Our first month abroad we traveled the south of Thailand for one month before heading to Cambodia. Now, after leaving Cambodia, we decided we were going to travel the north of Thailand for one month. The city to start off in is usually Chiang Mai, but in order to get there from Siem Reap we could either:
A) Fly for $250
B) Take a bus from Siem Reap –> Bangkok ($40/person), kill a few days in Bangkok ($30/person) then grab a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai ($26/person) = Grand Total (including accomodations in Bangkok) $96
We chose option B. This lead us back to Bangkok for a few days.
Now, our first time around, we didn’t like Bangkok so much. We stayed out of the city center and tried to do the touristy things we were told to do when visiting Bangkok (like visit the temples).
This time around we picked a place near the city center, and decided to go to the massive shopping malls that everyone raves about and take in an IMAX movie.
The malls are huge, air conditioned, have good brand name shopping places, and cheap food courts! I managed to score some $20 H&M shorts and Mitch found a $10 hat. We also managed to find an all English book store where Mitch bought a book (I’ve been reading mine electronically – so I don’t need to carry books in my backpack with me).
Then we went to see Star Wars in IMAX and 3D! Mitch had never been to an IMAX theatre before so it was fun seeing his reaction when he realized just how large an IMAX theatre is. The tickets were $16 CAD each.
1) Our bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok was supposed to take 8 hours with 2 hours allocated for border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand (so 6 hours driving). It took 11.5 hours.
Something happened on the way, which made the driver not be able to shift into 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gear. He could get into 4th, 5th and 6th gear though. The crew tried for about 1.5 hours on the side of the road to fix it, but still couldn’t figure it out. So,the driver was starting the bus rolling in 4th gear, and because there was so much traffic on the road, he had to start and stop constantly. Eventually we stopped at a pit stop for a bathroom break (supposed to be 15 min stop) and after about 45 min there they managed to get the vehicle working in the first 3 gears and we cruised on towards Bangkok. Unfortunately by this time though, we were arriving later than anticipated and we hit evening traffic, adding another 1.5 hours to the journey.
Side Note: There was actually one family, impatient throughout everything all day, who ended up getting mad at the employees saying that we had been sitting in traffic for an hour and the employees better hurry up. Because I’m sure the Cambodian employees, being paid probably $150-$300 per month, created the traffic issues themselves and wanted the bus to break down, turning their 8 hour work day into a 12. If those people hadn’t gotten out at the first stop soon after that, before we did, I had plans to make them aware of just how rude and inconsiderate they were being as I passed them getting off the bus.
2) Mitch is scared of Wax People! There is a Madame Tussade’s Wax Museum in one of the Bangkok malls and Mitch refused to go with me. He wouldn’t even stand next to the dolls placed outside of it! But I did 🙂
Anyways though, all in all, our trip to Bangkok this time was much better. We knew our way around this time, and found cheap good food so it all worked out!
Thanks for Reading!
Next Stop –> Now onto Northern Thailand starting in the city of Chiang Mai!