One Night in Bangkok

An eight hour bus journey today back to Bangkok. The Cambodia/Thailand border crossing was the usual general chaos. Queues, form filling, food stalls, beggars, pickpockets and crowds of all nationalities. Your luggage is unloaded from the bus and then has to be pushed on a hand cart a few hundred metres through no mans land and then loaded onto another mini bus while you go seperately on foot through passport control.

Once in Thailand everything changes again. There are much better roads, modern cars, no one hassling you when you stop and great street food but we will miss Cambodia and will certainly return one day. We arrived in Bangkok late afternoon.

Bangkok is an international transport hub. It encompasses the past, present and the future. A sprawling city that gives you urban sophistication alongside ceaseless chaos. We dined that evening at a unique restaurant with the strange name ‘Cabbages and Condoms’. It is owned by the Population and Community Development Association, formed in 1974 to promote family planning in rural areas to help lower the population growth rate from 3.2% to 1%. The restaurant was open to the elements in a big courtyard decorated with thousands of fairy lights in the trees. There were colourful mannequins dotted aroung the place and it was only when you looked closer that you realised their clothes were made of condoms. Many of the names of the food on the menu had a condom theme and there were many items in the gift shop with a humorous safe sex message. The whole place was crowded and had a great atmosphere and the food wasn’t bad either.

The next day was our last day. We had an early start as our guide Kris who had been with us all week took us to see a temple near the hotel which had a huge gold Buddah on display. We took Kris out for a final meal as he has been so good to us and on his recommendation went to a small vegetarian restaurant where Kris ordered duck! Generally we like travelling on our own but we really couldn’t have done this trip without him. Apart from his help he really is one of life’s good guys. We spent the rest of the day messing around and shopping and then back to the hotel for final goodbyes and the late flight to Brisbane.

It’s been a fantastic nine days and it’s unbelievable really what we’ve managed to see and do in such a short space of time. We’ll certainly come back one day to see the north of Vietnam and Laos and spend a much longer period with these people who seem to have so little but smile so much.

Brisbane here we come. First on the list – a nice big steak. We’re all noodled out!!

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