36º when we landed! But less humidity than HK so it doesn’t feel 5º hotter. The usual bit of chaos at the airport – we’d done our visas online beforehand so didn’t have to stand and fill out those forms, but firstly we were directed by an official to the diplomats channel, only to get to the desk and be shooed away to the other queues. Through there quite quickly, but then trying to exit, everyone queues again to go through customs lulling you into a false sense of security that you’re nearly out. Wrong! You’re handed a customs form to fill in – where? at a desk way behind you! This form requires your passport number, flight number, DOB, etc etc – all the details you’ve already filled in on your visa form and immigration form too. I just can’t comprehend how a system can be so inefficient!
The journey from the airport to our hotel was interesting to say the least. Motorbikes and scooters outnumber the cars – it’s like an army of ants weaving their way either side of you – they overtake the cars simply because they weave in and out of the traffic and about 1 in every 20 bikes has just the driver – the others have 2, 3, or 4 people on them! Sometimes with young children up to the age of about 4 who sit in front of the driver so that it looks as if the child is driving, sometimes with babies and toddlers held in arms behind the driver, and sometimes with 7 or 8 year olds sitting on the back. No helmets on, tooting their horns, total chaos and plenty of accidents:( (Not that we saw any, but one member of our group who has been here a while sat with a bleeding man in the middle of the road for an hour after the bus he was on knocked him off his scooter – no ambulance came and he was eventually taken away in a dirty truck that had motorbike parts in it) We saw girls wearing smart clothes and heels, some sitting side saddle, some carrying huge parcels. Everyone wearing their everyday clothes and even just flip flops on their feet – no motorbike leathers and boots worn here!
I think we’ll be getting around mostly by tuk tuk, which is great in this heat.
Lovely quirky hotel whilst here in PP – dark wood, bamboo, water features, huge leafy green plants, a rectangular pond in the middle of the bar which is open to the sky, ceiling fans as well as air con in the bedroom, wafts of incense, flowers arranged in bowls of water, rush matting on the floors and bright reds & orange fabrics – a little oasis in the middle of a grotty area!