A quick stopover in Bangkok (after a free flight)

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

We woke late today due to a complete lack of daylight and another bad nights sleep which was very hot, and, well cockroachy. We packed up and headed out for our rather expensive trip around the royal palace, gardens and the siver pagoda. It was a really nice and peaceful morning.

We thought we had seen the king, who was at home because his flag was up, however it turned out the people we saw were just official royal visitors none the less with all the security action and police escorts it was still quite exciting.

The silver pagoda is so called because of the silver floor tiles that are used, it also houses the emerald buddha. For a while we reflected on the golden temple in Amritsar India which was an amazing place to visit as it was so different to the many, many, many temples we have seen since.

We went out for a few bottles of water and a final khmer amok curry at the pink elephant which was a stunning end to a lovely cuisine. The guesthouse had offered to get us a tuk tuk to the airport for $5 but including a baggage stop we got a lift for $4 including taking us the usual $1 fare to the guesthouse first.

The airport was fairly uneventful and our Air Asia flight left on time. We picked up the flights during the troubles in Thailand when all flights to Bangkok were free so it was a fantastic deal. We arrived in Bangkok and eventually found our free airport pick up to the hotel we had booked on asiarooms. It is an airport hotel as we leave for Burma tomorrow at about 7am. The room cost far more than we normally pay at about 12 but the taxi into town and back would have cost more. The hotel had a pool, satellite tv, air con and was beautiful. A real night of luxury, just a shame we only had about 2 hours awake here. Well being back in Thailand (the only place we have visited before in SE Asia before this trip) was nice. We had a Tom Yum soup and a pad thai with a single bottle of Sigha beer then went to bed as we have to be up at 4am tomorrow.

Well Burma sounds interesting to say the least, neither of us have visited a military dictatorship before and Burma is really one of the worlds poorest countries, I think it may make Cambodia and Laos look like the UK. Its economic policy is as liberal as North Korea, the government and military receive a lot of money from 'normal tourists' which helps to oppress the people and preserve the status quo. We have the books in order to try and do otherwise. The government try to limit any contact between foreigners and locals in order to avoid people finding out anything other than the government propoganda. GDP is similar to Rwanda despite the fact the Billions of pounds (invested significantly by overseas companies) over the last year or two have started pumping oil and taking the precious stones out of the ground. Of course this money will be spread around.... well 1 person probably. 

Anyway if you want to know more odd stats, 0.01% of the population have access to the heavily restricted internet, a mobile phone sim card costs about $1,000 US, your probably getting the picture it is a very very strange place. Within a few days we may start to recognise our 'tails' who will be the secret police, apparantly we can't speak to them and have to pretend we don't know they are there.  It is however a very safe country in terms of the people with one of the lowest crime rates in SE Asia (tempting fate I know) and the people are known as being some of the friendliest and most passive in the world.

I will leave at that and you will see an update in a few weeks. Again we have a number of free flights booked so could be back in 4 days after a taster or 2 weeks if we can handle it.
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