Tuk the Train to the Cat to get to the Turtle

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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On a Train

Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ko Tao = Turtle Island.

Our next destination. It was a reccomendation on the basis of Ko Samui being very busy and overun by bars and louts. The journey required a series of little transfers and a 12 hour semi-epic trip.

We left the serviced apartments and took the Tuk Tuk to the local subway. It was our first use of the vehicle, and it will be our last if I've got any say in it. These things are lethal. We jumped on the tube and got ourselves to the main station. A good 4 hours were goign to have to be whiled away in this place. We spent all of our time sat at a coffee shop strategically buying drinks to allow us to sit at their tables without any guilt of not being patrons. People watching at it's best. In no particular order we spotted;
A huge group of kids attending 'English Camp', waiting for their train to Chiang Mai (I think there are a lot of kids in the UK that could probably do well attending such a camp - on that note, there are more kids in China learning English than there are in England - Fact!), 

A lady with a pair of rabbits and a pair of puppies waiting for a train (she put the puppies on the table and they were sliding about in a cute keeping Kate enthralled kinda way)
A whistle going off to which a national anthem appeared to be played and everything in the station stopped. Everyone vaguely Thai then stood while the anthem was playing and stared in silence at the huge portait of the King on the wall. I at first thought it was some kind of flashmob, that only me and Kate had not been invited to. At the end of the anthem, everyone just sat down and went back to what they were doing as if nothing had happened. We were totally bemused. The Thai National Anthem is played each day at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. It is broadcast on every local and national TV and Radio channel and from speakers in train stations, subway stations, public parks, civic and government buildings. The amusing thing is the amount of westerners that cracking under peer pressure, also stood and looked towards the King in pride. I smiled to myself as I was one of them. This country has a lot of pride and the pride in the King is highest of all - you simply do not insult the king.

Number 25. The coffee shop attendant was a clear Kathoey with a mans face, adams apple and gruff voice. I could hardly see the point in Heshe trying. I'm still being an Ass I realise.

At 7.30pm-ish we got onto a near empty train and this one was properly second class. It was old, extremely rickety and there was a clear gap between the carriages where you could see the track. After we set on our way, a stop at a local station inundated our carriage with female schoolchildren - our quiet train wasn't quiet for long. Kate swapped seats with one of the girls so she could sit opposite me, but it wasn't for long as at 10pm the steward came through the carriage and converted the seats into beds. Both me and Kate were on the top bunks and held in place by a strap to stop me from falling into the aisle, I slept very little. This doubled with the fact that our destination stop was at 4.13am, falling into a deep sleep would potentially mean missing our stop.
We got up at 4 to get ready and toilet before disembarking, and found our door blocked by a steward asleep in the corridor - he had tied the door shut with some string and wasn't moving for anyone. He indicated that if we wanted the toilet we could walk to the other end of the carriage.
The train was late, about an hour late - and at 5.15ish we pulled into the quiet station of Chumpon. We jumped across the tracks onto the platform and quickly had our travel voucher collected to connect onto the Lamroyah Sea-Cat. As the sun-rose we transferred by coach to the Sea-Cat and jumped on board for the 1 and a half hour trip across to Ko Tao. A little choppy but we both managed to get a bit of sleep on the Cat.
At the other end a smiley man with a board for 'The Simple Life' hotel showed us to the transfer 4x4. We jumped onto the back of the 4x4 with our bags, joined by some scandinavians, and then were taken along the bumpy roads to the hotel - please note, Onto the back of the 4x4, not Into the back of the 4x4. No seatbelts, no sides to the 4x4 - it felt dangerous but we were too tired to care.

1. A Tuk Tuk
2. A Subway train
3. A Sleeper Train
4. Executive Coach
5. Sea-Cat
6. 4X4

Transfer to Ko Tao complete - 12 hours and very little sleep.
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