Our worst journey yet...even worse than India!!

Trip Start Aug 14, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Chumphon,
Monday, December 24, 2012

We were picked up by a taxi from our hotel at 4:30pm, and were dropped off by the side of a busy road near Khao San Road, for some reason there was no one else waiting. We asked when the bus would turn up and we were told in an hours time!! We found it hard to fathom why we had been picked up so early. In such a developed country, when it came to the organisation of transport, they seemed to struggle with it. For some reason we had a chubby Thai teenager on a moped keeping watch over us, then after fifty minutes of sitting by a busy road, he told us to follow him. He rode his moped whilst we were slowly following due to carrying our bags. He would stop every twenty yards and tell us to 'come on', hearing that from a kid who could have used the exercise of walking around carrying a large backpack was getting a little irritating! After a five minute walk we were left by the side of another busy road, but at least there were about thirty other backpackers waiting for buses.

Four or five buses had turned up but we had to wait for another hour before we were allowed to get on them and even then we still had to wait for half an hour before leaving! After ten minutes of being on the move, we pulled over to pick some more backpackers up. Even though everyone boarded within the space of ten minutes we didn't go anywhere for another half an hour. However, I used this opportunity to run to the nearest 7/11, to grab Kate and myself a cheese and ham toastie each for dinner as we had believed that we would stop somewhere, but it looked unlikely at that point that we would leave Bangkok at all!

Once we had finally left Bangkok, someone had gone to ask the driver if he could put a film on - the driver refused. The reading lights were also not turned on, so reading was out of the question. This was probably the nicest and newest bus we had been on whilst travelling, so i'm guessing our driver was just being an arse because he could. We had a lady sitting behind us, she was nice enough, but she wouldn't stop talking about her experiences of travelling. I know everyone likes to talk about what they've done, but it seemed like she liked hearing her own voice, believed that what she had done was more important and was a better experience than what the next person had done! At 9pm the driver turned off all the light. We decided it was time for bed, so we took our last three pills of diazepam and tried to get some sleep.

After three hours of broken sleep, the bright interior lights of the bus shine into our eyes letting us know that it's time to wake up, but we're not at our destination. It's midnight and we've pulled up for half an hour so we can get something to eat - who in their right mind stops at midnight to get some food! After the stupidly timed food stop, we are back on the road and are soon asleep again. The bright lights are shining in our eyes again, waking us up. This time it's 3am on Christmas Eve and we have arrived at Chumphon (the ferry port). The ferry didn't leave until 7am and the only places to sit were park benches, or an open garage which Kate had spotted. This proved to be an excellent spot, especially when the heavens opened an hour later driving all the bench dwellers into the already cramped office. Kate had learnt something valuable from her time in India, the ability to sleep anywhere and on any surface. Whilst she lay asleep on a cold tiled floor, I was not - I have trouble sleeping on a bus let alone a hard floor, I went and found out when and where the ferry would leave from.

Four hours after we had turned up and with the rain still pouring, we managed to get on the ferry. We found seats and quickly fell asleep. We woke up at 9am thinking that we should've been arriving at Ko Tao, but we were both perplexed to see that we were still moored up to the dock at Chumphon choppy harbour! Half an hour later we were told that we would be leaving in an hours time when the waves died down. An hour and a half later, still sitting on the boat, we were told that we would not be leaving at all. We had just spent four hours sitting in an open garage, followed by four more on a boat! We were informed that no boat would leave that day, but one might leave tomorrow but no guarantees! We had two options, stay in a hotel in the town (which we had to pay for) and take a risk on there being a boat tomorrow or get a refund. We took the refund and opted to go to Krabi - the other side of Thailand where it is dry season at this time of year. We tried to ring the hotel we had booked on Ko Tao and explain the situation, but got no answer. We then jumped onto the back of a truck that took us into town, found the minibus station and booked one going to Surat Thani (two and a half hours away). On the outskirts of Surat Thani, I told the driver that we needed to go to Krabi. He dropped us at another minibus station, we bought our tickets and luckily our bus was leaving in the next five minutes. This journey only took two hours but the bus was very cramped. The bus seemed like it was doing the school run, we stopped four or five five times to pick up young school children. We both believed that they were probably getting dropped off on the outskirts of Surat Thani, they were not!

We turned up to Krabi town at about 7:30pm, managed to get a taxi to a beach called Ao Nang. The driver was really helpful. We checked out a couple of places to stay and he also came with us. We found a really nice place, went and got some dinner and then went to bed.

All in all, from pick up from our Bangkok hotel to drop off at our guesthouse in Krabi, we had just travelled 27 and a half hours! We were just glad we were in a nice hotel for Christmas (the one in Ko Tao didn't look to good, did it Lynn?) and that it wasn't chucking it down for Christmas Day.
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