Legroom! Glorious legroom!
Our flight from Cape Town was a wonderfully empty plane; we strolled around stretching out to our heart's content! Our pleasure was short-lived though as the stopover in Johannesburg proved to be a painful ordeal. The two hours we had to sit around felt like twenty but finally, we set off for Bangkok!
In my infinite wisdom, I decided that Thailand was a destination which does not require warm clothes. Besides, our bag was just too small to keep anything that was not absolutely necessary. Thus even the luxury of a simple warm top was a world away when we hit Doha, Qatar. Don’t get me wrong. Doha was warm. Crazy warm. So warm in fact that the transfer buses to the terminal had to use their rather impressive air-conditioning at full blast. So from sweltering heat to icebox freezing. So began our first of many encounters with air-conditioning in the east! It felt like forever to reach the terminal while shivering to death in a mobile igloo. For a small airport, the transfer took remarkably long! We speculated whether it might be a ploy to make us believe that the airport is larger than what it really is! We were both frozen solid by the time we arrived at the terminal.
Doha International proved to be a really tiny airport terminal which serves as a hub for primarily Qatar airway flights. Although fairly busy we breezed through security and found ourselves bored stiff for the next couple of hours – finally boarding our flight for the final leg to Bangkok. A real question of hurry up and wait.
We agreed up front that we will travel light. VERY light. As we had not pre-booked all our accommodation or even knew exactly where we would end up going, it was important to be as mobile as possible. Lugging bulky bags around the sweltering streets of Thailand seemed like a really bad idea. With our adventure biking experience, we managed to limit our baggage to a single small backpack. Not once were we sorry about this sacrifice! The advantages are truly endless. Not having to check luggage made for swift check-ins and limited ‘airport time’. We were also able to freely make use of public transport and could happily stroll the streets with gear in tow. Clearly there were some disadvantages to this as well! Strict international flight regulations made it difficult to carry certain items on-board as well as the obvious limitation on packing space. Additionally, there was no option but to refrain from buying anything during our travels. Until we returned to Bangkok for our final couple of days – but more on that later!