I'm not quite sure what direction and style my blog will take this time but I'm sure it will evolve as I go along and I hope you all enjoy it. This time we are traveling with a very small budget of just under £20 a day between the two of us. From this £20 we need to find places to stay, we need to eat and it also needs to cover transport costs as well as any activities we want to do along the way....oh yes and beers as well! Quite a tall order really. To do this we will be trying to find work along the way as well as volunteering in return for accommodation and food. I hope this blog will be helpful to those of you who are thinking of traveling. I also hope that the more seasoned travelers among you will keep me right if you know cheaper ways to things in certain countries, so please feel free to comment and keep me right if you know cheaper/better ways to do things, it will be much appreciated. So I guess firstly I hope this blog is informative. I have a feeling this blog will be a lot more personal this time. Given the events in the past year with my mam I feel a little different about things. My last trip changed me a lot anyway and now more than ever I feel myself questioning myself more as a man and as a person. Am I good man? Am I living a good life? Now more than ever I feel these things to be relevant and important to me.
Being a couple traveling is slightly different to traveling alone
One of the things we are also learning and finding great on this trip so far to help ease the burden on our cash is a combination of using Quidco and the right sites for booking our accommodation at the same time
So enough of the sensible advice and money matters, what about Bangkok itself and our first few days?
Well Bangkok itself this time was fairly uneventful I must say. I know Bangkok quite well now as much as I do say London or Manchester and it's a great city as far as cities go so don't get me wrong I like the place and it can be great fun, amazing fun. It's busy, bustling, vibrant and has a great variety of things going on, something different and interesting around every little street corner and certainly some of the best food in the world
Now comes the strangely annoying part of the trip so far and we are only a few days into it. We spent hours trawling various websites to pull together the cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Bali and back out of Bali and into Malaysia. The best we found were some flights with Malindo air, my favourite airline in Asia and generally the cheapest. Now we had two ways to book these flights. Either a single booking of Bangkok to Bali, via Kuala Lumpur and a single booking from Bali back to KL or a single booking from Bangkok to KL then a return from KL to Bali and back again. There was a good difference of around £50 each depending on how we booked and naturally we took the cheaper option which was to book the single from Bangkok to KL then a return from KL to Bali all with the same airline. Now I'm no airline guru but considering the fact you could book a single trip with Malindo from Bangkok to Bali (Via KL) I presumed even though our flights were considered separate yet the same exact flights that we would be able to check our bags all the way through to Bali and simply transfer in KL to our forward flight without going through Malaysian immigration and then straight back out of Malaysia and onto our flight. Makes sense right? No. That would be far to logical for an airline to handle so once at the checki-n counter for Malindo we were told we could not check our bags through and not go through transit. Our connection times were too tight for us to have to collect bags, enter Malaysia via immigration....check in our bags...leave Malaysia etc etc and we explained this along with the fact that there would be other people on the flight doing the exact same trip as a single booking who would simply go through transit with their bags checked all the way to Bali. It started to turn comical at times as the girl on check in was bit of a ditzy Thai girl who seemed to just giggle a lot when we asked to speak with the supervisor. If we had more time I would have been pretty jovial about the whole thing myself however time was ticking and we needed to get through all of this and to our gate for the first flight. Eventually after enough persistence we spoke with the supervisor. Brilliant, I could see her printing out boarding cards for our second flight out of KL, this was starting to look promising now. But no, this wasn't as promising as it seemed we were told that although we could go through transit ourselves she could not check the bags onto the second flight. We were told we could get round this and would be allowed to take all our bags straight onto the plane as hand luggage. Hmm this was getting a bit interesting now. 30 minutes to boarding and we had to go through passport control and security with our big bags containing 2 liters of Thai rum, god knows how many bottles of sun block, mosquito repellent, toiletries, all the stuff that is actually so much cheaper at home than in Asia...oh yeah and my camping knife, my multi tool, scissores etc. Grief we are going to look like terrorists at this rate. But we tried all the same. We knew we shouldn't but it was too much stuff to lose and not try getting it through.
We failed miserably. With 20 minutes to boarding we were both stopped at security and sure enough a tag team of security ladies and ladboy's for that matter descended on our bags. I was worried they may delay us quite some time particulalry because of the knives. Everything was emptied. Bottles of rum were opened and poured away, although they were nice enough to let us have a few good gulps first, fair play I thought. In fact not even allowed I would say encouraged to have a good drink of it! Once we did it drew gasps and shock from the security team, I think they only did it to have a good laugh at Johnny farang necking neat Thai rum but hey better than wasting it all right? Our bags were re-packed, x-rayed again, opened again, more items removed, x-rayed again, rinse and repeat, you get the picture. Eventually we were packed up and running towards the gate just in time to board. Made it, now let's see how the connection goes....
So here we are. I'm sat typing this on the plane from KL to Bali, and do you want to know what the annoying irony is about all of this? Well, we landed at KLIA2, at gate 17. Scampered with our big backpacks and day packs along the length of the terminal as our transfer time was really tight, followed the signs to international transfers, down a floor, back along the same terminal on the ground floor and back to....now wait for it.....yes gate 17 and have just boarded the exact same plane that flew us from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur. Our bags would not have even needed to be taken off the plane. How ridiculous is that? So on that note I think I'll call it a day for this entry. Next stop is Bali in around 3 hours and a well deserved large Jim Beam and few cheeky Bintangs are in order me thinks. The joys of travel eh? A lot of people seem to think traveling/backpacking is just one long holiday. It's not, it can be frustrating at times, hard work pulling everything together, and for those familiar with my last blog down right dangerous. Thankfully this time though Russia is not on the list of destinations, in fact I doubt it ever will be after my last escapade a couple of years ago in Siberia! But that said this is the stuff that makes these trips memorable and the good times all the more rewarding. It's starting to feel a bit more like the adventure has begun.
Bangkok and the flight connection farce.
Thursday, March 03, 2016