An Alien in Spain - Visits Thailand (Bangkok)

A 60 Baht Tuk Tuk ride got me to the bus station by 08.40 and I purchased a ticket for 356 Baht with Cherdchai Tours which didn’t turn out to be the best choice although all companies seem to charge the same but my window was shattered and the bus had seen better days although on the plus side the ticket did include lunch at the bus station stop – just hand over the ticket and make your choice.

The only other passengers all seemed to be Thai and the bus driver was happy to make stops anywhere they asked to be dropped off on the way – eventually we arrived at Bangkok Bus station which was definitely on the wrong side of town – very seedy but then from what I saw of Bangkok everywhere looks seedy.

A cab from the Bus station to my Hostel “1yolo” in Sukhumvit Road, 36, cost 400 Baht and the traffic is the worst I have experienced in South East Asia although the Hostel was clean and comfortable with only 4 beds to a dorm and only two taken which set me back 350 Baht a night without breakfast.

The hostel is right next to Phrong Promh skytrain station which is a godsend for getting around Bangkok I swear you can walk faster than the taxi and Tuk Tuks.

My first night and I managed to find a cinema showing Skyfall (the new James Bond film) in English and a 10.55 showing that set me back 300 Baht – cinema spotless and comfortable and you have to stand for the national anthem before the film, so no sneaking out quick after the film like we used to in the UK all those years ago. There are lots of bars and clubs and massage parlours in Sukhomvit road and area 11 is heaving late into the morning but I have to say it wasn’t for me.

There are Tailors everywhere offering made to measure clothes at very cheap prices and I had three trousers and three shirts for 8,000 Baht and could probably have got it cheaper but was happy with the price.

I also managed at long last to get myself a notepad computer from an amazing Mall which was solely for computer related products and covered three floors which now allows me to answer all the e-mails you have been sending so if you have sent me a question and not yet received an answer I am working my way through the 857 I have received.

Remember how coming in to Thailand overland resulted in me only getting 15 days on my visa instead of 30 days – well I did have to make a visa run and to be honest it was not as daunting as I thought so –

Jacks Golf is the company I used (you can google it) as it was the one closest to my Hostel which entailed the following:- Alarm went off at 3.30 am and a quick shower and dressed I caught a cab to Times Square, Sirkumvit 14 outside a seven eleven and at 4.30 am a lady called Tanya sets up her table and collects the passports and gets you to complete a form after which you sit in a 12 seat minibus (forget the b/s on the website about a VIP Bus with 42” screen it’s not going to happen) before you set off you part with your 2100 Baht the cost of everything.

Two hours later a quick 10 minute comfort break and then two more hours and you are at the Cambodian border town of Poipet – here a very efficient process takes place – you are given a card and your passport and sent through the customs to exit Thailand – on the other side you hand back your passport and go to a casino where you hand in your card that entitles you to a full buffet breakfast that is varied and filling and here you stay for up to an hour ( there were 16 of us on the run with two mini buses) at the end of the hour the rep who came with us gives us back our passport and we walk back through immigration and into Thailand and the passport has a new visa in my case for 15 days – 4 hours later, after one comfort stop back in Bangkok.

The next couple of days I spent in Bangkok before heading off to the Islands down south were not too exciting as it rained continually and my overall impression of Bangkok may put you off so I will limit my tale to saying I found a Piano Bar on the pavement with Fish all around and another restaurant with the biggest most amazing Aquarium to keep diners tranquil whilst eating. The traffic was the worst i came across in South East Asia bar none although it is a very modern and elegant city I hope to return and explore some more.

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