Final Destination

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December 19th 2011
Published: August 9th 2017
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Geo: 13.7308, 100.521

The final stretch on this amazing two and a half month trip was to cross the worst border I have ever encountered from Siem Reap to Bangkok. We arrived at the border crammed in a bus and that's where the waiting began. Big queues exiting Cambodia and bigger queues entering Thailand and afterwards being transported to a restaurant where further waiting was required. Total time at the border was around 3 hours before leaving in a mini bus when our numbers were called up to Bangkok.
The ride in to Bangkok wasn't the safest in the world, although the roads were in good condition from previous countries and the mini bus was pretty new, it didn't alter the drivers perception on speed and safety. Pulling on to the motorways and intertwining through traffic at speeds of 140km/h in 90km/h speed zones and furiously speeding up to plug gaps in the bumper to bumper traffic to deny any one a chance of merging in created some close calls accident wise.
We made it in to Bangkok just as the darkness set in and we headed to the same guesthouse we had stayed in over two months previously, which we knew would be cheap, for our final three nights.

The following day was pretty low key. We spent a few hours walking the main street of Khoa San Road and adjoining streets in search for some last minute shopping opportunities. On the last full day on our trip we wanted to see a floating market which we hadn't managed throughout our travels, so we got information on bus numbers and directions to the Taling Chang Floating Market.
After walking around for almost an hour trying to locate the bus stop for our particular bus number, we conceded defeat and took a tuk-tuk. Another failed Thailand bus attempt.
We were shocked when we got there, because there was nothing there!
There was a floating platform about 40 meters long filled with small restaurants for eating, but in terms of people on boats trading their merchandise, there was no one.
It was pretty crap, so I would avoid the Taling Chang Floating Market. It seemed like a waste of time and effort for no result, but we didn't have much else to do so it wasn't all a loss.

We limped back in to town for some more shopping and a fish foot massage. I wouldn't do the fish foot massage again because for the price you pay ($5 for 15 minutes) it was pretty uncomfortable and I didn't feel any effect at the end, but I guess everyone is different.
It was like a bad case of the pins and needles and very hard to relax, maybe I am just too ticklish...
It's probably better to have a 30 minute foot massage for cheaper which seemed a pretty popular thing for people to get.
That night we had a few drinks in celebration of our trip and achievements on our last night in South East Asia and the next day we headed to the airport covered in jackets, jumpers, hiking boots and jeans in order to stay under the weight limit and fit the copious amounts of shopping we had accumulated throughout the trip.

Overall the trip was incredible. There are so many things to see and do and the countries can be pretty diverse from jungles, beaches, cities, sand dunes, mountains and mighty rivers.
I guess it's quite hard to get off the beaten track when it comes to South East Asia but most places are quite amazing and beautiful.
Favourite places included Chiang Mai and surrounds, Luang Prabang, Mui Ne and Angkor Wat and favourite country was Vietnam. Favourite dessert was Mango sticky rice!!

I didn't quite agree with some aspects of the party situation in some countries either. I won't miss the many people wearing "In the tubing Laos" items of clothing as if it's some kind of trophy. I also won't miss the constant touting, although this is life in these countries, also the long bumpy and uncomfortable bus, boats or car rides and the hectic and unorganized way of life.
Tourism has definitely played it's part on this side of the world.

But I think that beyond these rougher experiences it is important to look back at the amazing experiences such as Vang Vieng, although plagued full of drunken people, the landscape there was stunning and opportunities for great activities were endless. The locals, like in Chiang Mai where we broke down miles away from the town and a local towed us and stayed with us till it was fixed was extremely heart warming for me. And opportunities, like hiking in to lush green jungles, cruising down the Mekong or Climbing up the highest peak in Indo-China.

Memories to last a life time...

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