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Gone walkabout

Thailand

THAILAND | Thursday, 30 August 2012 | Views [645]

Thailand

 
We cruised across the thai border with the required meal stops every 2 hours and the unexplained waiting around ( usually for more people to show up and fill the van). The crossing into Thailand was painless and easy although you have to watch the shifty characters  offering to do the visa for you and trying to charge when it is easy and free yourself. We know we are in Thailand when the van took off at 120 k's an hour wooo but the roads are better and we are in Trat in an hour. Cute guest house ( ban jaidee) for 200 baht $3.50 then off to the night market for street food. You are crazy in Thailand to pay big prices if there is a market or stalls around. Everything from Thai fish cakes 10/60 cents to seafood, soups, pad Thai you name it's usually about $1. We decide to head to koh Chang the next day. 
Sophie always described this beautiful  island as the rainforest meets the sea. It is much bigger that I expected and much more mountainous. We head for lonely beach, the backpacker enclave passing the tacky resorts and untidy main road to a quieter (during the day anyway) village with a hippy feel to it. More tattoo shops and reggae clubs, most local males have long pony tales and lots of tatts. 
We set ourselves up in a gorgeous beachfront  bungalow at seaflower with our own avatar fig tree and spend the next week relaxing (lol so stressed) researching swimming and exploring this lovely island. Rent a moped and head around the island. Really hilly in parts. We hired a manual, and found that we needed 1st gear heaps just to barely make some of the hills. If you are game, try and reach Long Beach, which is right down the SE corner. Rough road, with lots of washouts, makes for some adventurous riding! You reach an isolated bay with a local family running a bungalow business, with a really nice beach to hang out.
We arrived in Bangkok at 6 pm in the middle of rush hour and after 2 tuk tuks, a ferry, a vip bus and 2 sky train rides we managed to find the hotel I booked via Agoda. Our $30 night room was upgraded to a suite and included breakfast. We had a early start to organize our visa for Myanmar then decided to hop a local train to the ancient capital of Ayatthura for some culture.
As we have been known to do we rented push bikes and headed out early to avoid the heat. We explored the ruins and watched the Baby elephants being naughty. We had our fortunes told at one temple (apparently we are very lucky hahah) then followed some signs toward the floating market. We couldn't find them and were later told they are only on weekends. 
What happened next keeps repeating itself over and over in my mind. We were cruising along a country lane contemplating turning around in case we had missed the turn, a motor cycle passed me then moved in really close to Paul and reached over and yanked out the backpack that was in the basket on the front. Yes I am hearing you all please remember these people are opportunists they drive around waiting for you to let your guard down and we had. Big Time!!!!
We usually don't carry much money but with the upcoming visit to Burma we had a lot of us dollars both our iPhone, the camera, disks and all my cards, ATM and credit. Ridiculously we gave chase while I was screaming for help. Paul stopped and went into a house where a motorcyclist gave chase but it was too late.
I felt sick but the kindness of strangers was to show through many times this day. First the family took us to the police where we filed reports.  But as amazing as this was it really only posed more questions. We desperately wanted the disk of backed up photos but it was not meant to be. The police dropped us back at our guesthouse where the owner insisted we stay as long as we want for free, so sweet but we weren't blaming anyone if anything we were cross at ourselves. Trying not to dwell running through the gratitude journal, so many many worse things that could have happened. We stay a few days on the off chance the photos tun up but back to bonkers on Sunday to drown our sorrows.
So our new favorite area to stay in Bangkok is you guessed it khaosan rd. 
Every man and his dog is out to sell you anything or into some dodgy scam that usually costs the gullible tourist. It's a really good place to sit with a cold beer and 'people watch'. If you are keen, grab a tambourine and join in with one of the cool bands that play every night. Or if you need a new drivers license, or some sort of ID card then this is the place. I picked up an international drivers license for $20. I even got it dated to last me 5 years! The iPad screen changed for just $50 and a great new heavy duty cover just $10.
Travelling around Bangkok can be a challenge depending on where you stay. Taxis with meter on are cheap but traffic jams mean they take forever. Tuk tuks are ruthless and many try to scam you. The river ferries and sky train combos are fabulous and can get you most places very reasonably.  
We return to Thailand in the coming months and look forward to travelling with great friends from Oz. A beautiful country with plenty to offer, we say goodbye and see you soon, Thailand. Next stop for us is Sri Lanka. Yeehaa !

Tags: koh chang, thailand robbed, theft

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