Travel Notes 5

Travel Notes 5

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.

** 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.

** 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

** 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.