banner connect on Twitter connect on Facebook connect on Hyves cycling in Europe part I cycling in Asia part I cycling in North America cycling in Central America cycling in South America cycling in Europe part II cycling in Africa RSS feeds home page

Previous trips: Thailand 1998

sonalinks Nuweiba Beach, accommodation in Sinai advertise on justifiable web design Bedouin Craft Cycling Egypt

Diary of our (non-bicycle) trip through Thailand 1998


Let's start with the horror flight! Unbeknown to us we left Cairns (1 hour late) & stopped over in Darwin + Denpasar before arriving in Jakarta for a 6 hour wait. Plane late to leave again and finally made it to Bangkok airport @ 11.07pm (customs). Cost B280 to taxi it to Khao San Rd. Hasn't changed a bit from a year + a half ago. Still dirty, still pumping & still as wonderfully exciting as last time. We both breathed a sigh of relief once we found somewhere to stay. Expensive @ B270 / single room. Everywhere was totally full, which was a bit of a drag as we had to lug our 17kg. around (a lot lighter than the last time mind you!) Ali wanted to stay another night as he couldn't be bothered finding another place. I think it is a bit of a waste of money as we could find somewhere else for 1/2 the price. Oh well its only $3 (Oz$) or so extra. After a few beers on Khao San Rd. we were absolutely beat, been up since 4.15am and it was now 2.00am and apart from a few cat naps on the plane and a 2 hour snooze on the floor of Jakarta's transit area we had been on the move + awake the whole time. Its these times when you get irritated easily and tend to have minor arguments with your travel partner. We have been on the usual walk around the area today. Its hot & sweaty + have my legs covered in mosquito bites (from Cairns). On the back of my right leg you can barely see a patch of skin that doesn't have a welt the size of a 50cent piece on it. So fucken itchy that when you scratch for relief its almost orgasmic. I think Ali had the best brainwave this side of the hemisphere when he lead me into a pharmacy to get some relief. I pulled up my trouser leg & pretended to scratch + immediately a bottle of calamine lotion (B58) was administered. Sat on the footpath + dabbed it all over my legs - thickest calamine I've ever used + now I'm in relief. Sitting at Khao San Corner Restaurant enjoying a Singha or two (we are good at that!) Just bought Ali some sandals B150 - & a "backpack" for our luggage which was in the Bacardi bag @ B220. Prices haven't changed & we still see the same people @ their stalls. The old man selling hammocks just walked past - offered B100 for one, got 2 for B160. Sending one to Craig + Gabi - think they'll like it. Some prices to compare. Singha Beer (large) B80-100 (Jakarta airport cost $6 Aust. for one VB!!) Break fats for 2 (Thai food) B130. This is making me hungry, gotta eat !!


Big walk to train station + back 2 1/2 hours in a round about fashion. Always seems, if you see one furniture shop there will be a 100 all in the same street. Next street might be mechanics. Never mix the shop - must lead to very competitive prices. Got back to Khao San Road + started on the Singha and that was the end of us. Nap in the late avo + awoke to go + play snooker. Had been to a snooker centre day before + thought we'd take a tuk-tuk this time. He took us to different snooker centre. Up 5 stories via girls in glitzy dresses - sleazy atmosphere except for the snooker floor. As per usual, lots of giggles when we walked in. Cues were crap which made us look worse than we already are. Back to Khao San Road for some food. I was feeling pretty pissed by this stage. Big pig-out + home to bed. Wow what an eventful day.


Train station waiting for journey to Ayuthaya - 15 Baht each. Tuk-tuk ride was horrendous. Best thing is to close your eyes + wait till you get there. Ride cost B50 but we gave him B60 as he did get us there very quickly & by a most scenic route down side streets. Looking forward to moving on hopefully getting a little more rural + quieter. Bets way of traveling is by trains. They are so cheap + you travel with locals which always adds a bit of excitement compared to an airconditioned bus full of tourists. Had a nice little nap on the train & arrived in Ayuthaya 1 hour + 40 minutes later. Plenty of tuk-tuks available & cost B40 to go to Cathay Hotel. Driver spoke very good English + FOC trip to the wat with light tonight pending our sightseeing trip tomorrow. We need to negotiate the price with him yet but appears to be of value. He had en exercise book full of comments from other travellers. As Ali said he was from Holland we got the one in Dutch. We don't want to see all the wats - be totally watted out if we did but they are so old from 1300 AD and more. Should be pretty interesting. Glad we chose a hotel instead of a guesthouse, B200-/ night with towels, water and fresh pillow cases. Big + spacious dirty bathrooms but at least a double bed. Called a 'single with fan'. Great view of the river. Next door is an eatery with menus in English. That's always a trap though as you don't eat the traditional foods but non the less any food in Thailand is excellent. They are open 7.00am - 7.30pm & have a great breakfast menu.


OK, done the wat tour + to the elephants 450 Bath - 3 1/2 hours long. Was really good + interesting. All ruins, took a lot of photos. Didn't go into all of them, average price B30. Seen enough wats + chedis now. Got the driver to show me where to get my shoes resoled. Cost B80. Weren't ready on our way back, so went for some food + a few Singhas (of course) and then walked back to the market area + picked up the shoes. Looked at electric drills. Ranged from B1000 - B1850. Will keep looking and if it gets any cheaper I'll buy one and carry it myself on Aaldrik's instructions. Met a German couple looking for a hotel at the markets + pointed them in the direction of Cathay Hotel. Met up with them later that night and ate at the night markets together with Kenny, who was in the restaurant with Aaldrik, Witthaya + another tuk-tuk guide when I came down from my afternoon siesta. Stayed there chatting for a while + then went to go to a bar where a band was playing. They weren't going to start for 2 hours so decided to eat @ night market. All went separate ways after that + we ventured to the Rodeo Bar with band - music a bit boring but it was pretty busy. Went back to the Hotel + slept. Alis had this idea that we should buy a scooter + tour around on it. Cost B5900 new. Don't know anything about registration etc. Then wants to sell in Nakon si Thamarat. I'm not so sure, but he was adamant that he would go to the police station and suss out today. The idea has now gone by the wayside - I'm a little relieved. I quite enjoy the train system, so that's how we'll continue. Train leaves @ 1.10pm, now 11.10am so a couple of hours to kill hanging around. Just finished breakfast + Witthaya hung around trying to convince us that the train leaves @ 10.30am but our timetable says differently. Really you don't know who to believe. Have his address as he wants a kangaroo sticker + flag sticker from Australia. Will try + tee it up with Mum + Dad. Must send postcard to them + let them know we are OK. (cost B40 to get to train station as per reverse journey).


So the train left on time 2 days ago and arrived on time in Nakon Ratchasima. Train trip was okay, we had a seat straight away opposite two well dressed show-offs from Bangkok. Leg space was so short and my legs got cramp + I moved to a side seat to spread them out. God knows how Ali coped. Interesting to note that in Ayutthaya all he fares had been predestined & the train station had a board with the cost from A to B written down. We worked out we got a good deal for our tour @ B150 for a hour tour. Ours took about 3 hours + we paid B450. Something you have to get used to is the opening of the ticket office - it happens only about 10 minutes before you have to bound which is a bit of a hassle when the train station is crowded. Can buy tickets on the train though if really desperate. Found the hotel in Nakon Rat just down + opposite the train station. Very clean, in fact the cleanest we have ever seen +{ good value for B160. Took off for a walk for what seemed like ages and I was really hungry - hadn't eaten since breakfast ~ @ 9.30am and it was then nearly 7.30pm. Found a wonderful food stall & had a great feed of Phad Thai + one beer cost B100. Worked out that the beer cost B60 & both dishes cost B40. Such wonderful value. Went back the next night but decided on the soup stall across the road. Here a big bowl of pork, soup, vegetables + noodles each plus a scrummy pineapple shake cost only B60. Sure is better eating in the stalls than in actual restaurants. After our Pad Thai we decided to check out the New Country Pub. Great set up all made out of logs + I'd really like a house like that one day. The woman who served us, her name somewhere between 'Di' or 'Ti', was constantly moving + didn't stop the whole time. was a real character + talked to us a lot as well as giving us two plates of prawn crackers, green mango + dipping spice from sugar, salt and chili, and another of ground chili + fish sauce (Ali liked it, I'm not so sure!) And to finish off a couple of bean like pods with these seeds covered in a paste similar to chocolate, coffee taste. I liked these + Ali wasn't so sure this time. 4 Beers + 3 buckets of ice cost B350 + we tipped B50. Learnt how to say 'I want' and a few other things. Said we'd go back the next night but unfortunately didn't. Fell asleep early and slept long !! Next day did a city tour and bought a few necessities: talcon powder B12, razor for Ali B70, mosi repellent B28, tampons (story in themselves. Drew pictures + a woman's body in chemists + finally the lady in the second one said department store - so that's where we'll go from now on). Cost B43 for ten regular + they even had a little display to show you the sizes of small, regular + large. Also bought a Thai-English book for Daeng at Talay Inn. The more I think about it, the more I know he'll like it. Will certainly get good use out of it when we are there. Don't buy books / dictionaries back home, get them here. We paid $16,95 + could have got one for (very similar) B60. Didn't buy the padlock, but need to ASAP. Before the walk had breakie at a little restaurant. Very similar to the famous Hanoi chicken rice, but no bones - I dig that soup, Ali doesn't so I get his as well !! On the way back found a snooker centre which was the best so far. Cost B100/hour. Ali played quite well (23 break), me worse as per usual, get a few in, miss a lot. Forgot to mention the music at the New Country Pub there was a solo guitarist. The Thai men have such beautiful voices, so placid + sweet. They don't go boisterous with their music - all beautiful songs of working, love + being Thai (well that's what we summize - we don't understand what they are saying). The first guy sang quite a few songs in English - Lennon, Guns + Roses etc and mushy ga-ga numbers - but was good although a little nervous. Then what looked like the guy owner got up + filled the air with Thai numbers. Everyone (except us) got so excited + clapped + sang along at the top of their lungs. So back to the snooker, was the least imposing club we'd been in to meaning, at least everyone didn't stop what they were doing when we walked in. Left after 4 games + went back to the hotel. Noticed lots of the Songkla fabrics on sale for B100 for 2 metres (not bad price). Had a shower + spruced up to go out for tea as mentioned before. Had a big soup each. Headed back and was confronted by an elephant on the sidewalk. God I'd hate to have to ride one of them through the traffic in Thailand. Just today in the paper an elephant broke it's leg falling down an open sewer in Bangkok. They used PVC piping and cloth to strap it up. Talked a bit in the hotel about our journey plans and blow me down both fell asleep.

New day and leaving for Ubon Ratchatani. Went to the Tokyo Hotel for breakfast after packing up our bags and leaving the room. Excellent chicken, chili + basil with rice and fried egg B40 each. Really huge meal and menu in English as well. Walked back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and off to the train station. Once again ticket office not open. Bought ticket which had seat number on it. When train finally arrived it was the biggest shit fight to get on. Had to stand for nearly 2 1/2 hours before getting a seat from someone getting off (actually our seat number on our ticket). Train was packed and it would be so bad standing or leaning on the arm rests if not for the thousand peddlers walking up + down selling their wares. Each time they pass you have to move out of the way - quite bloody irritating. The train ran 1 hour 20 minutes late into Surin + after there it was nearly empty. Had two seats each. Some concellation. Bought one can of Singha at ha sip ha B55 outrageous. I could hear the Thai people opposite us talking about it. Well not everything but I kep hearing "ha sip ha" mentioned a few times so I gathered it was about the cost. Pretty boring country side. Wrong time of year as they are burning off all the paddy fields ready for ploughing again - very dry and windy + with the burning you keep getting covered in black soot and coughing from the smoke. Word of advice - don't sit too close to the toilets - they absolutely stink and I held on for the whole 6 hours - better than risking slipping in on the bumpy ride. The trains are non smoking but you can go between the carriages + have one or face the window with your cigarette hanging outside + smoke that way - better walking up the carriage join though. Always interesting characters sitting there. So finally made it and a million tuk-tuks waiting. Got one to guess what "Tokyo Hotel" no 124678732 in Thailand for B50 (tuk-tuk cost). Quite a distance from the train station. Have to cross the river ~3-4 times. Room cost B170. Same, same as before. Had a shower + did some washing and grabbed a map from the guy downstairs, who pointed us in the direction of an excellent eating place. B210 for tom-yam with shrimp, 2 rice, pork + pak choy & 2 large Singha (Song Bia Sigh Yai). It was delicious and they also have a menu in English though as mentioned before I think it's better to order yourself by pointing at things + its more of a surprise what you get. Accosted by lots of young children with long faces sad trying to sell lais. They really tell a sad story even though you can't understand them. Just as we are about to leave for the pub across the road, an elephant rocks up playing a harmonica - amazing - obviously another ploy to grab money from diners. Now across the road + I have just written the last upteen pages on Ali's sayso - or else I don't get my Dutch lesson. He has drunk about 2 1/2 Singha + me -> 1/2. Oh well, I'm the one that needs to be sober. Music is pretty terrible this time - ok voices now they've warmed up but took a while to get their guitars in tune. Enough is enough - my hand is aching. Bye.


Spent the next day walking round Ubon Ratchatani + found the floating restaurants. All these tiny bamboo platforms on stilts joined by wooden bridges. Was so relaxing, would have liked to eat dinner there, but we decided on a big feed back at the restaurant close to our hotel. Had to walk a long bridge, rickety & wobbly in parts. Was beautiful though. Just lazed + rested + read the paper for an hour or so. All the children run up & down the planks delivering foord + drinks. One large floating platoon had a whole family really getting into their day off. Eating, drinking, swimming, singins and generally having a good time. Prior to finding this little oasis we visited the Thai Tourist Bureau & got a map with all the bus times + departure spots for moving on to That Phanom today. Very helpful. Bought a postcard and send to Mum + Dad for their security. Debated on which way we'd travel & later that evening decided on the air con bus @ B54 (which apparently takes approx. 6 hours). After our long walk went back to the hotel & rested again (as if we needed it!), showered and then back to the well frequented (locally) restaurant. We were both very hungry so we went to town on the food. Ordered fried mixed vegetables (asparagus, snow peas, some kind of choy & cauliflower). A pork tom yam in the big silver boat with flame, and the most tender duck (Red Ochre duck as Ali called it) in a sweet/sour soya dressing. Including one Singha @ B60 it cost B220 total - wow, what value. Whilst eating I suggested a game of snooker, knowing full well Ali would never refuse a challenge. Asked at our hotel where to go + sure enough, gave us a couple of options. Decided to walk to the closest and found it quite easily. 4 frames to Ali, none to me, yet I did start off good, Ali just kept getting better + I stayed the same. good tables & not so good cues but the guy scoring for us was the least unobtrusive of all so far. 16

About Us | Site Map | Feed | Contact Us | ©2011 all rights reserved
webdesign & maintenance