Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
148Trip End May 30, 2013
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In Bangkok, I tried to book our tickets south, deliberately NOT choosing a major tourist destination. Our journey would be done in 2 segments: first to Surat Thani and then onto Khao Sok National Park. Every place I went I was quoted something different
After going from booking agent to booking agent we figured out that they were all trying to scam us. So we made our own way to the bus station. However, this involved taking a taxi. Avoiding the tuk-tuk mafia, we looked for a taxi with a meter. But finding a driver who would actually USE his meter was another story. The first one flat out refused and the 2nd tried to convince us to pay a flat price. 'Same, same' he assured us, and then dropped his price from 200 B to 150 B. In the end, the metre barely came to 80....
Good news though. At the bus station, I secured a ticket to Surat Thani for only 380. A far cry from 650-900 B even including our taxi. And we got to leave in just a few hours rather than waiting around for the night bus!
After arriving in Surat Thani our hotel was willing to book our onward travel to Khao Sok for only 280 B. Hummmmm...again our 10 hr trip had only cost 380, why would a 2 hr trip cost 280? We tried to find our way to the bus stop, but everyone was conspiring against us and wouldn't give good directions, but instead tried to take us to a booking office (who wanted anywhere from 290-390B – argh! More than the hotel). Finally we stumbled upon a station and bought our tickets for 100B and the bus was leaving in 5 min! Sheesh!!!
Our journey: Bangkok to Surat Thani 380
Surat Thani to Khao Sok 100
room in SuratThani 190
lowest quote for same trip 900 B
highest quote for same trip 1300 B
So even with spending an extra night and getting a decent sleep rather than on a bus we were cheaper in the end and arrived at about the same time.
Now, to rage battles with the tour companies while we try to get to Koh Lanta next. Beware, we may look stupid, but we're armed and dangerous (and cheap)!!!
ADDENDUM: since arriving in Khao Sok we've seen prices published that
make us feel even better. You can get a bus all the way to Chiang Mai
for 1780 B. We paid 100 + 380 + 300 = 780...only 1000 less! That's
almost 25 GBP, so it's quite significant!