Back to SE Asia

Trip Start May 04, 2011
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107
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Trip End Oct 08, 2012


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I was more than relieved to touch down at Bangkok airport and even more pleased once I arrived at David's apartment near the Asok metro. The beauty of Couchsurfing community never seizes to amaze me. With instructions to "let yourself in and make yourself at home," it took less than a half hour before I was crashed out among down pillows and wondering where the outside noise had disappeared to.

Post nap I enthusiastically walked back down the street to find the first of many pad thai and ice coffees, passing the infamous Soi Cowboy on my way. Not quite as raging as seen in Hangover II the Soi is still what you would imagine; lined day and night with hundreds of Thai women of all sizes pulling men into the bars to watch their pussy ping pong show. The ongoing sight of young Thai girls with fat ugly German men is not restricted to this one area either. It is an Asian epidemic that still makes my stomach turn.

I had visited Thailand back in 2007, which meant this time around I could enjoy the city as a local and skip scanning the numerous Wats and malls. The only decision to be made, ”do I head straight for the islands or go north and save the beach for last?” Keeping check on the reports of poor air quality due to the burning fields, it seemed OK to go to the hills.

The cleanliness of the public transport in Thailand is a large improvement to that of India however the train is not necessarily the most efficient alternative. I arrived one and a half hours early to catch the sleeper train to Chiang Mai. During a visit to the tourist office in an effort to arrange a room, I connected with three Chinese women. These novice travelers ironically met for the first time only a few hours prior via a Chinese website equivalent to Travel Buddy. Hearing them say speak made me feel a little nostalgic for China and ultimately led to joining their circle. I could barely communicate with the Chinese during my visit and even less now. Feeling a bit the odd man out, it was a true comedy of errors when they followed me to the wrong platform. It wasn’t until twenty minutes after the train was due to depart that we realized our predicament. But there was hope; if we quickly caught a taxi 20km to the next station we might be able to still catch the train.  

Amazing as it may seem, what took us thirty minutes through toll roads and traffic took the train nearly an hour; and to our good fortune pulled into the station five minutes after we arrived. Needless to say, that was the last I saw of the girls and it was back to flying solo. But not for long, within moments of boarding I met my bunk mate Sabrina, a really cool French woman on a three week holiday. Our immediate bonding led to sharing her pre-booked hotel and together we explored the night market and a fun cooking class. 
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