Sunday 2 April 2017
The bustle, smells and sounds hit you immediately you exit the plane. This is Bangkok! We are finally here and ready for our big adventure.
We were quickly through the formalities and into our bus on our way to Baen Saen a town about 1 hour out of the main city and close to Pattaya and the Port where we were picking up our cars from.
Unfortunately, because we arrived so early – 8.00am – our rooms weren’t ready. We were invited to have breakfast. What a revelation! Hoards of people milling around the buffet tables laden with everything from croissants to spaghetti bolognaise and fried rice. But wait something didn’t look quite right – most of them were wearing their PJs. Now that’s a lazy Sunday breakfast….Baen Saen beach
After breakfast to clear the cobwebs we took a stroll along the beach the sand was covered with neat colourful rows of deckchairs huddled together under a mass of umbrellas looking out to sea. Piles of inner tubes were stacked up and children and adults were enjoying floating around on them while dodging the jet skis and hang-gliders. What impressed us was the sense of family that was displayed with everyone cooking and eating under the umbrellas on the beach in little groups. The hawkers stalls stretched for over 5 kms selling enormous prawns, horseshoe crabs, mussels, calamari and squid which they grilled over charcoal braziers. The aromas were delightful. Its Durian season as well so the fruit stalls groaned with durians, jack fruits, rambutans and tiny bananas. We enjoyed a refreshing walk along the promenade while we waited for our rooms to be cleaned and prepared. As time wore on the sun and the humidity rose.
Finally at 3.30pm we were in our room. A hot shower was really great.
The Sydney crew arrived around 7.30pm and we all enjoyed drinks and nibbles before venturing off to a Thai restaurant where we feasted on traditional Thai food of rice, pork mince salad with betel leaves, and yellow prawn curry ….today has been largely a waiting game. We were all up bright and early ready for the Thai Customs authorities to clear our cars. The drive from our hotel to the Port took about 40 minutes and all the guys quickly signed the necessary mountain of papers. Now we had to wait for the powers to be to check and approve all the signed paper work. To while away the time we went to Pattaya and explored the Central Festival centre which had everything in it from a Sunglass Hut to a Marks and Spencer. This place is on the beach and now extremely popular with tourists such as the Russians even the signs are in Russian along with Thai. A very busy and buzzing place and this is a regular Monday – during holiday time it must be so crowded!
At the moment we are still waiting in Starbucks for a phone call to inform us our paper work has been approved…hopefully we will get the cars before it gets dark for our journey back to Baen Saen.
We just got the go ahead!! We have the cars. Escorted by Thai Customs officials, we raced to the Customs clearance centre. There were the cars waiting for us in an enormous hanger. Keys were handed out and Shamrock needed a little choke and sprung into action.
We had an escorted drive to fuel up, then it was an escorted trip back to the hotel – in the dark. A couple of things about driving in Thailand. On the 4 lane highways all trucks and buses travel at 80kph in the 2 left lanes only and regular cars drive at a 120kph in the 2 right hand lanes and small vans can travel at 100kph. Seems to work seamlessly. The traffic light cycle is very long but automatically changes according to the amount of traffic flow.