After 6 weeks spent in Laos, taking my time, enjoying the relaxed Lao way of life as well as having a fantastic time with my baby niece, my brother and his wife, it was high time to move on to Thailand, just like it's high time to post on this blog. I left on Wednesday 27th April 2011.
I thought I would get a 30 day visa at the border, but it turned out to be only 15 days so I was already changing travel plans having barely left Vientiane. I cut out a few places I thought I would visit and essentially decided to rush it down South to the Malaysian border.
I stopped in Khon Kaen and met Brian there, a couchsurfing host who showed me around town. It's a nice relaxed university city with no tourists whatsoever, and for me a gentle re-introduction to modern Asian cities (7/11, fast food joints, road traffic, etc) after 6 weeks in Laos.
A train the following morning took me to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam that had been sacked by the Burmese.
I met several interesting people there, including two funky French truck drivers there who were completely in love with Thailand, it was their 4th time in the country and they told me lots about the history of the country and about Thai culture. They also told me about diving in the Similan Islands.
I also met a Dutch surreal artist on his way back from painting a mural in a bar; he has like 9 cats and loves them so much he created cat towers for them he then also sold as useful art, I guess. I saw him again randomly in Bangkok a few days later. I have to find the links to his portfolio website.
There was also super-connector Josh, a cool Ozzie guy who made a point of introducing himself to and then inviting every person in the bar in order to make one big table of happy travellers.
And to finish, the reason we were all there was for Mr Noi, blues rock singer and guitar player extraordinaire. An awesome voice.
Sure, I also cycled around some of the main ruins around Ayutthaya, which was nice but certainly not as interesting as the people I met there.