After riding on a scooter in a heavy rain without proper raincoat I ended up pretty sick. I already bought an invitation letter and a flight ticket to Vietnam and I didn’t want to change my plan because of my stupidity. I was also postponing booking a train ticket to Bangkok for a while and now there were no tickets available anymore. I also wasn’t able to sell my guitar. Some guy commented on my FB post with the guitar in the the day before I was about to leave, but the next day, it took too long to reach him. I packed my backpack and the guitar and I went to the hostel where I was staying the first time I came to Chiang Mai. This hostel is being run by an older Thai man called Pete and he was quite nice to me when I was staying there. I offered him, that he can keep the guitar there, I sent him some photos of it, so that he can advertise the guitar on booking.com to attract customers and I told him that I am going to come back in about 6 months. He was pretty happy about it.
I walked all the way down to the bus station (50 minutes walk) risking that I might just go back because there are no tickets to Bangkok anymore. I asked on plenty of places without success, but eventually I found one place where I bought the ticket. It was a little bit more expensive, but it was still fine.
I was waiting for 4 hours to get to the bus. I was quite surprised when I received a water and a small cake and also some coupons after getting seated. The ride supposed to take 14 hours. The bus was old, but it was quite fine. We stopped after about 6 hours and then I realized what those coupons are for food. Free meals and drinks! So after all, the ticket was quite a good deal. After a nice pad thai, I felt much better. Riding sick in an old bus on a bumpy road for 14 hours isn’t especially a nice thing to do, but food always makes me happier :D.
We stopped again for another food and at about 3 AM we eventually reached the Bangkok Mochit bus station. It was a crazy place. People sleeping on the street, broken chairs and plenty of taxi and tuk-tuk drivers fighting for customers. I was sitting there for a while trying to find a way to the airport. I found a way to the train station from where the train to the airport goes. I did exactly what everyone will tell you to avoid. Being a foreigner, walking in a late night through slums with a big backpack. I met a few dogs, but they were fine. I met some people, but they fine as well. No problem. I found a train station and I was waiting there for about 30 minutes. No train at all. I decided to walk to the next train station that was about 1.5 km away. Slums again. No train. Next station. I found a 7-11 store, I bought some spicy soup and Halls to calm my sick throat. I continued. Slowly, it was getting brighter. I wanted to rest for a while. On the map, I found a park. It was a little bit further away from the way to the airport, but It was still worth it. When I was getting closer, I realized that it is a private golf course. So I walked all back to the road throught some alleys in between old houses. Eventually I found the way and I continued. Still no train. When I found another train station (this time a proper one with personnel), I asked when the next train is coming. I was told that it will come in 2 hours. I was taking a rest and when I was about to go to the toilet, there was a monk shaving himself and he showed me that I cannot go in. I didn’t understand and I was just waiting to get to the airport.
The train eventually came. It took only about 5 minutes to get to the airport. I walked for about 10 km, but I was too tired to continue when it wasn’t necessary.
I had all day on the airport. AirAsia wrote me that they won’t send me the plane ticket via mail and that I have to come to their office at the airport. It is because of I was going to Vietnam where you need an invitation letter. I thought that I will go to the office and they will give me the ticket. I went there and they told me that I have to wait till 2 AM (my flight was about 4 AM the next day) to the check-in at the check-in register. I asked several times if it is not possible to do it sooner, but they refused. That spoiled my plan. It was officially my last day in Thailand (30 day VISA) and I wanted to go through customs before the midnight and wait there for 4 hours for my flight. I didn’t know what to do now. If I stay longer, I am going to be charged and I didn’t have any THB anymore. I didn’t want to take money from ATM and pay additional 150 THB for fees. Another thing was that my backpack was 15 kg and I was allowed to take 7 kg or I would pay as well. Ok, don’t panic. First, have a good meal from your resources. Ok, 1 kg less. Now, weight every single piece that you have in your backpack and get rid of everything that is not necessary. Still not enough. Ok, my DSLR tripod is already pretty damaged, it is fixed with several different duct tapes and I need to use plenty of hacks to make it work. My inflatable sleeping mat survived a lot with me, it has several holes in it and it is pretty dirty. I can buy new for less than I would pay for the additional luggage. I left the tripod and the mat next to the trash bin so that someone can take it. Next step – take all clothes on you and fill you pocket to the top. Next step – take books and tablet into your hands so that it looks that you need to have this out of your bag all the time. What is the weight? 7.1 kg. Ok, for this I can use some diplomacy.
One problem solved, another one awaits – the plane ticket and my possible overstay in Thailand and a fine. Ok, the AirAsia staff changed. Let’s try again. Wow, this lady actually went to ask her boss if it is possible. Ok, it is not possible. Another idea. Lets go to ask Thai customs. Ehm…how to get there without a ticket? Ok, let’s ask the officer. Fine, I am through. Ok, let’s ask this lady. Explain the situation. Make a sorrowful smile 🙂 Yes! One day overstay will not be fined.
After all day reading books and organizing notes from the last month, sleeping, eating, coughing and blowing my nose, the time finally came. I checked in, I received my ticket, I passed through the customs and I reached a place filled with screaming Chinese. They didn’t care about their surroundings at all. When we were about to board-in, I noticed that there is a guy with a guitar. I asked him if he had to pay for the guitar and he told me that officialy you have to, but he tried several times and it worked for him. Once, he was asked about it and he asked the board-in officer if she plays a guitar. She didn’t and he said that she can have the guitar, because he would rather give it to someone personally that just leaving it there on the ground. She eventually told him that he can take it with him. Next time, I will try as well.
When I arrived to Vietnam, I just handed over my invitation letter, I paid 25 USD and after 10 minutes I had a 3 months Vietnamese VISA in my passport. I took my 5 millions from ATM and I felt rich for a while :D. I continued chatting with the guitar guy and his girlfriend, we boarded on a bus to Hanoi and in about 30 minutes we were in the hearth of Vietnamese motorbike chaos.