A year ago we booked the hotel to be at the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai. This festival was the focal point of the whole trip around the world. We didn’t care where we went as long as we were present for Yee Peng – the Lantern Festival.
This story is getting a little old. You see we found a guy in Chiang Mai who could get us a car. His credentials you ask? He spoke good English, and he smiled as he walked by pointing towards the place to get coffee. What else does a Westerner need first thing in the morning? No talk, No Tuk-tuk, just some coffee and then we can embrace all that you have to offer.
It turns out he lived in Baltimore for many years and could get us a car for $3000baht which would include a stop at a hot spring and at the White Temple.
I have watched the movie, Bridge on the River Kwai, many times. It is a story of leadership and perseverance in the harshest of conditions. The late Sir Alec Guinness is one of my favourite actors whether in leadership role as Lt Col Nicholson for this movie, as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, as Prince Faisal in Lawrence of Arabia, or as the infamous Jock Sinclair in Tunes of Glory.
The problem is the movie was fiction based on an author who knew very little about the true incidents that occurred to build the Death Railway although he did suffer forced labour at the hands of the Japanese for two years as a POW. I now have a greater appreciation of the true story and the hardship endured.
According to wikipedia, “[Ayutthaya] was capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and a prosperous international trading port, from 1350 until razed by the Burmese in 1767. The ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues.”
The options for travel to Bangkok from Siem Reap were many. We looked at planes, trains, buses and cars. Funny enough, the best solution for a family of five was flying. It took away some headaches of multiple transfers and it got us to our destination the fastest.
Travelling from a hotel to the airport is a big deal when you are a big family. For example, in Ottawa, to ask for a cab to the airport for five requires an extra $15 which is absurd. We avoid it every chance we get so imagine our chagrin in Siem Reap at the Le Meridien when they slipped in a $19USD car to the airport. Ooh it burns, when we should have crossed the street and tried to find a guy with a private car. There is always a guy with a private car in South-east Asia. We waited in the lounge at the airport and had to buy lunch. We knew we would pay airport prices. Burger King was a request by someone who likes burgers. Not only was it pricey, the burgers were definitely not the same size that we get in North America. Burn number 2.
We arrived in Bangkok without incident. Read about immigration and the crazy taxi rules (here).
Not interested in a South East Asia long travel day special, we flew from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Bangkok Thailand. With one way flights at $55 USD it was an easy decision to make.
I’ve been waiting for Thailand. Continue reading “Live from Bangkok in the Land of Smiles”