Arrived in Thailand
Trip Start May 18, 2003
272Trip End Ongoing
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The overnight train journey from KL was great, it was really nice to be able to sleep on a bed rather than try and get comfortable on a coach seat. If you are over six feet tall however you might not be able to stretch out completely. The lower berth was better than the upper bunk, worth the extra RM3. It had a much larger window (with curtains), slightly more room and it was easier to keep your bags close at hand.
Arriving in Thailand the next morning was quite straight forward, everyone had to get off the train for immigration and then wait twenty minutes on the platform while the train went off to get its "wheels oiled".
About an hour later the train arrived in Hat Yai, the largest city in southern Thailand. There is not a lot to say about this place really. Apart from seeing Thai script on all the signs it could have been a city in northern Peninsular Malaysia. Although I did get some sleep on the train I didn't fancy travelling on to my next destination the same day. Fifteen hours in transit is enough for me, regardless of how comfy it is. Having read a good review about Cathy's Guest House I checked into a 160 Baht room (en suite) and enquired downstairs at the travel agent about onward travel to one of the islands on the east coast.
An all inclusive bus and boat ticket to Koh Pha-Ngan was 400B, and to Koh Samui it was 300B. The travel agent up the road was offering the trip to Koh Pha-Ngan for 350B but I decided to take the trip to Koh Samui in the end. I ended up paying 280B for the ticket with a little negotiation. After an evening visit to Post Laser Disc with Osbourne, Ilse and Richard I was ready for bed seeing as I had to be up for 7am the next day.
This morning went pretty smoothly, the minibus arrived on time and was a lot more comfortable than I had imagined. It had been converted to look like a miniature coach complete with mini overhead lockers and a 14-inch telly playing some Thai stage comedy. The minibus took us all the way to Surat Thani in just under five hours where I was given a green sticker to wear on my t-shirt which had my destination on. There I had to wait around for about 45 minutes for a transfer coach to Don Sak. The heavens opened up just as the bus arrived, and I got completely soaked as I loaded my bags in the coach.
About an hour later at Don Sak the bus unloaded all the passengers to board the car ferry on foot. Once the bus was aboard we left the port of Dok Sak and headed for my first Thai island, Koh Samui. The ferry crossing took about an hour and was very calm. Apparently there are storms preventing boats going to and from Koh Toa at the moment, an island just north of Koh Pha-Ngan.
Once we arrived at the ferry port on Koh Samui most of the passengers took their bags off the coach, although our ticket pays for transit all the way to the main town at Nathon a few kilometres up the west coast. I stayed on and once I arrived at the main town took a pickup truck style taxi (for 40B) to my destination - Bo Phut beach. Once there I made my way to Tanee Villas where I have checked into a rather nice (and very new looking) bungalow for 200B a night.
So there you have it - from the busy metropolis of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to a quiet beach on Koh Samui in Thailand - in about forty four hours.