Summer Camp

We have a bit of a trek to cover this morning so we leave early. Cesc has been in contact with another refugee camp outside of the city, which will take us about an hour and a half to reach. I’m a little reluctant to go at all, because it doesn’t seem sustainable or wise for us to spend our time traveling there and back every day, but it can’t hurt to check it out. Continue reading “Summer Camp”

Back to Bangkok and onto the Islands

My alarm goes off at 5:00, 5:05, 5:10, 5:14, and 5:15 before I finally wake up enough to roll out of bed. Why did I go out past 7pm last night?

I pack up my stuff and walk down the three flights of stairs to the lobby, where the guesthouse overnight staff are still sleeping on the couch. Jealous. It was only a few short hours ago that I had to wake them to let me in, and now I’m waking them to let me out. They must hate me as much as I hate the fact that I’m awake right now, which is a lot. The other girls are slowly coming down the stairs with their stuff too, so I walk down the street to Ilona’s hostel to make sure she’s awake and ready to go. She has a habit of sleeping through the most obnoxious, and loud alarm clock in the world, and she is sharing a room with 11 other people so I don’t think that would go over too well. More importantly though, I don’t want to miss the flight.
I am only slightly surprised to find her still sitting outside on the porch with some of the group from last night. She talked about not sleeping but I didn’t think she’d actually do it! I’m a little jealous though, because she doesn’t seem as tired as I am.

We all grab a tuk tuk to take us to the airport and wave goodbye to Vientiane as the sun is rising. The airport is a breeze even though we are all SO tired. We don’t talk much, except Ilona. Ilona talks a lot, which keeps me entertained, I just have no energy to fully respond. We get on the plane which has comfy seats and tv screens on each chair, but we’re only due to be on board for one hour, so we don’t get a chance to fully enjoy them. For the first time in my life, I wished the plane ride was longer so that I had time to sleep. No luck though, and we’re in Bangkok by 8:30am.

We take a cab down to Khaosan Road where we go in search of a hostel that can house us for a couple hours, just to nap and leave our things until we get on the night train. I feel so sketchy, asking hotels what their hourly rates are, but we don’t want to pay for a full night if we can avoid it. We finally find one, after looking at a few options we just pick the cheapest, and leave all six of our bags in the smallest twin bed room I’ve ever seen. All we need is two beds though, because Ilona has finally crashed and AJ is feeling sick, but the rest of us decide to push through the day so that we can sleep well on the overnight train. We haven’t booked anything yet so at least one of us has to stay up and arrange that anyway. We roam around Khosan Road, stopping into little shops at looking at dirt cheap bikinis ($6), printed t-shirts, tank tops, dresses etc. On two separate occasions, I have men approach me on the street and try to lure me into their shops to buy a suit… apparently I am beginning to look like a man.

We find a couple travel agencies and inquire about ticket prices for overnight trains. I know. Do I dare? After my last experience, it feels mad, but I’ve heard from every single person that I’ve met since, that they had done an overnight train with air conditioning and it’s been absolutely fine, so I’m going to take my chances. AC is, however, a must. We book a ticket for 5pm which has us arriving in a city close to, but not actually in, Phuket. We have to take a bus the rest of the way, and our plans change and we decide to take a bus to Krabi instead of Phuket because it’s closer. We ARE still going to Phuket though, because I’ve heard the beaches are just incredible and filled with teal hued oceans… my favourite variety of ocean.

We plan to leave for the train at 4, and some way, I don’t know exactly how this works (but I blame Bangkok) we find ourselves running late for the train, again. The 6 of us get split into two groups on our way to find a taxi and are delayed 15 minutes trying to find each other again on the bustling busy streets. We are lucky that we had left early enough, because we manage to find two taxis that will take us to the train station ad fast as they can. The traffic is bad; it seems pretty touch-and-go for a while, but we do manage to make it to the train station on time, and even end up waiting a few minutes before we roll out.

It’s been an extremely long day of traveling, and I couldn’t be happier when I board the train to see that ALL of the windows are closed, leaving no space for bugs to swoop in and swarm my personal space like they had on my way to Chiang Mai.

By 7pm we have all asked for our seats to be turned into beds so that we can get a good, long, well deserved sleep.

Train to Chiang Mai

We wake up at noon to a phone call from the front desk asking us if we will be checking out. Shit. We slept in WAY too late and now we’re not only late for check out, but late for our train to Chiang Mai! Continue reading “Train to Chiang Mai”