Monday, 17 January 2011

Long way to Bangkok

After I've returned from The Loop, I had in mind one extra day in Tha Khaek, just to chill out and relax. In fact it was quite tiring experience, even though very cool.
But as plans usually don't turn into actions or turn into completely different actions I've decided to go now. I've found out that there are usually night buses to Bangkok so if I stay one day in Tha Khaek and than cross the border and wait another day for a bus it makes no sense, so I should be going now. And this is what I did. Just packed my stuff, told at the reception desk, that I'm so sorry for late check out and went to catch ferry via Mekong to Nakhom Phanom. So I did, left Laos, got to the Thai border and this is where the adventure begins.
In Nakhom Phanom they would tell me that they cannot give me visa on arrival. And they would never explain why. I dunno if they wanted me to bribe them or what, but by then it even did not come to my mind so I just went back to Laos. But strange thing is that Dutch couple that I met in GH got their visas there. So I have no clue how it works. To me they mentioned that I can get visa in Savannakhet.
Now I'm back in Laos and they want to give me new visa. But I don't want new visa, I don't want to pay another 30$ just to stay one day in Laos. So I try to explain them the whole situation. In the end I manage to do it. Guy who come to issue my visa spoke some English and he understood and told them to cancel my departure from Laos. That was so helpful.
If I can get visa in Savannakhet I have to get there first. So I took tuk-tuk to the bus station and I was lucky to catch a bus that was leaving at 4 p.m. And in Savannakhet I was lucky again to catch last bus at 7 p.m. to Mukdahan.
But my luck failed again on the border. To issue visa they had to have my ticket out of Thailand. I have one, but in my mail box. Sweet. Luckily officers were so nice that they've allowed me into their office to print ticket. I could almost see myself in Thailand. But I was too fast again.
Now what they wanted was 10000 Baht to proof that I have enough money (what's more they had to make a photocopy of my notes). In my wallet I had only 2000. So again they led me to ATM to withdraw it. I was just wondering if I have enough on my traveling Visa. I had. And I had picture to stick it to visa. Probably if I would not have it they would get really pissed of. Still I was very surprised with their patience. It would not work anywhere in Europe, not mentioning states.
They were only saying to me that next time I should not take the last bus to the border if I need to have my visa issued at the border. One of them even started nice chat with me when the other one was photocopying my passport. Asking me who I am, where do I come from, what do I do at home and in the end saying that if I was her daughter she would not let me go on my own for such a trip. But I told her that I'm adult and there is no one to forbid me anything.
They were nice, but also slow. So slow that that last bus drove away. I had to take tuk-tuk to the bus station and hope to catch any bus to Bangkok. Tuk-tuk driver was speeding like hell. Small, not skinny at all, Thai girl driving like devil. But we've made it. 20 mins before last bus was leaving. But bus was full.
The only thing I gad in my mind was: it cannot be happening. Why the hell some mystery force does everything to stop me from going to Bangkok? But I'll not be stopped. With despair I've thrown my bags on the floor and told them, that there must be a way to fit me into that bus. And there was. Again it would not be possible in Europe, but in Asia everything is possible. I was sitting with the driver on a small kinda shelf in front of the bus. But in the end, after 2 hours of drive and couple of stops I got my sit. Apparently someone did not come. Lucky me.
Lucky enough too, that I did not get robbed and made it to Khao San Road quite quickly with a motorbike driver for 160B from the Northern bus station. I think that it was good price.
In Bangkok I've met with Todd who is leaving today, I had some beauty treatments done and got invitation to the party in the most posh club in whole Thailand. Maybe that was the reason why I should not be here, but I'll find out about it tonight.
Riverside in Tha Khaek

Tha Khaek

Picture taken from Tha Khaek towards Thailand

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