Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Day 5, arrival at Udon Thani.

Day 5, arrival at Udon Thani.

Today no early weather report, since the internet connection in the Korat hotel wasn’t on until noon!

We left Korat this morning around 10 am and our hotel was next to the road leading up to Udon Thani, so that was easy.

We didn’t get to see a lot of Korat but here’s a picture from our hotel room, so you get an impression of the size of the city, it is rather big.

Today’s trip wasn’t as uneventful as the other days. We first arranged for a stop at Phi Mai Historical park, near Korat, which we found without too many problems, however, once we arrived there that’s when trouble started. In Thailand it’s fairly common that national parks and the like have two layer pricing, so did Phi Mai.

However, there are also rules that if you have a work permit and pay tax as a foreigner, you’re supposed to get the same price as Thais. The extra charge is usually 4 to 10 (!) times as much as Thais. Here they charged 4 times as much, not really a lot in all fairness, but they didn’t want to budge down on accepting my tax card. This kind of racist attitude in my opinion, doesn’t go down too well with me, so I decided not to pay at all and leave again, which led to a bit of an argument with my wife. We solved this however and next time this kind of attitude occurs, I’ll ask for the cashiers name and possibly their superiors name as well and tell them that I’ll report this to the TAT (Tourist Authority of Thailand). This may sound silly maybe to some of my readers, but it seems to work if enough folks complain, since the TAT just reduced all National Park fees nationwide by 50%! They decided to do this because they had received too many complaints about high entrance fees and not enough service and quality in return.
We’ll see, most of the time I do get the Thai price, so I hope that we don’t get too many situations over this and enough of my little rant!

This wasn’t enough however, since I was also stopped for speeding. From what I understood from the police officer, I was not supposed to drive faster than 110 km per hour however I did 119! The signs however said 90 is the max, so somewhere, something may have gotten lost in translation. What didn’t get lost in translation was that Thai people normally pay 400 Baht and I, as a Farang (=Westerner) would get away with just 200 Baht. Nice try Mr. police officer but a friend of us, who visited Kob, my wife’s friend, about three weeks ago got stopped and it cost her only 100 Baht! Ah well.

We made a little side tour to the Ubonrat Dam, near Korat on the way and had some lunch there.

During the whole trip through Isaan, we noticed how dry and brown everything was, up until we got closer to the Dam, the nearer we got to the Dam, the greener it turned out.

After the visit to the Dam we headed towards Udon Thani where we met Kob, my wife’s friend.

We checked into a lovely hotel, the Nakha Buri hotel, just outside Udon, on the way to tomorrow’s destination, the Thai – Lao friendship bridge, with at the other side of the bridge; Vientiane! Stay tuned for more!


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