Well, yesterday (or the day before actually) we hopped on the bus ride from Bangkok to Surat Thani. It was not great (but read on!) as it was shorter then expected and there was not much sleeping that got done. All in all it was better than I had expected though. After arriving sometime around 3 AM to a bus station, we waited another two or so hours on a concrete floor, trying to sleep, which worked out (again) better than I expected. Around 6 AM we took a bus to a dock, where we waited for another 30 or so minutes to get on this giant fairy. At this point I wasn’t feeling to great and the entire throng of people we were with looked like a group of zombies, for the most part. We got on the ferry near last, which means we didn’t get an air conditioned spot in the ferry (complete with a showing of Ransom) but rather were stuck on top. At first I figured this might suck (here’s where my positive attitude comes in) but it turned out to be an AWESOME boat ride, and I thoroughly loved/enjoyed it. The ride ended up being a long once, I believe we got to Koh Tao at around 10:30-11, and we got to our Island of Koh Phangan at around noon. All along the way though I sat in the front of the boat and the waves splashed up pretty good and I got soaked. It was wonderful, I love the water and it was a great ride.
Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking too clearly until the end of our ride, and the sun was pretty intense. Lindsay and I both got burned pretty badly. Luckily I had a long sleeved shirt on, but my face and legs and scalp are still pretty painful. Lindsay looked pretty miserable yesterday, she looks better today, I think I look worse.
We (read I) was very nervous about finding a place to stay once we got to the Island. It turns out that while it’s the low season in mainland Thailand/SE Asia, it’s the high season for the island as the water/winds/etc are such that it has clear water and optimal weather. Our guide book said to plan on spending 4000+ baht (around 120$ US) for a room, which is around 7 times our budget. Luckily, when we got off the ferry on Koh Phangan (again this is yesterday, the 18th) there were a bunch of people waving signs shouting at you as you walked off offering accommodation. Lindsay asked one lady if they had anything for cheap, and she said they had a room for 500 baht (around 15 bucks US). That sounded great to us, and although I had a feeling it was going to be a total dump in the middle of the island far from the beach, we decided to go with it anyway.
We jumped on the back of a taxi (literally hanging onto the side of the bus) and took a 10 minute ride to our place. We got off, walked across a questionably looking bridge to a spectacular place. Honestly the place is great, Lindsay and I each have a bungalow complete with a hammock hanging on our porch, a mosquito netting, a bathroom with a shower and toilet and sink (all which leak), etc. The people are the Happy Beach (as the place is called) are really nice, very friendly, etc. The beach is beautiful and is around 15 seconds away (truly).
We met Abdel, an actor from Belgium who gave us a lot of information about the Island, renting scooters, etc. Like most places in Thailand the Happy Beach bungalows has a restaurant/bar on site, which is not at all like a restaurant in the US (or Bangkok for that matter). You sit/lay on the floor with mats, and the family is often watching TV in the living room, which is the same room as you are eating. For those interested in prices, I had a curry with chicken and vegetables and steamed rice for 75 baht (~2.50 US), Lindsay had a Shrimp and vegetable rice dish (60 baht, about 2 bucks), and she had a Lassi and I had a coconut shake (30 and 30 baht). Not the cheapest meals we had, but with our 500 baht rooms it was OK that the food was a bit more. Plus you can see the incredible blue water and white sand from the beach.
Mr. Teeples: I’d consider this part of our trip to be a bit of a vacation :).
Lindsay went to bed around 6 PM (I know) on account of her sunburn and general miserable feeling, I wasn’t feeling so bad and sat in our hammock reading a book I stole from Dad (sorry Dad) – a wonderful *cough* Clive Cussler novel, which I finished around 8 after which I jumped in bed myself.
Lindsay woke up early today, I’m guessing around 6 if not earlier, went for a run on the beach, and found a small group of shops/internet cafes/bars/restaurants a few hundred feet down the road from us. I woke up at 9:30, brushed my teeth, and went into the town and found Lindsay. we used the internet and buy a pair of super-cool-dude sunglasses. That’s about where I am now, I slept too much so I feel sort of out of it and generally not spectacular, plus I’m getting over a bit of a cold. Lindsay and I both feel a bit burned and are going to try to avoid the sun today. I’m staving, and am going to see how much food is at the places in town here are.
Tonight is the big Full Moon Party (I feel so dumb typing that), and tomorrow or the next day I’m hoping to rent a scooter so we can look around the Island without worrying about a taxi. The Island is very slow, traffic wise, so I’m not too nervous about it. We’ll see!
Miss you all,
p.s. I’ll try to post some photos later, I didn’t know if we’d find internet and I didn’t want to bring all of my gear with me.