3 weeks from now I’ll look back and wish I was still on Thai beaches as I get ready to teach the next semester. Maybe I’ll nurse a few bumps and bruises and I’ll definitely be sifting through a mountain of travel photos. But hey, that’s 3 weeks from now.
The trip to the airport was more adventurous that I’d hoped for. We got to the bus station with 15 minutes to spare and I glanced up at the screen showing our airport limo – 6011 displaying the word차고지(chagoji) instead of an arrival time. Buses in Korea always tell show many minutes until they arrive and its very accurate so this mystery word made me worry. I asked a local who a first told me the airport but doesn’t come here so I showed him the picture and schedule posted behind. A blank stare told me I should dial the hotline listed next to the schedule. That guy spoke precisely zero English but in our broken conversation I came to discover차고지means garage he said it would come in 5 minutes. I think?
We wasted 40 minutes hoping the bus (that’s supposed to come every 30 minutes) was coming before jumping in a taxi and heading to the airport railroad instead. With a useless delay and the longer trip on the railroad we arrived at Incheon airport just over an hour before departure. This was by far the latest I’ve ever been for a flight and to say I was nervous is an understatement.
Sprinting up the escalators and around corners we made it to our check-in counter seconds after arriving. Web check-in sped up our process but the lady kept asking questions about our trip.
“Checked bag?” “Nope.”
“Where are you staying?” “We don’t know.”
“How long will you be in Bangkok?” “A few days.”
“Do you have an address? When do you leave Thailand?” “Not sure but we fly out of Siem Reap on the 21st.”
This went on for what felt like an hour. I kept glancing at my watch and threw her a curve ball.
“Do we have time for these questions? We are just backpacking.” I asked her. “Is the airport busy today? We don’t want to miss our flight.”
“Very busy. Full today,” she retorted, “I need to ask my manager.”
“Okay, thank you. Please HURRY!”
Apparently using a budget airline to head to Thailand for a month of backpacking is cause for suspicion. Luckily they let us through without any further questions. Security and emigration went quickly and we arrived at the gate a mere 5 minutes before boarding call. That meant it was finally time to get into my uncomfortable plane-nap mode and dream of my next adventure.
Our first stop is the cesspool known as Bangkok. Neither of us have ever been and I’m sure we’ll indulge in unworldly oddities but I may be alone in eating scorpion. Brian seemed open to the idea of snake on a stick though. As evident by our airport befuddlement the itinerary is quite flexible but after a few nights in Bangkok we are jumping a plane for the southern islands. The plan is to revisit Koh Phi Phi and us our Open Water Certification acquired on our trip here in February to do some recreational SCUBA diving. We’ll explore the beautiful beaches in between long boat trips around this paradise and live on a motor-free island for a week(ish).
When we get bored of this lavish life we’ll jump on a flight north to Thailand’s cultural hotspot, Chiang Mai. Full of temples and rice paddies we just might get a chance to play with elephants and bathe beneath the waterfalls. We’ll rent motor bikes and with any luck complete the Mae Hong Son loop stopping in Pai, Chiang Rai and wherever else we fancy.
The Mae Hong Son loop is as famous as motorcycle rides get. Routinely found in motorcycle top 10 trails around the world I’m incredibly excited and a little nervous for this scenic tour. The good news is that we’ve got as much time as we want to complete this 5 day loop and every corner of it is supposed to be magnificent!
If this wasn’t enough to settle our travel bug we certainly will in the last few days of our journey by exploring Cambodia’s Angor Wat. The airport lady was a bit confused about how we would get to Cambodia without a flight but I was already questioning her intelligence. We may in fact fly into Cambodia or perhaps we’ll find a night bus. The important thing is that we fly back to Seoul from Siem Reap on August 21st after relaxing with an ancient wonder of the world.
Well the truth is none of this may happen or all of it and more. If we’re unlucky we could get abducted by Chinese organ harvesters and end up slumming it around megacities that no one has heard of but probably owns 3 household items built by their local factory. Hoping to avoid that nightmare I’m rooting for the likelihood that karma will prevail and allow us to enjoy a magnificent 3 week trip!
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