Planning for life without Thailand


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December 1st 2008
Published: December 7th 2008
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The news out of Thailand is still not looking good and the airport there is still occupied by protesters. Australia is trying to get it's citizens out of Phuket, a 16 hour bus ride away, so it doesn't look like we can get there anytime soon.

We make a trip over to the local mall to use the INTERNET. It is quite cheap here, and we each get on a computer to check email and do some research including the latest news out of Thailand and India. Evy's sister Lily has a friend who is a Sydney travel agent, but the friend sends us an email saying that she only does wholesale travel so that connection will not pan out. The Thai Airways site isn't very informative, so we decide to head down to their office down town.

The airline office turns out to be a long way from where we get off the train so we have a tour through Sydney's business district en route. This is definitely a very fashionable city and we seem conspicuous in our shorts and t-shirts as we walk past the fashion houses of the world. In addition to the trains, Sydney also has a monorail system which weaves its way down the streets curving into stations on the second floor of buildings. Very “Jetsons”.

When we finally reach the Thai airways office we find that they have posted people at the doors of the building to answer questions, due to the huge number of stranded travellers. We speak with a young guy who turns out to be one of their accountants, pressed into duty to deal with the public. He tells us there is a standby list for people wishing to fly in to another Bangkok airport, but nothing will happen until at least Saturday, if even then, and that out refunds will have to come through our ticket agent. As it is still Sunday in San Francisco where our agent is, there is nothing we can do today about that part.

We head off to a YHA travel centre to get some prices if we decide to head to Hanoi, Viet Nam instead. The agent is surprised as he checks the computer as everything is quickly booking up for alternative South East Asia destinations, but he does find us a flight with Malaysia airline through Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday or Thursday. After that, prices go up several hundred dollars as shoulder season end and high season starts. We decide to also check prices at a “Flight Centre”. This leads to the same results, but the agent also gives us some details on the visa requirements and prints out some forms for us. Reading the details on the forms, it seems we will have to go to the office tomorrow morning as they are closed for the day.

After returning home, we take a closer look at the forms and realize that he has given us Thailand forms, not Viet Nam. A few calls to directory assistance doesn't seem to lead to a Viet Nam consulate in Sydney, only in Canberra. This isn't good news.



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