Monday, November 12, 2007

First stop: Bangkok, Thailand

It was brief. I barely stayed in Bangkok for 8 hours.
I was looking down from the window of the plane,
and saw little bright stars scattered on the ground.
I had good memories in this country,
people I've met.
Suddenly, I felt nostalgia seeping in.


Since there is no direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap we had to enter Cambodia via the Bangkok route. There are other routes (via Singapore or via Kuala Lumpur) but this one suits us well since we opted to travel by land.

This is my second time in Thailand. The first time was during the last quarter of 2005 wherein I had to attend a two-week training cum study tour on rural agribusiness at AIT. Since it was a study tour, we practically covered a lot of provinces from Kanchanaburi all the way to Chiang Mai (700 km north of Bangkok).

BKairport

On the way to the immigration inside the Suvarnabhumi Airport.



BKairport2

Getting our luggages at the baggage claim.

We took the red eye flight to Bangkok, which is a first time for me since I usually take the morning or late afternoon flight. We arrived at the Suvarnabhumi Airport around 12:35 midnight and had our passports stamped at the immigration after 15 minutes (or more). Right after we got off from the airport, Oki and I met our friend, Lyn who would be joining us to our trip in Siem Reap.

From the airport, we rode a taxi to the Morchit Station and bought bus tickets for the Bangkok-Aranyaprathet route (300 km). We got to the bus station at around 2:30 am.


morchitstation

A man sleeping at the station. Looks uncomfortable to me.


morchitstation2

Queue at the ticket counter.


They opened the ticket counter at around 3:35 am (25 minutes earlier than scheduled). It took us a few minutes more before we got our tickets as we had to ask the lady at the counter to explain to us some of the Thai calligraphy written on the ticket like the seat number, the bus number, time of departure, etc. Most of the writings in the station are written in Thai. The bus left 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. Yipee.

bustoAranya

This is the (government service) bus!

The bus is nothing fancy but if you're used to the aircon buses in the Manila, I guess it will definitely do. It has tv set inside but it's turned off the whole time we're traveling. The bus ride took us 4.5 hours. We got off at Ta Phraya, wherein a line of tuk-tuk (ตุ๊กตุ๊ก or ตุ๊กๆ) was waiting to take us to Poipet border.

TaPhraya

Tuk-tuk at Ta Phraya. The took off point to Poipet border.


The road to Poipet was a no-hassle drive. I enjoy riding the auto rickshaw. I love jeepneys and all but there are times when I wish we also have tuk-tuk in the Philippines. It's definitely a better ride than the tricyles and pedicabs.

toPoipet

Our tuk-tuk driver is the king of the road!

toPoipet2

The road to Poipet.

Bordersign

Alas, we arrived at the border. Or does it say, Border 500 km more?

embarkcard
We need to fill out the embarkation card.

Reading from various literatures on the Internet about the travelers’ bad experiences while traveling by bus to Cambodia and how they were required to pay more than the right amount, we have expected the worst from this travel. Lucky for us, we didn't encounter any bad experience. The bus ride was smooth and safe (considering we chose a government service bus company). The stop over is inevitable. We've gotten used to it. It really helps to do some research before traveling.

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6 comments:

cathy said...

travel by land? now that's the way to do it. :)

kyels said...

Traveling by land is always fascinating. There are so many things to see.

(:

Ferdz said...

Huy welcome back. Excitied to see your photos. In transit pa lang exciting na. Buti naman di kayo na victim dun sa mga bus scams.

Ang sakit ata sa likod at leeg nung natutulog na yun.

Sidney said...

Wow! You are documenting your travels very well... alas your and Oki's picture is missing :-(
Maybe I should look on Toe's blog! ;-)

pieterbie said...

Oh, wow, Siem Reap, of the 'Defeat of Siam'.
So I guess you went to see the Angkor Wat? That place is a Unesco World Heritage Site, thé heart of the Khmer civilization, I guess.
Wow, lucky you!
Keep 'm coming.

my gulch said...

Cathy,
yea, you get to see and observe a lot that way. traveling by plane is the easiest, but who needs to see the clouds behind a thick window and bear the ear pain for the rest of the flights.

Kyels,
right on. more than that, you are likely to meet more people with the (long) land travel (5 hours)than taking an hour and a half flight.

Ferdz!
salamat tsong. daming natulong sa akin ng blog mo, pramis. there is a great advantage in being an Asian traveling in an Asian country. It is easy to belnd in with the locals. But most of the locals we meet, they immediately know we are Filipinos. "Same same" daw!

Sidney,
haha. you know me! if i see a photo of Sidney Snoeck in My Sari-Sari, maybe I will have to re-think my style. A personal photo would usually ruin everything, nyahaha! Toe has Bea Alonzo's photo all over his blog, maybe it will tell you something, ;-)

Peter,
you know it. yea..been wanting to see it for the longest time. ;-)

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