Monday, March 06, 2006

One night in Bangkok

We arranged to travel from Siem Reap to the Thai border at Poi Pet by taxi and were lucky enough to find a Chinese couple to share one with us, making the journey as cheap as the bus. The taxis are all Toyota Camrys for some reason.

Ours had the necessary Cambodian upgrades to its suspension which allowed it to drive down a dirt road full of potholes at 80kph. We were traveling in luxury, with air-con and only 5 people on board.



We passed pickups piled high with cargo and passengers, often with one or two people sitting on the hood.



The vehicles roared down the road in front of a vast plume of dust. Motorbikes and bicycles were making slow progress as they were forced to stop every time they were engulfed because their visibility was reduced to zero and they were caked in dust (not a pleasant journey for them I imagined). The kid driving seemed to be in a bit of a rush and on top of all the other challenges of the road he was driving with the wheel on the wrong side (wherever the car had been imported from they must have driven on the left) which made overtaking that extra little bit exciting for me in the front passenger seat.



Thankfully, we arrived in Poi Pet in one piece and sweated our way across the border where we managed to find an air-con bus to Bangkok. Now this was a bus: air-con that actually kept you cool, a snack and an ice-cold bottle of water handed to you as you step on board. Yes, we are back in Thailand we thought.

Arriving in the early evening, we struggled to find a decent place to stay in Bangkok and ended up in a dingy, stuffy room with no window for $10 - probably the most expensive place we had been for a month. I didn't agree with my dinner for some reason and barely slept.

After a little research, we booked a combination overnight bus-ride and ferry ticket down to the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand to do some scuba diving.



After some sweaty delays getting started, and a second sleepless night on the bus, a morning thunderstorm waiting for the turbulent ferry ride, we finally collapsed into bed on the island.

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