And Then We Went To The Philippines
Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
52Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Red Tulip Guesthouse
Today we embark on another lengthy journey from the far reaches of Northern Thailand to the Island of Luzon in the Philippines. First we take a 3 hour bus ride from Pai back to Chaing Mai, it's a good start, we have nice seats and the air-con is set to cool rather than quickfreeze! Once in Chiang Mai we hop in a tuk-tuk and go straight to the train station for the 15 hour sleeper train to Bangkok. As we have a few hours to spare we get some snacks for the trip and grab a bite to eat before the train departs. The train actually leaves on time, but this being Thailand it takes 18 hours to get to Bangkok, not the speedy 15 hours we were expecting. Arriving in Bangkok at Hualamphong Train Station we find an internet cafe to print out our flight tickets, we have been intending to do this for quite some time and NOT leave it to just a few hours before the flight departs..
To treat ourselves for surviving this far we call into our favourite cake shop called Mr Bun! Mr Bun makes very delicious buns and we eat greedily. Full of buns we take the underground Metrolink to the Skytrain terminal. The Skytrain will take us all the way to the airport and give us a great view of Bangkok from above. Because it is in the sky. Yes, a train in the sky. Brilliant! The views are impressive and the mix of old/new, rich/poor is really evident from above as decaying shanty towns mingle with sparkling skyscrapers.
Bangkok Airport is big. We take extra special care not to get lost in it. We get lost. After a bit of backtracking we manage to find our flight and take off for the 3 hour flight to Clark (just north of Manila). We touch down about 11pm and walk out into 32 degree heat. At 11pm. 32 degrees! Anna shivers and wishes she hadn't left her nice fleece in Bangkok all those weeks ago... We have arranged a nearby hotel to pick us up, so we stand outside, sweating in the moonlight. And as luck would have it, we get talking to an English chap who lives in the Philippines for 6 months of the year and has been coming here for 25 years. He advises us against the skeletal plans we have made and tells us to head to El Nido on the westerly island of Palawan. He is a most helpful and informative man. We know him only as Airportman.
Arriving at The Red Tulip, our home for the night, we are delighted to be told that due to a shortage of rooms we have been upgraded! Hooray! We skip into our deluxe room and are delighted to find that we have a DVD player and movies! We have a minibar
We make the flight and land in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, an hour later. We hop in a tricycle (which is a motorbike with a sort of car bit welded to it - they make tuk-tuks feel and look safe), and head to a Guesthouse we read about in the Lonely Planet. It is not nice
Puerto Princesa seems nice but our destination is El Nido and that is another 6 hour bus ride up north, so tomorrow we hit the road again. No rest for the wicked eh.