Now, I consider myself quite a well seasoned traveler, with almost 50 countries visited over a span of 20 years. Leslie, too, at over 30. But, even the most experienced nomads can make mistakes. Right? And that we did. We assumed that upon entry to Thailand, we’d automatically receive a 60 day tourist visa…that’s how it used to be the first few times I came here. So when we arrived at the Cambodia border on our visa run, imagine the shock when told, “Sorry, you’re illegal aliens, 19 days over your visa allowance. Please pay 8,000 Baht…each! ($260/£170)”
Disappointing, to say the least. With a frantic dash to the nearby bank…no doubt strategically placed for this exact reason…and grateful for my slim but adequate credit card balance, Leslie and I eventually negotiated our way into Cambodia, poorer, embarrassed, but wiser for the harsh lesson of travelling nonchalance. *Note to self: always check visa dates before travel!
Cambodia, as always, was wonderful. But I’ll post about the time spent there in a couple of days. For now, a taster image:
With a more suitable 60 day visa safely secured in our passports, we returned to Thailand, and spent a couple of fun days in Bangkok before returning to our hammocks on Koh Yao Noi.
By day we visited the beautiful Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arum, and cruised the back canals of ‘Little Bangkok’ by relaxing long-tail boat.
By night we hung out with Brien and Jamie, friends from our time in Korea, at the little known and uniquely named, ‘Adhere the 13th Blues Bar,’ where rocking bluesy tunes sounded great on a sultry warm Bangkok evening. Check out Brien’s cool blog, Sabai Jai Yen. For more info of the bar, just ask.
36 hours ago, I’d never been in a serious road accident. Now, I have. We knew our early morning minibus to the airport was going too fast on crazy busy Bangkok streets, but after only 2 hours sleep, I just closed my eyes and tried to ignore it. When I heard manic frightened screams and felt the powerful shuddering of inadequate brakes, I looked up just in time to see us hit the concrete central reservation at 60 m.p.h. The van doesn’t look that damaged, but believe me, we hit hard.
Apparently a young Thai couple had swerved in front of a speeding taxi, which in turn swerved into us to avoid hitting and surely killing them. Our driver, going too fast to avoid colliding with the taxi, got edged right, slamming head-on into the solid concrete divider.
Amazingly, the minibus didn’t roll, as we were jammed onto the concrete by the taxi. But another meter to the right and we surely would have. Things could certainly have been so much worse, though the young Thais’ were bloodied and sported broken bones on the road side. Luckily, an ambulance arrived quickly, and it looked to me as if they’d be okay. Leslie and I have a few bruises and painful whiplash, but other than being a little shook up, we’re fine. However, at least we have a good excuse to spend a few days chilling in the hammocks…not that we need one.
Now that we live in Thailand, visa runs will be a bi-monthly necessity. Let’s hope the next one, a sneaky jaunt to Myanmar, is a little less eventful.
What memorable visa runs have you taken? Please share your memories in the comments section.
All images by the Nomad, except the Wat Arum Panoramic, courtesy of www.myplacesinthailand.com