Trip Start Jun 09, 2005
105Trip End Jun 08, 2006
Back on the mainland we need to travel north to the Thai border although our guide book provides very little detail of how to make the journey. We start by sharing a taxi with some more Swedish girls (where did they all come from?) to Kota Baru. It is a pleasant enough trip although our driver deliberately takes us to the wrong bus station, charges us extra as we were four people and then asks for some more money to take us to the correct place. Left stranded, we get another taxi which takes us several km's back to where we have just been. We reach our destination and find a bus that will immediately take us to the border.
It is a short walk across the bridge from Malaysia into Thailand and apart from us it seems that the whole place is deserted. Maybe this is becauase it is midday and the heavens have decided to open. We find a Thai guy with a rickshaw and pile our two 12.5 kg rucksacks onto his cart. We have a small umbrella but still end up getting soaked whilst the driver pedals hard avoiding the blocked drains and puddles towards the bus terminal
We decide to try and avoid any further torrential monsoon rain by heading west where their SW monsoon should be just ending. It is a long uncomfortable 10 hour journey to Krabi, on two minibuses which are equally crammed full of Thai passengers and luggage. On the last leg we sit near the back and are squeezed into a smaller and smaller space as the driver stops to pick up bulky pc's, smelly chicken-fish feed and other bulging sacks.
We arrive at our destination at 10.30pm barely able to stand upright. We stagger into the nearest hostel, take the first available room and crash into bed. The next morning we feel a little worse for wear. The all night live band next door to our room did not really help us very much and the first thing that we agree to do is to find somewhere better.
We find that Krabi is full of hostels and hotels targetted at the vast number of backpackers
I return to the coffee shop to find John drinking some water and looking very spaced out. The lady waves goodbye and seems to be delighted with the new machine settings that John has set. 'Come back for more free coffee' she says but as we both spend most of the day recovering from the buzz, we decide to stay away from the caffeine for a while.
We spend the rest of the day finding our feet and relaxing
Next morning, we are collected from our hotel and drive around the town picking up 2 Singaporean's on a weekend break, and 2 energetic Canadian girls. Our final hotel stop is at the Sheraton where the songthaew (pick up truck with two rows of wooden seats in the back) is security checked for bombs at the entrance. John is amazed to see a baby elephant posing for photos in a sparkling white reception area. Here we collect 2 German academics who are tagging a holiday onto the end of a business trip.
A wooden boat which has an old car engine driving a propellor via a long pole on its rear end, aptly called a long boat, carries us across the sea past many rocky outcrops until we eventually reach the beautiful tropical island of Hong
We return to the beach and cool off in the sea which is the same temperature as the air (29C). John points out the schools of yellow and silver fish as they dart around us hoping for some food.
After lunch, we take a short boat ride to another deserted island. Here we see more of the strange limestone formations which dangle down from overhanging rocks beside the sea. We have the place to ourselves and although we don't see many fish in the water, we go for a swim around the rocks and have some fun swinging in the trees.
Next day we make our own way to Raily Beach. It's easy to travel here and we catch a songtheiow and long boat to the white sandy beaches. The beaches are surrounded by more of the limestone rocks and ther are a few bars line the beachfront. It is a little more touristy here and we watch a western girl lying on the sand being pampered by some thai ladies. One massages her feet with thai oils whilst the other shows her a selection of bracelets for sale. We bump into the Canandian sister's, Kim and Kelly on the beach and a 5 minute conversation turns out to last about 2 hours.
Next morning, before a bus taxi takes us to the boat terminal to the island of Ko Phi Phi, we decide to pop into the Irish bar a few doors down from the hotel for breakfast. Everything here is a little too relaxed. It isn't busy at all and John gets frustrated with the service which is so slow that it takes nearly one hour to get a bowl of cornflakes. We give up waiting on our tea and are even more suprised when we get the bill. John queries the cost and finds out that the waitress had given us an old menu with old prices. After sorting it out we say a friendly goodby and head off for the ferry. This is what Thailand is like.