Saturday, November 21, 2015
Today, I woke up bright and early in my room at the Shangri-La Bangkok. I showered, shaved, and went downstairs to enjoy a relaxing (included) breakfast in the River Café. I made the mistake of reading the International New York Times, which came off sounding more like the Doomsday Prophet considering all of the terrible world events that were printed on the page.
It also got me thinking about this journey with Viking River Cruises, as we got set to fly to Yangon, Myanmar at the start of Viking’s massive Myanmar Explorer river cruise tour itinerary.
See, the issue is this: everyone is scared of what they don’t know, or don’t understand. Anywhere you travel for the first time automatically makes you a stranger in a strange land. But the simple act of going to a place for the first time can help to dispel myths and misconceptions – and that’s what happened to me today.
After a relaxing morning, we boarded our coach at 10:30 a.m. to set out for Bangkok’s airport. Trouble is, two guests forgot to pay their bills, so we drove around the property in a loop for 15 minutes, waiting for them to check-out. Travel Tip: even on group tours where check-in is handled for you, you still have to check yourself out – and pay your bill!
Accounts settled, we finally set out for the airport and came crashing into Bangkok’s legendary traffic. It’s so bad that an octogenarian with a walker and a poor sense of direction could have beaten us for the first half-hour; an automobile accident had tied up traffic for blocks.
If I was travelling independently, I would have been a wreck. Our Bangkok Airways flight to Yangon was scheduled to depart at 1:40 p.m., and we were still hopelessly mired in traffic at 11:30 a.m. In fact, it wasn’t until Noon that we arrived at the airport.
But here’s where the benefits of travelling as a group with Viking kicked in: after we’d disembarked the coach and had identified our luggage, we were led to the Bangkok Airways Group Check-in Counter where we individually checked in. No need to schlep our luggage along with us; that was taken care of by Viking and the Bangkok Airways.
Our Live Voyage Report from Viking River Cruises’ Myanmar Explorer continues tomorrow as we spend the day exploring beautiful Yangon, Myanmar! Be sure to follow along with our adventures on Twitter @deckchairblog.