My article in Touriosity
To see the flow chart of my tour, please click here
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Kolkata, West Bengal, India (12:45 pm)
Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand (5: 05 PM)
After reaching Bangkok, I took the ARL(City line, not Express
line) from the upper floor of the airport to go to Makkasan to catch the nearby MRT
Phetcha-buri. MRT stands for Mass Rapid Transport or what we call Metro Rail in
Kolkata. The City line links the airport to down-town BKK(covers a distance of
around 25 kilometres. - 35 THB) The ARL express line starts from Phaya-thai
Station and ends at Suvarna-bhumi Station within 30 minutes.) In Thailand, buri
means place, like pur in India. http://www.suvarnabhumiairport.com/to_from_airport_link_en.php
Lamphong, Bangkok Railway Station, Bangkok, Thailand
Then I went to Hua
Lamphong Rail station (equivalent to our Howrah station) by MRT and got down at
Hua Lamphong MRT station. While I was moving from the MRT station to the train
station (inter connected), I was passing through a gallery which tells you
about the transformation of public transport in Thailand. Thailand is the only
country in SE Asia, which has never been ruled by any colonial power (and
therefore they have maintained originality of their culture). Bangkok had tram
as early as 1894. http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok-tram-index.html and the foundations for
the current railway network were laid during the 1890's http://www.thailandbytrain.com/RailHistory.html and the earliest
recorded mail or post office from Bangkok dates back only to 1836.
Many people in India
think we owe everything to British - be it train, tram or post office. It was
an eye opener for me. However, trains in Thailand are Meter Gauge (1 metre),
unlike Broad Gauge (around 5 and half feet ) in India - so in a sleeper train
only 1+1 (=2) people travel unlike 3 + 1 (= 4) in India and the train also
moves slower than a bus.
My train is scheduled to
leave at 20:00 hours from Hua Lamphong Rail station and it was time for me to
have some quick noodle soup before boarding the train.
Nong Khai - border of Laos PDR and Thailand (8:30 am)
I reached Nong Khai around 8:30 am. [I could have taken the Shuttle services of the
train, which goes upto Tha Nala-eng station (in Laos), to cross the border,
which is really in the middle of nowhere but then you will have to pay
exorbitant rates for the Tuk Tuk (auto rickshaw) to go to the Vientiane city
centre.] But I planned to go by
bus. From Nong Khai railway station to the Thai immigration centre is only a
5-min walk. Since I did not know that, I paid 25 THB to the immigration centre.
After the departure card is deposited at the immigration centre, I moved to the
shuttle bus waiting for us to cross the border.
The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (Saphan Mitta-phap) from Nong
Khai, Thailand, is the most commonly used path/gate to enter Laos. The bridge
cannot be crossed by foot or bicycle but there are frequent shuttle buses (20
baht) taking off just beyond the Thai immigration centre. After crossing the friendship
bridge, we moved to the Laos immigration centre. We filled up the immigration
form and paid 41 US$ for Visa on arrival. A 40 baht (or 9000 Kip) entry fee was
also charged. I got some Baht converted into Kip at BCEL the counter near the
Thai immigration centre. Apparently, BCEL is the best among the money changers .
I took bus no.14 (like our
AC Volvo bus in Kolkata) by paying 5,000 Lao Kip [LAK) to go to Talat Sao bus
station in Vientiane. These buses are a gift from the people of Japan. In fact,
almost all the buses from the immigration centre of Laos go to Talat Sao bus
station. The main city centre of Vientiane is only 8-9 mins walk from the bus
station. The bus also accepts Thai Baht.
Vientiane(VTE),Laos (11:00 am)
Most of the people I have met, have trouble in finding out a
country in the map! The population of Laos is only 65 lakh and per capita
income is comparable to India around US$ 1200. There are 17 provinces in Laos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_Laos Compared to the hectic
capitals in other Southeast Asian countries, Vientiane's relaxing atmosphere
has a small town feeling. After doing the round of temples, the best thing to
do here is to stroll down to the riverside and watch the sun set over the
People are Settled in VTE at least from 1000 AD, Vientiane had
become an important administrative city of the Kingdom of Lan Xang (million
elephants) in 1545. Ransacked in 1828 by the Thai/Siamese, Vientiane sprung
back in time to be again named the capital of the protectorate of Laos by the
French, a position it kept till after independence (1953). Today, Vientiane
(VTE) is the largest city in Laos, with an estimated population of 2.1 lakh (or
210,000) in the city itself and some 7 lakh (or 700,000) in Vientiane
Prefecture. If you are in VTE for the first time as a tourist, you need to know
3 roads only --- these roads run parallel to the river and they are Thanon Fa Ngum, Thanon
Sett-hathi-rat and Thanon Samsen-thai.
Thanon means 'road' both in Lao and Thai.
Vientiane's widest boulevard, Thanon Lane Xang, runs from the
Presidential Palace (now used for government offices and for state receptions)
to the northeast around Patuxai (the Victory Gate) and then the road goes upto That
Luang Stupa, the most important religious monument in Laos. Another important
monument is Wat Si Saket. There are probably as many Wats/ Vats/ temples in VTE
as there are Shiva Lingas in Kolkata !
My hotel in Samsen-thai Road - Ban Mixai, Vientiane,Ban
Mixai, Vientiane, Laos
After checking in my guest house in Mixay Road (pronounced as
Mix-ai) - where most of the guest houses are located - I am off for lunch. I
had lunch(pork fried rice) in a very nice restaurant beside Mekong River. While
wandering around, I saw 2 Indian restaurants and met one Bangladeshi there! He
is here for just 2 months. Later I got to know there are 52 Indian families
here. I even saw the word Jama Masjid written in Tamil and took the picture!
Most of the Indian restaurants are owned by South Indians. They sell everything
from Dosa to Chicken Butter Masala!
The first thing you notice when you come to Laos is everybody
greeting you with Sabai-dee, meaning welcome (very similar to what the Thais
say too). And like Cambodia, the cars keep to the right side of the road like
in the US. Most of the shops and street side stalls are run by women!!
Incidentally there is no train service in Laos, as whatever was
there, had been destroyed by US bombing! It is the most bombed country on
earth. During the 'Secret War' waged by the CIA from 1964 to 1973 against the
communist and nationalist forces in Laos, more bombs were dropped on this rural
nation of poor farmers than all the explosives dropped on Germany and Japan in
the Second World War !!
You have to take off your shoes when you enter a house/guest
house/shop. So it is a good idea not to wear sneakers. Otherwise, it will be a
BIG problem. And everything you buy is either 5,000 Kip or 10,000 Kip. The
country seems to thrive on tourism. You can easily give Thai Baht or US$
instead of Kip anywhere. Thumb rule is 1 THB = 250 Kip and 1 US$ = 8000 Kip.
Wat Si Saket and Talat Sao bus station,Vientiane,
Post lunch, I went to Wat Si Saket (at the crossing of Thanon Lane
Xang and Thanon Sett-hathi-rat) which is now signposted as Sisaket Museum (Entrance fee 5,000 kips). It is 4 mins walk from my Guest
House. This is probably the oldest standing temple in Vientiane. Built in 1818,
by Chao Anou in the Bangkok style and hence left out, when much of Vientiane
was razed in a Siamese raid in 1828. Within the walls are hundreds of Buddha
images large and small, made of wood, stone, silver and bronze. In the centre
of the courtyard is a hall housing Buddha and beautiful but fading murals of
the Buddha's past lives.
Then I went to Patu-xai or victory gate and was surprised to see
pictures of Shiva on the wall! Since it was already 4.30 pm, there was hardly
any time to go to the famous That Luang Stupa. Instead I planned to go to
Buddha Park (around 4-5 km from the Thai Lao immigration centre) which my friends
had recommended me to go. So I boarded bus #14 from the nearby Talat Sao bus
station to go to the one next to the immigration centre near the Friendship
bridge. Incidentally, Talat Sao is also a shopping mall.
Just like in India, people were urging me to take the Tuk Tuk,
misinforming me that the last bus to Buddha Park had left. I trusted my
instincts to wait and check out their claims and took a bus to go to the park
by paying 5,000 LAK. After reaching there, I met a person whose father has
contributed to this wonderful park. He is a Lao, but speaks perfect French.
Thanks to him, we went upstairs through a winding and steep staircase to have a
wonderful view. The sculptures in the Buddha Park are very very special indeed.
For some reason, that was the picture of Lao architecture I had
in India and so I was very eager to see it. When I returned to Talat Sao bus
station, it was already dark and so I walked along the Mekong River. It
reminded me of Pondicherry after dark - many people walking along the river.
And there is also a night market beside the river. I bought one picture of a
monk there (you will find it everywhere). After having my dinner it was time to
go back to the guest house, since the next day, I will be leaving early for
Vang Vieng. Street signs ARE much better here than India. The street names
generally are bilingual in Lao and French. The Lao word Thanon on these signs
is translated into rue or avenue or boulevard, in many cases without any
My hotel in Vang Vieng (V V ) (11:00 am),Vang
I went to Talat Sao to
board a bus to Vang Vieng. [However, for Luang Prabang, one needs to go to the
Northern Bus Station.] The northern Bus station is about 10 Km from the city
centre. Talat Sao is a local bus station to go to nearby places. Vang Vieng is
on Highway # 13 between Vientiane and Luang Prabang and takes around 3-4 hrs
from Vientiane. We left at 7.30 am. The road between Vang Vieng and Luang
Prabang is mountainous and boasts of amazing scenery. The road between Vang
Vieng and Vientiane is flatter and less interesting. It took almost 4.5 hours
to reach VV. The roads reminded me of the State Highways in India. They are not
in good condition. From the bus station, the town is around 15 minutes walk.
Vang Vieng is so small that everything is easily reachable by foot. If you want
to venture outside of town, bicycles are widely available and can be rented
from hotels or local businesses.
Vang Vieng has
established itself as the exception to the rule that Laos doesn't have
nightlife. I showered in my guest house and went out for lunch. Today I had
Larb (also spelled laap, larp, laab or lahb), a type of Laotian and Isan
(Northeast Thailand) sour and spicy meat salad and is regarded as the national
dish of Laos. The minced meat is mixed with chilli, mint and assorted
vegetables. I did not like it because of the presence of mint.
When asking for
directions or streets, keep in mind that Laotians like the Chinese or
Thai-Vietnamese-Cambodian, pronounce R as L ('plied lice' from 'fried rice').
Example is Rue Sett-hathi-rat pronounced as Lue Sett-hathi-lat. Probably they
are shy about their English skills or lack of it, but most locals pretend to be
dumb about street directions. And you
have to forget English Grammar. If you ask 'do you have Fried Rice’? The standard answer EVERYWHERE in Thailand and Laos is 'No
Vang Vieng (VV) (11:00 am), Laos
The town itself has no
hot spots, but the row of limestone mountains across the river provides a
stunning backdrop and is the setting for some impressive caves. Ideally one
should stay just beside the river and gaze at the mountains! I had to skip Tham
Poukham - Blue Lagoon, (7 km west from town,) due to shortage of time. Instead
I went to the Xang Cave, (on the south end of the main road). Decent cave, but
not worth the 15,000 kip entrance fee (for locals it is 10,000) plus 2,000 kip
per person as bridge-crossing fee. The cave is well lit and has stairs running
throughout that makes it an easy self-guided tour. One part has a really nice
view of the farms surrounding the city. It is just like our Borra caves in
Andhra Pradesh (AP). There are small to big and irregularly shaped stalactites
and stalagmites inside the caves just like AP. There I met a Japanese friend,
travelling alone. Since it was raining, we had to wait for hours under a shade,
just beside the cave.
There is an office in
downtown Vang Vieng that now organizes all tube rentals. They will rent you the
tube (for Tubing) and organize transportation up the river a few miles. From
around midday to 2PM is reasonable to go because any earlier, everyone else
would be still asleep after partying till wee hours!! Tubes have to be back by
6PM to get your deposit back. One can look at the magnificent view of the
mountains rising directly beside the river. I have seen the similar stunning
limestone mountains in Phuket (in Phi Phi). After getting down from the cave, I started wandering around
the city and went down to the river to see the tubing in the city. It was truly
a very interesting experience. I saw people drifting away down the river.
Evening snacks and Marijuana at Vang Vieng,Laos
In the evening I had some awesome mulberry shake from an organic
farm cafe (10,000 LAK) and had some banana pancake too(10,000 LAK). They are
sold in the way egg rolls are sold in Kolkata along the streets!
In the evening I met my
Japanese friend again whose passport (kept as a deposit for renting the bike)
was wrongly given to another Japanese. He was having their national beer -
laobeer - with the owner of the Rental Company (who was responsible for the PP goof
up) while waiting for his passport to be returned. Giving them company was the
owner of Full Moon cafe - Mr PP - who said his wife is an Indian from Chennai
(she lost her dad 3 months back in Vientiane) and that there are 52 Indian
families in Vientiane. His wife however looks like a Lao. It seems her father
had married a Lao lady.
Then my Japanese friends (http://www.facebook.com/ikazo39 and) ordered some happy pizza - for which they were given a
separate menu. Happy pizza is nothing but Marijuana or opium mixed with Pizza!
Since it was raining none of the customers were there. Mr PP knows Karate and
knows how to use Nun Chaku!! He demonstrated his skills to us!
Luang Prabang (LP), Louangphrabang (Luang Prabang) (6:00 pm), Laos
In the morning I left for
the bus stop to go to LP at 6.30 am. I hitch-hiked on a moped (a lady was
riding the moped) to go to the bus station around 1.5 Km away. We were supposed
to reach LP in 6 hours’ time but man proposes God disposes. There was land/mud slide in
between and we had to wait for at least 2 hours. Some of the cars were skidding
while trying to pass the road and we had to wait, until a pay-loader cleared
the mud from the road. In our minivan there was one Italian guy http://www.facebook.com/chicco.dellagiovanna who had worked in
Coimbatore for 1 year and is now working in Ho Chi Minh City. He said to me in
Hindi Ap Kaise Ho? There were German, Lao and Dutch tourists too in the van.
The disruption helped us to get to know each other. We had our lunch on the
way. When we reached LP it was around 4. 30 pm. I had to immediately make a group
for the Tuk tuk, lest I have to pay through the roof. The German guy planned to
stay near my hotel. So, went together by paying @ 25,000 Kip per head. My hotel
The main tourist city in
the often-forgotten country of Laos is one of the nicest cities that very few
have even heard of. Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO
World Heritage city. My friend from Luang Prabang told me over Facebook, that
he will be busy - so he suggested that I meet him over a cup of coffee
tomorrow. Since it was already late, I went to the night market, on his advice.
I had buffet dinner at the night market by paying only 10,000 Kip. However it
was for vegetarian food. For non - vegetarian food, you have to pay separately.
I had some wonderful pineapple cake at the night market. Then it suddenly
started raining heavily and I had to wait till rain subsided to go back to the
guest house. Since it was already dark, I could hardly see or get a feel of the
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Luang Prabang, Louangphrabang (Luang Prabang) (9:30 am), Laos
Next morning, I saw one lady scribbling the plan for the day on the
big signboard on the ground floor of our
guest house, Today's plan was to go to Kuang si Water fall. She is from Brazil
and is in Laos for 1 month. It is a good idea for solo travellers. So I booked
my tour and paid 40,000 Kip. Set at the confluence of two rivers - Mekong and
Nam Khan - that almost surround the old town and tourist area, and beneath a
temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful combination of traditional Lao
wooden houses with hints of European architecture - reminders of when Laos was
part of the French colony. All of this is set against a backdrop of the river
river and rugged mountains.
Luang Prabang is now on the radar of most tourists who have been
or dream of going to Venice (the mother of all charming cities), Dubrovnik of
Croatia, Ubud of Bali, Hoi An of Vietnam, and Cuzco of Peru. As a visitor, you
cannot help but be amazed by the tidiness and cleanliness of perhaps the most
charming city in all of Southeast Asia. With UNESCO so closely involved and a
largely responsible group of local business owners, the pressures of mass
tourism development have been held at bay. There are numerous temples around
this city. Probably there is one Wat every 2 minutes - Golden-roofed Wats
(temples), decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha are stunning
to stay the least.
Luang Prabang Province lies in the heart of the mountainous
region of northern Laos. Then I went to meet my friend Sith http://www.facebook.com/phonethasith at the book store run by
him and his brother - Yensabai Books and Art. He also sells Lao coffee in his
book stores. He also teaches stenciling to students. His stencil is quite
unique and has a typical Lao style
He was born in a small village about 150 kilometres from Luang
Prabang. After primary school, he went on to become a novice at Wat (temple)
Choumkong in Luang Prabang. During the four years that he spent as a novice (to
become a monk), he had the opportunity to learn many things from the temple
life. Many of the stencil motifs that he used are originally from temples in
Luang Prabang, especially Wat Xieng Thong, the oldest and most significant
monastery in the city. It is very important to him, that these beautiful
traditional designs are preserved into the future. He has also been
commissioned to use his stencil work for decorating homes, guesthouses, hotels
and restaurants….One of them is at the Vientiane hotel, where I stayed! He is
planning to run a guest house near Kuang si fall. After chatting with him and
having some famous Lao coffee, I went back to my guest house to go to Kuang si
Kouangxi Water Fall or Kuang Si Water fall (11:00 am),Laos
Now it is time to leave for Kuang si fall. I saw a jumbo (bigger
version of Tuk tuk) waiting for us. A group of 8 people left for the Kuang si
falls. I sat just beside the driver. I bought some Lao spring roll - looks very
interesting, but uncooked mint leaves spoilt everything for me. http://ediblyasian.info/recipes/yall-dib-lao-fresh-spring-rolls Another dish I have seen everywhere is Mekong river weed -
which I did not eat. http://ediblyasian.info/recipes/khai-paen
Kuang si is a large multi-stage waterfall, some 29 km south of
Luang Prabang. You can also rent a motorbike to transport yourself there. There
are food and tourist stalls outside the waterfalls. It is worth putting half a
day aside for seeing this because this is a great place to relax. There are
multiple pools at different levels, all of which are reportedly safe to bathe
in, and are extremely picturesque. Entrance fee is 20,000 kip. The driver was
asked to wait till 3 pm at the waterfall gate area. The waterfall park area
closes at 5:30pm.
This water fall is quite unique. After spending some time alone,
our group members planned to trek to the top of the fall to have a wonderful
view. The route to the stop is steep and in one part you have to walk, with
water falling on the staircase. The ladies were a bit sceptical whether to go
up or to go down from there. After I went to the top, they also got the
courage. Then they planned to cross the stream on the top of the fall and get
down from the other side. It is no doubt adventurous, but risky. With Indian
friends I surely would not have done this thing...no way. It was real fun and
we worked like a team. After coming back from the top it was time to swim and
jump on the water. There I met my Italian friend once again
(http://www.facebook.com/chicco.dellagiovanna?ref=ts) and he said if I come to Ho Chi Minh City, he will guide me!
There is a bear conservation centre in the Kuang si falls area. On the way back
to LP we went to see one of the villages.
Mount Phousi,LP, Laos
After coming back from the falls at around 5.15 pm, I planned to
see the town with my co-passenger Zoom (http://www.facebook.com/nhim78) from Hanoi, Vietnam (he was also staying at the same guest
house). After walking randomly in the city, we went to watch the sunset at Phou
Si (Entrance fee 20,000 kip) — the main hill in the city - from which you get a good view of
the whole area. It's a steep climb from the bottom but sunset is the most
rewarding time to go up. There is a near-panoramic view from the top. After
getting to the top I sat for some time and met a South Korean girl (and she
speaks perfect English) and we chatted for some time. Then it was time to get
down. Zoom went back to the guest house, since they planned some barbecue at
the guest house. I planned to walk along the streets of LP. Zoom invited me to
come to Hanoi, Vietnam and told me LP reminds him of Hoi An.
Just to the opposite to Phou si hill is Haw Kham — the former royal palace and now national museum, 30,000 Kip. It
is open from 8AM-11:30AM and 1:30PM-4PM, every day except Tuesday. So it was
already late. Today there was a dance performance in the adjacent theatre at
6:30PM - Search of Princess Sida, a royal ballet, with prices from 100,000 to
150,000 kip. I found it very interesting - how Sita has become Sinta in Bali
and Sida in Laos!! Anyway, I did not see it - since it is too expensive and not
very famous - and more so, since I have already seen the most famous one at
Bali. Similarly we had skipped the Ramayana dance in Ankor Wat also. Today I
went to a nice restaurant to have Beef noodle soup. There I met one very
interesting American - a history teacher. He writes a blog and has travelled to
45 countries. His website is http://drneufeld.com He told me that he is
excited; tomorrow he is leaving for India. He travels one month every year -
his blogs are very honest with no pretension. After returning to my guest
house, I found guests (all Occidentals) sitting in a circle on the wooden floor
- some were playing the guitar, some were drinking beerlao and some playing
cards and my God were they were loud! Only two people were silent - one
charging the mobile and other checking emails. One was an Indian (yours truly)
and the other a Vietnamese (Zoom)!! But unlike in India, people were enjoying
themselves and not bothered with us.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Luang Prabang, Louangphrabang (Luang Prabang),Laos
Today I kept aside my day just to wander around the city of LP.
Today's 'acitivity' as per the black board of our guest house is to go to the
mountain to collect woods!! Two volunteers have already enrolled!! It is unlike
any other guest house you see in India. I left a little late around 9.30 pm. I
missed the famous alms ceremony — monks at dawn collect alms of rice from kneeling villagers (and
early-rising tourists) in front of Mount Phou si. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF88WhZYShc First I booked the bus
to go to Vientiane early morning @ 7.00 am tomorrow, from the travel agent on
the Sisavong Road and since the bus station is quite far, the Tuk tuk will pick
me up from my hotel to drop me at the bus station. Fare 135,000 Kip (after some
haggling from 140,000 Kip) and if you go directly to the bus station then it is
Wat Aham and Vat Xieng Thong and Luang Prabang city
Road, Luang Prabang, Laos
First I went to see Wat Aham and Wat Wisu-nalat little away from
the old quarters. Wat Aham lies adjacent to Wat Wisu-nalat. Then I went to Vat
Xieng Thong — the oldest monastery in town and one of the most beautiful.
Entry fee 20,000 kip (I am really tired to pay the entrance fees for everything
from bathroom - 3,000 LAK to Wats).
One entrance is on the road along Mekong river, the other on the
by-lane off the main road i.e. extension of Sisa-vong Road. My friend Sith
suggested I try Or lam or aw lahm, it might be described as Luang Prabang‘s iconic Lao dish. I had learnt the recipes from a very sweet
person called Sock and took many pictures while he was cooking. I took my lunch
there because his restaurant is just beside the river. The recipe is here: http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/laotian-spicy-stew-recpie / OR http://ediblyasian.info/dishes-lao.php OR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIb8fG36L2E I liked it a lot. He
added pork, beef and chicken and everything in it. I had it with typical sticky
rice (cooked in a cane container). I paid in total 25,000 kip (20,000 5,000 for
rice) I told him, I'll have famous Bamboo shoot soup in dinner. Generally, I
did not like Lao dish very much - since they give Mint Leaves in almost every
dish. If you want to know more about Lao cuisine then visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lao_cuisine OR http://ediblyasian.info/dishes-lao.php There are many cooking
schools to teach Laos dishes in LP.
Dinner at Night Market Luang Prabang,Laos
In the evening I went for
a sunset cruise with two French ladies by paying 25,000 LAK per head along the
Mekong River. It was a nice experience but we could not see the sunset properly
because it was cloudy. I had some black Lao coffee in the evening, sitting
beside the Mekong river for 3,000 Kip (normally it is 4,000 - 5000 Kip). Lao
coffee is very famous and is a key industry of Lao PDR being the fifth largest
export earner for the country. The French first planted coffee in Lao in the
early 1900s on the Bolovens Plateaux in southern Lao. Robusta has become the
dominant coffee species. This area produces about 95% of Lao coffee. The
emphasis is to move production to higher-value Arabica rather than the
lower-value Robusta coffee (80% is Robusta). If you want to buy Lao coffee,
then go to this website http://www.saffroncoffee.com/
When I was coming back, I
heard the sound of breaking of glass utensils of a restaurant-er. And it turned
out to be Sock and he was still saying Sa-bai-dee with a smile and not
depressed. He said he lost 50,000 LAK. That sums up the nature of people of
Laos. He said you come for bamboo shoot soup tomorrow. I said there is no
tomorrow for me! They are indeed nice people and it should aptly be called land
of smiles. I bought one lamp shade in the night market and one picture too.
Today I once again had buffet lunch and some barbecued pork rib and sausage
(10,000 LAK each) - which is all over the place in Laos. They are delicious.
Then I went to my
friend's shop to chat and buy some stencil from his shop. There we discussed
many things about Lao. Most of the people do not keep any domestic help, since
it would be very expensive. Since the population is low, the cost of labour is
high. According to him, if you keep a person for mopping the floor and washing
the clothes, then you have to pay around 80 USD for that. Also mobile phones
charges are far more expensive in Laos. compared to India. For 20 minutes talk
you have to pay around 15,000 to 20,000 LAK. I told him another thing, I did
not like - sometimes you have to pay either 2,000 or 3,000 or 4,000 Kip for
water. The price is not mentioned on anything just like Indonesia. Price is
written in Bar code, whereas bar code reader does not exist in any shop. So you
are always taken for a ride. In India there is a wonderful law called Standard
Weights and Measures Act, which makes it mandatory to print price on any
product. Any way it is time for Khawap jai lai lai [thank you very much] to my
Vientiane Prefecture,Laos (6:30 pm)
When my Tuk tuk came to
pick me up, it was around 5. 30 am - still some people in the guest house were
chatting! Most of them chatted and drank till 2 am and some left for the only
Bowling place in LP. My German friend said bowling is becoming popular in
Europe, though it is very popular in US. Anyway my bus left at 8.30 am instead
of 7 am, since there were not enough passengers!! There are three bus terminals
in Vientiane... one of them for trips to and from the south and one for trips
to and from the north apart from Talat Sao. They are not located in the same
place. Passengers from Luang Prabang arrive in Vientiane at the north bus
terminal (quite far from the city centre - I think, more than 6 Km). Then you
will have to go to Talat Sao bus terminal by a Tuk tuk and then you can
continue your trip to Nong Khai, Thailand.
Your best bet would be to
be in Vientiane the day before you head to Nong Khai. You avoid uncertain bus
arrival times and can enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of Laos a bit longer before
heading out. If you can reach time, then you can stay at wonderful Mutt Mee
guest house in Nong Khai. One person recommended the hotel to me. In fact I had
a discussion with the owner of the Mutt Mee guest house Julian - he said it is
off season - so you won’t have any problem to stay in his guest house- just in case you
can make it to Nong Khai in Thailand.
The Thai Lao border
closes at around 10 pm and last bus which leaves for Khon Kaen at around 6.30
p.m. if you are late, you have to stay at Vientiane. As usual, we were late -
we reached around 7. 30 pm and had no option but to stay in VTE. I had to
quickly form a group to share the Tuk tuk cost with some Europeans to go the
city centre - which is very near to my previous guest house. In the guest house
(where I stayed previously) there were rooms - so it was not a problem. The
owner of the guest house has Ankylosing Spondylitis and I showed him some
exercises and told him not to skip them.
I had dinner at the same place - where I had dinner last time i.e. on 12.8.12.
I also had the same Pad Ki Pao. It was really delicious. Probably the best food
I had in Laos. http://www.travel-explorer.com/stir-fried-chicken-and-basil-recipe-pad-ka-pao-gai/ It is a street food
stall - very near to my guest house. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpVPsMsB1q8 Surprisingly in this
whole tour, I more or less survived on street food - but not a single
gastronomical problem!! Just near our guest house - one can see some
prostitutes waiting for clients on mopeds. I even saw one of them arguing with
a falang or farang or firingi or foreigner (yes - both Thai and Lao, they use
the same word, we use in India. It reminded me of Anthony Firingi for some
reason!) and asking for money. When I was almost reaching my guest house, one
of them wanted to chase me (thinking I am interested), but I somehow managed to
give her a slip to go back to my guest house !!
For my article read
Nong Khai, Thailand (8:00 am)
I left my guest house very early around 5.15 am and took bus no.
14 (by this time I know the bus number!) - which was on the way to Thai Lao
border. Interestingly I was the only passenger, early in the morning!! The
border is open at 6 am. The immigration office was open very early in the
morning. I had to pay the visa fees again at Thailand immigration as Visa on
Arrival (1000 THB) - since apparently there is no multiple visa. I had even talked
about this in Thai Consulate office in Kolkata. So for nothing, I had to pay
visa fees of 2000 1880 2280 (in Laos) (1 THB = 1.88 Re) i.e. a total of Rs
6160!! Anyway after I reached Nong Khai in Thailand, I started walking since
the Tuk Tuk drivers were charging exorbitant rates. While walking I noticed
that the railway station is only 5 minutes from the border.
Finally I took a Tuk tuk, which was moving slowly along the
road. In fact this is the trick everywhere in Thailand or Laos. Most locals
speak here both Thai and the local dialect called Isaan, which is closely
related to both the Thai and Lao languages. In fact North East of Thailand was
part of Laos and therefore the influence of Laos in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and
Nong Khai is very strong in everything - be it cuisine or language or culture.
The Thai alphabet is derived from the Old Khmer (Cambodia) script, which is a
southern Brahmic or Indic style of writing called Vatteluttu. The Thai script
uses a number of modifications to write Sanskrit and related languages (Pali).
Pali is very closely related to Sanskrit. In Thailand, Pali is written using a
slightly modified Thai script. A Pali text is written using the Thai Sanskrit
orthography - araha sammā-sambuddho bhagavā. Written in modern Thai orthography, this becomes - arahang
samma-samphuttho phakhawa! There is a similarity between Thai and Lao script.
In Thailand, Sanskrit is read out using the Thai values for all the consonants
(so ค is
read as kha and not [ga]), which makes Thai spoken Sanskrit incomprehensible to
Sanskritists not trained in Thailand. As such Brahmi is the mother of all
scripts from which the scripts of all modern Indian and South-East Asian
languages have evolved. It was first seen in Emperor Ashoka's rock edicts
dating to the 3rd century B.C. It is then one of the ancient world's alphabets
- along with Greek, Phoenician and Aramaic. http://www.tskk.org/content_disp.php?id=143
Anyway when I reached the bus station it was 8 am. I was told
the next bus will leave for Khon Kaen at 9 am. So I had 1 hour free time. I
wandered around the market nearby and took my breakfast. Buses to Khon Kaen go
hourly and take 3.5 hours. It was a double decker AC Bus. I almost missed the bus,
as I went to the toilet. Even explaining to people that I am going to the
toilet is not easy in Thailand! I had to run to catch the moving bus!
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Khon Kaen (12:20 pm),Thailand
I reached Khon Kaen at around 12.20 pm. and the bus to King
cobra village will leave at 12.45 pm and will take around 1.5 hours. With some
difficulty I made people understand that I am going to King cobra village from
Khon Kaen. In fact I had to draw a picture to make them understand! Luckily I found
a person who knows the place. The bus as usual is world class - double decker
AC! And the fare is really cheap. Normally buses leave from Khon Kaen’s ordinary bus terminal to Ban Khok Sa-Nga (40B) and then you
walk or take a Túk-túk (50B) for the remaining 2 km to the stage. If you’re driving from Khon Kaen, you can’t miss it as there are many signs. But when I got down at bus
stop, there was no bus or Tuk tuk in sight. So I have to walk 2 km + 1 km(inside
the village to reach the main area) with my backpack and shantiniketani jhola!!
While I was walking, luckily I saw a car coming and hitchhiked to reach my
Ban Khok Sa Nga - King Cobra village (2:15 pm),Khon
The village is to the northeast of Khon Kaen. The self-styled ‘King Cobra Village’ of Ban Khok Sa-Nga in Sai Mun is famous for its strange pets,
king cobras, kept at every house. Locals rear hundreds of these reptiles, and
most houses have some in boxes under their houses. The strange custom began
when a herb farmer Phu Yai Ken Yongla began putting on snake shows to attract
customers to the village and the art of breeding and training snakes has been
nurtured ever since. Today the King Cobra Club hosts short shows (donations
expected; 8am-6pm) where handlers taunt snakes and tempt fate: they often lose,
as the many missing fingers show. Medicinal herbs are still sold and other
animals are on display in pitiful little cages. The villagers earned extra
income by selling herbal medicines by travelling around villages.
In 1951, a local doctor, Ken Yongla, initiated a cobra show,
which was successful to attract clients to the village. The villagers also
travel around to organise snake shows and offer herbal medicine. After watching
the snake show I bought some 'real snake'. The show was interesting. First it
was fighting of cobra with seniors followed by fighting with juniors and lastly
some python eating show - where the head of snake goes inside the mouth of the
snake handler!! There I met an old man from Germany. He stays in Khon Kaen. He
lost his job when he was 55. According to him it is very difficult to join a
company at that age. He now gets pension and he also got compensation from the
company. He moved to Thailand and married a Thai lady.
In Thailand (and also in Lao), only a Thai or Lao can own a
business. So the business was owned by his Thai wife. As luck would have it,
his Thai wife cheated him and left him with 2 million Thai Baht. So he is in
real trouble and has not gone to Germany for last 6 years. He runs a website
for supplying Thai girls for marriage to Germans, Austrian, and Americans!!
This is his website: http://www.impuls-partnervermittlung.de/index.html He also said in Thailand
woman is very industrious and their man is generally good for nothing!
Everywhere you will see women and there are more women than men in Thailand. In
fact he has come to this snake village in a jumbo with one of his clients. His
client has already married a Thai lady and will leave for Germany shortly. He
was kind enough to give me a lift near Khon Kaen.
Interestingly it was so remote that I was the only foreigner in
that place. Normally we are used to foreigners going to remote places - where
locals do not go. In this case it was different! On the way we went to a Wat.
He was accompanied by his client and some Thai people. According to them you
have to get down at this Wat to pay homage - when you are passing by this
Khon Kaen for onward journey to Bangkok (4:45 pm),Thailand
I hitch hiked on a pick up car, but the problem started when I
tried to tell him that I want to go to the bus station. He also picked up
another girl, in spite of her initial resistance to board the car. I had to
draw a picture to tell her that I want to go to the bus station. But even with
the picture, there is no sign that she has understood what I was staying. She
even called a friend and I could hear she was telling "falang" to her
friend and whenever I am asking anything, they were laughing (LOL). In fact
this is a standard feature everywhere in Laos and Thailand. I thought she will
give the phone to me - so that I can talk to her friend - who, I thought,
understands English. That was not the case. It was a bit scary.
So unless you are thick skinned and fearless - travelling is
very stressful - just try to imagine, you are scared , because you are running
out of time (Since Bangkok is almost 6.5 to 7 hours away and it was already
4.50 pm.) and somebody is laughing at you - without answering anything. The
language barrier is so huge - travelling alone is a very big problem in
Thailand. Whenever you ask anything the first reaction of people is, I don't
know anything in sign language - without even bothering to listen what you are
talking about. Even though you are probably talking about the name of a place
only (where you want to go). Finally they dropped me at a bus station - where
they said the bus will leave at 6.30 pm!! That means I will reach Bangkok after
1 pm and then another taxi to reach my destination. But I knew the buses to
Bangkok leave every half hour. But how can I explain that to them? Finally I
met a lady in the bus station - who speaks American accented English (it is
like somebody speaking fluent French in Calcutta!). What a relief!
She told me to catch a Tuk Tuk to the air conditioned terminal.
Luckily I got a Tuk tuk without any problem and bought a bus ticket to go to
Bangkok (actually Rang sit) by paying 470 Thai Baht. The bus left at 5.30 pm.
They were serving free lunch along with that. After lot of effort I understood
that the food is complimentary! They gave me a bottle of water - rice and red
curry, two cakes and wafer. I have never travelled in a double decker AC bus
like that. There is a LCD monitor with every seat - with various options - like
documentary, movies, music, and cartoon. I watched a documentary on Egypt. When
I used the touch screen to play, music came from the back of the seat! Then
suddenly massaging of my back started with pressing of a button. There is a
bathroom too! How much I got with only 470 THB, along with food. If one
considers the exchange rate (ignoring the abnormal exchange rate of this year
i.e. 1.88) of last year then it is 470 X 1.60. It comes to around Rs 750 and the
distance is 350 Km. I am highly impressed. The roads are excellent and made of
concrete mostly and not even mastic asphalt.
Village Pruksa ,Thanyaburi,Putam Thani, Thailand (12:00 pm)
Even without going to
Bangkok, I can safely say at per capita income of 5400 US$, they are in a
different league. Also keep in mind that with better language skills (BPO would
have gone there instead of Philippines and Vietnam) they would have given other
developed countries a run for their money. I think we Indians should be ashamed
of ourselves. We were in a similar position even a few decades back. But with
such a level corruption we are no doubt a failed nation. The country's official
name was Siam until 1939, when it was changed to Thailand. It was again renamed
Siam from 1945 to 1949, after which it was once again renamed Thailand. Also
spelled Siem, Syâm or Syâma, it has been identified with the Sanskrit Śyâma (meaning dark or brown). Interestingly Thai script is quite
similar to Devnagari script. E.g. Ratcha in Thai actually means Raja! Ratcha
Anachak Thai means Kingdom of Thailand.
I reached Future Park,
Rang sit at around 11.40 pm. Then took a metred taxi - 'Tax- Meter' from Major
Cineplex to reach my Thai friend's (Sa) house http://www.facebook.com/chalermwong.yomma and paid 95 THB. I felt
very bad - since it was so late. But she was watching TV. In Thailand, the
minimum Taxi fare is 35 THB. Future Park is a very important landmark on the
main highway. Buses continuously ply between Bangkok to Rang sit in 1 hour. We
chatted for some time and then I went off to sleep.
Future Park Rang-Sit Store,Thailand
I chatted with my friend for some time and then left at around
10.30 am, taking some important input from her on how to go to Bangkok and
Ayutthaya. Today my plan is to go to Ayutthaya or Ayodhya or Ajodhha. Yes, it
is named after our very own Ayodhya in India. In the morning I had breakfast in
a make shift restaurant, beside one of the numerous canals.
The food was cheap (35 THB) - kind of fried rice - but I had no
clue, whether it is chicken or pork or beef, because in the menu card it is
written like this Fried Rice- chicken, pork, beef. Now the person to whom you
are pointing out item no. 23 (say), does not know which one you are talking
about, since they most likely don’t understand English (beside English, it is also written in
Thai). The way pieces are cut - it is difficult to understand whether it is
chicken or pork or beef.
You should know chicken is Gai and Pork is Mu - if you are
really careful not to eat Mu! Although it is a street side stall, they wear
aprons, use forks or Tongs and at the end of the meal they will give you
crushed ice with a pipe, so that you can pour water in the cup and there is a
napkin on the table without fail. The sense of hygiene I have seen in Laos or
Thai is simply no match to Indians. Pruksa is a so called village - where you
pour coins in an ATM machine to get mineral water. I could not see a single
tube well during my whole journey. Similarly you can do your washing with the
help of 'public' washing machine. So you do not need a maid to do it or you don’t need to own a washing machine! All the houses look similar in
the village. It is almost like a condominium.
Since roads are excellent - people can stay far away from
Bangkok, thus reducing the real estate pressure on the city - they can easily
commute with excellent, cheap air-conditioned transportation system. To go to
Ayutthaya, I need to go to Future Park Rungs it (which is like Dhaula Kuan of
Delhi or Taratala of Kolkata) by bus no. 187 (the bus is just like air
conditioned Volvo bus of Kolkata/India). What is the bus fare for this distance
of 10-12 Km (I think) - only 14 Baht! This is the bus which connects main
highway with village. There are numerous buses to go to Ayutthaya. I took a
minivan (Toyota). Needless to say they are all air conditioned.
Ayutthaya, Thailand (7:30 am),Phra
Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
I reached the city in less than an hour. Ayutthaya is an ancient
capital and modern city in the Central Plains of Thailand, 85 km north of
Bangkok. Founded around 1350, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Thailand
after Sukhothai. Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China,
India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and
even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with
a total of 10 lakh (1 million) inhabitants. Many international merchants set
sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India,
Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed
Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. All this came to a quick end
when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city
down to the ground. Today, only a few remains might give a glimpse of the
impressive city they must have seen and boasts numerous magnificent ruins.
The great cultural value of Ayutthaya’s ruins was officially recognized in 1991, when the Historic
City became an UNESCO World heritage site. I decided to see the important ones
only on the island. Ayutthaya is an island at the confluence of three rivers:
the Chao Phraya River, the Lopburi River and the Pa Sak River. As you start
walking by the road Nare-suan, from the bus station, the first Wat you will see
is Wat Rat-burana. Since it not a very important Wat, I saw the temple from
outside (quite easily visible from outside and saved 50 Baht!) like some
Then I went to the important temple, Wat Phra Maha-that on
Nare-suan Rd (Across the road from Wat Rat-burana). A large temple that was
quite thoroughly ransacked by the Burmese. Several Leaning Prangs of Ayutthaya
are still feebly defying gravity though, and the rows of headless Buddhas are
visible. This is also where you can spot the famous tree that has grown around
a Buddha head. Entry fee is Thai Baht 50. I met some Bangladeshis and chatted
for some time. From their features I guessed correctly that they are from
Chittagong, once I knew they are from Bangladesh. I saw some Indians too. In
the whole of Laos, I did not see a single visitor from India.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet,Pratu
Chai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, 13000, Thailand
The next one is Wat Phra Si Sanphet (Entry fee 50 Baht), The
largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its distinctive row of restored chedis
(Thai-style stupas) found on many images of the city. Housed within the grounds
of the former royal palace, the temple was used only for royal religious
ceremonies. It once housed a 16-metre Buddha covered with 340 kg of gold, but
the Burmese set fire to the statue to melt the gold and destroyed the temple in
the process. The royal palace can also be accessed from the same entrance at
Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit (Next to Wat Phra Si Sanphet):
An impressive building that houses a large bronze cast Buddha image. It was
originally enshrined outside the Grand Palace to the east, but it was later
transferred to the current location. During the second fall of Ayutthaya, the
building and the image were badly destroyed by fire. The building currently
seen was renovated but does not have as beautiful craftsmanship as the previous
ones. There is no entry fee. While walking towards the bus station I could see
people riding on elephants! Then I took a bus to go to Chatu-chak market,
Bangkok (after making a break journey at the bus station at Bangkok).
Chatu-chak Weekend Market, Thailand,Bangkok
When I reached this market it was already 6.45 pm. It is
normally open only on Saturday and Sunday and closes at 6 pm .But when I
reached it was still open, but many shops were closing. It is called the mother
of all markets. Actually it is open on weekdays also, but there are only
permanent shops. In the weekends, the Chatu-chak Weekend Market with its 8,000
stalls together form the largest market in the world. Shoppers can buy just
about everything from clothing to potted plants and everything in between — it is a paradise for browsers and bargain-hunters alike. A
weekday alternative is Pratunam, one of the city's renowned garment markets. At
Pantip Plaza you can buy computer-related stuff from branded laptops to pirated
DVDs. After roaming around aimlessly I saw everything from pet shop to lamp
shop to garment shop to agarbati shops...everything. It was indeed an
experience! I had my dinner there, in one of the numerous food stalls. I had
chicken red curry.
Pruksa , Thanyaburi,Putam Thani, Thailand
It was also raining. So that made things little difficult.
Anyway I got a bus at 8.30pm to reach my friend’s house in 1.5 hours time.
Pruksa , Thanyaburi,Putam Thani, Thailand
Today, being a working day my friend left early in the morning,
giving me the key of the house to me. She told me to have jok in the breakfast!
So I went to the nearby market to have Jok! It is nothing but our Fena bhat or
Jau Bhat mixed with pork, beef and chicken. I liked it quite a lot. http://oohmyfavorite.com/2010/03/09/jok-thai-style-rice-porridge/ I also wandered around
the market clicking many pictures. On the way back I saw a boxing ring - where
young Thais were practising Muay Thai - (kick
boxing) national sport of Thailand. Like yesterday, I took the bus to go
to Future Park, Rang sit after having a heavy breakfast.
Nonthaburi,Chao phraya river, Thailand
I took a bus to go to Nontha-buri pier to start the river
cruise. (THB 25). It is not very far from Rangsit. http://www.chaophrayaexpressboat.com/en/services/index.aspx My idea is to go from Nontha-buri pier to the pier near Royal
Orchid Sheraton Hotel. According to blogger Lash - hopping on a ferry from
northern terminus at Nontha-buri to near Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, you’ll get to see almost the entire length of Chao Phraya’s course through Bangkok. En route you’ll pass many of Bangkok’s most famous and impressive temples including Wat Arun, the
Royal Palace and Wat Po. You’ll watch locals living along the river in rickety shacks and
cement apartment buildings going about their daily lives including swimming,
bathing and washing clothes in the river. You’ll share the ferry with Thai professionals, students, families
and even Thai monks dressed in saffron robes, carrying their satchels and
The boats designate special sections for Monks to ride. The
whole ferry experience is quite intriguing. Watching ferries arrive, dock,
discharge and pick up passengers is fascinating. Getting on and off the ferries
yourself is another adventure. Even buying tickets is an unusual experience.
While traveling, I befriended a lady who sat beside me. She was
wearing lot of bangles. I had difficulty in understanding the pier by which I
am passing by. She explained to me in my map - the exact location and also
informed me about important landmarks on the way. Surprising she speaks perfect
English - which is very very rare. It turned out that her father is an Indian
(lives in Saket, New Delhi) and mother is a Thai lady! http://www.facebook.com/tanrarin.golwala She understands Hindi.
Hindu Temple, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok, Thailand
And today being her off day, she is going to an Indian temple!!
I was surprised that there is an Indian temple in Thailand. I asked her if I
can accompany her to the temple, since she was getting down at a pier, just
before the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel. She gladly accepted my offer. I went to
the temple in Silom (South Indian style) with her by a taxi, where her
boyfriend was waiting. He is an Indian from Jalandhar and he has come here 6
months back to help his brother. His father is Indian and mother is Pakistani.
They own 2 Indian restaurants. He speaks only Hindi! He also prayed few seconds
with her - apparently to make her happy!! His name is Amin Iqbal! They
requested me to have lunch with them. Since I had other plans, I declined their
proposal. And promised them, that next time I come here, I will surely dine at
Khao San Road and other
parts of Bangkok, Thailand
Khao San, Banglampoo
Now, I decided to go to Khao San Road - the famous backpacker’s area of Bangkok for lunch. In the bus I met a guy who was half
Thai, half Chinese. He was also going to Khao San Road. In fact he owns a
restaurant there. So I accompanied him to the restaurant and had lunch there.
From his posture, I could make out he has Ankylosing Spondylitis and he has not
been told to do the exercises. So he took me to his house and I showed him what
to do and told him not to skip the exercises. He took almost 25 pictures to
capture the exercises to be done. He profusely thanked me and took me to the
shop once again to introduce me to his brother and sister. His name is Prasert
Chanvittayakul. http://www.facebook.com/prasert.chanvittayakul So I now have a new
friend in Thailand. I told him next time I come, I will see whether you are
doing the exercises or not!
Thanon Na Phra Lan, Phra
Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand
The Grand Palace is not far from Khao San road. So I went to see
the place on a walking tour. The entry fee of the palace is 350 THB. When I
reached there it was already too late. Had I not spent some time with Mr
Prasert, I probably would have been in time. But I do not regret that.
Friendship is much more important than a Grand Palace. But one can easily see
the grand palace from outside and walk around the palace and see it from
different angles. According to the blogger Lash - Bangkok’s Royal Palace and several major temples charge highly inflated
hefty admission fees to western tourists. Other temples charge a more
reasonable 20- 50BHT admission. If you’re a temple aficionado or budget traveller, even those small
fees can add up.
Luckily, many beautiful and unusual Bangkok temples are free.
Some of my favourites are Wat Ratcha-bophit and Wat Ratcha-pradit near the
Royal Palace. ...Wat Bowoniwet along the river in Banglamphu and Wat Chana
Songkran near Khao San Rd are free. Her advice was amazing to say the least and
I saw these temples on her advice and saved some money for my next tour to
Vietnam and those temples are equally stunning to say the least!
Now I planned to go the China Town near Hua Lamphong. I took bus
number 1 to reach there. I had some Hunanese chicken at the street side stall.
I roamed around China Town to see the interesting food people are eating - sea
shell, shark fins - what not?
Little India - Phahurat, Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon,
Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand
Then I went to the little India - Pahurat, which is near China
town. There I met a Pakistani - he is 68 and he used to work in Pakistan
airlines. This is his 83rd time in Bangkok and he has travelled the length and
breadth of Thailand. He is very fond of Thai people. He is very liberal and he
says cause of all tension between two countries is the clergyman! Be it Indian
clergyman or Pakistani clergyman. He claims he is an Indian, because he was
born in 1944!
As you travel across the globe, more and more of your belief in
mankind gets pronounced. He took his time to show me around Pahurat - I saw
many Indians there and many shops- even a Bangladeshi shop and a Gurudwara. It
was time for me to say good bye and he guided me perfectly as to how to reach
Rang sit from there. After coming back to Pruksa, today I had dinner with my
friend at a roadside stall, since it was late and no other restaurants were
Pruksa , Thanyaburi,Putam Thani, Thailand
Today I left at 6.40 am from Future Park Rag sit by minivan to
reach the airport comfortably. The first van leaves at 4.30 am. It was very
comfortable, fast and super cheap!
Suvarnabhumi International Airport (10:35 am)