I'm starting a new thread to be my experiences in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos as my overall Asia thread is getting so long and not everyone wants to read through all of it. But if you do you can go to this thread which is all about China, Hong Kong, and my four days in Kyoto.
Well, I came the closest ever to missing a flight. I had checked in at the Airport Express station downtown Hong Kong and they took my bad and gave me my boarding pass, then I went to lunch, then I took the Express to the airport. On arrival I checked a board and it showed by gate as 19, the same as my boarding pass showed. I had an invite to the Cathay Pacific lounge and there are several of them, but I went to the one at gate 16 and it was on a mezzanine overlooking my gate -- which already had a plane at the jetway and quite a few people gathered but no attendants -- fine, as I had about 2 hours yet before my flight. I showed my boarding pass to the girl at the counter and she said they'd be announcing boarding. So I sat and got caught up on my trip reporting and some emails. Finally I realized it was only about 40 minutes till my flight, but when I looked down and saw that the plane was still there and more people, but still nothing happening at the desk. There are no screens in the lounge, but I gave my boarding pass again to the girl and asked the status of my flight. "it's to be on time, she said". So I sat a little longer. OK, now it was less than 25 minutes and still nothing was happening so I asked again. The girl brought it up on the computer and said, "oh they just had last call. You've got to hurry". So I ran downstairs to the gate and was informed that there had been a gate change -- not gate 22 -- gee, I'm at 19 and it's 22, how bad could that be? Plenty bad-- 23 is in another concourse as that one ends with 19. So I ran, and ran, and ran, finally as I approached the gate an attendant was half running toward me with my flight number on a sign. I said "that's me", and she said I was the one they were looking for, but not to worry. We got to the gate, she took my boarding pass, I got on the plane, they closed the door and we were off -- about 10 minutes early! Why didn't they announce my flight? Well, because it wasn't near the lounge I was in -- but nearer another lounge due to the gate change where they probably DID announce it. So why did the girl look at my boarding pass three times and never note that it had the wrong gate on it? And why don't they have screens in the lounge -- so you don't have to keep leaving the lounge to go check on flights as clearly you have to do so yourself? Anyway, I was a little shaky, but I was on my flight. I'm not sure what lesson I've learned here, unless it's simply to never trust an airport lounge for any information.
Maybe I was just grumpy now because of the almost missed flight, and I know some people LOVE those angled private Business Class compartments like this flight had, but I found it claustrophic. And since it wasn't an overnight flight and I wasn't going to sleep, I really felt like I was entombed in a little box. And then came the food -- I'm not one to complain about airline food as I usually don't expect much, but I've been really happy with American Airlines food, and was astounded how great my filet was on JAL including it's being cooked perfectly rare. But this stuff –overcooked and dried out filet of sole in what tasted like wallpaper taste was really pretty bad. So my first Cathay Pacific flight was not impressive.
But my flight from Hong Kong arrived at BKK at 5:30 PM right on time. Must be a great time to arrive as the airport seemed deserted. I breezed though fast track of immigration and my bag came out as I walked towards the carousel, and I was on my way after acquiring an immediate taxi. I had Centre Point Silom printed out in Thai, along with the address and the driver nodded yes and off we went. But then we hit traffic. I thought the issue was getting through a toll booth as we inched towards one, but once through the traffic was no better. An accident? I don’t know but we inched on the expressway for miles and miles. When we finally exited the expressway, we sat at one point for a full 15 minutes simply waiting for a light to change a few times and for us to get through as traffic was stopped and blocking the intersection. But finally I was seeing “Silom” on signs and before long we pulled up to a big building that said Centre Point on it, but it clearly was not MY Centre Point as I knew what the building looked like. I said no to the driver and he looked at the address again, and muttered something apologetically. Clearly he had the wrong Centre Point – and he pointed at my address and said,”not Silom”. But this one WAS in Silom. At least that’s what I made of it. So now we sat in more traffic on Silom Road – and sat and sat. It was a total of one hour and 45 minutes to my place from the airport, but I’m not sure how much of that was due to his getting off the expressway too early, since the expressway was as dead still as Silom was!
In any case, Centre Point Silom (even if it isn’t really in Silom) was lovely. I opted for the smaller studio which still was to have washer and dryer which ended up being one unit – although 6 hours in the dryer for two polo shirts still couldn’t dry them – and a balcony, not to the river but towards the city and from the 17th floor had a wonderful view. Super comfortable king bed, great air conditioning, free wireless internet, and a nice big marble bath with tub and separate walk in shower. Also a kitchen, which of course I never used except once to make tea for iced tea. The price was 2300 Baht a night on a weekly rate.
I fully unpacked, then headed out to get something to eat. I wasn’t too impressed with the neighborhood. In the lower floor of our building were the usual MacDonald’s, KFC, a pizza place, and a big Robinson’s Dept. Store. And like all of Bangkok there were lots of food wagons and stalls along the street. Right behind us was the Shangrila Hotel, but I didn’t want to do that tonight – just looking for a nice little Thai restaurant to get some Pad Thai or something. So I walked and walked and literally didn’t find anywhere I’d want to eat. Later I’d find the options would have been a little better the other direction. Finally as I was about to return to my apt., I spotted a little Queen of Curry, went in and had some beer and a really good chicken curry. I was happy, went back, and went to bed.
Tuesday morning, I did the free buffet breakfast – what a spread that easily could have been dinner, not breakfast. Each day there were easily 8 or 10 main course dishes, from Beef stroganoff to Chicken , fish, or pork curry, to fettucine alfredo with chicken, to crispy fish with various sauces, and always lots of steamed or stir fried veggie options as well as always noodles and fried rice. Also of course congee, and a daily soup, and a full egg station also with pancakes and French toast, plus lots of fruits and pastries.
So after eating way more than I should (the reason I basically don’t like those buffets as I don’t have great restraint), I headed off by Sky Train to the Jim Thompson house. As I walked the streets I got the usual “tuk-tuk?”, “taxi?”, and tugs on my arm to buy various things. I passed a man just steps from the Jim Thompson House on the right soi and he said, “Jim Thompson House?” so I assumed he wanted to take me somewhere, probably somewhere else or was going to do the “it’s closed” scam. I just said “no, no”, and went on my way. The house was fascinating as is the Jim Thompson story, especially how he went missing without a clue on the year he had been told he would (myth or legend?). On my way back out the alley, a man said, “Tuk-tuk? Where you going?” and I simply said “no, no”. The man I had said that to on my way in was there and he said, “no, no, no, no” and asked if he could tell me something, so I stopped. I then got a friendly scolding that when he had asked Jim Thompson house it was simply to point the way as many people ask. He supposedly lives right there. He then told me that not all Thais are bad people like I seem to suspect and how many just want to help and although I should be careful, I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. I felt guilty (although later I started suspecting he still might have originally planned to tell me it was closed on go on a shopping spree).
I got some street food, at a place with little tables right on the sidewalk. It was two dishes for 60 Baht($2), and I chose two, but the guy warned me one was spicy. I said that was OK, took them, sat at a table and was aware they were staring at me to see my reaction. OK, it was HOT, but not too hot for me and I struggled not to show my mouth was onfire. But it was good.
I also had a plum smoothie – for 20 Baht I assumed it would be tiny, but it was gigantic. I ended up throwing the last half away, after filling myself with it, really delicious. And I headed into the Cultural Center/Art Gallery next to MBK shopping center. Some very interesting art and handicrafts. I headed back to the hotel for a swim, did some relaxing, and then in the evening headed out to Pandaras Bistro for dinner. Uh-oh. Grid lock on the streets again and because it was pretty far to get to from a sky station or subway, I took a taxi. What should have been 15 minutes was an hour and 15 minutes – no, I’m not exaggerating. This is when I swore I’d never take a taxi again within Bangkok. If it wasn’t near a station, that I’m not going. LOL. Pandaras was nice, but expensive. I had a real drink there (my dry Robroy) which was great, and two dishes which were both simply delicious, but I failed to write down what they were and now I’ve forgotten. It was mainly foreigners though, and the music was way too loud for me. Outside I got a Tuk-tuk to take me to the underground station and then back home.
Wednesday was Grand Palace Day, and after seeing the one express boat pull away from the dock by Taksin – right by my apt – a man appeared offering to take me by long tail boat. I now forget how much he wanted but I got him down to 350 and thought for a private ride on the river -- $10 was worth it. At the Grand Palace I was nearly taken by the oldest scam in Bangkok. I knew about the “Palace is closed, let me take you on a tour” scam, but I wasn’t ready for a uniformed “guard” with big official badge standing at the staff entrance to say to me, “you are going to the Palace” and then telling me “didn’t you see the news last night – there is a parade here today and the king is making an appearance, so the palace won’t open till noon.” I laughed and thanked him, but said I’d heard of that scam before. He insisted that it was wise of me to be careful but he was serious, pointed to his badge and said he works for the ministry of tourism (is there such a thing?) and said I should just get a Tuk Tuk on my own and go to the Golden Mount and some other Wat. He warned me to only take an official Tuk-tuk with the emblem on it and one where the driver wears a blue uniform shirt. At that minute, one just happened to appear and he was immediately asking the driver if he’d take me there and back for 20 Baht. Sure. But by now I was really laughing and said, “maybe after I see the Grand Palace” and started away, only for him to say, “you don’t trust me?” So on my walk to the entrance I suddenly thought of the day before and my scolding and started thinking, “I’m really going to feel terrible if the Palace IS closed.” But of course it wasn’t’, and when I laughingly said to the ticket seller, “so the Kind isn’t coming today and the Palace IS open?” He laughed and said “the king has been in hospital for a year, and no he isn’t coming here”. He then asked if the “guard” told me that. Seems they know all about him, and he isn’t really a guard, but dresses like one. On my way out of the Grand Palace later, I saw him talking with a couple with a map open. I marched right up and said to them, “let me guess. He told you the Palace is closed, right” and they said, “yes”. I then said, “ no he is a liar and the Palace is open.” I then turned to the man and said, “thank you for reminding me that some Thais are dishonest, liars, and cheats.” And walked away. Couldn’t resist.
Anyway the Grand Palace is amazingly beautiful. I suppose some could spend hours studying the miles of murals and listening to the stories – I stopped and evesdropped on one guide talking about some of them, but a little goes a long way with me.
So afterwards, I walked back towards the boat, and then thought that guy did have one good idea. I think I do want to go the Golden Mount, so I stopped where there were a bunch of Tuk-tuks and bargained with one to take me there for 20 Baht. It wasn’t far and when we got there I was surprised when he said, “I wait for you here.” I said no that I’d get one when I wanted to leave and he said the 20 baht was to take me there and back,which really surprised me. Besides, he wouldn’t take my money but said to pay him when we got back to the boats. Where was my brain when this signal was given? After climbing the “mount”, a circular set of stairs that encircles this odd temple on the outside and seeing the great views (at one time the mount was supposedly the highest point in Bangkok) I headed back down and we were on my way back, but then he stopped in front of a jewelry story. “just take a look” “no, I don’t want to shop and I don’t want anything”. “Please, just for me”. So not wanting to argue, I got out, walked to the door, opened it, stuck my head and half my body inside, looked from left to right, backed out and got back in the Tuk-tuk. He was shocked and said I didn’t look. I fairly angrily said, “told you I don’t want jewelry, they sell jewelry. I just want to go back to the boats.” So a block further he pulls up in front of a tailor store. This time I simply refused to get out. Finally I said, take me back to the boats now or I’ll just go get a taxi. He took me back to the boats and didn’t say a word the whole rest of the way. When I went to pay him, I had to give him a 50, but to my surprise he handed me back 30 and drove off.
I took the express boat back to Taksin, then the sky train to Sala Daeng, where I went to “hole in the wall” place and had a bowl of soup with noodles and chicken drumstick and a fried broad noodle dish – very spicy. It was nice, and I was thinking how clean this simple place looked, but then I went to the bathroom, and went through a small room where a “kid” was squatted on the dirty floor with two dishpans of water, washing dishes and stacking them on the floor. I could have lived without seeing that.
At 6 PM I was to meet a friend of mine from Switzerland who has been living and working in Bangkok for 6 years. He came by after work and we went by taxi to a place called “The View?” which is upriver a mile or two from Taksin, and is a huge outdoor place right on the river, also an open air nightclub. He ordered and we had a whole fish, some great green papaya and shrimp salad, and I don’t remember what else, but it was all simply delicious. He then said he wanted to show me a great spot for a drink and we went to Sirocco atop the State Tower. Wow – amazing views, and a mind boggling feeling that you could step off into space from the 64th floor open air deck. I said, this seems sort of like a place I’m supposed to go called Sky Bar, and he informed me that’s what some people call this place. So once again I found myself at a place I wanted to go by mistake. I paid for the drinks – 1036 for one each! But my Chivas Regal dry Robroy was fabulous and huge. What a grand place. And of course, I think the two drinks had cost more than the dinner!
Thursday, after breakfast I headed to Vimanmek Mansion, going by sky train, then subway, then taxi. I loved this place – a spectaclular “palace” of teak with mostly Victorian furniture. You automatically get an English tour and our guide was super. I asked a lot of specific questions about décor and items and couldn’t stump him (or he was very good at making up answers). I took another taxi back to Siam Paragon, and had a fantastic lunch at Orangery. Crispy fried chicken wings and onion rings with dipping sauces and a sort of pad Thai with seafood. Part of the reason for my going to Paragon was to meet a young long time pen pal of friends of mine in Naples – part of a “learn better English by being a pen pal” program they are involved in. Nic is about 30, a “modern Thai” and apparently from a very wealthy family from things he said. He met me right on time at the appointed spot in Paragon and we walked the mall a bit and asked what I wanted to do. I said that I could do the typical touristy things on my own, so what do real Thai people do. That was a mistake. His idea? See movies. So we did – the worst movie ever made – Piranha 3D – funny and bloody, a sort of spoof of Jaws. But the movie theatres there are fantastic, so I did enjoy the experience. And of course all American movies are shown in English with Thai subtitles. He loves how they subtitle words like ‘asshole’ and the f word into Thai which has totally unrelated meanings –more like “jerk” and “slap your face”. Too funny. Afterwards we ate in a nice Thai restaurant inside the Paragon – among the dozens and dozens of restaurants. He had to get home as he is running his aunt’s business while she is recovering from surgery, and he lives about 20 km out of the city and had to be back by 7 AM the next morning. But he said he’d be free on Sunday and we could do whatever.
Again, an early night, but I took a swim before going to bed. The pool is on the 8th floor and NO ONE is there at night, but you can swim till 10, under the stars with the three carved elephands “spitting” fountains for water into the pool from their trunks.
Friday morning I got a haircut at the apartments. It’s been 5 weeks on this trip now and I was starting to look like a shaggy dog – plus it was just too hot. It cost 250 baht and the young lady who cut it and owns the shop couldn’t have been nicer or done a better job!
Then I took the express boat to Wat Po. I got on the boat and immediately an attractive young Thai woman sat next to me and a young Thai man and an older American guy sat behind me. The three of them were together and we started talking. The American is a newly retired teacher traveling in Asia for a year – and he met the Thai guy at the ministry of education when he went to find out about Thai language classes. The girl was the guy’s sister and she was visiting from Chiang Mai. So when the girl came to sell the tickets, mine was covered – this guy knows the girl and none of us paid. So I was shocked when at the next spot two uniformed officers got on board and started checking tickets – I didn’t have one. The officer and the Thai guy got into a little discussion then the ticket seller came and told the officer who this guy was and suddenly they were all bowing to him and apologizing. So I suspect this guy is pretty important. Well, they were going to Wat Po too, and they had me join them. But like many Thais, they don’t really know much about their own attractions. I mentioned when there that there is apparently a gallery with over 300 Buddahs, and the guy looked at me and said I must be confused. So when we got to that gallery, he looked at me and wanted to know how I knew that. Wouldn’t you know it – Patrick is NOT a picture taker and after just a couple exterior shots and one or two of the reclining Buddah, my battery died. No problem. I put in the spare. Oooops. Hadn’t charged it since it died about a week ago. So this guy started taking pictures of me in front of things and promised to email them to me. But when I made my departure, I suddenly realized we had failed to actually exhange email addresses!
I took a taxi, then sky train to the restaurant Face, which was on my “must” list. It was very quiet at lunch, but a beautiful place in a series of teak stilted building and the food was exquisite! Pretty expensive, but great touches and presentation and fantastic atmosphere. Back to the apartment. Then it started raining, and raining, and raining – lightning and thunder, so I did little all afternoon. But tonight I decided I had to get to the Pickled Liver which I had been putting off all week. First however, I went to the Mandarin Oriental to have a drink at the Bamboo Bar – just seemed like something I needed to do. The place was kind of stuffy and very quiet, but had a nice pianist mainly playing Gershwin and Cole Porter, and I did have a great drink – even if it did cost $30!
Then I took the little hotel boat to Taksin and got the sky train to the Pickled Liver. Found it easy thanks to Carol’s “directions for dummies” and asked for Maeng and said I was a friend of Brad’s and Carol’s. Well, I was like royalty. I ordered a beer. Maeng asked me if I wanted something to eat and I said, “yes, whatever you think I should have”. So they brought me garlic shrimp and then a chicken tika masala that she had apparently whipped up that day, along with some garlic nan. All very good. I didn't stay that long, so put up my umbrella and worked my way back to the skytrain and then home.
Saturday morning I got up and headed to the big weekend market at the end of the Skytrain Line. I thought I'd spend maybe an hour but I ended up being there for maybe three or four hours. Did I mention I lost my pants in Xi'an? Well, I guess that's where it was, as when I reached Guilin in China and got things to take to the laundry, I was missing my great new Patagonia pants – the ones of lighter than air fabric with the zip off legs. Then I realized I was missing a T shirt also, and my new Columbia “fishing” shirt, and a silk print sportshirt. Hmmm. Now I remembered. I hadn't unpacked in Xi'an because I was only there for two nights, but now I remembered taking a couple things out and putting them in a drawer, and when I left, I seemed to be all packed and forgot them there. But I digress, except that I really wanted those pants, so I thought the market would be a great place to find a cheap replacement. They say if you can't find it at that market, you don't need it. Well, I guess I didn't need those pants, because despite looking and looking, the only zip off leg pants I could find were much heavier (and hotter). But I did buy a few trinkets. Six sets of carved wood chopsticks each in it's own silk bag with a “pewter” elephant on it – for about $1.50, and a tie with elephants of course, and some spices for Pad Thai and papaya salad, and some short tan socks. I also got two grilled chicken drumsticks and an iced Japanese almond tea for lunch. And I got a neck and shoulder massage. I hadn't yet had a full Thai massage, but this sounded good. The guy doing it, made the person on each side of him feel the knots in my shoulders and they oohed and aahhed. I may not speak Thai, but I could clearly hear them saying, “this guy has the tightest knots in his neck I've ever felt. An hour and I was like putty.
Finally when I left I took the subway instead of the skytrain and stopped at Sam Yan to find the Tawana Hotel where I'm staying when I come back to Bangkok in two weeks. Found it easily and decided I really could take the new Airport Express and change to the subway as it appears there are escalators or elevators everywhere. I was kind of hungry, so popped in a little cafe near there for some spicy shrimp and noodles and a beer.
Then back to the hotel where I immediately took a nap, a real rarity for me.
About 6 or so, I took a shower and walked over to the Shangrila for a cocktail. I originally asked where the Riverside Lounge is and they sent me all the way through the hotel. Hmmm. The Riverside Bar is a plain indoor lobby bar, not the neat outside bar I had seen a picture of , so all the way back through the hotel and found the delightful outside bar right on the river. My drink here was tiny – but only $10, one third the price at the Oriental. I drank it slow and soaked up the atmosphere, then took a taxi, armed with directions in Thai to Harmonique, since it's been so highly recommended here.
The place was fun, I sat outside in the “garden” adorned with an odd mix of real orchids, plastic red tulips and mums, and wooden parrots. I had steamed fish with lime and garlic and chilis – huge portion and spicy seafood salad which wasn't very spicy at all. I'm convinced when they see American tourists they leave off all the spicy – so I had to get some peppers to doctor it up a bit. Nice place, but I wouldn't see the food was nearly so good as I'd had several other places – although admittedly it was a lot cheaper. The place had been much closer to my “home” than I anticipated so I walked back – not far at all. It was still only about 9, so I headed down to the pool and swam under the stars to just before 10 when the pool closes. Again I was all alone.
Sunday came and my new friend Nic was to meet me at Taksin at 11. He said he'd do what I wanted and I had told him I wanted to do a canal boat trip. You can join a group tour for an hour and a half at something like 500 Baht per person, or hire a private boat at 1000 Baht per person with a two person mininum. But that's through an “agency”. Since I had a native Thai to bargain for me, I was ready. And although I got mixed advice on Fodors when I asked how much it should be – the first offer was for 3000 baht for the boat for 2 hours. But we were trying to bargain with an individual boat driver at the small docks by the Shangrila. And no one would talk to us. They'd all point to this guy with a clipboard on shore. I guess he's their “pimp”, and he didn't want to bargain much. We got it down to 1600 and that's all there was to it. Meanwhile my faith in Nic's bargaining ability disappeared as he said, “I think that's fair – let's just do it”. We had made a point that we didn't want any stops except at the Royal Barges and we wanted to end up at Wat Arun. But he insisted we should make Arun a stop and he'd bring us back, but agreed to no other stops, so off we went. Then Nick admitted that he doesn't like to bargain and hates things like markets. As he put it, it's very degrading for him to try to argue with someone who is basically pretty poor and not pay them much when you have so much. I guess Nic may lose his “Thai card” for his attitude against bargaining. So off we went and Nic also admitted that this wasn't really his thing – something about “cruising the canals to see how poor people live” he just found kind of insulting. I should mention that Nic became a monk for a year – which is often the case for guys out of high school or college. So maybe that put a damper on the trip, but I found myself sort of agreeing (as I've often felt the same way – both about “visiting poor sections” and about “bargaining” with the locals. There was a fair amount of activity. Yes, lots of people fishing, both with pole and with net, numerous people doing repairs to the pilings or the houses, and two people doing laundry in the dirty canal. But I was more fascinated at the ramshackle house with door on the “porch” open revealing a shiny new automatic washer which was clearly in use with fresh laundry hanging out to dry. We did stop at Wat Arun, but opted not to climb and loved the Royal Barges (where they charge you 100 to get in and another 100 if you take pictures. As a Thai though, Nic got in free as he did at most places. So next thing we knew we were back to our starting point and it had only been an hour and a half – not the two hours they guy made a big deal about. Nic sort of argued with the boat driver, but he insisted it was our own fault because we didn't want the usual stops, and the boats all follow the same basic route. He could show us a couple more canals, but they're all the same – and I had to agree with that (as did Nic, of course) as frankly I felt I had seen enough of the mix of ramshackle houses and nicer new ones mixed. So that was our boat experience. Nic asked if we could go to lunch at his “favorite” place – his treat – so of course I said yes. Guess what it was. Tony Roma's in the Paragon shopping center. I told you Nic was a “modern” Thai. Actually the food was delicious – we had a “feast for 2” with wonderful ribs and chicken and sausages, corn, and cole slaw. As Nic said, he's eaten ribs for years in Bangkok, but the ones at Tony Roma's are so much better than the usual Thai ones. Well, OK.
We spent some time in the mall, he had to take a watch to have the cracked crystal replaced. But I talked him out of going to see another movie. We headed back to my place and laid out by the pool awhile, but he didn't have trunks and couldn't go it, which was fine with him. He had mentioned the boat trip made him nervous also since he can't swim. I wasn't sure how long he was staying – but I said I wanted to go to a “nice Thai” place probably for seafood for dinner and invited him. I particulaly wanted to try curried crab and was surprised they didn't have the previous night at Harmonique. Without hesitation he said yes and suggest Samboon – where he's gone with his family for years. It's a four story high, extremely busy place near the Tawana Hotel in fact. Mainly it's been taken over by the Japanese tourists – that's how good the fish is! We ate curried crab, rice, raw oysters, a huge whole seabass cooked in salt with a couple of sauces he ordered special, and a big hot pot of soup with “four kind seafood” in lemongrass. Somebody can't count because there were at least 7 kinds – clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, squid, crab, and fish. I think this soup was actually the highlight as the seafood was abundant and the broth was simply spectacular. A great meal.
Nic got a taxi to take home and they dropped me off at Centre Point. It was kind of funny as he had to ask three taxis before one would do that. Most want to restart the meter if they drop off one person – and Nic wouldn't go for that.
So Monday (today), I had a 7 AM wake up call, had the usual huge breakfast and got a taxi to the airport for my trip to Siem Reap. I was still nervous about the traffic coming in, so I allowed about an hour and a half to get there for my 2 hour “international” check in. But I think the trip was only about a half hour and everything was quick and efficient so I had well over two hours to wait for my 11:30 flight.
A great week in Bangkok. And now I'm up to date once again.
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NeoPatrick in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos
I'm starting a new thread to be my experiences in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos as my overall Asia thread is getting so long and not everyone wants to read through all of it. But if you do you can go to this thread which is all about China, Hong Kong, and my four days in Kyoto.