Well from vang vieng i caught a share pick ...

Trip Start Oct 25, 2001
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, February 7, 2002

Well, from Vang Vieng i caught a share pick up truck to Vientiane. The capital city... Smoky, hot, very dusty, and nothing much to offer for passers by. Most hotel rooms and guest houses are overpriced and shabby, and food had a lot to be desired.
1 day was long enough to see the few museums in town, then get out as soon as poss.
On the morning of 6th Feb i got a early start to the friendship bridge (Thai border crossing).
In total i travelled in and out of 5 different busses and tuk tuks.
1st was the chicken bus to the bridge(Laos side), another to cross the bridge to Thai Immigration, then a tuk tuk to the small bus station, then a bus to the main bus station, and finally a last clapped out old bus for the 300 km ride down south.
When i boarded the last bus the slimly looking ticket man told me it would take 4 hours to get to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat)...Great i though.
I planned on seeing the Prasat Phanom Rung (Thai Khmer temple ruins) the next day, so from Khorat i had to travel to Birium (about 2 1/2 hours away form Khorat)...If all went to plan i would arrive at Birium at 6pm. (enough time to find a room)
Although the ticket man left out one vital piece of information about the old bus i was about to board...He failed to tell me that my ticket included a 'FREE TOUR OF EVERY TOWN'stopping at every bus station, in every town and village along the way. I knew it was going to be a bad ride when it took us nearly 2 hours to travel just 50 kms. It was bad.
I dont think the bus exceeded 40kmh the whole time i was on it!!!,
Stopping every 15 mins the driver would jump out, have a cigarette, laugh and joke with all his slimy looking 'money hungry' ticket men, that spent most their time swinging out the bus doors shouting at people to get on the bus.
They seemed a little crazy...I think you would have to be to do this kind of job though. One greasy looking Ticket man (complete with a 'fame' head band, buddha style stomach, wearing a tea stained singlet under a open collar shirt with hairy chest and a huge buddha medallian swinging round his neck) constantly wandered up and down the isle giving the good looking Thai girls on board slimy smiles. Then around 1pm, the driver disserpears at another bus stop (without telling anyone, with the engine running) leaving all of us sitting there in the midday heat for nearly 1 hour while he had lunch at a street stall.
We eventually arrived at Khorat at 7pm, which made it too late for me to travel onto Birium...Unless i wanted to arrive at the small town at 10pm...besides the thought of another bus ride was the last thing i wanted to do. It took us 9 hours to travel the 300kms.
I decided to base myself in Khorat, and travel the extra distance to the Khmer ruins all in one hit.
So, after a fairly good nights sleep i was up at 6am to travel for 3 hours on another bus to the Khmer ruins. No public busses goto the ruins direct, so i had to stop at a cross junction and jump on a motorbike taxi to the site.
What a relief when i arrived there, spending a few hours walking around the temple grounds. This is Thailands best restored Khmer ruins, and although it was worth the visit, it dosent compare to that of Cambodias Angkor region.
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