At last, a plan.
We’ve spent the last 48 hours thinking about, talking about and in some cases, arguing about our travel plans.
With the help of our resident Back packer we were able to sort the wheat from the chaff, something we couldn’t seem to do on our own, and focus.
So this morning we settled it. We decided to fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap in Cambodia as our first excursion. That would then give us the evidence that we were intending to leave Thailand within 30 days.
Jaki had found some cheap prices for this flight and it ended up being cheaper than getting the travel agents to source a Visa.
On line we found the cheapest flight (using Sky Scanner) was with Air Asia at £35 but this was a relatively early flight and it came with no baggage allowance.
We decided on the 1330 flight which was advertised at £42 each.
Then the fun began.
We went all the way through the booking process, gave all the details required and paid an additional fee of just over 600 Baht to allow us to take 20Kg of hold luggage. This also entitled us to a free meal and allocated seating (without this the extra bag was 500 Baht and we may not be sat together. Though if this pressure keeps up, we might be glad of that.)
So, total price about £55 depending on exchange rates operable at the time.
When it came to paying we chose to use Mastercard Credit and then there was an increase in price (as it turned out, there was an increase in price for using Debit card too) but it was still within budget. So we pressed PAY.
After a few whirls and clicks the screen told us the card had been rejected.
Undeterred we went through the whole process again, entered the details and pressed PAY.
Worryingly it threw us out again.
We tried to go back to an earlier stage in the process but even then when we got to the screen it bumped us out yet again.
A change of plan was called for. We Googled Trip Advisor and sought a price from them.
The same series of options came up and the price was miraculously, nearly the same. We accepted the Air Asia flight, entered more information including our passport number and got to the paying section.
I decided to use a different card this time and entered the details. Then pressed PAY.
There was a moment when we thought that was it, we had secured our seats. However when the Visa verification screen came up, it started showing several thousand IRD.
Whoah, what the hell is this about???
In panic we immediately stopped the payment. This triggered an automated call from the bank who gave me a code and told me to phone them quoting the code, which i did. After about 20 minutes listening to some crap music because they were “Experiencing an increased volume of calls at this time” I got through to a nice lady called Donata who sorted everything out for me.
No, I hadn’t been charged and yes I could use my Card again.
As it turned out IRD is Indonesian Currency and the screen had worked out the price in that currency rather than converting it to pounds, so it may well have been Ok but as we hadn’t done the Math’s for the conversion we would have no idea just how much we were agreeing to pay.
So, we went back to the drawing board, googled Sky Scanner, went through the process afresh and this time I was offered the option of using my American Express card, entered the details and behold, 3 and a half hours after we started, we are now the proud owners of two ticket’s to Siem Reap.
Whilst I was on a roll I looked at hotels in Siem Reap and Bookings.Com offered me a double room at ‘Okay 1 Villa’ a very nice looking place at £48 for two people for three nights, including, Air con, A pool, WiFi and free airport pick up. A ridiculously low price.
So that’s it.Done.
The first part of the adventure is now in the bag.