Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Hanoi (Day 13-14)

Freitag, August 25th, 2006

Thursday, 24/08/2006, Somewhere between Saigon and Hanoi

Wow! Vietnam has a seriously beautiful and magnificent countryside. The train pulls through the middle of it, trough the green jungle, along the coast, passing small villages with only a few houses, then through the mountains…

The long-haul train I am riding in is interesting. Like in an aircraft, you get a blanket, and three (more or less) warm meals, breakfast instant noodles, lunch, and dinner. And they come through with a trolley and sell snacks and drinks (Remember? They used to do this in German trains, too. Oh, sweet nostalgia…).

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Ho Chi Minh City (Day 11-12)

Mittwoch, August 23rd, 2006

Tuesday, 22/08/2006, Ho Chi Minh City

After only three days, I left Cambodia to visit a „real“ communist country for the first time :). Because there is not town on the Vietnamese side of the border, I booked a 5 US$ tour through to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon.

The bus left the hotel at 7 am 7:30 am, and we arrived at the border about three hours later. Fortunately, the streets in souuthern Cambodia are much better than the ones on the north, so the ride was (relatively) smooth. At the border, ckecking out of Cambodia and into Vietnam went without hassle, I had already gotten the visa for Vietnam in Bangkok.

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Cambodia (Day 8-10)

Dienstag, August 22nd, 2006

Saturday, 19/08/2006, Siem Reap

So, after having a nice time in Thailand, I wanted to have some more temples, and set of to Siem Reap, the city next to the famous Angkor Wat. I went to the border with the public bus, running from Bangkok’s northern bus terminal. For 207 Bath (~4 EUR), I got to the cambodian border.

The bus stopped in the middle of a town next to the border, and I got a tuk-tuk for the last six kilometers to the border. On the way, my driver tried to get me to buy a visa, which I fortunately knew I wuld get directly at the border. So I left Thailand, and entered the Kingdom of Cambodia. Since I did not have a visa for Cambodia yet, I got one for 1000 (Thai) Bath, or 20 US$. I was assured that paying in Bath would ensure quicker handling, and only a few minutes later I had my visa.

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Ayutthaya (Day 7)

Freitag, August 18th, 2006

Friday, 18/08/2006, Bangkok

Finally, after over 3 month, a Schnitzel

Today I decided to visit the old capital of Ayutthaya. I took the train out of town, a pleasant 3 hour ride. Thai 3rd class is by far more comfortable than Indian Second! From the railway station in Ayutthaya, I avoided all the riksaw drivers („Too far to walk“) and walked the 50 m down to the river where I took the ferry to the other side.

I rented a bike for the day, which avoided both an annoying driver and sore feet from walking. If only they drove on the right side ;).

(mehr …)

Bangkok (Day 4-6)

Donnerstag, August 17th, 2006

Tuesday, 15/08/2006, Bangkok

We got up early that day, and I think I set a new record by getting from sleeping to ready for departure in about 15 minutes, including shower (yes, I did turn off my alarm clock and went back to sleep :().

We left Delhi, Steffie and Verena stayed in India, I verntured on to Thailand, to Bangkok. A bad surprise awaited me at the airport: I was not allowed to tak my bag on boeard as hand luggage. So I had to repack my bag into my backpack, and only had a book, my Sudoku magazine, and my ticket.

The breakfast on board was quite good, chicken, omlette and fried potatoes (Bratkartoffeln), as well as fruits and yoghurt and a croissant with butter and jam. Unfortunately the supply with drinks was not as good, only one small bottle of water and a cup of tea for the whole flight.

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Agra (Day 3)

Montag, August 14th, 2006

Monday, 14/08/2006, Agra

Today, we went to Agra, where the world-famous Taj Mahal is located. We had bokked a driver, who was recommended to us and who also had organized a guide for us. The trip to Agra from Delhi took about 3.5 hours, but since we left early, we could avoid Delhi’s rush hour.

The first visit was the Taj. As foreign visitors, we got a free 500 ml bottle of water (very useful, it was very hot, about 35 C with high humidity) and shoe covers, so we did not have to take or shoes off :).

(mehr …)

New Delhi (Day 1-2)

Sonntag, August 13th, 2006

Saturday, 12/08/2006, New Delhi

Miraculously, my Air Deccan Flight had not been canceled, and I only had a 20 minute delay, due to the security crackdown at the Delhi airport (the US embassy has issued a warning to its citizens about possible attacks on India’s independence day, August 15). Steffi and Verena, two colleagues from SAP, arrived some time later on another flight, and we drove to our hotel together. After check-in, we booked a sightsseing tour for the next day and took the metro to Connaught Square.

The metro is quite a nice construction, and similar to the MRT in Singapore, except that it is mostly elevated, with only a short underground segment. Getting the tocket was more of a problem. We decided to get a tourist ticket (100 Rs), which allows us to travel for one day (there is also a three day version). In retrospect, this was not the best choice. Since we booked it in the evening, we did not have moch chance to us it. One way tickets would have cost 8 Rs each. And the guy at the counter first had to finish a lengthy phone call, and then had to get change.

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Mysore

Sonntag, Juli 16th, 2006

So, this weekend I went to Mysore, about 140 km west of Bangalore. Mysore is famous for its sandalwood, its silk, and its incense. I got all three :). But let’s start at the beginning…

I decided only on Monday that it would be a greate idea to go to Mysore, for a one-day trip. So I started by picking out a train to go there. Bangalore and Mysore are connected very well, so I could go by train, by bus, or rent a car and a driver. I planned to do this very cheap, so I picked out the Mysore Express, leaving at 6:30 from the main city station.

What I did not know then was that there is a train ticket shop directly in Koramangala, so I went to the main station to get my tickets. I wasn’t the only one who had this idea, and I had to wait about 45 minutes to get to the counter, the last few minutes fending off Indians who wanted to get in line before me („Sir, 8 o’click train“ – it was 7:45 and the queue very long). Fortunately, a cop was standing there, so I finally managed to get to the counter.

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Singapore

Dienstag, Juli 4th, 2006

It’s always good to have friends in all parts of the world. At least temporarily, I also have this advantage. As two of my fellow students, Jochen and Joachim, currently work for SAP Singapore, I took the chance to visit this city/country from Thursday til Sunday. The cheapest airline to get there seems to be JetStar Asia, a Singapore based low-fare airline. So I paid my 12,000 Rs (240 €) and saved the hotel costs by staying with Jochen. Thanks to Dominik, his landlord, for allowing this!

The only disadvantage was that the flight for Singapore left at 3 am IST, so I did not fetch much sleep that night, only two hours before the flight and a few uncomfortable minutes on the flight itself. And since we arrived at 10:15 am Singaporean time, after a 4 hour flight, I did not get the chance to sleep there… Oh, well! I met up with Jochen at SAP Singapore and we went to lunch together.

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Bandipur National Park

Dienstag, Juni 20th, 2006

What a nice weekend. We (Sven and I) escaped the dusty air of Bangalore to Bandipur National Park. Located about 220 km from Bangalore, it is a truly beautiful place.

We went there in a rented cab, which cost us about 4000 Rs (80 €) for the 220 km travel and the driver staying there during the time. One hint when driving in India: it is a good idea to recognize speed bumps early and slow down in time. The same goes for road damages (far more often). It just is no fun to hit one of these with 50 km/h, and it does sound bad for the car. This overland travel was also the first time i buckeled up in an Indian car. Nobody does around here, but I figured that since we were driving really fast this time, I should better do so.

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