Tag Archives: Thailand

before.sunrise


yes, i am a big fan of Ethan Hawke’s “Before” series. and, i guess, i experienced my own version of it. the night i bumped into the sexiest Thai girl i ever met in this City of Angels.

the day before…

the mid-day buzz of this urban jungle that is Bangkok woke me up. and with the sweltering heat of the summer sun, i woke up with sweat-soaked shirt.

clock ticked a few minutes after 12. high noon. my head was still buzzed from the alcohol binge at PostBar the night before, my go-to place in Bangkok for hang out. it was quite a fun night. food was flowing and it was free. it sure is true that best things in life are free. lol. it was the birthday of one of the bar’s patrons and he brought in some serious thai dishes. it was free for all. nothing beats spicy food and cold beer. to sum it all up, it was an awesOOOme night.

afternoon was spent contemplating on whether i should go out and see as much of Bangkok as i can since it was my last day in the city or should i just keep it down-low. i opted for the latter and did some writing, just chilled-out and relaxed in the apartment.

all the afternoon heat was gone by night time. i knew i can not pass on the chance of dropping-by PostBar on my last night so i pulled my ass off and headed out. i intended to just dropby and finish 1 beer as i have an early trip, and its a long 13-hour ride. i took the 505 bus to Samsen rd.

the night before…

i approached the bar and ordered a big bottle of Chang. a girl across the bar caught my eyes. she wore casual clothes and a megawatt smile… and with that thai-sun-kissed skin… she glowed.

she had her hair down and was clearly enjoying the lazy sunday evening with her friends which occasionally broke to burst of laughters every so often.

the bar was scarcely filled. i chatted with two of the owners and other regulars. i frequented this watering hole in the last one and a half months so i knew and became friends with a couple of hippies here. *separate post for PostBar.

the sun-kissed girl would occasionally go and sit outside for a smoke.

i was sitted outside with Pul when she went out again. i striked a conversation with her- a quick one- then we headed back inside to our respective tables.

i knew there was something in that first dialogue. so i waited, spotted and joined her next time she went out for a smoke. we talked, and talked. she did not bother going back inside immediately to her peers this time around, to my delight. that was a feat for someone who is torpe.

the night went on spontaneously. i drank with my guards on since i have an early trip to take. i was leaving the city and Thailand in general early the next day.

before midnight

conversation spun around travelling, and islands, and other things. other beautiful things.

it was past midnight when the sexiest thai girl and i decided to leave the people and her friends in Post Bar-coolest bar in Bangkok( i should get Changs for this next time i go there.)

we walked to Khao San rd. strolled in this street of battered backpacks, hippie wanderers, perpetual youth and padthais.

after midnight

she is a nature lover. she spent two weekends in an island in Andaman coast a couple of months back. a remote retreat that is Similan island. the beach is divine, delicate and bewitching. just like her.

it was getting late. 1:30am. morning was nearing and so was my departure.

we walked to Burger King in Khao San rd intersection. she said i can crash her place for my remaining hours in Bangkok if i want to. she hailed a cab and off we went to her place, her apartment in Silom.

i was drawned to her. the way she spoke with her thai accent was endearing. the way she moved, way she flipped her hair, way she smiled, her gaze, her supple sunkissed skin. charming.

moments would go slo-mo but not time. it raced. like my heartbeat.

***

before sunrise…

it was already 4am when i took notice of time. i was still at the sexiest thai girl’s place and we have not slept yet.

i can not bring myself to say my goodbyes for we only have started. it was bittersweet. i was glad to have met her. but sad that i met her on my last night in this city. this city of angels which was my home for 40 days.

it was 5am.

finally, i got up, bade goodbye, and sped off.

took a taxi to bigboy’s apartment in Pratunam, my home in Bangkok. i only have 1 hour to rest, gathered my stuff and got ready to hit the road again, onwards to Malaysia.

that night, i stayed out longer than i intended to. no, i am not complaining. it was beautiful.

aaahh the romance of being on the road. the hellos and goodbyes and those fleeting blissful moments in between. life’s surprises. i live for those =)

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banged.up.abroad. lol

*absolutely not the banging that i was hoping for

how did this image brought me joy and peace and, almost, tears?lol

it was officially my last night in Bangkok. Malaysia(Penang)-bound the morning after.

its past midnight and i was still chugging beers in the coolest bar in the city with newfound friends whose names are as long as traffic in EDSA on a rainy friday payday. seriously, whats with the undeniable romance of thais and the alphabet. long names.

pre-schoolers must have hate their culture for this. lol

it was my last day in Thailand- whether i like it or not. unless, i pay the fine for overstaying. which i am not considering, i mean, i can no longer afford it.

Bangkok did live up to its name as the City of Angels. on my last night, that night i met the most beautiful Thai girl-itago natin sa pangalan Angel. i guess i just had my “Before  Sunrise” experience (lakas makiuso showing na before midnight.) i got home at 4am in high spirits. what a way to end my stay in this urban jungle. *separate post.

The day…

i woke up after two fateful alarm snoozes. it was almost 6am. all my blood and adrenaline shoot up in shock. my bus leaves at 7am and its still far from my place. i packed briskly my more than 30-days worth of belongings( all scattered in room) in 3mins (that’s talent my friend since i have taken the word “disorganize” to a different level).

my friend’s girlfriend was awakened and pulled out mom’s why-are-you-only-packing-now-you-have-no-more-time-you-will-be-late card. off i continued to hustle and pretended i heard nothing. not a good way to start my day =)

so i tossed all my stuff in the bag. pulled out my magic and in less than 5mins i was done with my bag, brush, and bath. with time not on my favor and the cloud in my head caused by lack of sleep and hangover, i skipped the mushy-goodbyes and stormed out. i flagged down the first taxi on the street.

apparently the driver was in a bigger hurry than me. lol. after some skids and swerves i was in the bus station 30mins ahead of time. i picked up some crackers, chips and water from the grocery.

The ride…

i was tired, sleepy and buzzed. people poured in. it seemed like i was the lone backpacker taking the ride.

the bus conductor approached and i asked him where in Hat Yai can i catch vans for Malaysia later that day. “no more trips at night” he said. i repeated my question, pronouncing the words slowly this time assuming he didnt get it the first time.

then a flat out resounding “no” again from the man. i settled onto my seat for some shut eye. my body was calling for it but my mind was thinking of something else.

its only 7am, its a 12-hour ride, at 7pm there has to be people crossing the border considering it is open until 10pm, after all, it is the main highway that links Thailand and Malaysia.

i composed myself. contemplated.

all the sleepiness, hangover, fatigue had flown out the bus window. all thats left was anxiety. I CAN NOT AFFORD not to cross the border that very day. what i have left is just enough money( no fines/extra expenses) to cross to Penang where  i have friends waiting for me.

i  frisked my bag, purse, pockets to check my money. one 500 and three 100 notes and some loose change.

if what the bus staff said was true that there will be no more public transpo plying that route at night(8pm onwards). then, these will be the expenses:

    • 200 baht fan room accomodation

 

  • 350 baht fare from Hat Yai- Penang

 

 

  • 500 baht one day fine for overstaying to be paid in Immigration Office

 

 

food allowance was not even included and im already short. even if i spend the night in the bus terminal, still, there is no way my 800plus baht can get me through the day/next day and the border.

reality kicking in…

clammy hands. sweaty palms. sharp headache.

this is, actually, my most feared travel nightmare. be broke in a foreign land and deal with corrupt immigration officials. Banged Up Abroad anyone!@?

panic started to get the better of me around midday. i still have some idle time, whole afternoon, to come up with a resolution. at the back of my head, scenes of Banged Up abroad played incessantly.

the bus tore off  the north Thailand highway.

it was 5pm. sun was going down, and so were my hopes. i was wishing the driver would pull over and say “we’ve arrived” but he kept dead mum.

the bus continued to race. and so did my, then, flustered heart.

at 7:30pm it was completely dark. night has come but not Hat Yai. if theres one time i wished i have powers to freeze time, then that was it. it was getting late, chance of getting in Hatyai in time for the last buses/vans was dwindling down.

the bus parked in a nondescript lot. 9pm. we’ve arrived. i hurried to get my bag in the trunk and dashed to the ticket counters with hushed hopes. everything tumbled down when the woman said “only tomorrow for Penang.”

i stood infront of the counters dumbfounded. theres only 800bahts in my pocket. i needed atleast 1100 to get through Thailand. i knew no one in the city. my card still refused to shell out money. the nearest person i knew i can borrow money from was thousand kilometers away.

The breakdown…

my fear had come and it stared coldy straight to my eyes. i was fukced. big time. alone. nightmare.

i knew im going to get fukced up in the immigration next day for overstaying, and with not enough money to pay the fine im doomed.

“its going to be  a long night, im short on money but i better find a room ” i said. my mind was in utter chaos and the bus terminal was just too muddled for some serious strategizing.

with no appetite i skipped dinner. i swung by the internet shop and related the whole story to my friend/host in Bangkok, Eric. he said he will moneygram 1,500 the next day.

sadly it was hard for me to count on moneygram in Thailand. i dealt with them the past week and it took me 2 days just to get the money(my friend from Phuket sent me money to buy her diet pills.) they had trouble locating the branch where i needed to withdraw money from. apparently, you can not withdraw from any branch and unfortunately it took them hours to figure it out. language barrier has something to do with this. and its 500baht per day for overstaying. it had to be fixed, i needed to exit Thailand the soonest possible time.

still in dazed, utter confusion, and a looming mental breakdown i rested in my 200baht fan room.

i would’ve loved to go back to Bangkok as i have lots of friends there but there were no more trips that night. and my then-600baht was not enough to buy a ticket.

having watched a number of NatGeo Channel’s Banged Up Abroad episodes made it worst. i started to worry about the immigration officers i need to deal with and so on.

plus a gazillion of other thoughts. all scary, negative. because, apparently, there are no positive things that could happen to you in this type of situation. =)

it was past midnight and my anxiety heightened. i did everything in my book to calm my nerves down but to no avail- i smoked all the remaining cigarettes, showered twice, mastubated twice… nothing worked. as if the no-sleep night before, whole day locked up in a bus, and all the day stresses, plus masturbating twice werent enough to tire me down to sleep.

i wished i had someone to talk to. the thought of someone talking to me would be most comforting. but i had no means, i dont bring phone when i travel. and i had no laptop.

the romance of being in a foreign land. should i say horror.

if only there is a switch of my brain i would’ve turned it off. it continued to race relentlessly. my body was dead tired but my mind was like a rollercoaster that kept on furling.

i knew if my brain continued to be stressed out like that for a few more minutes, i would’ve snapped out. i would’ve gone insane. first time in my life i had clear understanding of how people fall for mental breakdown/insanity/lunacy and how close i was from that.

i remember the last thing that ran through my head before i slipped to a deep sleep was i talked to God and made a deal with him that if he let me get through the situation, i’d happily go back home and never do backpacking ever again.

5am. passed out.

The big day…

i woke up at 7am on a lighter note, resigned from all the things that troubled me the day and night before. “i will take whatever comes” i said. i had no choice anyway. so there’s no use of worrying or fighting it out. i am all ready to get fukced up.

since Eric has work he asked her girlfriend to go to the bank and do the moneygram. 9am. she got there at 10am but they wouldnt allow her to make any transactions without her passport. ID wasnt enough. she went back to the apartment.

i waited not worried. it felt like i was on a trance.

it was so difficult locating the bank. i asked 3 people for directions and got lost 3 times. its hard to walked around Hat Yai since its a big city.

and then things started to turn around on my favor.

The big change…

i got the money from the bank at 12 noon. i tried buying ticket online using my card and it worked. the trip was scheduled at 2pm. i had 2,200 in my pocket.

van picked me up at 4pm( the only setback that day.) i met some 2 other backpackers in the van whom i eventually became friends with. we got to the thai immigration office at 5pm. as expected, i was ushered away from their line, in lieu of my overstaying, to an office. everything went well though, i just paid the exact amount of 500baht. they stamped my passport. i joined the other backpackers and headed to the Malaysian immigration office. got stamped. rode the van again all the way to Penang. relieved.

back on the good old happy road. it was a familiar feeling, like home. comforting.

79days after i left home.

it was an exhilirating experience to be finally on the Malaysian side. i was sitted in the van with a plastered smile looking at the horizon and thanking god big time. the other travellers in the van kept talking to me but i was only half-listening. i just smiled. i was speaking to god in my head.

from the most pressured experience, tables turned, as i got pompously pampered in Penang. =)

*my Alisan Golden Couch experience was bad. thats the first and the last time i will deal with them.

**my before sunrise experience. infront of Post Bar with my Celine.
if i travelled that night. all these drama shouldve been skipped.
but…
still…
i would’nt
have it
any other way
=)

I dreamed of Phi Phi

Burn. Baby. Burn
its the day i started to feel burnout.

i was passed my 10-plus-days on the road- of sleeping in some randomn bunk or train or bus terminal, endless walks and bikes, cheese burger-free diet, loss of my wallet, leaving new-found buddies, flu, all these stressors are , finally, taking its toll in my head and body( specially the burger thing).

moreover, i guess its the daily constraints of having to be on guard whether with yourself(health) or your valuables particularly money and travel documents. the value of these possessions multiply ten folds when you are in a foreign land. the need to be mindful of these belongings  at all times, most specially, when you’re drunk, or sleeping, heck, even when you’re going in the toilet; 24/7 of this is, ohmy, exhausting.

oh the deprivations of solo backpacking!

yeah, certainly, i was in my “Judy Ann+Gloria Arroyo” element that day. drama much. effects of growing up in a country where soap-operas are dinner staples.
***

Birth of the Dream

Phi Phi is the reason why i wanted to check out Andaman coast,
reason why i desired to go to Thailand,
actually, its the whole point of pursuing this dream backpacking trip.

i am a big fan of Alex Garland’s novel and so is the film adaptation crafted by Danny Boyle- THE BEACH.

after watching the flick, which starred DiCaprio, i instantly knew back then that one day i will visit the setting of  the film, Phi Phi, Maya Bay no matter what.

my curiosity for backpacking and the world was enkidled.

***

Going for the Dream

after leaving my good dutch buddy in Krabi, i continued my travel to “The Dream Destination: Phi Phi” with low spirits and dismal expectations.

while in the ferry, the scene was like watching  american-pie-high-school-kids line up for the party in the cool kid’s house. jampacked. not that im complaining, ey bikinis!

but the unspoilt and virgin piece of floating land showcased in the film a decade ago and the scene of the partyphiles just does not seem to add up.

my, then, 5-day-old torned pants felt out-of-placed in the boat. plus, the fact that i was flashing that 1-week-no-bathe-look i perceived the cool way to go as sported by Leonardo and those backpackers in the film did not help either. jeez. lol. (siguro magwwork pa kung kamukha ka ni Leo… pero kung kamukha ng Capre… tsk)

low spirits. low expectations. now, low self esteem, kidding. coudn’t care less.

i sat on the floor, with my dark-tint-sunglasses on, in a corner with a premium view of those passing bums. heck, i needed to lift my spirits up, you know( and i think it wasnt the only thing that got lifted up. lol)

as the ferry boat docked on Phi Phi Don’s shore, i noticed that the whole plain of land at the foot of the towering cliffs are already dotted with concrete structures.

it was hard to navigate around since buildings  pretty much occupy the better chunk of the area. there were no organized  streets, only shallow alleys.

it was difficult to find available accomodation despite the hundreds of inns and hotels. it was December . most are fully booked. thats how crowded and commercialized it has become. i found one at the foot of the hill zillion miles away from the pier after walking around for a good 45mins.

i  got tired from the walk, and travel, in general, with all the stresses in the past days. i opted for a room. a much-needed personal space even for a night might just bring back the excitement of backpacking that was then, lowly and diminishing. it was a costly splurge at 700bahts.

never did i shed an amount higher than 180bahts for accomodation per night in the length of this trip. yeah, i am that cheap. hehe.

quickly i crashed into the room and left my backpack. i explored the THE ISLAND immediately. this was, after all, the dream.

***
Dream reignited?

well, honestly, to my surprise, the best thing about these famed islands… is not the beach. its those sexy-caucasian-bikini-clad-bodies on the beach. hey, thats, just my 2 cents (or 2 bahts… whatever).

to soothe my backpacking-battered soul,  i secured a spot on the beach. front and center. infront of all those bikini-cladded creatures. the only time i was grateful for the commercialization of this used-to-be virgin island. lol.

ice-cold,mega-sized Chang beer on my right hand and pizza on my left and of course a CHEESEBURGER in tow!

what budget-backpacking? a tourist for once.haha

the Phi Phi viewpoint 3(or 2)is definitely one of the best views i have ever seen.

i enjoyed the rest of my stay in Phi Phi. though, it was not as grand as i first saw(movie)/imagined it to be. it is, nonetheless, a lovely place to experience.

one important lesson i learned is that the only way to know, is to try… first hand.
learning from books/websites will not suffice, not even through a trusted friend.
its something personal. travel is always personal.
so, just go.

Krabi.Kingdom

i am not going to try to describe this place anymore. i will let the pictures do just that.
after arriving past noon, i headed straight to the beaches =)

longtail
Krabi Port for Lanta tailboats
cruising Andaman
approaching East Railay
West Railay beach
northside of West Railay each

Andaman Coast
sunworshippers
long tails
northside of Ao Tonsai
low tide Ao Tonsai
southside Ao Tonsai
longtails
TonSai beach
Railay
car, errr, boat…wash
Noppharat Thara Beach
Klong Moung
AoNang West
along beach boulevard
AoNang

Krabi.Kick.Off


hey Malaysia, its not me… its you( and your freakin tricks… i mean the lost wallet, c’mon)… bye. lol.

clock ticked 4:30am and my taxi was waiting downstairs. off to Sungai Nibong terminal, 20rm, to catch the 5am van to cross the border to Hat Yai, the southernmost part of Thailand.

i purchased the 30rm ticket, Penang-Hat Yai, the previous day in the terminal.

i was quite surprised the trip was on time, 5am, more so i was the only passenger at that time. it was like i hired the whole van to accommodate my lone ass. sweet.

the van was fast and the driver was furious. jeeez we werent cruising the hiway, we were flying 123 fukcin knots. nuts! much to my liking though, really. who wants a 5hr trip when you can get it for 3. what safety. hehe

just before 6am, we arrived at the Malaysian border. got my passport stamped. next, Thailand border. stamped. good thing most southeast asian countries dont require filipinos for visa. it makes travelling SEA easy, breezy, fun. lol.

good thing i read from a blog about touts who frequent the terminal in Hat Yai. the van dropped me off right smack at it. and when i was checking the buses and vans someone approached and showed me their office. the van to Krabi(320baht) wasnt leaving not until some 40mins later. so i told the ticket seller i will walk around and grab some breakfast. indeed it was a travel agency.

instead, i went straight to the buses and vans parked in the terminal. i asked the drivers, and their prices were 100bahts cheaper. one bus was about leave, Hat Yai-Phuket, i asked the driver if he knew any buses also leaving at that same time which passes by Krabi. and he said “hop in” because they are going there. and the ticket was cheap at 170baht.

inside the bus, i met a couple of very friendly locals and Ate A( Thai’s version of the famed pinay actress Tiya Pusit =)), from Phuket, was a stand-out, a real character. a very curious woman with so many questions. her with curly hair, dark lipstick and not-so-perfect teeth while munching on peanuts. when she learned that my ticket was only bound to Krabi, she said i better skip Krabi and head straight to Phuket. which she clearly pointed out 998 reasons why Phuket is more beautiful and that i will just waste time and money in Krabi. she was selling Phuket like she owns it. enjoyed the conversation much.

as much as i was convinced that Phuket was the most beautiful place in Thailand, actually on earth, at that time… and that she owns it. =). but i just had to stop by in Krabi since its along the way. pursued the Krabi-PhiPhi-Phuket gameplan instead.

we had our brunch in Trang. around 10am in a small streetside eatery, just to my liking. and you know how i go about in times like this, its point-and-shoot and shoot a lot i did. lunch over some spicy pork dish, some spicy vegetable dish, etc plus rice and milk tea.

the eatery also sells local snack delicacies( parang yon mga bus stop sa Bulacan lang except may sili lang lahat lol)… the peanut brittle though is more like a jawbreaker. too tough to chew.

it was a spicy first meeting with Thailand. sweet.

Thais do know their chillies. and boy, they know well. my meals always ended up with a runny nose and a tear shed. gotta love those spicy shiznits.

we arrived in Krabi a little after lunch, around 1pm. one of the women in the bus had a motorcycle waiting for her and she was kind enough to dropped me off in Pak-Up hostel in Maung Krabi/Krabi Town. nice would be an understatemnt to describe Pak-Up. clean, spanking new, soft beds, neat toilets, wifi, bar on the rooftop… just over-all pakking charming =). best part is its only 180baht/bed/night.

since i still have half of the day, quickly threw down my bag into the locker and bolted out.
its time to brave the paradise that is KRABI.