Bangkok to Khao Lak

Trip Start Oct 19, 2006
Trip End Nov 06, 2006

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Monday, October 23, 2006


I hope you're all fine. Well, we are. Finally.
Sunday, we tried to get a train to Surrathani on the Southern Coast of Thailand. Unfortunatley, we didn't know Monday was a public holiday and so all was booked out. Normally, train travel in Thailand is a very relaxed thing, comfortable even in 2nd class and an overnight 2nd classe sleeper is almost a guarantee for arriving fresh and relaxed at your destination. So we had hoped. But with all trains booked out until Monday, we bought bus tickets to Khao Lak at the travel agent. Like amateurs, we let that guy shamelessly overcharge us, tell us lies and even thanked him for it! Never again will we take one of those private buses, I hope.
Sunday afternoon, we spent shopping and walking through China town and relaxing by our guest house's pool. We took a cab to the train station where we waited for the pick-up. The bus was OK with modern reclining seats. But: getting on the bus as the last ones, we only got bad seats behind to stupid Israeli girls where there was absolutely not room for our legs and a broken AC blowing on my head. Fortunately, I checked the downstairs department, next to loo and luggage compartment. There, it was quiet and empty. We only shared it with 2 Spanish punks who turned out to be really kind, though maybe looking a bit shocking. The seats were not reclining, but we all had 2 seats each, so it was really comfortable. The real ordeal began when we had left nightly BKK: 2 movies blasting from bad loudspeakers, the bass far to high. Almost impossible to stand that! The Spanoards and us tried to complain but the unfriendly bus staff pretended not to understand. Thank God for my Ipod!
When we had almost managed to fall asleep we were woken up for a midnight "dinner" stop where the drivers surely got a hefty commission.
At least, they did not show another film (though the Israeli guy asked for one), so we could sleep until we arrived in Surrat Thani in the small hours of the morning. Another crappy restaurant where everything was bad and expensive.
We were the only tourists from the bus to go to Khao Lak, so after n e hour we were transferred to a bus station near by where we had to wait for another hour for the public (government) bsu to leave and take us for an hour's ride through town, picking up more and more people. It was already 8.30 when we finally left for the West. The scenery was very, very beautiful, lush forests, bizare limestone nountains covered by dark green forests, rivers, small villages and blossoming acacias lining the road. We stopped frequently to let people get on or off, which definitely added colour to the trip. But, after a night on a badly airconditioned bus with Matrix II blasting over your head, you have to try really hard to enjoy this!
We arrived in Khao Lak at midday. And were rather disappointed. Most houses are scattered around the big highway, many tailors and souvenir shops, mostly upmarket hotels and few things for the backpacker. Somehow, we had imagined this to be different. More for the independent traveller. Instead, it was all big and still under construction and nothing really made us feel good about the place. Our hostel is nice, though. It"s a bit away from the beach, a nice clean bungalow in a garden where we could hang up the clothes we had washed immediatly after arriving.
The beach is quite nice, too. Yellow, but very clean (though muddy) water and rocks and palmtrees breaking the view from time to time.
So, after unpacking and washing, we went out for lunch, our first proper meal since Sunday afternoon. The feel of a ghost town got even stronger when we walked to the beach through all those building sites.
The beach was empty and sunny and realxing felt VERY good. We left when darks clouds started to build behind us and a torrental rain started before we had reached our hostel. Fortunately, our hosts had put all our washed clothes from the garden onto our veranda! We had been drenched within minutes, this rain was uite a sight.
Dinner was the event of the day, really. Probably the best food in Thailand so far. A delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken plus a very hot and tasty beef curry, served in pleasant surroundings by an enchanting family. Maybe we will after all start to enjoy this place. \But for the moment, we're already checking where to move on Thursday. Originally, we had wanted to spent at least 10 days on one beach in the South, but this deserted place just isn't right for us. So, we'll probably rest here for 3 days, to some reading, snorkelling and maybe a motorbike trip and then leave. Maybe to Phuket, maybe to Krabi - Miriam is already checking.

So, Ill have to move over to her PC now. Take care, folks!
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