It’s that time of the 5 years again… time to scratch your head and attempt to recall what needs to be done to renew that handy little red book that let’s you travel the world (given sufficient money). Fortunately for us, there’s now Google, and relatively well documented procedures available online on how to go about this gargantuan task. Well, it isn’t gargantuan anymore… at least compared to the good ol’ days when renewing your passport used to be a “whole day” affair which involved waking up at the crack of dawn, speeding off to the immigration department, and joining a snaking queue the length of which Mo Farah would have trouble running. After all of that, and questionable amounts of waiting… all you would have achieved is getting a number… which would be served about 2 hours later. Anyway, enough about the glory days of renewing passports when men were men. Nowadays, it’s a mostly painless affair. Continue reading
In this new series of strange ranty type things, a Slightly Lost Geek (read as me) wanders various places on the planet with somewhat limited resources. The SLG will then tell everyone what the SLG notices about the topic location. Take note that the SLG is from a “reasonably developed” third world country known to many as Malaysia, or home of the corrupt… and all thoughts and opinions are of the SLG alone. In this episode, SLG explores Udon Thani, Thailand.
Now, Udon Thani according to Wikipedia is a province (changwat) in northeast Thailand. It is bordered by the provinces of Nong Khai to the north, Sakon Nakhon to the east, Kalasin Province to the southeast, Khon Kaen to the south, and Loei and Nong Bua Lam Phu Province to the west. It occupies an area of 11,730 km². The provincial capital is Udon Thani, the major city in the province. I ended up here mainly because I had already visited Bangkok and didn’t particularly like it. Note that despite my home being the bustling Kuala Lumpur, I am actually averse to noisy, loud, and crowded places. After a wee bit of reading, I discovered that a great many travelers favored the North of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Udon Thani) because of the relative quietness compared to Bangkok (and other more popular tourist destinations), and much lower cost of living. Also, I figured Udon Thani would be a more developed location compared to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai mainly because of the large expat population there – Udon Thani apparently has the 2nd largest expat population in Thailand after Bangkok. Surely expats wouldn’t flock in droves to somewhere without running water and electricity right? Continue reading
In this new series of strange ranty type things, a Slightly Lost Geek (read as me) wanders various places on the planet with somewhat limited resources. The SLG will then tell everyone what the SLG notices about the topic location. Take note that the SLG is from a “reasonably developed” third world country known to many as Malaysia, or home of the corrupt… and all thoughts and opinions are of the SLG alone. In this episode, SLG explores Siem Riep, Cambodia. Better known as the home of Angkor Wat… or one of the wonders of the world… or an old pile of rocks.
So, upon landing… you basically see a few upgraded huts that serves as the Siem Riep International Airport. I kid… The Siem Riep International Airport actually gives off a strangely similar vibe to that of the old Subang Airport Terminal 1 (now known as Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport)… except smaller. The experience and what you see are very much different on the way out though, but more on that later. Transport from the airport to (almost) anywhere is relatively cheap even coming from a third world country with a currency that is currently (as of early 2017) shitting itself. Most things can be paid for in US$ (the local currency tends to be used as an equivalent to cents for foreigners), and based on the price of transportation from the airport, most people would likely be best suited taking a car from the airport to whichever hotel or cardboard box they choose to stay at. I honestly have no idea what a “REMORK” is, but a “MOTOR” costs US$6, and a car costs US$7, while a minivan costs US$10 (but may work out cheaper for you if you’re travelling with all 6 of your children). We paid for a car, and ended up with a nice (first generation) Toyota Harrier which comfortably fit the SLG and a companion… and the baggage. If you’re not willing to pay the extra US$1 for a car and choose a “MOTOR” or “REMORK”, well, be prepared to spend a lot more than US$1 on your lung cancer treatment – more on this later. Continue reading