Home > Travel > Fast forward rewind: Thailand, part one

Fast forward rewind: Thailand, part one

We’re back in Korea now, unfortunately, and with tales of stress to tell regarding the end of our holiday. But first I want to fill in some of the detail from earlier in our sojourn in balmier climes.

We got up very early on Saturday 26th December to catch a bus to the airport for our nine o’clock or so flight to Guangzhou. I didn’t want to take a big coat with me so I wore a few relatively light layers. It was fucking freezing. After a wait of about quarter of an hour in the frigid darkness, the airport bus came just as we were contemplating getting a taxi.

At Guangzhou, we were taken aside after passing through Immigration and told to wait, along with an American family. The reason for this was that we didn’t have a visa, but, just passing through for a few hours, we didn’t need one. But, China being China, they didn’t want to take any chances that we might be terrorists or spies or whatever, so we were checked through and escorted to the departures concourse. Shortly after we located our gate and were taking a walk, we passed the American family running to catch their flight. A cup of coffee cost nearly £5 (50 yuan).

Guangzhou Immigration has a huge poster that reads, ‘Building a place of civilization based on civilized behavior’ or something similar.

Once in Bangkok, we collected our bags, took off some clothes and took a taxi from the official taxi stand (where you’re guaranteed a metered taxi) and headed to our hostel, HI Sukhumvit, just off a main road of the same name. We got stuck at a traffic light for an unfeasibly long time – about ten minutes, it seemed like – but we got there in the end. The hostel was a nice place, with a little fish pond just outside containing several koi carp, and even another tiny pond inside (or seemingly inside – it was at the foot of a large, open window or doorway to one side). At the back of the first pond was a shrine.

It was already dark when we’d arrived at the airport, so we didn’t do much in the way of sightseeing that first evening. We did take a bit of a walk along Sukhumvit Road, though – at least as far as the local 7-Eleven, where we stocked up on water and snacks.

The following day we decided we wanted to try to get hold of travel tickets to Ko Phi Phi, where we had three nights at a hotel booked around New Year’s Eve. The hostel staff advised us to try the nearby bus station, but the station staff told us there were no tickets left for when we wanted to travel. We then got further advice and decided to try another bus station, where private bus tickets would be available. As we walked back to the hostel to get this advice, we wandered through the grounds of a science museum, where, in a long, rectangular and thoroughly unassuming pond, there were a number of inquisitive turtles. They must have been used to people throwing them titbits, as they swam to the side to follow passersby.

Don’t know if they were teenage or mutant, but they were definitely ninja.

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