Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just Getting There Was an Adventure!

So, I’m FINALLY getting around to reporting about my trip.  You’d think that because of the delay, it wasn’t a good trip.  However, the complete opposite is true. We had so much fun and did so many things, I’m not sure how I’m going to write it all down and come out with anything short of a novel!  As a result, I'm going to blog in installments/chapters. haha

We started off our trip with an 8-hour flight on from Gold Coast, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Let the travel problems begin.  Our plane was really late leaving the airport in Gold Coast, meaning we were late arriving into Kuala Lumpur, meaning we were cutting our layover from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, Thailand extremely short... like we had less than 10 minutes to get to our next plane short.  So, we sprinted out onto the tarmac, sprinted through customs, sprinted through security, and sprinted to the boarding gate.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time and they wouldn’t let us board the plane, so we were out of luck (and out of breath!).  We had to buy another ticket to Bangkok (there goes my travel budget) and luckily, we got the last few seats on the last flight to Bangkok that night.

However, that was not the end of our travel mishaps. When we boarded our plane to Bangkok, we noticed that there were people assigned to the same seats we had on our boarding pass too. We contacted the stewardess, and imagine our surprise when she exclaimed, “Oh! You’re supposed to be going to Bangkok!  This is the plane to Bali!” EEEEKKK!  We had gotten on the wrong plane… and worse yet, they let us get on the wrong plane!  Luckily, there were people in our assigned seats because the plane wasn’t that full, and we wouldn’t have known the difference if not for the discrepancy in seating!  So, we again found ourselves sprinting across the tarmac to our plane to Bangkok.

When we arrived in Bangkok, we got a taxi from the airport to Ekamaii, the bus station.  We bought tickets for the midnight bus to Trat, a town in SE Thailand, and the gateway to Koh Chang, the island we were travelling to.  We killed some time exploring the area, bought some delicious Pad Thai (for less than $1!), and chilled at McDonald’s until our bus came.  The bus ride took around 4 hours, so we slept most of the way.  We met a Thai boy on the bus who was an exchange student in Florida for a year, so his English was really good.  He was from Trat, so he told us where we should go, and lined up a taxi to the Koh Chang ferry for us.  This was so helpful because nobody else really spoke English… and it was 4:30 am.  So we caught the taxi to the ferry, but on the way we stopped at a market full of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and… hog heads.  It was only about 4:45 am, and the market was absolutely bustling with locals!  It was cool to be completely immersed in their lifestyle after less than 12 hours in their country!  Oh, and to top off our initial culture experience, we asked to use the restroom in the 7Eleven only to find that it was a hole in the ground with a bit of porcelain around it for you to stand on. Fantastic.

Finally, we arrived at the ferry and hopped on for the 45 minute boat ride to Koh Chang. Our timing was perfect to watch the beautiful sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm Off to Asia!

So, I've had some complaints that I haven't updated my blog recently, so I'll give you a REALLY short update on what I'm up to for the next 10 days over my Easter break.  In approximately 7 hours, 5 friends and I are heading out of Australia and traveling to Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos!  We'll be staying in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand), an island called Koh Chang (Thailand), and Vien Vieng (Laos).  We're planning on going to the markets, riding elephants, hiking in the jungle, white water rafting and tubing, touring the temples, and soaking up the Malyasian, Thai, and Laotian cultures!

I'll share my experiences and pictures as soon as I get back on the 19th!