On arrival we found a cheap place to stay for about 200baht (with en-suite..oooohhhhh) and went in search of some food. All we managed to find was the Thai version of Malaysia's Nasi Goreng in a tiny cafe whih was pretty crap but luckily I found an ice-cream parlour in a big shopping centre (if only we'd walked around town first!). We then decided to celebrate our entry into Thailand by going to a bar (and played guess who's the lady boy) and having some cocktails and then ended up in some bar with a live rock band, played pool and got some more food there as we were still hungry.
For the first time in years I actually felt terrible the morning after our cocktail session and couldn't face eating let alone taking a bus to the pier. We wandered around town and found a great supermarket with a huge bakery section and something we both hadn't seen in a while - fresh salad buffet! How exciting! We bought Thai sim cards then faced the chore of finding a tuk tuk to take us to the local bus station. We couldn't get a sensible price and were about to give up when some locals turned up in need of a songthaw so the driver charged us a reduced fee and we shared the ride. To our annoyance he took us to the wrong place so then we were stuck not knowing where to go how far we were from the minivan station and not being able to speak much Thai
. Another Songthaw driver claimed h knew where we needed to go and said we could have a free ride (which I highly doubted) and lo and behold he took us straight there no messing so we paid up (which was a sensible fee comapred to the last chap) and bought a ticket for a minivan and waited for it to fill up. First we had to fill up with fuel which was an amusing site - instead of going to the nearest Shell station we seemed to go to a shack where he siphoned petrol from a drum into the tank. We wanted to be dropped off outside a place called Diamond Beach hotel but the driver spoke no English, plus the hotel spoke no English when I called to book. The solution was to let the driver talk to them and finally he understood and we were dropped off at the correct place. We had our own bungalow near the beach and the view was amazing! We had a great Pad Thai meal and enjoyed the sunset over the distant islands.
I had an awful night's sleep in Georgetown and hd woken up so thirsty but unable to leave and buy a bottle o water as the front door was locked (it was 3am so I doubt I'd have found anywhere open anyway). I resorted to using my drinking straw with integrated water filter so fingers crossed I don't get sick! The next morning we got the ferry back over to the mainland (and didn't have to pay for some reason unless everyone buys a standard return ticket on their way over) and got a train up to the Thai border which was as far as the ticket went. The ticket was pretty cheap considering we had seats that you could turn into beds and we went quite a distance...however at the border we had to get off and buy a ticket to Hat Yai, the closest main town which was not a huge distance but for some reason this seemed to be rather expensive. We argued the fare with the officials and asked how far it was to walk across the border and we'd just get a bus.....it was 10km so we had to cough up our baht and pay the extortionate price