HOT INFO On The Road

Margaret and Keel's Asian Adventure
Riding Tigers: REPORT #25

June 18, Y2K BKK, Thailand

$1 = 38.9 bhat

Greetings friends and fellow travelers. Boy, its been quite a while since I've posted an update. Where do I begin. My last update was after arriving back in Bangkok from Nepal. Without going back through all of that, just suffice to say that Nepal is wonderful, everyone should go there and if you need a good guide contact sherpa_d@ hotmail.com

After arriving in Bangkok we stayed a week before taking the train south to see our local Thai friends on Kho Phangan. No where have we been able to see more of the real Thailand than by living with the locals at this tropical island paradise. So for a real key tip on the the local place to stay while on Koh Phangan, try banana beach bungalow located to the west of Thongsala. I helped then set up an email address so if you want to contact them to make an inquiry try: bananabeachbungalow@hotmail.com

After a week or so of this paradise, we thought we would head south to malaysia. So we caught the train to the Thai border and took a bus to the Cameron Highlands for some cool weather and Malaysian rainforest. The Cameron Highlands is most famous for the mysterious disappearance of American businessman Jim Thompson, who is credited with re-vitalizing the Thai silk industry. Its actually composed of three different towns and I would suggest Fathers Guesthouse as the accommodation of choice in the Cameron Highlands. We spent three or four days in cool, mountainous weather. This was a welcome relief from the heat of the tropics.

Margaret wanted to go to Singapore and I wanted to go back to Thailand. While Malaysia is nice, it just does not have the exotic atmosphere, good food, and perpetual smiles that are to be found in Thailand. She caught the train to Singapore and spent a few days traveling with some English ladies she met at Father's guesthouse. I went back to Thailand, back to Koh Phangan (it may be obvious, but I love this place) and helped my Thai friend Sapon, build bungalows and tend fish traps. I caught two squid that weighed about 5 lbs (2 kilo) each. What and idyllic life, but a tough one for some of these local Thais who appear caught between the subsistence life and the market economy. Sapon, my closest friend, summed it up perfectly, "you only need enough money to go fishing"...They truly are able to provide for all their needs by getting everything from the land or the sea...I left after ten days...grown men wept.

I returned to Bangkok to our home now, at the Atlanta hotel on Soi 2 Sukhumvit. Margaret joined me after taking the train for three days and two nights from Singapore. We been filling in some of the must do's in Bangkok and getting ready for the next leg of our adventure! CHINA, Yes, friends were going to china...Bangkok to Beijing, a direct flight on Thai air...It should be very interesting and very different. I think we are now prepared for the difficulties that we are sure to encounter. After 20 days in China, we return to Bangkok for a few days, then we start the trip home via two weeks in Japan.

I want to mention that I was able to meet TAKA who is a member of ITIS and founder of this web-site. He is one cool guy and unfortunately had fallen in northern Thailand and broken his collar bone. He was in the Bangkok Hospital for one week. (make sure you have good insurance before you leave home). We had a great discussion over dinner as to the future of this website and other travellers tales. Taka and Andrea are a great couple and I wish them the very best success. He was headed to London, so I hope to see him or Andrea when I stop in Japan.

I will provide the next update upon our return from China... Until hen...thanks for dropping by the web-site.

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