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Archive for September, 2008

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Riding luxury to Chiang Mai

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

I’m sitting at the bus station in Bangkok waiting for my bus to Chiang Mai. All locals here and no backpackers in sight. I was thinking “Shit! Was I sold the wrong bus ticket?” (I bought my ticket through a travel agency and of course they probably sold me the most expensive ticket, although I’m sure riding in an a/c bus is very nice but really not necessary for me with my budget).

So at the station was a line of regular a/c tour buses. I showed the train manager my ticket and he pointed at a bus that was just about to leave….I threw my backpack under the bus and jumped in. Just as we were leaving the station – It turns out that they double booked my seat and there were no more seats available. Fudge! I was cursing the travel agency in my head!

But all worked out in the end – the manager put me on a VIP double decker sleeper bus – fully loaded with a/c, two televisions, recliner seats, a restroom, pillow & blanket, food, drinks and a even a refreshing face towel in the morning. Sweet! The 10 hour ride to Chiang Mai was real nice…I slept like a baby. Now i just hope they screw up my return ticket back to Bangkok… lol just kidding 🙂

I’ll be in Chiang Mai for a week – I’ll be doing some trekking/camping for the next 3 days – so I’m looking forward to that! Might also go further up north to Chiang Rai – but haven’t decided yet.

Shout out to Naoyaki from Tokyo, Japan – It was a pleasure talking to you. Thanks again for the beer and keeping me company for the 6 hours that I had to kill in Bangkok before my bus to Chiang Mai. Keep in touch!

Naoyaki was at the end of his 3 month travel – he spent a month in India, a month in Nepal and now Thailand. He spent $2500 total (that was including his air tickets). Very impressive my friend! [read on]

Thailand – “Land of Smiles”

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

There were no smiles at the airport immigration when I arrived at 1am. Maybe it was because it was early in the morning and the immigration lines were crazy long or maybe the officers had to keep a straight face because it is immigration and in most countries that I’ve been to – all immigration officers carried a strict face.

But anyway, I’m in Bangkok! Yay! I got in early AM yesterday and was in my hotel at 2:30am sound asleep. It’s a 40 minute drive to the city from the Suvarnabhumi Airport . I got a hotel for 450 baht a night ($13 USD). Being the big eater that I am – as soon as I woke up I went straight for a food cart off the streets of the oh so famous “Khao San Rd” aka “backpackers lane” and got some pad thai for 20 baht (.50). I headed off to see the Grand Palace (a must see when visiting Bangkok) and asked a tuk tuk driver to take me there. He offered to take me to a few smaller temples and then to the Grand Palace and only charge me 10 baht – the catch was – I had to stop by two gem stores and look around but I didn’t have to buy. I agreed – the tuk tuk in return gets a gas coupon from the store. So it was a win win for the both of us. The Grand Palace definitely lives up to its name – the decor and design are pretty extravagant! The Emerald Buddha is the main attraction for all visitors. The Buddha is regarded as the Palladium of the Kingdom, so no one is allowed to take a photo.

Finished the day off with minced pork, egg, rice w/ a spicy fish sauce for dinner and sampled one the local beers (Chang) – tasty! I leave to Chiang Mai tomorrow evening. Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand – it will be a 10 hour bus ride up. I’ll be there for about a week and then make my way back south.

Leaving Indo

Saturday, September 20th, 2008
Tomorrow morning I leave Indonesia for Thailand! I wish I had more time here - or maybe manage my time I had here better so I can see more of Indonesia; in particular to visit the other islands. I spent most ... [Continue reading this entry]


Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
To escape the hustle and bustle of Kuta, Seminyak and Denpasar - Ubud is definitely a place for just that. (An hour drive north of Denpasar). I'll be here for 3 days to take in all that Ubud has to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tanah Lot Temple

Friday, September 12th, 2008
I heard through the grapevine that one of the many places to see a Bali sunset is at Tanah Lot Temple (a 50 minute drive from Denpasar). Tanah Lot means "small island floating on the sea." Tanah Lot is known ... [Continue reading this entry]

Last day in Jogja

Friday, September 12th, 2008
Spent my last few hours roaming around Jogja. I started the day in search for a local favorite, "Gudeg" (jackfruit, brown sugar, red onions boiled in coconut milk for hours). The locals usually eat Gudeg in the late night sitting ... [Continue reading this entry]