Current Location : Johor Bahru, Malaysia (Google map)
Last entry date : 15 August 2008
Having a tough day at Maya Bay, Phi Phi island
04/Jul/08 to 12/Jul/08
The flight from Delhi arrived into Bangkok in the early hours of 04/Jul. Four days after initial contacts with a Delhi forwarder (thanks to recommendation from MAS Delhi office), a packer and drumming up quick money to pay for the transport, here we are, Kuda & I, traveling on the same flight into Bangkok. I don’t like flying, but this is one flight that I appreciated. Why ?? Along with the entry into China, getting this shipping coordination right within a short time was the other more difficult arrangement of the trip.
First thing first in Thailand : I tried out a bowl of tasty Thai beef noodle soup. By 8am, I found my way to the huge Thai cargo compound. At first it looked like a difficult task to get the bike cleared without a handling agent. But all I needed to do was to politely ask (the Thai people are by nature friendly and helpful) and the staff at the Thai customs pointed me along (smiles and advise inclusive). By 1.30pm, the final release docs were stamped and a couple of Thai cargo workers had helped me knocked open the wooden crate. When the Thai customs security waved me goodbye it was another great moment of the trip to know that I have arrived in a familiar region. I gave Kuda a pat. A few weeks ago Malaysia seemed so far away by road, now suddenly its just around the corner, only a “few kms” away.
With few worries on my mind I took my time to ride into Bangkok city centre to look for a hotel. But it was difficult to find my way without a city map. As I asked for directions along the way, I met Mr Dung, a biker himself, who actually got worried about me getting lost inside the city. So he decided to help me find a hotel. Needless to say we squeezed through more than 1-1/2hr of Bangkok’s friday afternoon heavy city traffic to stop unknowingly beneath a Chinatown hotel when it started to rain. It was not a fancy hotel, but it was clean, cheap and had air-con. It was also within walking distance to Bangkok’s animated Chinatown and there were plenty of food in the area. That was another good reason to stayed put in Bangkok over the next 4 days – just greasing up (and sleeping) and enjoying it. No touristy visits for me, thank you.
The original trip plan after Bangkok was to head north to Chiang Mai, then into Laos and return via Cambodia. Such a loop would require 2/3 weeks or more (some bikers take 6 months). Since Lydia and the children will arrive in 2 weeks time in Singapore, and I have a few stops along the way in Malaysia, I decided it was best that I reschedule the North Thailand, Laos and Cambodia to my 2nd part of the trip. These are beautiful countries – why rush it ?? A good thing about not having a fixed plan is that it can be changed easily ! I was rather upbeat as I rode slowly southwards on 08/Jul, taking my time to zig-zag through some of the southern Thai towns & villages. And taking time out at the beachside resort of Krabi. The South of Thailand appears to me as another great place to be ; beautiful and friendly (plus it does not burn a hole in the pocket). You could say I was enjoying a little bonus of this trip !! Why rush it ??
Louis Armstrong had good reason to sing that song.