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Thursday, February 19, 2015

DISNEY LAND WITH THE DEATH PENALTY

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH



Some clever philosopher once told me 'information is to travelers what wings are to a bird'.  Or some crap like that.



Sadly, it's true.  You need to do a lot of research.  The more expensive the area - or difficult - the more research you need to do before entering.

Research is my least favorite part of travel.  I'd love to be rich enough just to show up in an area and learn about it from the locals.  Sadly, this isn't always the case.

Some people live in constant fear of 'missing something'.  This stems from their belief they won't go back.  For most of them, probably true.


This sort of research isn't as exciting as Logan suffering horribly or getting some sort of messy surgery while still dressed in his street clothes.   Or sitting through earthquakes.  Or being in countries during revolutions or invasions or protests.  (For new readers, read the back issues - all that kind of stuff has happened and been documented.)


However, if you are going to travel, you do need to get good at this sort of research.  It is for those people I've documented out my steps.

Logan is not such a logical thinker that he says a, b, c.  No, he is all over the alphabet and bringing in weird symbols he doesn't even pretend to understand.  But, for this blog I've attempted to put the steps into logical order.



LEAVING CAMBODIA

I've paid up through 22 FEB thus far.  Rather than travel on a Sunday (bad move) I'm going to get a couple extra days so I leave on a Wednesday.  Always travel midweek when possible - usually the buses and such are not chocked full of people returning from visiting other people over the weekend.



THROUGH THAILAND

The one possible fly in the ointment is when you come in via land (not flying) you get a two week visa as opposed to a month long visa.  If this is correct it sucks cock and will keep me moving more swiftly till I get in to Malaysia.



After some research it looks like Hua Hin is going to be more comfortable than Prachuap for me.  Here is a google link to some pictures of it.

According to a nifty tourist map I found, the train stops right in the center of this small town and walking to any number of hostels shall be very possible.



GETTING TO HUA HIN

According to the guy who runs the Cambodian hostel I'm in, the bus to Bangkok will run me $28.  This is for the 'nice bus' - the one I take all the way through as opposed to getting transferred to shitty vans once on the Thai side.  Due to the length of the ride (half a day) it is better to spend the extra money as it is a hella long trip.  He also confirmed that the bus will stop at Mo Chit bus station and should arrive around 5-6PM.  I did do research and there is indeed a train from the border of Thailand all the way to Bangkok.  Apparently, it is a real shitty ride - people talk about being able to walk faster.  I'll just stick with the nice bus.  In a few years, they may build a rail all the way to Siem Reap but that is years away.

Looking at the train schedules, the $15 train leaves at 6:30PM.  Since I don't really trust buses to be on time and laugh at tourists who do, I also plotted out the bus that leaves at 7:30PM and will cost me $18.  Since I'm experienced, I also confirmed there are buses leaving as late as 10:50PM.  It reminds me of the time I was in Turkey watching some idiot freak out because they didn't realize their cheap van ride to the airport would be stopping at lots of hostels to pick up lots of people - and they had only allotted a very short time to get to the airport.  I'd allotted six hours and saw the van ride as a free tour of Istanbul.



While the prices of the places to stay look like nothing special (around $15 USD, maybe cheaper if I am fortunate) Thai food usually cost a lot less than the excellent Mexican food I've been indulging in within Cambodia.

Either way, Hua Hin gets me out of 'oh gods not here again' Bangkok.

In Logan's opinion, this music video is perhaps the best thing about Bangkok.


From the Mo Chit bus station, I have a choice between either a short taxi ride ($3) or long assed train ride ($2).  If the taxi is really under 100 baht, I'll take that.


After reaching Hua Hin, I will try to find suitable lodgings.  Because I will be showing up at a completely shitty time (close to midnight) I did some research and found a hostel, Tid Tarad Hostel Hua Hin for those interested.  For about $13 I can grab a dorm bunk, catch a couple hours of sleep on it then go look for a better place to hang out.

From the looks of things on Hostelworld and Hostelbookers, there are a lot of 'not yet rated' places.  Tells me there could be a lot of new construction and such there.

If I have more time in Thailand, I may try to go see another city - less and I will break for the Malaysian border to the far south.

After looking at the other major stops on the train route, the only possibles (which would take a ferry to get to) are the Ko's.  Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and Ko Samul.  After a glance at the prices of lodging, these seem very reasonable.  I might just do a bit of island hopping if I get bored or have extra time.

To get down to the last town before the Malaysian border (half a day trip) with a nice bed (2nd class, express train) it seems to be 900B or about 30 USD.




SINGAPORE

This man would probably be put to death for entering Singapore.


For those who think to look at a map, they will note there is a whole lot of Malaysia which lies between Thailand and Singapore.  However, I researched Singapore prior to doing my Malaysian research.

According to William Gibson, Singapore is "Disneyland with the death penalty".  Needless to say, Singapore wasn't too happy with this description.  Rather than work on seeing if they could get some positive change out of this criticism, they banned the magazine that printed it for a couple decades.


There seem to be a surprising number of shitty places to stay within Singapore.  Travelers write of greedy owners who yell at them, hit them with brooms and spray them with insecticide.

Run!

Also, "Tobacco is heavily taxed, and you are not allowed to bring more than one opened pack (not carton, but a single pack!) of cigarettes into the country. This is particularly strictly enforced on the land borders with Malaysia." (Wikitravel).

Since I will be coming in on a land border with Malaysia this is particularly distressing.  I will have to be sure to use up a good deal of my smokes before coming here.

"There is no duty free allowance for cigarettes: all cigarettes legally sold in Singapore are stamped "SDPC", and smokers caught with unmarked cigarettes may be fined $500 per pack. (In practice, though, bringing in one opened pack is usually tolerated.)" (Wikitravel)

In a place as supposedly modern as Singapore these things make me really think "What the fuck" and "Is there anything I want to see here?"

Not that damned much.




UNPAID ENDORSEMENT!

The Man in Seat Sixty-One.  I've no idea why it is called that but this guy has forgotten more about train and ferry travel than I hope ever to know.  Find this excellent site here.



PRICES (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Haggling:  -10 to -20%
Tuk Tuk haggling:  -50%

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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