Friday, October 17, 2014

Thailand and Laos - Part 3

Continued from Part-1 Part-2

There are Buddhist monks who walk the streets at around 6am and people donate food to them. We thought that at least once we should wake up early in our trip and we did wake up at 5:30am that morning. After seeing the monks we came back to our dorm and slept. Oh ya, at 6am we saw that the people who went for bowling were just returning back to hostel. Most backpackers see only one place in a day and just relax the rest of the day in hostel. We had overdose of Buddhist temples, so we decided to stay in hostel and do nothing. If there was no free WiFi, I would probably have killed myself out of boredom. [ Yeah, you get free WiFi in all restaurants and hostels in Laos. So if you have bought the local SIM then using 3g is not actually required]


That was the end of Laos for us and since we had booked our return flight from Bangkok, we had to travel back. We took the night bus back to Vientiane, the place where we started our Laos trip. We reached the Thailand border at around 10am and completed the immigration formalities. We walked to the railway station for our train back to Bangkok. As I pointed earlier, the plan was not flexible and we ended up waiting for 6hrs for the train. Again the free WiFi comes to rescue (Clean railway station and free WiFi, the passengers waiting for the late running trains could surely use this if this was the case in India)

We reached Bangkok and checked into the hostel. We freshened up and took the bus to Pattaya which is 1.5hrs from Bangkok. The beach is nice and we had a nice lunch at an Indian restaurant there. We took a walk by the beach and then through the city. You have the water sports like the speed boat and banana ride here. We had decided to spend the night in Bangkok in the evening we were back to Bangkok.


For sake of coverage, let me talk about the nightlife in Bangkok. There are 2 major places that are not spoken in open. Nana is the red light district of Bangkok, which the guy in the hostel told is not that pretty. The other place is Khao San Road, the better quality nightlife in Bangkok. (What happens in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok. Unless you withdraw cash at an ATM, in which case it comes in your bank statement). We reached our room at around midnight and were surprised to see the navaratri celebrations. The street was filled with idols of almost all the hindu gods and goddesses. It was folk music and thai style dances everywhere. Some people were playing holi too. I am the guy who gets laughed at for going to temples in Goa and imagine what people did when I told them I celebrated navaratri in Bangkok. Anyways that was end of day 8.





It was finally the last day of the trip. We visited the famous Siam Paragon Mall, it looks a lot bigger than the biggest mall in Bangalore and has an ocean world in the basement. The ocean world was spectacular with penguins and sharks.


We finally packed bag our bags and bid adieu to Bangkok. The 9 day trip had come to an end. The most memorable moment from this trip would be the crazy time I had with the fellow backpackers in the hostel. So much talk about religion, culture, technology, politics and most important of all, our love to travel. One thing that everyone we met told us was how beautiful India is and how they would love to visit India. So when I look back at my 9 day trip, I observed that every place I visited had similarity to one or the other place in India and I have not traveled beyond the 5 southern states.

I would like to end this really really long series of blogpost by saying that the experiences that I had in my trip have inspired me to travel more. But considering the budget constraints, I would explore our Incredible India before I take another crazy international trip.

Videos from the trip - https://www.youtube.com/user/gshny


General Information about the trip :
> It is sunny and hot in both Thailand and Laos so sunscreen is recommended
> You should be fully covered to enter temples in Bangkok so avoid sleeveless or shorts. You can rent clothes here but why waste money.
> Stay in hostels if traveling alone or with friends. You get free breakfast and WiFi - http://hostelworld.com/
> Food - Vegetarians will have a tough time. People who eat have few choices and non vegetarians will get anything that has wings or that walks on 4 legs.


Bangkok:

1 Thai Baht = Rs 2
> Flight tickets - Rs 17,000 (to and fro)
> Visa expense - Rs 2000 per entry 
> Entry fees to various places in Bangkok - 100 Bahts to 500 Bahts
> Stay - Hostels will cost around 250 bahts per bed
> Water - 20 Bahts for 1.5L ( Some places have free water but for most places you need to buy)
> Scams : Google for ‘scams in Bangkok’ and you can read about the TukTuks and the Boat rides.
> Mode of transport - The sky train, underground metro and buses are the best way to get around the city. They have a day pass for 130 bahts if you have a full day travel in the sky train. A map is all you need :)
> Use the train from Airport to the city. Normal train costs 45 Bahts and connects you to bus station or sky train.

Total expense - We spent total of 7000 Bahts/person in our 3.5 days in Thailand (All inclusive)

Laos:
1 Rs = 135 kips
> Train from Bangkok to Laos Border - 750 Bahts one way for AC sleeper coach+ 300 Bahts to reach to Vientiane
> Visa expense - $40
> Entry fees to various places in Bangkok - 10,000 to 50,000 kips
> Stay - Hostels will cost between 20,000 to 50,000 kips per bed 
> Local SIM card + currency - 20,000 kips [ calls around 700kips/min ]
> Water - 5,000 kips for 1.5L
> Negotiate for bus/tuktuk. Nice people here and they reduce prices if you are more than 3 people.
> Mode of transport - Preferably walk in the cities. They are not big. Or if in a group use tuktuk
> Some useful links we used:

Total Expense - We spent 20,00,000 kips/person (Rs 15, 000) in our 5.5 days in Laos (All inclusive)

Total cost of the trip - Approx Rs 50,000 per person.

Credits :
> Firstly, Thank You for reading till here :)
> Vikram BK (@vikrambk) and Amruth Bhat (@amruthbhat) - My partners in crime in this epic trip and helping me draft the post
> Pavan Jami (@parachuram) for proof reading all 3 parts of blogpost and suggesting changes (I made a few last minute changes, so any errors in the post are my mistake)
> Subway : With 2 vegetarians in the group it is tough to eat outside. This is when Subway came to our rescue almost every alternate day :P

Check my other travel posts too - http://www.gshny.in/search/label/travel

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