|Headaches in Thailand||Friday|
|Bangkok and Ko Phi Phi, Thailand||February 1, 2008|
Our apologies for not having posted sooner, and for the lack of pictures. We hope you guys haven't been orrying about us! We're currently safe and sound in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand (the place where the movie The Beach was filmed, although a different island a few kilometres away). So you can just imagine the scenery. And if you haven't seen the movie you should watch it right away and then just picture us there!
We have a ton of new stuff to post up to show you the beauty of this place, we just need some time (and some WIFI) and then you'll be able to take a peek!
Anyway, so far our time in Thailand has been rather trying. We arrived in Bangkok around 11PM after having been on the move since 5AM. All the guidebooks said that this wouldn't be a problem, to just make our way to the Khao San Road (the main backpacker district, also in the movie The Beach) and we'd find something. Well after getting a taxi ride there (which ripped us off) we began walking around looking for a place. About 45 minutes of searching turned up nothing at all, so we took our bags and started to walk to another road that was just a few minutes away. We trudged down this road for probably another 45 minutes searching, and finally found something. It was expensive (30 dollars a night) and not very nice, but it had a bed and air con so we were happy. But we weren't too happy with Thailand!
The Khao San Road is crazy and busy and just teeming with people from all walks of life. I'm pretty sure this is the best place in the world for people watching! But it's a pretty large assault on the senses, and one that we can't take for long. So we planned to make our way to the islands in the south. We found a travel agent, booked our tickets, and thought all was well.
Well we got onto a bus after waiting for about an hour and half after they told us it would leave. At least it was a nice bus! We left Bangkok at 7PM. Around 7AM (yes, it's a really long bus ride) the bus stops at this little out of the way place that consists of nothing more than a thatched roof structure selling cold drinks, and a building that seems to think it is a travel agency. All the people in the bus were told to get off, and take all of our stuff. Then we were sent into the "travel agency" one at a time. Rob and I sat there wondering what on earth was going on in there, since people would be in there for quite a while. When we finally got in there we found out, and were none too pleased with it.
They tried to tell us that we needed to buy another ticket so that we could take a mini-bus to Krabi (the place where we catch a boat to Ko Phi Phi) right then. Otherwise we would be waiting for 3 hours until the next one came, and we would miss the first ferry. One thing they should have known is that you do not mess with Rob & Lauren early in the morning. After we've had a good nights sleep and some food, we're totally chilled. But when we've only had a few hours of sleep, we're a force to be reckoned with. We really gave them hell for trying to rip us off like that, demanding that they phone the travel agent in Bangkok.
Eventually after refusing to pay for the fake tickets, and raising our voices a bit (the rest of the bus was still waiting outside, and I'm pretty sure they could hear we were upset) they put us on the mini-bus, but not without a slew of Thai that I'm pretty sure wasn't "Thank you for your business".
After all that we were hoping that we'd just get there without any more hassle. But no, not in Thailand! We had one more stop at a random travel agency, a wait there, some more Thai yelled at us, and finally we made it to the port, just in time to miss the ferry by half an hour. 4 hours of waiting, and we got onto the boat and made our way to Ko Phi Phi. Total travel time from Bangkok: 24 long, hot, hassle-laden hours.
But was it worth it? Well the scenery here is probably the most beautiful we have ever seen, the water is clear, turqouise and sparkling, and the food so far has been great. We're off to go snorkeling in a few hours, and I pretty much know that is going to be mind blowing. So even though Thailand hasn't been so kind to us so far, we're still optimistic that we'll see some beautiful scenery and have a great time.
And we don't mean to give Thailand such a negative review so far, and hopefully things will pick up. But Rob was here 4 years ago and he feels like things have really really changed here. It's easy to see that the massive increase in tourism (we see far more travelers than Thai people) has spawned a slew of unscrupulous travel vendors, and we have unfortunately have had far too much experience with them so far. It's funny because the Vietnam we saw seems a lot like Thailand was 4 years ago. Perhaps that makes it a better bet to travel to, though hopefully they cope with the increase in tourists in a more honest manner.
Category: Travel Tips
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