Leaving Thailand at last
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
284Trip End Ongoing
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Luckily I had checked out last night and regained my passport as the hotel was totally dead this morning. Wandered down to the pier and met up with Julia before getting in the taxi to Thong Sala. I was still feeling a little dodgy so wasn't relishing another boat ride.
The boat was huge. It was a massive car ferry so I knew I'd have no problems with sea sickness on this ferry. So I settled into the incredibly comfy seats and proceeded to get some more sleep. After only 2.5 hours we arrived in Don Sak at the pier. I had expected the journey to take at least 4 hours so I was a little shocked. On reaching dry land we were ushered towards a bus to take us to Surat Thani. Couldn't be far I thought but as we turned onto the main road I spotted a sign saying "Surat Thani - 68KM". Fantastic, another hour by bus until we even reach Surat Thani!
Surat Thani was a joke again. No one knew what the hell was going on and we just had to wait around until someone finally came to whisk us away to another travel agents. This took nearly an hour before someone arrived with a pickup truck. The truck was ridiculously overloaded. All the luggage and the men had to sit in the back whilst the girls sat inside the cab. It was so overloaded that the back of the truck scrapped against the road as we were driving along, holding onto anything we could find to avoid toppling over the side!
Once the fun ride was over we had to wait around again but this time only for about 15 minutes before we were told to go in the shop and change up our money. I knew it was a bad idea but I changed all my baht for ringgit and got a stupidly low rate as a result. Oh well you have to learn someday! After changing up our money we were thrown into a minibus and shooting off towards the nearest town to the Malaysian border, Hat Yai.
The service in this place was terrible. We hadn't eaten all day so we tried to order some food and they totally ignored us. They were so rude that we tried every shop on the street rather than eat at their place but nowhere would take our money. So defeated we went back to the shop and ordered some food but having changed up all our money for ringgit we had no baht left and got ripped off again. After another hour we were off to the border in another taxi.
Lars was a few hours ahead of us having left from Bangkok at 6pm last night, he had eaten nothing either, and had just crossed the border. We were in a minibus with a driver who must have been close to 80 so we took ages getting to the border. Once the formalities were over we switched to yet another new minibus but it was far smoother this time.
The roads in Malaysia are fantastic and even better than the roads in Thailand. That said the first cars I saw were all battered up old pieces of crap and far more to my liking than the pimped up trucks in Thailand. Our driver flew down the motorway at great speeds and we were in Penang by 7pm. Seeing as Lars was arriving 2 hours before us I asked him to find us somewhere to stay and I'd meet him when we arrived. So I quickly found an Internet cafe and checked my e-mail. Headed off to find the hotel, curiously on Love Lane in Chinatown, before Lars spotted us from a bar across the road and took us to the hostel.
The hostel wasn't exactly the best in the world but it would do for the night. The street outside was patrolled by Ladyboy's so we tried to avoid walking along it as much as possible and were thankful that Julia was with us or it would have been a nightmare! Took a walk over to the bar and joined Lars in finishing his drink before looking for some dinner. Malaysia is supposed to have great food so what did we settle for? A burger although I have no idea what type of burger it was and it wasn't that appetising. Julia went back to the hostel and left Lars and I to our beers in a nearby bar.
The drinks in Malaysia are stupidly expensive but that is what you expect from a Muslim country. After another drink in the bar we set out to wander around the neighbourhood to see what there was to see and bought another beer from the 7 eleven, which actually cost more than in the bar. Wandered round Chinatown and Little India with a beer in hand, no doubt being frowned upon by everyone, before heading back to the hostel for a well earned nights sleep.