27th May – Bangkok
We had to get out of Vietnam by the 27th, as our Visa’s were about to expire…so we took a plane out of Saigon and touched down in the Thai capital around 7pm on the 27th. We weren’t too sure what to expect given the news reports about Bangkok and the violent protesting. As we assumed, the media had built it up to be a Bangkok wide war zone, when in reality it had only been confined to a few streets in a city of 9 million people. It had certainly been a major disruption, but by the time we got there all the protestors had dispersed and we enjoyed a very quiet Bangkok.
We were in the tourist area of Bangkok searching for a guesthouse when, by absolute chance we bumped into our kiwi travel buddies Jeremy and Kelly (we’d left them a month ago in Laos) – small world. They had accommodation sorted and took us to where they were staying, on the way we then bumped into Steve, who we had also left in Laos a month ago – again it was absoluet chance that we bumped into him. We all had a few reunion beers and told stories of our travels since Laos. Unbelievable that we had bumped into them both!
We decided that we need to explore Bangkok, in particular the area that had been affected by the protests and conflict. We knew it was safe as all the protesting had finished and thought it could be interesting to visit the site of the huge fire the protestors had started…so Steve (our UK mate) took us on ‘Steve’s post protesting tour of bangkok’…a canal ferry boat into the centre of teh city and a Sky Train ride to the site of the fire. The protestors had set light to a huge shopping mall, Central World, which is a high-class mall where some of the wealthy Thai shop..the building can be seen in the pics below:
After looking around the area for a while we decided we’d earnt a bit of a treat..a double Big Mac (4 beef patties) and what they call an XL value meal…a litre of Coke and a huge chips..OK so it was a little over the top but every now and then Thai food gets too much. Great decision and loved every bite of that western goodness. Later that evening Jono and I got onto a bus that was headed south to the Islands (we were headnig for Koh Tao); long story short but along the way one of the bus crew managed to get into my carry-on bag while I was sleeping (the bag was at my feet) and steal 11,000 BAHT ($500 NZD) from it – I only discovered this when we were on a boat to the islands and then later discovered that it wasn’t covered by insurance because my wallet had not been “on my person” a.k.a. in my pocket. Bit of a downer on the trip south, but we got on with it, made it to Koh Tao and started to chill out…