Saturday, February 16, 2008

Landing in Someone's Favorites List - and Ramblings of a Restless Traveller Prior to a Backpacking Trip

We just found "Eye in the Sky" in someone else's list of favorites. "Wikiworks" at Stumble upon has us shortlisted. The profile says that she is from Mandaluyong, like myself! I would like to thank her for including this site in her list. I appreciate it.

I was surfing through her profile and it seems she has great taste in movies too:
Garden State (one of those contemplative movies that lingers long after you've seen it), Breakfast at Tiffany's, Last Kiss... obviously not your average filmbuff. :->

Visit her site:

It's the eve before I leave for Thailand and Myanmar. I am pins and needles about not having had a rservation for my first leg in Bangkok.

For this trip alone, I will be away for around 3 weeks, and will be taking EIGHT plane rides and several train travels. I am a little, excited about Myanmar, especially of Bagan; and I am so excited about visiting the temples of Sukhothai from Chiang Mai.

It's ironic though that my Myanmar leg seems more "organized" than coming in through Thailand. In myanmar, I've had someone pick me up at the airport from my hotel - relatively good price. Ive have vouchers for my plane rides from Yangon to Bagan. And I already know which places I wanna visit. I can't say the same about Thailand. Though I've been there several times, this is the first time I won't be on a package tour. Everything wont be spoonfed to me. No airport pick-ups. No half-day package tours. No spiffy hotels (I've stayed in the touristy M.O.R. Indra Regent in Pratunam 3x already). I have been reading about guesthouses or backpacker's hotels the past 3 days. Ive exhausted my Lonely Planet scouting for one, then checking them out through their websites, as well as reviews from thorntree and trip advisor. It's a harrowing experience.

Take for example Lonely Planet's "Rambutri Village Inn". This is on top of Lonely Planet's picks. The amenities and its rate are amazing. Most reviewers seem to agree except for a very sore point. 90% of all these world-weary travellers seem to agree that the staff of the hotel borders on the "rude" and "unhospitable", even "irritating and offensive". Sure, I don't have to deal with them much anyway, but when I am travelling alone, I would prefer dealing with accommodating and smiling people than what's otherwise available. Another thing about this hotel is the anti-Thai sentiments.

If you have a Thai (or probably any Asian lady with you - since Thais and Filipinas basically look the same) with you, chances are, you will be stopped and questioned coz they don't allow local girls inside. Sure, that maybe an obvious effort to curb the rampant sex trade in their city, but for those who are "clean", it would be annoying to be constantly stopped. It is bigoted, if you ask me. Another sore point, albeit humourous, is the presence of annoying "tailors". I didn't know they have such trade in Bangkok. i've never experienced this before. Para ito sa mga magpapagawa ng shirts and dresses in Thailand. Supposedly, while guests move in and out of the hotel, these persistently annoying tailors will keep dogging you around, no matter how many times you politely say "no". It's a minor rush reading exasperatted guests' comments about these guys. Haha. Ako, I wanna visit this hotel just to see hilarity meets desperation.

On the other spectrum of this, is "Lamphu House". Second in Lonely Planet's List, this guesthouse has only about 30 rooms or so, and quite affordable yet very clean. Imagine, may aircon room with private bath and 2 single beds ka na for something like Php 750. That is very cheap. This guesthouse has soooooo many glowing reviews for their impeccable service and hospitalibility which a weary traveller would appreciate. The problem is, because of such reputation, they are almost always full. During peak season, one would have a good 1-2 months wait list just to get a room. I tried booking for them, just 2 days short of my trip. They replied in approximately 8 hours saying that they are fully booked. Oh well. At least I tried. However, I sent them a booking request again for the other dates when I come back to Bangkok from Yangon, and then from Chiang Mai/Sukhothai. This leg will be around March so I am still hoping I would get those dates.

For now, am gonna have to look for a hotel for my Sunday trip. Every Pinoy seems to be staying at First House Hotel, which is at the Pratunam area - very central. Yun nga lang, it's a bit mahal than the usual good-but-cheap backpacker's fare. They are said to have 300 rooms. Problem is, I can't seem to find their website for my reservation/booking. Ala una ng madaling araw pa naman ako dadating sa Bangkok, which means ill be repeating my KL experience again. Hope it doesn't rain this time.

I will try to document the trip when I am moving around. Trouble is, there seems to be limited net accessibility in Myanmar. I think is allowed there. I will try to document my travels to remind me of how I got through Myanmar on my own - the expenses, the people, and of course, the must-see places to visit.

And I pray that I will be safe.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

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