15 hours on 2 buses and I was back in Bangkok. My journey to Cambodia needed to start there as I had decided not to visit Laos as originally planned. I resisted the temptations of Koh San Road and had an early night – very wise decision! The following day turned out to be the most challenging of my travels so far:
Starting the day at 4.45am me and Katie jumped in a taxi to take us to Bangkok train station. We purchased our 50bht (£1 approx) tickets for the 3rd class train to take us to Aranyaprathet, the border of Thailand. The journey was supposedly 6 hours but it took 7. The train was clean and all the windows wound down so there was a nice breeze with nice views, just very uncomfortable after sitting on a train seat for 7 hours. Once off the train it was then an 80bht tuk tuk drive to the border. Once at the border we had to go through Passport Control and then it was a 10 minute walk to get our Visas. This cost $20 as expected but then there was a surprise 100bht to be paid, for what? No one that day was actually able to find out! Once the Visa was stapled into the passport it was then a further 5 minute walk to another Passport Control where yet another form was to be completed and finger prints and photo taken. This border crossing on foot took approximately an hour. Finally we were through to Cambodia, but it didnt stop there; it was then an official free bus ride to the bus station. For $10 we bought our bus ticket to Siem Reap and 3 hours later we arrived, but only in the town, it was then another tuk tuk journey to our pre-booked hostel, Mad Monkey. Time of arrival 6.15pm!! The journey ran smoothly thanks to some internet research we did, it was just made tough due to the uncomfortable transport, heat and heavy backpacks.
It’s times like this that make travelling alone rewarding. I treasure and appreciate experiences, whether good or bad and am able to deal with the bad. Travelling alone means you do not have your treasured experiences ruined by someone elses grumbling.
My first morning in Bangkok I woke up to the loudest thunder, brightest lightening & heaviest rain I have ever heard, but by 12 noon the storm had passed leaving it very hot and humid. A little uncomfortable, but to me this jus adds to the great atmosphere of Bangkok.
I had estimated to spend 3 nights in Bangkok but have just booked an extra night here at Napark Hostel. I met a great bunch of people on my first day and its been non-stop since. On the first day we walked to Wat Pho which is a beautiful temple in Bangkok and home to the Sleeping Buddha. Entrance fee 100bht. We did originally set out to see the Grand Palace, but got lost and ended up here instead!
The following day me and Rachel headed out early to the Umbrella Market and the Floating Market. The Umbrella market was unusual to say the least! The market traders set up stalls along the rail track and when the train comes they put down their unbrellas until it passes. Of all the places they could set up market, why here, I have still yet to research!
The floating market was another interesting experience, traders trade from their longtail boats on the river and although this an historic market it has now become a tourist trap. But if its helps the Thai people earn money then there is nothing wrong with tourist traps in my opinion. We had to pay an additional 150bht to cruise along the river market, but I was happy to pay this as the experience was one of a kind.
This trip cost 350bht. I booked it through a travel agent I came across whilst out walking.
Napark Hostel is a brilliant starting point, its safe, clean, friendly and central. A bit more expensive than others but a great place to meet your first set of travel buddies.
My first 4 days has been everything I expected and I am really enjoying myself.
Excited, nervous, sad, excited. This was the emotional roller coaster I experienced on Tuesday, the day of my flight to Bangkok & the first stop on my travels.
The sadness came from having to say goodbye to my parents, obviously because I will miss them, but the fact that I am only away for 3 months makes that easier, it mainly came from knowing that I was leaving them very worried and it makes me sad to know that I am putting them through it. But I know they are pleased for me.
My flights ran smoothly but because I had a 2 hour stop over at Dubai it made the whole flight seem extra long & tiring. When I finally landed in Bangkok I gave a taxi driver the address of my hostel & he drove me to Khao San Road. Khao San Road is a stretch of road filled with market stalls & hostels, but I knew my hostel wasn’t on this road. The taxi driver insisted it was but knowing he was wrong I paid him as I knew my hostel was only a few streets away. Any Thai person who spoke English asked if they could help me find my way and after several friendly attempts at helping me, not one person got me to my hostel. So I found a tuk tuk driver who tried to charge me 200bht, I laughed and after some haggling I got him down to 20bht (about 40p).
So after about 30 minutes of searching, I finally arrived at my hostel. After removing my shoes I stepped inside to be greeted by lots of fellow backpackers chatting and relaxing on the cushioned flooring area. As I had arranged to meet a friend of a friend I locked my backpack in my dorm cupboard (so pleased I remembered to bring a padlock) and headed out.