(Relatively) plain sailing

Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
Trip End Mar 21, 2008

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, December 21, 2006

The return boat journey is immeasurably easier than the other day. Shortly before we are due to board, Jane remembersthat we have some anti-nausea pills in our pack. It's one of those "nice to know two days ago" discoveries but better late than never. The tablets work wonders and we sit happily through the two-hour ride while everyone else is busy filling their sick bags in agony as the boat lurches through the heavy seas.

We discover later that the heavy seas subsequently developed into a full-scale typhoon that wreaked havoc on Koh Tao and the surrounding islands. If we had stayed even one day longer we would have been trapped on the island for about a week, so we are very grateful that we got out when we did.

The day is far from over though, as we still have our overnight bus back to Bangkok. It too is a lot better than the southbound route. We have seats that don't squeak and aren't likely to kill us, so we get quite a good night's sleep. At around 4.30am the bus comes to a sudden halt, the lights switch on and we are told to get off because we are in Bangkok. Only they have dropped us near Khao San Road, the backpacker district, which is miles away from the railway station, where we caught the bus from the other day.

We have a full day in Bangkok before our evening train, which we would probably rather not have because the thought on trudging around these polluted streets avoiding lunatic tuk-tuk drivers is not a mouth-watering one.

The day passes slowly but surely and we catch our overnight train to Chiang Mai. So far on this trip we have travelled by airplane, car, taxi, train, bus, boat, tuk-tuk, motorbike, pick-up truck, submarine and foot - with elephant, raft and rickshaw to come.

The overnight train is fun. The carriage is an open series of sets of two seats facing each other. At around 9pm, a guy comes around and starts converting the seats into sleeper compartments. The seats become the bottom bunk and a smaller upper bunk folds out from the top. It is fairly comfortable but gets very cold during the night and the thin blanket provided offers little comfort or warmth. Nonetheless, being able to lie horizontal while sleeping after all these bus rides cannot be undervalued.
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