Laos – Land of the Million Elephants #7

Homeward Bound

Thursday, Dec 10 – Bus to Bangkok

From the guesthouse we have a nice view, overlooking the Burmese village on the other riverbank. My bus to Ching Rai leaves at 8am. Nuek takes me to the bus terminal, which is quite far out of town. I say goodbye to him and get on the bus. At 10am, there is another bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok. No aircon, that’s good. The price is 162 Bt. for the 13-hour ride. I take a seat near the backdoor where I can put my legs on the backpack, quite comfortable!

A boring ride as regards scenery, nothing much to see except a beautiful sunset. We stop several times at crowded and loud bus terminals, always a good opportunity to pick up some snacks.

From the BKK northern bus terminal I take another bus and arrive at Sanam Luang at midnight. Because of my dislike of Kao San road, I try to find a room in the small road behind the Wat. Not easy at midnight – the places I check out are already closed or booked out. Finally, I end up in the Sawasdee Hotel (not Sawatdee GH). The girl at the reception smiles: “No rooms, sorry”, but she can arrange something for me. A tuk-tuk brings me to a nearby massage parlor, where I can get one of the massage-rooms with aircon and TV for 250 Bt. They even have a hot shower here. Seems to be a way for them to make some extra money. After the long bus ride I fall asleep quickly.

Friday/Saturday, Dec 11+12 – Bangkok

In the morning I move to one of my favorite guesthouses at the National Library. I check in at the Sawatdee, where I’m welcomed very friendly again, it’s a little bit like coming home. I spend a busy day with sending e-mails, wandering through various shopping malls and markets and enjoying the variety of good Bangkok food.

I take the bus down Sukhumvit Road to my tailor and pick up my new suit. Looks like he did a good job. Saturday, I visit the newly opened restaurant at the Bayoke II tower. From the 78th floor I have an excellent view while enjoying the mixed European/Asian buffet lunch. I take the express ferry back to my guesthouse and check out.

Bus 59 is really fast today, only 1.5 hours to the airport. I spend the remaining time until departure in the BA Executive Club lounge. The big headline in the Bangkok Post reads: “Thai airbus crashed in Surat Thani”. The crash happened last night, after two previous failed attempts at landing in bad weather. Some of the passengers survived, exact figures were still not known. I have more luck with my flight back. After sleeping most of the time, I reach the European winter again.

That’s the end of my story, I hope you enjoyed it. Of course I’d like to read your comments or to answer your questions.

If you go to Laos, remember that we are only guests (from a different world). Please help to preserve the friendliness and dignity of the country and it’s people.

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