Day 145, Monday 28 May 2012, Koh Tao – Phuket
I had a much better sleep last night, best one in Koh Tao, maybe it was because I removed my pack from the side of the bed ! I am not sure when this habit started or even why, probably from laziness, definitely not for security and I don’t snuggle up to it – honest. The bed is big and comfortable and sprawling in it maybe allowed for a good sleep. When I get go Phuket tonight I will do the same.
I was packed and ready for breakie at 7.00 and had my last meal with the miserable bastards over the road, I am pretty sure not one of them smiled once. For the first time since Alex’s place in Kuching, way back in week one, I had muesli and fruit for breakfast- yum!
After breakie I checked out of Ananda Villa and on to the ferry that was the start of my journey to Phuket. Since I have been on Koh Tao I have seen a number of people, mainly girls, with injuries – slings, bandages and plastered legs (due to getting plastered ?) and this morning in the boat queue it was no different. Mae Haad main drag, people get up late here.
I ended up on two fast catamaran ferries, the first took us to Koh Pha Ngan, where we waited for an hour for the second boat to Donsak on the mainland, via Koh Samui. The first leg was the longest and by far the roughest with lots of vomit bags being handed out, not to me of course! On Koh Pha Ngan I bought a roll from one of the street vendors, the lettuce was a bit sad looking and no gloves were used like in the west. Ferry 1 at Koh Tao.
I spent the hour waiting for the ferry wondering if this was a wise decision or not ! Ferry two.
The ferry/bus company have this awesome (and yet so simple) system of using coloured stickers on both passenger and large bags to identify where you are going. For Donsak we had yellow stickers with the final destination written on in pen. This means the boat crew can easily point you in the right direction without having any language issues and all the bags can get stacked accordingly. It was pretty cool and I have not seen anywhere else. Well done !
From the ferry all the passengers were loaded onto vans or busses depending on final destinations, it appears there was myself and a German couple going to Phuket, though we were in a full van that headed into Surat Thani, the main local town.
After a half hour wait the three of us got onto a bus heading for Phuket, with an estimated travel time of six hours – oh joy. The bus at least was pretty empty, though we spent the first hour driving around the back streets of Surat Thani picking up passengers which was a wee bit frustrating, but it utterly the norm for all of SE Asia.
My Sony MP3 player that I have had for three years started to play up today, it looks like it has been badly impacted by humidity, which has not happened before, as the screen has a lot of moisture inside. All the controls are working really randomly so it is unusable, hopefully it will dry out and work OK, if not I guess KL is a better place than many to replace it. Thankfully I had loaded a couple of gig of music on my phone or I would have gone insane on the bus ride.
We passed through the town of Phang Nga on the way, the karsts are amazing around here, sadly it was quite late in the day so photography was not really that good. If I had more time I would come back here as the scenery is stunning – a Ha Long Bay on land.
The three of us were dropped off at the highway junction with the airport road, I had booked a cheap room at the Nai Yang Beach Resort (37 NZD a night) and the Germans decided to check it out as well, it is close to the airport which was why I chose it over Phuket town which is 30km away. We were ripped off with the taxi ride, but had no choice as there was only one – and apparently that is the price – things are expensive on Phuket!
I had a very nice masman chicken curry at a beach restaurant, Nai Yang is a bit like Koh Tao except more deserted, lots of restaurants and bars on a beach strip. I was finishing my beer after dinner when the rain came. You can easily tell those who have only just arrived in Asia from those who have been here for at least a few days. As the first one or two drops of rain hit, I grabbed my beer and stuff and moved quickly under the shelter, the experienced people around me did likewise as the staff started rushing out. There was a group of four Spanish guys who were bemusedly wondering why everyone was rushing in side over a couple of drops of rain – when the heavens just opened and dumped a few hundred litres of water on them in a matter of seconds, they were soaked – I was laughing…
After dinner I spent the rest of the night in my room, trying to choose between the eighty five TV channels – most of course in Thai. The internet doesn’t work in my room unfortunately.
There was quite a bit of rain in the night.