Exotic Thailand here we come! We are so excited having been landlocked for months we are dreaming of golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and kicking back Thai style - this is what it's all about surely, spending our days lying on beaches doing nothing more energetic than rubbing on some sun lotion? But we have to wait as Tigger's need is greater than ours and he is desperately in need of a spa treatment.
We enter Thailand through the Laos border at Vientiane, buy our car insurance and off we go. We are just in time it would seem as since then Thailand has made it much more difficult for foreign vehicles to enter, needing permits with time restrictions on how long you can stay, and the latest news we heard is that foreign vehicles now need a guide in a Thai car to travel with them. For up to date information have a look at Overland Asia Facebook page - good for all things Asia related https://www.facebook.com/groups/510330665669757/.
Tigger has been limping a little, and our main aim is to get to Bangkok to the garage where he will undergo a long overdue spa treatment, Tigger's needs are greater than ours unfortunately, that beach still seems a long way off (We are still suffering from the cheap intercooler failure was fitted in the UK. We did find an exact replacement in Turkey but didn’t realise then, that we needed to remove the crappy plastic bits and fabricate alloy replacements in their place. The new Turkish one blew apart the same as the original one, but this time, there was no option but to repair the unrepairable. Hence, frequent annoying repair stops to keep us going until we could get another replacement in Bangkok.)
So how do you find a reputable garage in a new country? Well, you know someone who knows someone! We made our VW Bangkok contact in Turkey, on the balloon flight in Cappadocia. John was wearing his "Tigger's Travels" Tee-shirt, which one of the girls in our basket spotted, she recognised the Syncro and told us her Dad was the president of the Syncro Club in Thailand - sorted! The VW family stretches far and wide as we are to find out!
On route to the garage, we decide to risk a trip to Khao Yai national park even if Tigger is coughing and spluttering a little. It's famed for its elephants, but we don't see any (well you wouldn’t would you if you are prancing around dressed up like a giant tiger!) - we did see some more scary wildlife, though! (nothing compared to the scary wildlife I share the van with on a day-to-day basis!)
Please note I am standing much further back shouting "they run fast you know - and I can't drive the van"
I did think he might be a "pretend" croc - but no, he moved!
The waterfall used in the film The Beach, have to say it wasn't quite as exotic as in the movie!
The park is quite hilly, and Tigger is not a happy Tiger, so we have to cut the trip short and head for the garage in Bangkok. Think Bangkok, think exotic temples and wild nightlife - well not quite the case in Min Buri where the garage is, far off any known tourist route and probably the least glamorous place in Thailand but hey ho it's for Tigger. We find a cheap hotel with a swimming pool (one has standards you know!) while Tigger has his spa treatment and count the days until we can get to the beach (we? I am in the garage every day up to my ears in oil and sweat!) oil and sweat wouldn't suit me, stop whinging!
Even Min Buri can look pretty good at sunset
Ok. So here is a summary of what happened at the garage. Mrs C is adamant that it is not of interest to you, the avid reader. And she is probably right but here goes. I feel a list coming on.
- Re-make the intercooler.
- Make and fit a scoop to push air down into the engine bay to assist the intercooler.
- Replace the turbo - kindly donated to us by one of our new buddies, Woody ( Hi Woody and thank you J )
- Fit some new fans around the fridge to improve its performance ( didn’t make much difference as we found out afterwards)
- General service.
- Went shopping at a huge automotive electrical district in downtown Bangkok and bought a couple of clip on 12v fans for air circulation at night time, laser pointer just for fun!!! And a couple of multicolour LED strips which I stuck on the outside under the gutter. Disco lights!!!!! Don’t underestimate the international importance of disco, even if I can't dance!
Finally, we are sorted, thanks to the help of our Bangkok VW garage guys. Now we can begin the holiday; we are beyond excited as two of our three kids are coming to visit along with two of our lovely friends - excitement levels are through the roof, not only can we see these gorgeous people - but they can bring cheese!
Holiday time in Koh Chang coming next!