Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We’ll soon be landing in Madrid where the weather is cloudy and local temperature about zero degrees. I hope you enjoyed this blog from Madrid to Bangkok and further south through the Thai jungle until the beaches of Kho Khao, Pan Beach, Koh Lanta and back to Bangkok. Our cruising speed has varied over the last two weeks, so have our excitement levels, from adventure to chilling in the sun. I hope you enjoyed our multimedia, almost real time entertainment program from all stops and if you wish to investigate any particular place or event further just drop us a note and we will reply to you shortly with the necessary clarifications and additional material in word or picture.
On behalf of Ms Helena and myself I’d like to thank you for your attention, it was a pleasure to have you on board with us. We would be happy to see you again on one of our next adventures to a still not clearly decided destination. Until that moment sit back and relax and enjoy the rest of your reading.
We woke up with the sun rising over the Chao Phraya river in the first cozy comfortable hotel beds of our entire vacation, in the Riva Surya hotel. Great place! Nice breakfast alone on the hotel terrace on the river, checkout, and off we went to our short Bangkok shopping and sightseeing trip.
The boat taxi took us to the Mandarin Oriental. Next stop was the Siam Paragon, a big shopping mall next to the Siam Center, another shopping mall, close to the next shopping mall and so on. In the Siam Square area you get a flavor of Asian shopping city centers I guess. It is a small and less glitzy version of how I imagine Japan. But I haven’t been there yet, to tbc. 😉
Close by is Jim Thompson’s house, a beautiful place from another time in the middle of modern Bangkok. They have a tour that leads you through the house, a truly marvelous building. I thought a lot of the work of my parents in this place that is laden with decor and ornaments.
Shopped and amazed we left for JJ market or Chatuchak weekend market. We had been at other Bangkok markets last time, but this one was a very pleasant surprise. Clean for a flea market, great merchandise, food stands and stylish bars with DJs playing cool electro music. We found plenty of souvenirs. Unfortunately we had very little time, this place is so huge you need at least an entire day there.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped to shop food for delicious Thai cooking back in Madrid and arrived late at the hotel. No time for a shower, packed the car and off to a Bangkok city traffic adventure to the airport. Initially a bit chaotic incl. 2 road errors, we were very proud to have made the trip in less then 1h without major complications! Looks like we found our way to quickly adapt to the local way of driving and street system.
Car drop off went smooth, I must say Thai rent a car was a great choice. Total km driven were 2724. Clean and efficient car, very friendly service, zero problems, best rate by far we found online. And then off to Doha, where we’re waiting for our connecting flight in the lounge, still dreaming about Bangkok. We’ll return, soon I hope.
Today we drove back from Koh Lanta to Bangkok, 870 km, in 12:20 hours. The first 1:30 we spent to get to the mainland, taking the 2 car ferries from Koh Lanta and getting only 50 km done. The last 1:30 we entered Bangkok city, also doing no more then 30-40 km. The rest of the trip went smooth, not too much traffic, good weather but not too hot, no crazy stuff on the road. Apart from the usual scooters, tuk tuks, cars, trucks coming on your lane in the opposite direction, trucks taking a u-turn and blocking the entire road while you approach at full speed, completely overloaded trucks and pickups that also love to drive at 70-80 km/h on the right lane, pedestrians crossing the road spontaneously, all kinds of animals living along the roadside and people stopping and getting back on the road whenever and wherever. You get used to it, and although these guys drive on the wrong side of the road here in Thailand I had the feeling to be at home, overtaking constantly on the left side 😉 The motorway is more kind of a slalom. And how I missed the Mini here! He would have made our journey so much more comfortable, quick and fun.
But ok, we arrived at our fantastic hotel and are now chilling, preparing tomorrow and the bags for the flight back, enjoying the river panorama.
Tomorrow we take a tour of the city, some shopping and some eating, before at 17:30 we have to drive to the airport. Good night folks.
Koh Lanta, 04.01.2013
Waking up at 07:00 we discovered our second line bungalow on the hill was a great choice! We could see the entire beach, the sea with morning calm, and we have a great plant with huge leaves right in front of our door.
Coffee and reading kept us on the veranda for some hours, before we finally went for our morning swim and some breakfast. And right back to the books on the veranda.
There is not much more we did honestly. In the afternoon two French sailing boats moored in our bay. And then we went for our last Thailand swim at sundown.
One more pad Thai noodles in the village and then sleeping early. Tomorrow we drive back the 900km to Bangkok, it will be a long day. Buona notte.
Koh Lanta, 03.02.2012
Waking up yesterday it rained. It’s not the first rain in the morning so we had a coffee and a book waiting for it to stop. At 10:15 it was still raining and we went for our last chance for breakfast. We met Giorgia and Luigi there, an Italian couple we got to know during the New Year’s Eve dinner that we spent also the evening before chatting. They gave us good tips for Bangkok.
It kept raining, and we had to leave our bungalow. So we went packing, checked out, put the stuff into the car. Helena had some stuff to do for work, so I went reading at the bar. After Kerouac’s booze trip I started another book recommended by Mr. Wit, Jupiter’s Travels (link in the blog roll on the right), by a guy called Ted Simon that in the seventies did a four year tour of the world on a Triumph bike. 60.000 miles from London around the globe. Fantastic reading! (And by the way, this is the first book I read on the iPad. Great device. And it has the “define” function that explains words I don’t fully understand.)
So yesterday, while the rain washed the roof of the bar thoroughly all day long I read almost all the Africa chapter. It’s a fascinating book, for the story, the idea and the fact that this guy left his civilized London journalist life for a crazy trip around a world pretty different then ours is today. Different in the sense of primitive, undeveloped, wild, unconquered in much bigger parts then it is today. And he drove, on a bike, alone. Love that!
Shortly before mosquito time we changed to our new bungalows down the beach (La Laanta had no more nights for us so we found a much more basic hut next door). Then off to the village to rob the bank, shopping for Kena, Seven Eleven and another stop at the food stand we enjoyed a lot some days before.
We had dinner at a place on the beach Giorgia had recommended, bamboo bay. Good food, but full of German “Ökos” in their forties. Not really our kind of guys. And then back on the road through Africa, drinking rum while driving the bike from one adventure to the next before the eyes fell asleep.