Travel Journal

Transit to Laos, 2/27-3/1

(Saturday 5 March 2011) by Joanne Chang
From Koh Yao Noi, I catch a speedboat and pickup truck to Krabi, and wait 2.5 hours for the next available overnight bus to Bangkok (a 12 hour ride). I settle into a street shop/cafe/residence near the station, where a woman sells food and things to people in transit while her young children play joyfully. I get my iPad out to do a little writing, but it stirs excitement and curiosity with the kids so I let them play Singing Fingers and watch Ratatouille. They're loving it and it's adorable, and they ask me how much it is, and I tell them I don't know...I would feel ridiculous telling them, especially in Bhat. When it's time to go, they thank me in Thai and send me off with fresh pineapple for the road.

The 12 hours to Bangkok goes smoothly, arriving at 5 a.m. to a bus station 30 km from Koh San Road, where I'm meeting Lisa. Everyone tells me the only way to get there is by taxi for 400 bhat but I'm not buying it. I stubbornly wander around asking various people, most of whom don't speak English, and finally find the locals bus #511 to take me there for 16 bhat. Ha! These are some of the proudest moments I have while traveling. :-)

I find Lisa and we have one day in Bangkok before catching another overnight bus to Laos that evening. She goes Wat-seeing and I stay local, treating myself to a 2-hour Thai massage and my first fish spa (hundreds of tiny fish nibble at your feet, it's pretty wild and not for the ticklish), and squat at Mr. Yim's throughout the day (my favorite vegetarian food stand!) drinking ice coffee and eating fruit with homemade yogurt. It's strange to be back here, everything the same yet so much has happened in the three weeks since I started my trip. It's awesome to be with a friend for the journey onward.

The bus to Laos stops at the Thai border and Laos immigration before we finally make it to Vientiane around 11 a.m., a 16 hour journey from when we started. We find a guesthouse and crash for a nap...with several days of travel time between us there's sleep to catch up on, but we made it. Sabaidee, Laos!


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