South east Thailand

Monday 6th November 2023 – Bangkok

We have a day rest after the exhausting and back breaking 13 hours “VIP” night bus.

In the afternoon we explore a large shopping mall with lots of tailors. Alistair is tempted by a hand made suit. Maybe at the end of our trip.

Tuesday 7th November 2023 – night train to Surat Thani

We check out at 11:30 and store our luggage with the hotel. Our train is at 6:50pm so we have plenty of time.

We go for a wander and come back to the hotel mid afternoon. The heat is very tiring so we make the most of the hotel’s AirCon and comfortable couches. The weather is turning stormy and by 5pm, just as we need to leave, the rains starts.

We walk to a main Street to catch a taxi but the traffic is crazy and all taxis seem occupied.

As the rain is like a monsoon by then, we walk back to the hotel’s entrance and stand under a canopy. While Alistair tries to book a taxi on Grab (a taxi App) one turns up dropping a tourist. He wants 500 bahts to go to the station, we paid only 100 about 3 weeks ago! He refuses to use the metre. And we don’t like to be scammed so we pass too.

Then a tuktuk drops someone. He asks for 300 bahts and we jump in. We really need to get moving and it is rush hour, so it might take a while to get to the station.

The driver is an old man who keeps talking to us and laughing all the time at his own jokes. No idea what he is saying as we don’t speak Thai and he does not speak English but we end up laughing too as his good humour and laughter is rather contagious.

The driver weave through traffic, often driving on the wrong side of the road, shouting at the oncoming traffic and laughing all the way, through the huge storm and massive rainfall. It is the most terrifying and entertaining ride ever. We are getting completely drenched by the storm but we arrive at the train station laughing and with plenty of time. He certainly deserved his money if only for the entertainment he provided.

After a bit of waiting we finally board the train. Our coach is a sleeper 2d class with AirCon. Each side of the coach has rows of upper and lower bunks. We both have upper bunks. Climbing up there, through a minuscule ladder, stuck between a luggage rack and a ventilator, is quite tricky.

Each bunk has a thin blue curtain for privacy. Unfortunately no noise cancellation. The person below me in the lower bunk snores all night!

With not much to do we have some snacks and go for an early night.

Tuesday 7th November 2023, Surat Thani

As we walk out of the train station we are surrounded by touts trying to get us in their taxis. There is a big bus going to town so we jump in. Inside, a Buddhist monk asks where we are from and quickly produces a pound coin that he asks us to exchange for bahts! We comply. He then tries to sell us some medals or whatever it is. Hmmm.

The bus ends at the main bus station and our hotel is just a short walk. Once again, we find ourselves surrounded by touts trying to sell us tickets to anywhere.

Later on Alistair buy two tickets on a big bus to Krabi.

Once thing we notice down south is that obesity has hit Thailand hard. We see plenty of enormous adults and kids. It is a surprise to me as I did not expect that. But then everywhere we can see pancakes, doughnuts, french fries, pizzas, cakes, so many cakes for sale. Also instead of real fruit smoothies we see flavour syrups that only contain sugar. And then we notice that all school kids we see in the street are always eating something, always! So no surprise in the end.

We had decided, when booking the hotel, to have a day to explore town. Don’t bother. We have a long walk and even struggle to find a place to eat that is not a pizza or burgher place. Eventually we end up in a shopping mall. We eat at KFC. This is my second KFC ever. The first time was just after crossing the border into Swaziland, back in 2018. Well, that will be my last. After a few hours, we are both sick. As we had no breakfast and our dinner was snacks like peanuts and nuts in the train, it can only be the KFC chicken! Rather disappointing.

Wednesday 8th of November 2023 – Surat Thani

We explore the town. Not much to see. Between the touts and the KFC “incident” still causing havoc, I must say the town is definitely not growing on me.

Thursday 9th November 2023 – AO Nang beach, Krabi

We go to the station expecting to board a large bus at 11am. The agency guy who sold our tickets tells us the big bus is cancelled because there are not enough people and show us a minibus! I bet that was always the plan. With no other choice we get in. The driver stops everywhere to pick more people, parcels, toys, food etc… then he stops everywhere to drop said parcels, toys, food etc… and he obviously goes the long way round.

After 3 1/2 hours we eventually arrive at the bus station in Krabi. We then jump into a “communal taxi”, which, obviously goes all around town picking up people, parcels, toys etc and delivery everything and everywhere. Ao Nang beach is only 17 kms but it takes over an hour to get there.

Ao Nang is full of tourists, but the place is pleasant and with lots of activities and places to visit.

We have been on the move quite a lot recently. We are feeling rather tired so we decide to have a holiday. Maybe our age catching with us finally? Nah, crazy talk!