Finally in Malaysia
Trip Start May 18, 2005
72Trip End May 18, 2006
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A minibus collected us from our bungalow on Samui at about 6am. At least the sunrise looked nice coz we certainly didn't at that hour of the morning. He drove around the island and picked up some more people before bringing us to our ferry which was to leave at 8am.
Before I go any further I should tell you that we had booked a ferry and busses through one company to take us all the way to a place called Khota Bahru, in the north of Malaysia, right next to the most southerly part of Thailand. It was to be a boat, a bus to a town in Thailand called Hat Yai, then another bus all the way to Khota Bahru. That was the plan.
So we arrived at the ferry, which took us across to the mainland where we boarded our bus, which took us about 10 miles and threw us off into the back of a pick up truck. We weren't alone though, there were about 4 others with us including one Thai person who seemed to be indicating that this was normal. The truck took us to a small mini bus station where we were bundled into a car and were taken to a tour office in town (Surathani - its marked on the map). When we got here a lady met us and told us that our bus wouldn't be going to Kohta Bahru as it would have to pass through a province in southern Thailand that was in a state of unrest (unrest being that a car bomb had gone off and a number of attacks on public servants had been carried out). The king had even declared martial law down there. So she told us we could wait until the unrest became rested, or we could change our route and go into Malysia a different way - ie to Georgetown on the opposite coast to the one we wanted. We took option 2.
So they threw us into another car and we sped off towards a waiting bus on the other side of town. On the way our driver decided to have a spat of road rage and we had to stop him getting out of the car to beat up some old guy who had swerved in front of him. Madness. We made the bus anyway, and it was very comfy. Should be ok from here.
Well by ok I mean it won't be ok. This bus threw us out on the edge of Hat Yai and told us to wait for another minibus which should be along in 10 minutes and will take us all the way across the border to Butterworth. We had no choice but to wait. So we waited 20 minutes and to our surprise the minibus came. It zipped to the border, about 40 km away and we got across no problem.
We got to Butterworth at about 11.30pm and had nowhere to stay. We walked about a mile before we found somewhere, which was ok.
We had to figure out what the hell we were gonna do now that our travel plans had been scuppered. All I can say is thank God for the internet and Air Asia. We made some changes to our plans and we slept. It was a long day.
The next day we got the ferry to Penang Island where Georgetown Airport is and hopped on a flight to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia. Thats it for this place.