This post is part of a series on my 16-day Mainland South East Asian trip with college buddies across Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
I have been looking forward to a trip with my college best friends since we graduated in 2005. Imagine how ecstatic I was when two of them were able to join me. It was like college once again, minus the Departmental Exams. 🙂
Yes, Ako na ang adik. Marso pa lang ay may tickets na ko for this trip. Palagay ko’y may hang over pako sa lagalag namin nung Dec 2012 (Boracay-Singapore-Malaysia-HongKong-Macau) kaya wari’y di ako mapalagay hangga’t wala kong nabu book na next trip / vacation destination. :p
My air tickets had different sectors though this time. Instead of the usual Bahrain- Dubai/Abu Dhabi-Manila (BAH-DXB/AUH-MNL) route, I booked Bahrain-Mumbai (Bombay)-Bangkok (BAH-BOM-BKK) via Jet Airways. Bukod kasi sa promo fare, e maglalagalag muna kami sa very popular na Indochina route + Thailand + Myanmar. 🙂
So after my last duty sa office, I took my 55Ltr backpack weighing around 10 kgs (lusot nman as carry on kasi di naman shadong bulky) and headed to Bahrain International Airport (BIA).
As usual, check-in and immigrations process were hassle-free and fast. I also exchanged some currency – Bahraini Dinars (BHD) to US Dollars (USD) – for my budgeted expenses.
I then killed some time roaming around the Duty Free Shops, mostly at the liquor aisles (peyborit bah), checking current prices if any fluctuations (Procurement habit lah, hehe!) then proceeded to my boarding gate.
Boarding the aircraft was timely and I settled on my seat. It was my first time to fly via Jet Airways so I observed a bit, the aircraft’s interiors, the cabin crew uniform, in-flight entertainment, et al.
Jet Wings – inflight magazine, Jet boutique for inflight duty free shopping & aircraft info & safety guide.
Our flight departed on time and we were served dinner once we settled airborne. I found the meal pleasant and not too spicy. I choose a movie (27 Dresses) to watch until I dozed off.
About four hours later, we landed at Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Hello India! 🙂
Mumbai /mʊmˈbaɪ/, also known by its former name Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fifth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million. Along with the neighbouring urban areas, including the cities of Navi, Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world.Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2009, Mumbai was named an alpha world city.It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia. (Source: Wikipedia)
It was my first time to set foot in India (where so many of my work colleagues come from) and had always dreamed of exploring the Golden Triangle and see the Taj Mahal.
However, I only had about four hours transit time so no chance baya. I sufficed to roaming the airport’s shops, then went online for updates (via a net portal, as my mobile was low batt hence cannot use with the free Wifi) while waiting for our connecting flight for Bangkok.
Our Mumbai to Bangkok flight departed on time as well. The journey was smooth, we were served light snacks then a hot lunch. Watched a movie (can’t remember the title) to pass the time.
Another four hours later, we finally arrived in our final destination. Sawasdee Bangkok!
First time in Thailand, first time at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Andaming tao grabe!
Anggaling talaga ng promotion ng tourism nila dine. At ang haba- haba rin ng pila sa immigrations. Buti na lang napakarami ding booths and mabilis lang ang clearing process.
Before getting out of the airport I changed some USD to BHT for my initial expenses (i.e for train fare). Tip: Just change a bit here, rates are much better in the city center i.e. Khao San Road.
I looked at the time and it was still early to head to the train station for my journey Vientiane. So instead I took the MTR to the Myanmar Embassy to confirm its location and check if by any chance I can apply for my visa that time.
I took the Airport Express Line to Paya Thai station, then transferred to BTS train, alighted at Surasak station and just walked to the embassy.
It was a Friday (last working day), and so the embassy was full to the brim hehe.
I explained at the counter that I need a visa urgently as I was flying the following Monday. She said “Go back Monday morning and you will get it same day, well before the flight time that afternoon.”
Okay then. I grabbed 2 copies of the application form (which I read & filled on the train on my way to Vientiane). NB: I did get my visa when I came back from Laos.
I then proceeded to the Hua Lamphong Train Station, bought my tickets to Nong Khai and passed the remaining time by roaming around the area. (NB: Hindi man lang ako namayat sa dami ng nilakad ko, awts.)
Aboard the Train
My first night train experience! Pansin mo, andami kong first time experiences sa trip na ito, hehehe. I was in the lower bunk and was actually comfy. Malamig ang AC, malapit ang banyo and may free Wifi, san ka pa?! Slept well and paggising ko e umaga na and we were already approaching Nong Khai station.
Paglabas ng station, I rode a shared tuk tuk (BHT 30/pax) up to the border. Paid the border fees and passed through, then rode a bus (BHT 20/pax) to the other side.
Medyo lito pa ko during this time and was thankful to a local who guided me how to proceed. Kindness from a complete stranger. And we seem to have understood each other in our broken English. Maraming Salamat Ate! 🙂
Pagdating sa Vientiane, we parted ways ni Ate and I got out the map I printed from Agoda to navigate myself on foot papunta sa hostel – Vientiane Travellers House a.k.a. Funky Monkey Hostel.
Medyo nagkaligaw ligaw ako ng konti pero nakarating din. Whew! 🙂