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Down UnderMy Address Down Under

On 15 December 2003 from Sydney, NSW, Australia | comments closed

I got my personal forwarding address in Sydney this morning. This means you can send me snail mail, like postcards and the like. Please use the full address below. You can also call or SMS me on my Australian Vodafone number.

Oz Address
Guido Claessen
TCP# 9542 AUS
C/- Travellers Contact Point
Level 7, Dymocks Building
428 George Street

Oz Phone #

Down UnderDown Under!

On 14 December 2003 from Sydney, Australia | comments closed

I finished my 3,5 weeks of travelling from Singapore to Bangkok, and I have finally arrived Down Under! To quote Bet: “this is where the adventure really starts”. Mainly by looking for a job and a nice place to stay in Sydney until February.

Bet and I spent our last day together in Bangkok by going to Vimanmek Mansion, the palace of one of the former Kings of Thailand. Afterwards I tried to do some shopping near Siam Square, but I could not find anything I liked. So we went back to the Banglampu area and spend a few hours sorting out all our photos and burning them on CD. Not the best way to spend the last day, but quite essential if I want to make sense of all the photos I made after I get home.

The flight from Bangkok to Sydney was pretty smooth. But I guess Cathay Pacific did not become “Airline of the Year 2003” for no reason. The stopover in Hong Kong was too short to visit the city, but too long to spend at the airport (a later flight from Bangkok was booked full at the time of booking). To avoid getting bored, I went through immigration and back to score some extra passport stamps. Upon arrival in Sydney two more pages were filled, one with my visa that I got straight at the airport.

Today I will mainly be handling all the practical stuff: postal address, mobile phone number, taxfile number, bank account etc. And I need to catch up with sleeping: a short night in Bangkok and another short night on the plane are not helping. Not to mention another 4 hours of time difference compared to Bangkok. Sydney is GMT +11, so it is 10 hours later than mainland Western Europe.

Down UnderBuddhas Everywhere

On 12 December 2003 from Bangkok, Thailand | comments closed

Yesterday we went to Bangkok by bus, since we would have to wait 1,5 hours for the train otherwise. At the bus terminal we avoided the taxis and took a bus (0,10 euro) to Banglampu, where we planned to stay. Most places were already full at 6 PM, but we managed to find a nice and clean place.

I must admit I was a bit worried about travelling to Bangkok at first, because “the noise is deafening, the pollution asphyxiating and the heat stifling” [Lonely Planet]. Aside from the sheer size and traffic jams, I find the city quite manageable. Bangkok has pretty much everything a traveller needs in large numbers: accommodation, food, internet, cheap clothes etc. And the city is interesting: there is always something going on, 24 hours a day.

Today we visited Wat Pho (a large temple complex) and the Grand Palace. Both places had a large number of fully decorated buildings and some temples. I think I have seen enough Buddhas by now, no matter how gold coated they are. I also saw one of the largests Buddhas today: 46 metre long.

Down UnderLots of Ancient Temples

On 11 December 2003 from Ayuthaya, Thailand | comments closed

The full moon party last Monday was really crazy. I am not sure if there were 10.000 people in Hat Rin town and on the beach, but it must have been something like it. The atmosphere was really good, with lots of drunk Commonwealth citizens, as expected. Bet and I did not make it into the morning though, as we would have a long trip ahead of us the next day.

On Monday we got on the ferry back to the mainland, with lots of other hangover travellers, no surprise there. The night train to Bangkok was quite okay, although another traveller rated it as half the quality compared to the train to Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. That seems to become a common theme: all the other travellers I meet have already been in Chiang Mai, and I am not even going there. Well, this was not intended as a trip that would include all the sights though, less than two weeks is way too short for all of Thailand. I am pretty sure I will visit this country again somewhere in the future. It is cheap, there are lots of things to see (nature as well as ancient sites), the people are friendly, the food is just great, some beaches are just like paradise, and it is always warm (although the last point also has its disadvantages).

On Tuesday morning we arrived in Bangkok, where we did not even leave the train station and boarded a train to Ayuthaya. This should have taken less than two hours, but it did take a bit longer for us. Because the station was signposted pretty badly, we had to take a train back from the next station. When we finally arrived at the hostel in Ayuthaya we had been travelling for almost 24 hours. So we rested a bit, before biking around the city to see all the ancient temples. Ayuthaya has been the capital of Thailand hundreds of years ago, and there are quite some ruins remaining of that period.

Since we did not manage to see all the main sites in one afternoon, we woke up early this morning to bike around the city a bit more and take in the sights. I really made a lot of photos here, which I will try to upload from Australia. I am betting I will not have the time nor the opportunity to do that in Bangkok, where we are going now.