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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

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!

3 Comments »

  Dad and Ann wrote @ February 8th, 2008 at 7:43 am

Just do not complain about the public transport when you get back home!!
Mind there are times when they come a close second to the transport that you describe.

  Lachlan wrote @ February 11th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

You are very unlucky, when we wanted to get from Ko Pa Ngan to Khao Sok we got taken by pick up acorss the island, got the boat to Surat Thani, got taxi to hotel, walked to bus the next morning and got on local bus which dropped us at the Khao Sok road end, very simple. Avoid travel agents methinks. The only downside of the bus where the spirit drinking soldiers who seemed to be giving some abuse to a couple of blokes who were clearly too scared (and arguably too sensible) to react.

We also did stay in a rather basic place in Khao Sok, cockroaches and scorpions in our shack and the food was rotten although I do remember watching orange-bellied flowerpeckers from our breakfast table.

  Seasquirt » Travelling the independent way… wrote @ February 12th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

[…] …is definitely much ’simpler’ - you still get that “Are we going the right way?” feeling, but at least we are a bit more in control and not at the mercy of dodgy travel agents - we successfully escaped from Ko Lanta to the mainland and then on an overnight coach (VIP by the way!) to Bangkok, followed by an early morning train up to Ayutthya, where we are currently residing. All very satisfactory as Chris might say! And so yes, we agree with you Lachlan! […]

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