How Not To Get To Malaysia
Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
124Trip End Ongoing
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-- Damien Hirst
And I thought he just did things to cows.
After an aborted attempt to leave One More Beer, due to some workshy minibus operators and our own general lack of motivation, we finally made it out (thanks again Brian).
We got the minibus to Narhat, and from there we thought it would be relatively simple to get a train to Hat Yai, which in turn is the jumping point to get into Malaysia.
What we thought and what actually happened were, as usual, very different things. You couldn't get a train to Hat Yai until 6AM, and a bus was quite expensive. Worse than that, a bus from the train station to the bus station was going to cost more than the bus itself, due to the sheer amount of annoying taxi touts with nothing better to do than rip us off.
So we got on the next southbound train anyway - just to spite everyone. It didn't go to Hat Yai but it was going to Phatthalung which is more than half way there, and the ticket only cost fifty pence.
It turned out that the train took four hours to travel forty miles as it went back and forth over the same line for some time.... still, you get what you pay for.
We still couldn't get a train to Hat Yai so we stayed in a sub-standard hotel instead. Phatthalung is a tiny place, and everyone stops to say hello to the foreigners - which is nice, and reminded us of being back in China.
Anyway we got the six am train to Hat Yai (twenty pence) got off the train in the middle of nowhere for some reason, walked down the train tracks for half an hour to find the station, and had two minutes to spend all our remaining Thai Currency on snacks before we were again on our way, heading for the south west border crossing.
We walked from Thailand to Malaysia, as we have found that this is more fun and less hassle than trying to get a bus or taxi or anything else that will drive you. The border was fine and dandy, and off we walked.
The first big thing was trying to get hold of some Malaysian cash, and fighting off the three hundred taxi drivers who all knew where we were going and wanted us to go there with them. By the time this was done though it was getting late and we wanted to get to Perhentian Kecil by the end of the day, which was an island off the west coast. We didn't really have the time to go to another island, but we wanted to so there you have it.
We ended up getting a taxi, and nearly dying. We didn't though (hurrah!) and got on a speedboat at four pm.
After getting up at 5AM and taking two trains, three long walks, one border crossing, a deranged taxi cab and finally a speedboat, we got to our destination.
Despite the twelve hours of sweat and nothing to eat but about fifteen bags of crisps, as the boat bounced up and down across the turquoise water, the spray battering our faces, I had to admit that I love my life. Vinny concurred.