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Monday, 4 October 2010

Day 159-161: The afore mentioned ordeal

Apologies again for ow long it has taken me to write this post - much has happened in the mean time, but first let us deal with the afore mentioned ordeal that was our entry into Thailand. It was a series of bus-based disasters that is probably best explained in diary form, so here goes;

Mon 27th September
18:00 - a very luxurious people carrier collects us from our guest house in Luang Probang and takes us to the north bus stand
19:00 - we have switched onto a bigger night bus now and it departs bang on 7pm, as scheduled, we recline our chairs as much as possible and brace ourselves for the 13 hours to the Laos/Thai border
20:00 - 00:00 - the bus rumbles over potholed roads and frequently stops for 15-20 minutes at a time. Loud banging can be heard from the rear of the vehicle during these unscheduled stops. Sleep is impossible.
Tues 28th September
01:00 - the bus stops again and this time does not depart for over 45 minutes, on exiting the bus the driver is crouching behind the bus looking at the engine and other passengers are standing and smoking. I establish that the bus is indeed broken and we're waiting for another bus.
02:00 - The replacement bus, which resembles an over-sized school bus with stiff seats, rusty windows and no air-con arrives and we all pile on, clambering over bags that fill the central aisle
04:30 - For no apparent reason bus #2 pulls over on the side of a road
05:30 - with the assistance of wild hand waving from every male Thai aboard, our bus tries to maneuver itself around a large truck that has got stuck in mud in the middle of the road ahead (presumably the reason for the stop on the first place?) Driving perilously close to the ditch that edge the roads on one side and actually brushing past the canvas cover of the truck on the other side we make it past! Hurrah! freedom! Now let's get to the border!
05:45 - the bus stops just past the broken down-truck
06:00 - it seems that on the way past the truck, our bus actually ripped the canvas cover of the truck. We are now waiting for "insurance man" to come to the scene to resolve the dispute.
07:00 - The insurance issue has been sorted and we head off again at full speed through the mountains
08:00 - this is the time we were meant to have arrived at Hua Xai [the Laos side of the border] we are told we are "around 5 hours away"
10:00 - we stop for breakfast, this is when we were meant to have crossed the border and be boarding our next bus to Chang Mai
14:30 - arrive in Hua Xai, obviously we've missed our connection and we try to contact the right people to figure out what our next step should be; questions are asked and phone calls are made but with no sleep and a phone that ran out of battery and then credit on consecutive calls, it's not looking good
16:30 - we get through and a tuk tuk takes us to the river bank
16:55 - we are sailing accross the Mekong into Thailand!
17:00 - we're in Thailand!
17:30 - the company we bought our tickets with recommends a hotel in Chang Xai [the Thai side of the border] which we check into, we will catch the 10am bus to Chang Mai the following day
18:30 - we are showered and eating our first genuine Thai meal in the hotel restaurant
20:00 - we go to bed
20:01 - everyone is fast asleep
Wed 29th September
10:00 - we are rested and packed and ready to go
11:00 - the minibus departs on Thailands beautiful smooth tarmac roads, compared to the beginning of this trip, it's like driving on a dream
16:00 - arrive in Chang Mai! just shy of 48 hours after departing and almost exactly a day late we make it to our final destination!
18:00 - Chang beers all round


  1. Trish says

    Oh my - guess you're really learning the art of patience, and attitude of 'c'est la vie'! Glad you finally arrived safely.

    Trish xxx

  2. just wait til you hear about our next transport-based adventure Trish! blog post coming soon...

  3. loving the...
    20:00 - we go to bed
    20:01 - everyone is fast asleep