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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for February 8, 2008

Travelling the Thai way

We have noticed over the course of our journeys through Thailand that what we expect to happen is generally not what actually occurs (we should have guessed this from our “Pick-up” in Bangkok). Take the following two examples (well actually our only two trips since arriving in Ko Tao):

1. What we wanted to do: Get from the island of Ko Tao to the mainland national park Khao Sok, 190km away.

How we thought we would do it: Ferry from Ko Tao to mainland, bus to Khao Sok.

What the travel agent said would happen: Ferry to mainland, ‘Taxi’ from ferry terminal to ferry company’s office, ‘Taxi’ to Khao Sok.

What actually happened: After a self arranged longtail boat to the ferry in Ko Tao, we got a ferry to another island (Ko Samui for those interested), where we were then driven across the island to another ferry to the mainland. We then got put on a bus to the ferry office (1.5 hrs away), where we had to phone the ‘Taxi’ company to let them know we had arrived and needed a lift (well, actually a helpful Thai ferry rep helped us). Waited long past our booked time for a little songtheaw (truck with a bench in the back) to pick us up and take us a couple of km to the ‘Taxi’ company office. Waited some more. A woman in charge finally arrived and tried to persuade us that to get taken to the national park, we would have to stay in a particular hotel. We refused as already had a place to stay (”Why you angry with me? It not me, it the driver!”). She told us that it would therefore only drop us at the main road. Got put on a (very cramped) minivan which, after some very scary driving, happily took us to our required place, the very lovely and highly recommended Morning Mist resort. In total our journey took 12 hours and 7 different modes of transport - quite an epic, especially when you consider the short(ish) distance travelled!

2. What we wanted to do: Get from Khao Sok to Khao Lak.

How we thought we would do it: A truck to the bus stop on the main road, a local bus to Khao Lak - scheduled at 11.30 and 12.00.

What actually happened: Our resort kindly droped us off at the bus stop at 11.15. We waited. Then we waited some more. At 12.15 a minivan arrived and made a small fortune taking us and four more bored Farang (tourists) to their required destination. No sign of any local bus at any point. Still not even sure what one looks like. Quite embarrassing actually!

Eyeshine, spiders and monkeys

We had a lovely couple of days around the Khao Sok National Park. We stayed in a lovely, and quite substantial shack, in a place that served up food in beautiful surroundings. For our breakfast viewing pleasure the staff hung up bananas to entice pretty birds to their flower clad dining area.

I was rather hoping to be able to provide you with a dramatic post - “A tiger chewed my leg off” or “An elephant sat on my sandwich” but the charismatic megafauna was not to be found. We did see some fluffy-headed White-crowned hornbills amongst other aves whilst Long-tailed macaques provided mammalian entertainment. We also saw more different, and impressive, species of butterfly than we have ever seen before.

After a lovely curry for tea we took a turn around some of the forest in the dark. We saw the eyes of a handful of mouse deer, chanced across a civet, some tree frogs and some very scary, but pretty, looking spiders.