home in May or when the money runs out. ** Chiang Kong I arrived in Thailand, by a small boat across the Mekong. I cleared immigration in Chiang Kong and then took a pickup, with some other people I had met on the boat, to the bus agency. We had hoped to take the 9 o'clock bus, but we has missed that by fifteen minutes, so we ended up settling for the next available bus, which left at 11 o'clock. When the bus finally came we spent most of the rest of the day in the bus, arriving sometime in the evening, in Chiang Mai. ** Chiang Mai I checked into the Blue house guest house and spent a day visiting the city again and passing by some more shopping centres. I took a private bus to Bangkok, though this one was not as good as the last one I took. Despite the air-conditioning being on the bus felt hot and stuffy and the windows could not be opened. ** Bangkok My main reason for coming back to Bangkok was because my camera lense had developed a fault, and the fastest way to get it sorted was to bring it to Bangkok. I was told it would take seven days to fix. This skewed my planning a bit and meant I would be behind on my schedule. I took advantage of this time to visit a little more of the city, but I decided that there was no way I was going to last seven days in Bangkok. While the city is great to visit, after a while without your own place, you realise that it is not easy to relax there. Based on a suggestion I decided to head to Ayuthaya, one and half hours away, this time taking a government bus. ** Ayuthaya Ayuthaya is the old capital of Thailand and is a city with plenty of historic ruins to see. I spent three days there discovering the city and seeing the sites, by bicycle. http://www.amazing-thailand.com/Ayuthaya.html ** Khao Yai national Park Before heading back to Bangkok, I decided to go an visit the national park of Khao Yai, to the north east of Bangkok. To get there I took the 08:30 train. I checked in to a guest house, outside of the park, and booked myself a tour, which included a guide. The first day included a visit of a cave with bats, followed by watching over 1 million bats leaving the cave at dusk. That was a site to behold. They just on coming and were still coming, as the darkness set in. The next day we went into the park to do a walk and see any wildlife that might show itself. Later on we took the pickup, which was part of the tour, to drive along the roads in the park. We managed to see some wild elephants, in their natural habitat crossing the road. The next day I did a trek with some other people that I had met in the guest house. To get there we had to a 'bus', which was more of a truck with two benches in the back, to the park entrance and then got a lift from the entrance to the visitor's centre in the park. To get back involved another few lifts. http://www.thaiparks123.com/en/nationalpark.cfm?parkid=17 ** Bangkok After visiting the park I returned to Bangkok, again by a government bus. I spent the little time I had there getting my camera and booking a VIP government bus to Ko Pha Ngan. The government bus was well air conditioned and they provided a small snack of a drink cartoon and some biscuits. Since I had not realised that it was possible to book a bus from Bangkok to Ko Pha Ngan, I got taken for a bit of ride when I got to Surithani, paying way more than I should have, at 5am. ** Ko Pha Ngan I spent three days in Ko Pha Ngan, in a guest house in Haad Salad, just doing nothing. The place I was staying at was the guest house attached to the "Regae bar". I mis-calculated the amount of cash I would need for the island, and I was not near an ATM, so I just had to be careful with the money I had taken with me. I spent a bit of time sunbathing and then a few days regreting spending too much time on the beach. To get off the island I booked a taxi to Tong Sala and from there took a boat to Surithani. At Surithani I got a mini-bus to Hat Yai. http://www.phangan.info/ ** Hat Yai Hat Yai was just a stop off point before going down to Malaysia. I spent a day there discovering the city, staying in "Cathy Guest House" and getting my bus sorted, for Kuala Lumpur. The bus to Kuala Lumpur, which was operated by the Malaysian bus company "Konsortium Bas Ekspres" was a big change to the ones I have been used to anywere. The seats were three to a row and felt like laz-e-boys, with enough feet space for anyone.
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