We have spent the last 3 nights in thailand on an island called koh samet (which means samet island). It was absolutely beautiful and empty due to the fact that its the off season. we ate pad thai every day for 1.75 and lounged on the beach with our new friend lydia and sophie, who are from london. we stayed in bungalows with aircon for $20 a night which is expensive but ok since itll probably be the most expensive place we stay. the people everywhere are super friendly and the scam artists make up only a tiny part of the population.
yesterday we made our full day journey from koh samet (southern coast) to cambodia. we started at 6am with a taxi ride to the island port. we than took a ferry back to ban phe where we caught a 4 hr bus to bangkok. in bangkok we found a taxi to take us on the 3 hr ride to the border. we realized somewhere in the middle that the visa office closes at 5pm and tried to rush as much as possible. our taxi driver took us to the visa office where we got a visa, walked a few blocks to the border and crossed in. we later found out that we got ripped off $20 a piece by going to the first 'visa office'' and that we could have saved the money by going straight to the border,... either way we were able to dodge their offer for a $66 taxi ride to siem riep and instead scored on past the border for $26. the man tried to make us feel bad for not taking his taxi once we realized he was a scam artist... people these days.
the border is a really dirty place with lots of chaos and corruption. apparently we were told that the police follow the taxi drivers who have americans with them and demand a cut of the fare they pay the drivers. either way we didnt have much trouble once we were in the taxi and the 3 hr ride went by quick. did i mention we travelled all day with our new british friends? because we had 4 people we were able to cut deals easier.
i have to run because we are about to each breakfast ($1.50 each for eggs toast and coffee) and we are headed for a temple tour today. more stories from the last few days to come but i just wanted to update you all to keep my parents sane.
this adventure is proving to be crazy, unpredictable, and more fun than i could have imagined.