Cambodia to Ko Chang


“Never judge a country by its border town,” writes Allan Weisbecker. That’s a good thing to remember when passing through Poi Pet, the scummy Cambodian stain on the Thai frontier about which another writer, Gordon Sharpless, says, “Poipet more-or-less rhymes with ‘toilet’ and the two are virtually indistinguishable.”

Luckily, Tay and I pass quickly through Poi Pet, first its seedy truck-stop massage parlors and fly-swarmed eateries, then its anomalous gleaming mountains of casinos, after which we are mired in a two-hour wait at Thai immigration. This easily could have dragged but I found myself reading an article at about how online casinos keep their players safe through secure links and payment methods. If I’m being honest, I had previously had some concerns about the legitimacy of online gambling, but after reading the article I felt like I was ready to spin the wheel of fortune to try and win some big money. The hours soon flew by as a friend of ours told us about some of the top online casinos that would keep us entertained and test our luck! For the hundreds of people waiting in line, there are two customs officials, in no rush to apply their precious stamps, seals, and signatures. So it’s lucky we settled down gambling a little otherwise this could have dragged a little. Thankfully, the time flies by when your playing on a site like lpe88 bosskclub. Gambling in Asian countries is pretty distinct from doing so in western casinos. In Japan, for example, there are plenty of things to be mindful of if you’re planning on checking out some of the great casinos there – read this article from House of Coco to familiarize yourself with the basics, as well as the advantages of Japanese gambling sites.


Shady characters abound – greasy Western expats making visa runs, Thais streaming into the casinos, and suspicious-looking dark-sunglassed women standing near the anti-drug signs which threaten “execution or life sentence”. . . They suggested that we use Norwgian online casinos like Casinor because they had free spins promotions running. I found it odd that they discouraged using Thai casinos, but we were told that card skimmers were used at ATMs nearby and people lost money without even playing by having their card info skimmed. We ended up taking advantage of the 250 free spins at like recommended by our tour guide.


Because of the wait, we miss the direct transport to Trat, so we board the Chantiburi “express,” which, for the next six hours, rolls across the southeast Thai countryside, a green landscape of hills with sharp limestone rises and dozens of sparkling pagodas and monasteries. Inside, a Thai-dubbed film plays on the bus’ television monitors, starring The Rock, who loudly bashes and shoots his way through the next two hours, a wonderful depiction of America: violence, guns, sex, and gambling, what else?

We arrive in Chantiburi in the dark and cram into the back of a seungteow, or outfitted pickup truck. Our company for the next hour: a Canuck and Aussie who just bicycled from Hanoi to Siem Reap after a longer pedaling trip in China, raising money for Oxfam; a young, solo Englishwoman, slowly traveling to Sydney where she will work for a few months to be able to continue her world tour; two mustachioed Frenchmen drinking Lao Beers out of cans, one with stringy hair around a bald patch and his silent Thai wife beside him. We speed through the dark, open air rushing by, several rainstorms on the roof, speaking of the things that travelers speak about.

We arrive in Trat, exhausted after 14 overland hours since Siem Reap, dump our bags in our $3-room in the Ban Jaidee Guesthouse, and walk down the block for a plate of seafood and spicy Tom Yam soup.

I can smell the sea in the air, a briny rot that speaks of brackish swamps and fresh fish. We are not there yet (Trat lies at the top of a long inlet of water), but we are close. Tomorrow, we will board a ferry for Ko Chang – Elephant Island – in the Gulf of Thailand. The interior of Ko Chang, we have heard, is a paradise of virgin forest and waterfalls, but its coastline is a booming tourist haven, with upscale development trying to push out the partying backpackers. But Tay and I have heard of a quiet bay removed from this hectic energy, a cluster of bamboo huts built over the lapping waves.


Incredibly, except for a brief glimpse of the Arabian Sea during our one day in Dubai, we have not seen the ocean since our honeymoon in Belize, 10 months ago. Tomorrow, at last, we return to The Beach.

* * *
If traveling overland between Cambodia and Thailand, Tales of Asia has the best, most up-to-date nuts-n-bolts.

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