We left Don Khon in the four thousand islands, and headed back to Pakse. We were going to have one final night in Laos but decided as we had a long journey back to Bangkok we would break it up a bit by heading to Ubon Ratchathani - the biggest city in the East of Thailand and only an hour away from the Laos border. At Pakse we only had a short wait for a bus and I thought I would nip to the loo where I had a bit of an unfortunate incident. Squat toilets are fine usually but this one was raised above floor level and as they have no flushes you have to chuck water in a little bucket to get rid of your business. This can make it very slippery especially in cheap flip flops with no grips! As I was hovering I somehow slipped sideways and ended up in the toilet - not nice! So with a wet bum we boarded the bus to the border and had to pay an overtime charge to the officers as it was the weekend and we were back in Thailand!
It's such a contrast to Laos, there are cars everywhere, big brands advertised on billboards and proper roads! We arrived in Ubon as it was just getting dark and booked our bus tickets to Bangkok for the following day. We then were just deciding the best way to get into the city centre when some sweet schoolgirls asked if we needed any help. They told us it was cheaper to get a taxi rather than a tuk tuk so we went to the taxi stand. Now Ubon isn't as touristy as other places in Thailand and no one could speak any English - we didn't know where we were going to stay and just wanted to be dropped somewhere central so we could room hunt. There was a queue for the taxi so we knew we would have to wait a while. As we were sitting there a rather stocky looking Thai lady appeared and had very good english, she asked us where we needed to go and we said we needed a cheap room. She was really friendly and told the taxi men where we needed to go. She said she was also heading into town too. Suddenly we were pushed to the front of the queue and we caught the taxi together. I don't know why but I started to feel a bit uneasy about her, I thought I might be being a bit paranoid so didn't say anything to Kam. As we drove she started to make a few phonecalls and we heard her mention 'falang' a few times (foreigners). She turned around to us and asked us how much we wanted to pay for a room and then got on the phone again. I really didn't feel comfortable. We were dropped off in a quiet road with what looked like a motel - the lady ran off and spoke to the owners and came back and said you can stay here and then she got on the phone again, as she turned her back Kam just said to me RUN! So with our huge backpacks on and my toe which was really swollen from the previous day we hobbled quickly away not looking back and not knowing where we were going. When we thought we were safe we stopped for a breather - Kam felt she was really dodgy too. She could have been a really nice lady but we both had the same gut feeling about her and we both agreed we didn't feel comfortable about her knowing where we would be staying.
So now it was really dark, we were both really hungry as we only had breakfast and we didn't have anywhere to stay - again as it wasn't touristy there all the signs were in Thai. We walked up a very long quiet street and got barked at by some dogs - we eventually came accross something that looked like a hotel and went in to investigate - luckily it was and it was cheap too! There was a flyer for pizza company delivery on reception and we both knew it was a good idea plus we didn't want to go out and bump into the lady again!
We had an early start for Bangkok, the bus left at 7am and it was a very nice double decker with reclining seats. We were told it would take 10 hours but actually took 12 - it was a pretty boring journey and a fat kid chundered everywhere next to us! We arrived at the Northern bus terminal and then caught the skytrain to On Nut station where we had already prebooked a room. We couldn't find the place anywhere though and had to ask several people and eventually found it in some desolate wasteland beneath a flyover - the room was pretty nice though!
We had a few days in Bangkok, just sorting out the next leg of our journey and uploading our pics!
Next stop Ko Lanta ..................................