Trip Start Oct 30, 2005
122Trip End Ongoing
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Another traveller that crossed the border with us decided to catch the same bus, so we were glad not to be braving it alone, everyone else on the bus seemed to be locals.
The bus soon filled up and all seats full, we started our journey towards Bangkok.
Immigration officers got on the bus some time into the trip. They weren't interested in us but they did take a couple of people's passports off to be checked
After a couple of hours on the road the bus stopped at Udon Thani, we thought to let people off the bus, but no, it was to let people on. We didn't understand how they could fit in any more people. That was until they brought out the tiny plastic kids chairs for everyone to sit on in the isle. We thought that they must be getting off at the next stop, there was no way that they could make these poor people sit in the isle on an overnight bus trip.
About twenty minutes later the bus took off again, only to stop at another bus stop in Udon Thani. We thought that they must be letting those poor people off the bus here. Of course not, they were letting more people on! They made them all squish up the back of the bus and the isle was absolutely packed with people, with the plastic chairs packed tightly against each other, we felt so guilty to have the luxury of real seats.
For some reason we seemed to hang around here for a long time. We noticed at this point that one of the bus drivers was totally out of it and we were really thinking twice about being on this bus. Thankfully he got off here and an hour later we were finally on the road again, worrying about what time we would eventually arrive in Bangkok
We drove for quite a number of hours and at one point early in the morning, one of the bus drivers jumped up and yelled at everyone in the isle to get down. We noticed flashing lights as we drove along, and assumed that they didn't want the police to know that they had so many people on the bus.
Not long after this, the bus stopped and an armed police officer and some plain clothes police got on the bus. They checked everyones passports and documents and two people got hauled off the bus never to be seen again.
At this point we were wondering about what sort of immigration racket these bus drivers were involved in, whether we should still be on this bus, and how long it would be before we actually reached Bangkok.
For some strange reason, we arrived in Bangkok at 4am, about 2 hours earlier than scheduled. We don't know how in the world that happened, but now we needed to face our next challenge - getting into central Bangkok.
We decided to share a taxi with the other girl we were travelling with as we were all heading in the same direction, Khao San Road
One of the traffic guards managed to talk a driver into taking us and we were off, back in the Bangkok traffic again (yes, even at 4 in the morning). We got dropped off at Khao San, and made the walk in the stinking heat to our hotel. It was 5am by this stage and after a nice cold shower (never thought we'd say that) it was off to bed.....but only for a couple of hours.
We were up again at 7am to hit the mighty Chatachuck Weekend Market.
This would be the start of a massive few days of shopping. We would be going home in a few days and decided that this was a great chance to buy some of the stuff we had been drooling over earlier in the trip that we had just no room in our packs for.
After three long days of this we were totally exhausted, wondering how were going to make it home with all this stuff and how much it was going to cost us in excess baggage fees!