Rain, Train, Buses and Boat - Bangkok to Phi Phi

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Ibiza Guesthouse (Koh Phi Phi, Thailand)

Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hey, lets go to Kho Phi Phi?!

Okay, its supposed to be a paradise!

Cool, it can't take that long..!

.....We arrive one train journey, 3 buses, a boat and TWENTY FIVE HOURS LATER!

Today we escape from the craziness of Bangkok. And not a moment too soon as the rain is hammering down! It's been raining all morning and showing no sign of stopping as we take a taxi to Hua Lam Phong train station. We have tickets for the 'sleeper train' to Surat Thani in the south of Thailand. From Surat Thani we are to catch a bus to Krabi and then a boat to Kho Phi Phi. The train alone takes about 13 hours but after being on it for an hour or so the crew come round and turn the seats into bunks. We have top bunks with no window which doesn't matter too much as the train travels through the night so its dark outside anyway. The bunks are comfy and private and food and drink is available if you want it. Remember to haggle though! Sleeping is a bit difficult as the train stops, shakes and judders but after a while you get used to it.

Arriving in Surat Thani we are met by a Thai lady who could easily have been a military commander in a past life. She rounds up all those booked on a bus to Krabi and marches us to a cafe for refreshments and a sit down while we wait for more people to arrive on the next train. An hour later our group had grown somewhat and we are herded by our shouty Thai commander onto an air conditioned bus (with very little air conditioning) bound for Krabi. The bus doesn't go to Krabi though, it goes to the town centre, to another cafe, for more refreshments. Bus number two arrives after a healthy wait and on we cram with about 10 other people. This one is more people carrier than bus and if it has air con then the driver has it set to 30 degrees C! After a couple of hours we both have painful numb bums and know the life stories of two chaps who have been having a conversation across us. Finally we get to Krabi. Another town, another cafe, another wait for a bus... We did have a good chat with an Israeli/American guy while we were waiting for bus number 3. He is in Thailand for a 3 week holiday, loves sudoku and was really friendly and fun. Our first traveller fwend :) We lend him a pen and teach him that New Zealand is a different country to Australia. Bus 3 turns out to be a truck with bench seats and a metal frame. Off to the pier we bounce.

The boat ride is calm and the sea view is wonderful. We chat to our new friend some more and soak up some sun sat on the deck. Upon disembarking the boat everyone has to pay 20b as part of a "keep Phi Phi clean" campaign. Sneaky hidden fee but its for a very good cause so no hard feelings :) Bags are heavy. Sun is very hot. Thankfully Anna no longer has her fleece. No one on this island knows where our hostel is. Need water. Help. Hostel found! Hurrah!

Our hostel is called Ibiza and our room is huge. And gold (only joking, it's magnolia). It looks quite new which isn't supprising as the Tsunami back in 2004 pretty much levelled all the buildings on Phi Phi. Cold shower and then the hunt for food begins. After dinner on the beach (Thai green curry for Ian and chicken and cashew nuts for Anna) we grab a couple of cocktails and crash on some beanbags at one of the beach bars. There is a fire show on and the smell of petrol is strong in the air. The Thai men set fire to sticks and balls on chains which they spin at speed, throwing them in the air and performing acrobatics. The fire sticks look a bit like double ended lightsabres. Its all very very cool.

Although it took an age to get here Phi Phi is more than worth the journey. It has a lot of tourists? Sure it does. It has a lot of stalls and shops? Yep those too. It has touts trying to sell you stuff? Plenty of them. Does any of that matter? No. Not at all. Once you find your way onto a sandy beach and see the clear warm water and breathtaking limestone cliffs you can't help but fall in love with it. High season doesn't start for another 3 weeks so there is still loads of space on the beaches and its still fairly quiet and relaxed. We are looking forward to spending more time on this beautiful island. Bye bye Bangkok. Hello Phi Phi paradise.
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