A Travellerspoint blog

Bangkok

Pakse to BK

sunny 30 °C

18/01 fantastic nights sleep and a great shower, well it wasn't that the shower itself was great but that after a week it was just ace to wash !
Breakie was ok, and then watched United replay on tv - poor performance but we won ! then onto the net before lunch and bus.
Bus as usual was a bit of a farce, got to station and driver forgot to get us our tickets but i saw someone else exchanging their voucher so got it sorted - then people's seats were taken and it ended up with a few people having to stand - so much for vip hey ! bus was 125k each for journey, supposed to be 38 seater but never happened !
Got to border and no probs there, straight thro and into Thailand again - nice to be back. Ubon - changed bus, had a coupla hours to kill so got some grub - again good to be back as it was 30b each for some great rice n chicken.
Next bus was a double decker like we had from Satun, but this time we got the 4 seats downstairs which wer ace - loads of room and could practically recline to lying down.
Now, craziness as usual - we ate before getting on bus at 8.30 and then as other did we crashed out at 10ish and lights were off. Then at 2.30 they woke us up to eat ! had a food voucher but we both sacked it - why they couldn't just let us sleep is beyond me. Anyways, got to BK at 5.30. Grabbed a taxi with a Swiss couple, only 140b total to Khao San Rd.
19/01 Found out GH - New Joe's, seems ok and back of KS Rd so quiet as well. Couldn't get room so went for a wander, tried to walk towards area to get a new camera. got scammed ! guy walked with us and told us it was a bank holiday and would be closed. Recommended a few temples and grabbed us a tuk tuk that was going past - seems fine as how would he get a scam when he's not driving the tuk tuk ? but this is a scam - don't know how it works to be honest. Also when we went to a temple someone praying told us the same story !!
Anyways, got to see some cool temples but also got dropped off at a tailors. We wanted to look but were going to wait until Vietnam. anyways, i got 2 suits and Claire a dress. In the end i was very happy withe suits though not sure if i could have got it any cheaper ?? but quality seems ace. Claire's dress is spot on but again not sure if it was worth the money ?
Later on we walked to camera shop - wow, what a walk. took about an hour, but got it sorted - 77 GBP. mad shopping mall with loads of electrics but pries pretty much same as home.
Back to GH and are there as tired !
Rooms ok, but apparently hard to get doubles with en suite at mo ??anyways, 350b per night.
20/01 Great day looking around the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Phra Kaew. Fantastic massive complex with just stunning architecture. Took quite a while to get round and it was hot. By 2ish we went over to the tailors to get alterations done from the 1st measurements. All good.
Back to KS Rd, man it is pretty mental down there - people are drinking from 9am - whiskey and beer. And evenings it's just chocka. Ate at the GH, nice food.
21/01 Went to Wat Arun - amazing. got boat over, only 3b each each way. Stunning. Back over river to Recling buddha, good as well though we were a bit done in and over exposed to be fair. Sacked it and did some net, after a mcD's, but no milkshake ! and bought some flip flops, a polo top - only 3 quid and looked at some cool tshirts. And back to tailors to pick up suits/dress after final measurement. Again dinner , chatted with an English lady doing a year away. Crashed out after packing.

Posted by slimdavea 17.01.2009 21:58 Archived in Thailand

Pakse/Don Det

TK to the South

sunny 30 °C

10/01 Headed down South to Pakxe, 50k and a long old 8 hours on the bus - though at least 2 hours of that was sitting round for food/toilet breaks. Ate rice cakes on way down - hopefully good for my stomach.
chatted with a Swiss guy, he told us that Vietnam isn't as bad as people make out and funnily enough 2 other people tell us that via email in the next 24 hours.
Town is small, not much that we see tonight anyways and after comparing a couple of places we head back to where we started on the main st for 90k with cable tv !! oh yeah, going to watch the footie tonight !
Grabbed some food, though not really hungry and then chill watching the good ol tv.
11/01 Have a wander round town - very little going on but quite nice and relaxed. Down by the river is good, a few bars etc though we don't eat there just speak to some lady about hiring a boat to go down to Champasak.
The shopping arcade is hilarious - escalators to floors of nothing ! no real joy finding a camera. Get our tickets for 4000 islands - 70k for mini bus.
Again do very little, looked at a couple of temples. Bumped into a couple that we met in Sukhothai - cool. Had a chat and all good, i'm still not 100% but getting there.
12/01 head down in mini bus, glad we did it this way as got dropped off for boat across - 15k. we heard later that the local bus at 45k dropped you off at another place and it's a bit of a mare plus more expensive to get across. On our minis bus was a freak family - big ol black dude who just listened to hip hop, an older white wife/girlfriend and 2 kids who were just the most annoying kids ever. they started drinking at 40am and gave the kids some as well - they were only 10 to 12ish.
Anyways, we headed to smaller island of Don Det and walked off with a Kiwi couple - amanda and Brad (we think). i think we kinda went the wrong way as cut rho the centre of the island and everything is water side. but worked out ok as we got a GH for 50k a night and it was a bungalow a few feet from the water and the restaurant was good and friendly. In fact they let us take what we wanted for drinks, and fill our own book for food so we could pay when we left. A couple of places have done this.
so then we did Nothing ! ha ha, the hammock called us and we went . this place is lush.
But at nigh it got v cold - man didn't expect that and the blanket was good enough for one person who was child size !
13/01 Very little today - chilled on a little jetty in the sun and again the hammock called. a couple of beers and the kiwis came so we had a beer together it was all good.
14/01 Made it off our arses to go around the island a little - love it where we are it's really quiet, not that it's that busy elsewhere to say the least but deffo quieter where we are. Walked around and nice place, stopped in pizza place for a sarnie - proper cheese ! but the rest was poor compared to what we've had - bead not fresh and just a coupla slices of tom. did some net, didn't realise how expensive it was ! but hey ho, still only £6 for 2 1/2. stopped in the 'bakery' and got a tea with a slice of cake.
We were going to hook up with the Kiwis but didn't get back til 4.15 and we saw them and agreed on food n beer instead. Good laugh and then we said our byes.
15/01 Grabbed a bike and went over to the bigger island - ok. Waterfalls we deffo better than we anticipated and the little beach was pretty cool though very hot and not easily accessible to the water so did an hour and then headed back Claire is not the best on a bike ! 10k for a day's hire is good, though we only used them for about 4 hours i think.
Back to GH, did very little apart from sunbathe and hammock, dinner with cards.
16/01 A chilled day before we head back into the craziness of Thailand and Bangkok. on the jetty and i went around the island to change some monies - it's so cool. water buffalo, kids, roosters all walking around and it's just like a village atmosphere - i love it here. took a couple of photos with the camera. Back and did very little, read alot - oh i did get a couple of slices of cake from the bakery and we had them for lunch desert.
Dinner was ace again, and we had a hot chocolate each - glad we didn't discover these before - amazing to say the least. And claire got us another pancake as well - if we stay here any longer i'll be huge !
Slept well, hotter today and tonight.
17/01 boat from the Gh took us across to the mainland, we bought a ticket for 60k for a mini bus but they chucked us on a sawn. Thought it was strange as we left at 8am and everywhere else told us 11. anyway it worked out well as same time going back and we got to Pakxe earlier. Chatted with French sisters who were doing some teaching over here.
Checked in to same hotel, relaxed over some lunch and got our tickets to Bangkok. 250k each, saw the for 300k so don't know what the difference is really.
Hot today, lunch was ok but fruit shakes were watered down.
Nothing to do really and seen the little of Pakse worth seeing so watched some tv and went out for dinner alter on - had cheese bag and chips - not enough cheese but nice anyways.
United wasn't on - gutted, but watched some of Chelsea and then bed - slept sooo well.

Posted by slimdavea 17.01.2009 00:07 Archived in Laos

Tha Khaek

VV to TK

sunny 28 °C

07/01 Grabbed VIP bus - 160k. was only 75 from the station but it costs 50k to get to the station, so if you want the ticket in advance it's better to go thro the agent.
Anyways, journey ok - long and shame we couldn't leave until 12. Got to town, jumped into a sawn to our pre booked acco - the Travel Lodge. Some confusion on the phone and had 2 rooms kept for us 50k and 90k, i checked both and went for the en suite 90k as it was just so nice. Lush bed that was 4 poster and just nice with the mossie net hanging down that made it look romantic.
Grabbed some grub and chatted with a kiwi (Tristram) that was travelling with his wife and 2 boys - 5 n 7. They were ill so he stayed up with us - good laugh though did smoke most of my cigs !
08/01 hooked up with Tristram- and Diane his French wife to share a sawn out to some caves and have a look around. 180k for both of us, worked out an ok day but no overly convinced. 2 caves, first was cool and only discovered about 4 years ago, full of buddhas. Next was a walk into the bush and a 'guide' who was wiht us was just hassling us for more and more monies- annoying really. He also tried to sell a posted of naked women to Tristram which was funny. Anyways got to the cave and he wouldn't come in as we didn't give him more money. So Trist and i went for a gander - mistake really. a bit of an adventure but fell in the water and ruined the camera ! gutted.
Then went to a 'pool' for a swim, well it was just the river and we'd seen much better in Aus so a bit of a let down.
Back to GH, chilled and i went for a walk into town - 30 mins down to river front and i enjoyed walking down and around the locals. Most people ignored me but the kids were cool. River front is nice, though it's kinda half done and a bit messy. The town doesn't really have anything here but people come i think to do the loop - 2 to 5 day motorbike route.
Got back, had some food, chatted with a Dutch guy who had just done the route. Very little else and said bye to the Kiwis -after he'd used Claire's mobile for 10 mins to report his lost card !
Got to bed and then started to feel ill - puked my guts up at 1 and then again with next to no sleep.
09/01 V little today - ill all day and back hurt like mad - not sure if i strained it or what. ate very little.

Posted by slimdavea 16.01.2009 23:54 Archived in Laos

Viantiane

VV to Capital

sunny 28 °C

05/01 Picked up from GH, driven round for 30 mins picking people up to end up practically opposite the GH in a bus- bot a VIP but I suppose an Express. No great dramas but a little stitch for sure.
Saw that Ken the American was on our bus, had a little chat and walked with him when we arrived in the capital. Only took 5 or so mins to get down to the river and then we split agreeing to hook up later - the GH was youth Hostel and 90k a night with own bathroom, ok place and clean.
Met Ken for some dinner, good food and then headed to the Hare n Hound for a beer - yes an English pub and to be fair a few expats around. And the Asian/Western couples all seemed older so maybe not just a sex thing?
The German stutter guy walked past so we invited him for a beer, all good fun and chatted about favourite places we'd been. Started chatting about politics, shame we didn't have more time !
Got back to GH and i popped out for a bottle of water - got propositioned 4 times - ha ha. First real time i've seen the pros out and about. one even offered me sex for 1000 thb, i said no and she dropped straight to 500 !
06/01 Walked around city a bit, 5k for getting temple so did the first one we came to which was pretty cool almost gothic - and big. Didn't do si Sasket but then walked out to bit golden temple. Pretty cool , and as we felt later as well - doesn't really feel like a city and deffo not a capital.
Got tuk tuk back into town (30k) as getting hot, did some net and then mossied back to the GH. Early lunch as skipped lunch and headed for a pizza. Nice, it is the most expensive food though for sure. As it was early we decided to have a wander around the city for a couple of hours, looked at a couple of places and book shops. Oh we did get out ticket to get to Tha Khaek as well.

CA
The next day we got a bus down to Vientiane which is the capital of Laos. This is a great little town and feels that small that you can't really call it a city. We teamed up with the American guy who was on the slow boat with us and hooked up for dinner,as we were drinking in a English pub (called Hare & Hound) a german guy we met in Vang Viang passed by so he joined us for a drink. We all were back in a our guest houses by 11.00 as most of the towns in Laos have a curfew of either 11 or 12 pm. Once we got back to our room we realised that we had forgetton to get a bottle of water so Dave nipped out to get this and was propositioned 4 times for "massage". Today we have had the full day and have explored the city, yes we have seen some more temples but our favourite site was Patouxai which is Vientianes version of the Champs Elysees very nice

Posted by slimdavea 11.01.2009 01:13 Archived in Laos

Vang Viang

LP to VV

sunny 25 °C

03/01 Grabbed bus to VV, I thought it was fine but Claire felt really ill and apparently people were being sick behind us on the bus - i had the good ol Ipod in ! 110k each for journey. Had acco booked, $8 for Chillao hostel, well when we got there we found it went under 3 different names - weird.
Bus terminal was funny in the morning, driver dropped us off and grabbed tickets for the 2 locals who shared the taxi with us but when he went to get our tickets they shook their headsd so he gave me the paperwork and ran off ! man. So i went up and did get my ticket after lots of passing the paperwork around and ignoring me. got sent to a bus but it looked like it was in the wrong place for VV, but as usual when you ask everyone just says yes and then rushes off. But i chucked bags on and waited, did speak to an English couple (only other falangs) and they were in the same boat so felt better. Went off and all ok, in fact chatted with the couple and he grew up in ringwood !
Got to VV and went to hostel, had a look around and what a place - so much of Lao not being touristy. i've never seen so many internet places - net/tour/bar/net/tour/bar etc. Anyways, the back drop is amazing. We had a little look, booked a tubing excursion - sod it we thought, why not. Dinner was good and watched the sun set over the limestone outcrops. Chatted with a German guy at the restaurant. Skyped dad which was great and then back to GH and did v little.
04/01 Up for tour - glad we did it as it was a laugh. Expected it to be all kiddies but our group were older than us which suits us ! couple that constituted a Fijian bloke and his Indian wife -they were nice. A German guy with a stutter and a Russian ex army loon. Boun our guide and United fan was cool. Went thro the caves, first one was good as it showed that they had to build their buddhas in caves due to bombing and foreign invasion. Next was a clamber and a half but quite good and some cool stalactites. then to a tube in the cave, a bit boring to be fair and the water was damn cold - Claire screamed ! ha ha. Lunch was good with kebabs, rice and baguette. Then off for a walk thro the Hmong village and onto tubing. The village was cool, I do wander about it though as they must get people walking thro every day but most of the people well the kids for sure were all friendly and would come up and say hi - even kicked a ball around with a couple of kids. But is that as they're after something, well if they were they didn't say so. and they still seem fascinated with the foreigners which is bizarre really, in fact they were scared of the Fijian guy.
Tubing was fun, though it takes 3 hours and it tiring. I can see why people drown as it is like Ibiza down the rover for parts and lots of drinking. The jumps and slides look like fun, and dangerous - oooh my age ! But the backdrop was amazing. We stopped for a beer and bumped into the English couple which was good (Ringwood). In the end we hitched a lift from Boun in the kayak !
Back, dried off and hot shower. Dinner was a burger and watched a couple of episodes of Friends - ubiquitous in VV ! net and crashed out.

CA
The next day Dave and I caught a bus to Vang Viang, we had heard horror stories about the bus trips and I am happy to report that none of our tyres fell off during the journey but the journey was hell for me as it was mountain roads and I could hear people being sick around me which just made me heave too although i did manage to keep the contents of my stomach. At last we arrived in Vang Viang, we have never seen so many internet cafes in one town but the backdrop of the town with the limestone mountains was beautiful especially at sun set. Dave and I looked around the town and decided that we would go tubing which is what the town is known for. So the next day we went around the local caves which were great and some of them had buddha's hidden inside as they had to be hidden until Laos became independent in 1975. We first went tubing in a cave which was creepy but good and then they drove us to the river where we began to tube down. The River scene was like little Ibiza as there were bars everywhere with people drinking and dancing. Every year people die doing the tubing and it is not hard to see why with the amount of alcohol that is consumed. We were lucky that our guide stayed with us all the way down and the river wasn't very rough at all, which by the end of the 3 hours I had given up as my arms were aching, firstly I clung onto Dave's foot as he paddled and then we both grab onto a rope from our guides Kayak and he pulled us the rest of the way. Vang Viang is a great little place and it is not hard to see why people stay here for longer although we are confused as to why most of the restuarants show episode after episode of friends.P1040532.jpgP1030497.jpg

Posted by slimdavea 11.01.2009 00:55 Archived in Laos

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