I finally made it to Koh lanta – Though getting here is a tale in it’s own right.
I wasn’t really feeling Bangkok, it was pretty much exactly how it was last time I was there, the only real difference been that while last time there were black and white banners mourning the loss of one of the royal family, now yellow flags in support of the PAD stand. No one I’ve spoken to has been put off by the recent protests, but looking up and down Khoasan Road there are plenty of bargins to be had as hostels try to pull in trade. I decided to play safe, and headed to New My House, having been there before, though no bargins to be had there, not surprising given how popular the place is, and no single rooms, so wasn’t as cheap as I’d like – but after two days of travel, and only a few hours of sleep before I left, I just wanted to crash.
It’s actually quiet mild in Bangkok at the moment, even at midday it’s a very pleasent feel to it – If you discount the smog that taints every smell in the air.
After two nights to catch up on sleep, and have a bit of a look around, but not venturing far, I booked the night bus to Koh Lanta, leaving at 6pm and ariving at midday the next day. Of course, this is Thai time, “midday” is a very different thing to 12pm in the afternoon.
The journey gives a perfect example of how travel works in Thailand however, and it went like this:
Starting at the travel desk at New My House, I ask for a ticket to Koh Lanta, the girl makes a quick phone call and writes me out a receipt.
At 6pm a people carrier taxi picks me up, and calling at two other hostels to collect other people we get to the bus stop at about 6:20pm where a whole bunch of people by the side of the road. Here the hostel recipit is exchanged for another ticket. As you get onto the VIP bus they check where you are going and seat you acordingly. Why is a mystery, as everyone gets of the VIP bus at the same stop.
VIP Buses are coaches with air conditioning – if you are traveling any distance in Thailand you always want to make sure you are on a VIP Bus.
for the first leg of the journey the light are dimmed, and a couple of pirated films are played from a VCD player. I mostly doze though. It’s actually pretty chilly on the bus so I curl up under the provided blanket, and sleep as best I can, at about 11pm we stop at a roadside cafe, allowing for drinks and food to be picked up and as we head of again the lights are turned fully out.
I get some sleep, but not much, in and out as my body clock is still way out of whack, thankfully there is no one in the seaat neck to me so I can shuffle about trying o get comfy easily.
At 6:30 in the morning we get to a tourist office which quiet frankly appeared to be in the middle of no where, everyone gets on the bus and exchanges their tickets for a new one.
Minibuses start arriving at about 7:30, picking up various groups of people, but myself and the Hungarian couple also heading to Koh Lanta don’t get picked up till about 8:30. The mini bus takes us to a near by town about 15 minuets away, and get off told the bus leaves again at 9:30, and sure enough just after 9:30 once another passenger turns up, and a big white box is deelivered, we set of, again we pick up a few people from hostels, hotels, what looked to be a school, and what seemed to be jusst some guy on the side of the road.
along the way to Krabi,the various Thai passengers are dropped off at road side gateways to personal residences, the box at a road leading to a small open air system of huts just of the road, the marker for which seemd tto be a cow (Yes, a real live cow, big skinny brown cow with a rope to a nose ring, standing on the edge of the road, with a big golden cow bell around it’s neck) oh, and at some point a bag of cogs are dropped off at a road side kitchen.
We get to another tourist office outside krabi at about 12pm. Here, my ticket is exchanged not for a bit of paper, but for a tiny square yellow sticket which the lady writes “1.15″ apparently, that’s when the next mini bus is to pick us up. i exchange shrugs with the hungerian couple, and get myself a pot noodle and enjoy a free satsuma. While waiting, the travel desk woman grills me on where I’m going to stay, and my shrugs and vauge answer of “Oasis” didn’t cut it, and to be fair i didn’t really know where the hell I was going to stay, so I see what options they have to offer – To honest, all the places were out of my price bracket, but I opted for the cheapest costing 500bhat – since it included free taxi pick up, the extra cost worked out just about okay, and I figured a bit of luxury wouldn’t hurt.
Another minibus turns up pretty much on time, and along with some other people who turned up while waiting, we head on off to Koh Lanta, it’s almost disapointing that this time there were no random errands along the way. and one long drive, two short ferry trips on the mini bus and we pull up at another tourist office, expecting there to be a taxi to pick me up, it turns out they pick you up from the peer aftert the crossing not where the min bus finally stops – not here, and trying to explain the confusion to either the driver, or the guy pestering us for a taxi ride get no where. The hungarians are int he same boat, so frustrated and tired we all relent and pay for a taxi onwards to our respective hotels. It felt a bit like a skam, but I think it was more a miss comunication. I actually expectd the end point of the minibus ride to be the peer, not further into the island, so I’ll be more careful in future.
When I get to the drive way of the New Lanta Beach resort, a child of about 13 helps me with my lougage, hefting the backpack that I grankly strugle with onto his pack, we head the short walk to recpection, all the while he’s smoking away like a pro.
Once I check in, and try to explaine the confusion about my pickup (Which hopefully got through, and they phone the guy, else who knows how long he’d wait!) I get to my room “Pool Side” rather the the more expensive “Beach Side” apparently doesn’t mean it actually over looks the pool, but it’s close by, and insdie the room I find a TV, airconditioning, a fan, and a mini fridge. Sure it’s nice enough, but to be honest, I don’t feel like it’s worth the extra cash, still, at least it’s somewhere to sleep, and there is a wifi connection here. Though at 100 bhat for 70 minuets I’ll be using the credit sparingly.
This post needs editing but I’m running out of credit! Oops.