I have been conspicuously missing from office for a week and have to answer office web email during my trip. Many people on learning of my adventure requested for photo, hotel and trip brochures and reports. Instead of answering each and every one of them, I guess the best option is still to go back to Thai-blogs. I have missed many filings of reports on this year’s trip to the Kingdom mainly due to personal reasons – the arrival of my first grandchild (girl)and the departure of my 92-year old dad, planned changing of job, my son planned marriage in November 2007, etc.
The perils of booking AirAsia ticket early is that if you are not be able to make the trip, you most probably loose every cents, even the airport tax. Although, you could claim back airport tax, people rarely do as the process will be quite intimidating. This I have learnt the hard way. Most fare structure will NOT allow you to change passenger name. My travelmate Lai lost his wife 1 month ago in a traffic accident and eventhough he reluctantly follow us, I know he wont enjoy as much. With many things on my back, my trip wasn’t as pleasant as I hope.
AK880 KUL-BKK arrived on time at around 9:00hr but the connecting flight to Ubon RatchaThani UBP only leave at 14:05hr and we will have more than 3 hours to kill. The best options was to take a taxi to BangNa and have a meal of MK Duck and steamboat- yummy.
On arrival in UBP, we took a bus to Mukdahan and arrived just after 20:10hrs, too late to cross the border which closed at 20:00hrs.
It was a blessing staying a night in Mukdahan. We stayed in Hotel Kim Jek Cin #1 for 300 bahts a night. AS it was raining quite heavily, we had 4 bowls of beef noodle nearby at 100 bahts. After a quick shower, we head for a restaurant nearby with live band. The damage for 6 bottles of beer was less than 500 bahts. The sad thing is that the live band stopped playing after mid-night, may be due to the next day being a working Monday.
The next day (15 October Monday), I went to Siam Commercial Bank SCB to bank in 3500 Bahts (my left-over loose change since I won’t be back into the Kingdom) into http://www.neohumanistfoundation.org/baanunrak/ With the recent demonstration in Rangoon, more refugees have arrived in Sangkhlaburi putting pressure on the orphanage.
To save time looking for SCB, I asked Kasikorn Bank K-Bank near hotel on SCB whereabouts, and K-Bank staff was so helpful and even drew a map to SCB for me. Walking around Mukdahan is really intresting.
My previous trip in 2004 was from Savanaket in Laos – Mukdahan and fly back from UBP using Thai airways. This time, we are taking the other way round of entering Laos via Mukdahan. My impression of Savanaket and Mukdahan changed. There were no bridge between the 2 countries then and we need a VISA in Laos. The bus trip from Vientiane – Savanaket THEN was so that bad that the bus driver left us near the border crossing. We thought THEN “that” was “Savanaket” and quickly left the cowboy town into Mukdahan and back to UBP. In short my experience with Savan and Mukdahan wasn’t pleasant then. But things have changed.
I will upload the photos taken when I am back in Malaysia as I now do not have the photo resize software with me. Please revisit.