148 Kms from Rayong
Every year Bangkok experiences a rise of 0.8 degree Celsius and along with temperature fluctuations, flooding has become a present reality for the city. In last few years Bangkok's issue with climate has speed up drastically and a future with irreversible effects.
297 Kms from Rayong
As we stepped off the plane at Siem Reap International Airport the excitement took over. We were hit by the familiar hot, humid air and the smell of South East Asia. I think this unique smell is a combination of close, muggy air infused with incense, spices, cooking, gasoline, and in the rainy season, wet grass, leaves and mud. Andy and I are now nearing the end of our first month in Siem Reap. Therefore I wanted to update you on our roller-coaster of an integration and assimilation to expat life here. Just a pre-warning...this is a lengthy post - I'll try to keep future posts on the little but often basis. Integration and assimilation is normally over in a day or two after arriving in a new place. It involves finding our bearings, discovering how things work and generally getting into the swing of things. This time it's been different. I think this is partly because we've both been to Cambodia and Siem Reap several times before. It's also because we're not just travelling here, but living and working too. As a result this post is about our 4 week stint house and pet-sitting, and running our friends guesthouse ( Rosy Guesthouse). Welcome Back A friendly tuk-tuk driver from Rosy Guesthouse met us at the airport as usual. He whisked us straight there where we were welcomed by our friends and partook in several obligatory Cambodia draft beers, before getting settled into our favourite room for a few nights. We then spent an enjoyable evening at our friend's house, where we had dinner and a good catch-up. We also got a tour of the house we'd be living in for the next 4 weeks and met the pets we'd be looking after. The following day we were given a thorough handover of the day to day running of the guesthouse. We also got a grand tour of the important places in town that we might need such as the bank, money exchange, wholesalers, markets, malls, petrol station etc. A Tourist Mecca As we drove around town it soon became clear that Siem Reap has changed alot since our last visit 4 years ago. It's tourism industry has boomed since we first visited 8 or 9 years ago, which was inevitable given the proximity to the famous Angkor Temple complex. During our first visit the roads were mainly dirt tracks, with a distinct lack of pavements and just a smattering of guesthouses. Now there are guesthouses, hostels, and hotels everywhere you look.
54 Kms from Rayong
Day 2 - Was travel day to Pattaya.Thanks to a very minor accident,we had to postpone the travel to early evening and not morning as planned.We took a bus from Ekkamai bus station to Pattaya.Buses leave on time here and hence it is best to arrive early enough.It gets very humid in Bangkok and hence best to ensure that you consume enough fluids through the day.We arrived at our hotel in Pattaya,relaxed for while before we headed to the streets nearby.Pattaya can be very much on your face initially.Definitely not my favorite place!Travel tip - shared tuk tuks are really cheap.Do ensure that you confirm the price per person before boarding these shared tuk tuks.Day 3 - By now,we were getting used to the weather,food and streets in Thailand.The strong cooking oil odor is everywhere and takes time getting used to.Day 3 started by a walk down the Pattaya beach road.The beach is strictly okay here.Travel Tip - Buy water from 7/11.It would cost anywhere between 9-18 THB.Restaurants charge a lot for bottle of water.After a long walk down the beach road and lunch at an Indian restaurant,we were back at our hotel ready to move back to Bangkok.The bus ride from Pattaya to Bangkok feels very similar to the bus ride from Mumbai to Pune.Since,we had an early morning flight to Phuket next morning,we booked a hotel (G9 Bangkok) closer to the Don Mueng airport.Travel Tip - If you are short of food and it is very late in the day - just walk upto a 711 store and buy packed food for 35-60THB.They would warm it at their store for you to carry back to your hotel.We had to do this because all restaurants in the area had closed by the time we got ready for dinner.If one has time,chatuchak market is a must visit.Day 4 - Travel to Phuket!A very different place compared to cities in North Thailand.The approach to Phuket runway is lovely! There are several small hills dotting the sea below!It looks gorgeous from the top.
158 Kms from Rayong
Here I was at the Sea Farm Model Royal Project, gazing in disbelief at the massive eels, salt pans and freshly-prepared spa salt. Then came the moment of truth, when I was told to taste the fresh sea weed.