After leaving Luang Prabang behind, it was time to head back to Thailand to connect with more friends. To break up the long ride to Vientiane, a stop in Vangvieng was in order.
Athought the town is intensely touristy, filled with folks looking to “chill out” from their travels, it actually has some pretty gorgeous landscape to explore.
Onward to Vientiane the next day with plans to catch the overnight train to Bangkok. Little did I know how important it was to book tickets in advance. Grabbing one last Beerlao for the taxi ride to the station, I planned to arrive about an hour before the train was to depart. (Editor’s note: Beerlao is a great tasting beer. Another plus for Laos!) Well, the train schedule had changed and I actually had two hours, but I still wasn’t able to get the sleeper seat I wanted!
Listen to this…I arrive at the station to find that the only sleeping car left is first class, costing twice as much as the second class ticket I wanted. I step away from the ticket booth for ten minites, debate a bit, and once I’ve decided to own up and pay the high fare, I come back. It hasn’t been 15 minutes, but tragedy! The first class tickets are gone now too. The only option left is to sit upright for the next fourteen hours without air-conditioning. Open windows and carriage lights that stayed on all night made for at least one bug bite for each of the 400 baht I spent for the ticket. Advice to all train travellers in Thailand…book in advance!
But I got to Bangkok and spent a night in Chinatown. Wandered the city and took a one night trip out to Kanchanaburi, which has a number of interesting highlights. A ridiculous series of events conspired to prevent me from visiting the Tiger Temple, where one gets to hang out with live tigers raised by monks. I did however get to ride bikes all around the neighborhood and nearby farmland. Highlights of that ride include:
- Being chased by several neighborhood dogs on several occasions
- Running over a snake that was crossing the road – – it was an accident and the snake slithered away just fine. I was creeped out a bit though.
- Getting to see the Bridge on the River Kwai
Upcoming plans include a few nights in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai and then off to Cambodia. Planning to meet up with some friends from high school and some friends from college in Bangkok, but if you know anyone else I ought to meet over here, definitely let me know.
New pictures have been posted!